FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

Prediction: NE 24, BAL 26 (Line: BAL by 3)

Players to Watch: Kellen Winslow

Players Updated: Brandon Lloyd

What to think with the Patriots losing to the visiting Cardinals last week? The Ravens will present a far better defense than either of the Pats previous opponents. The Ravens are coming home after getting clipped in Philly by one point and should be primed to have a good showing this week at home. The question for this game is which Patriots team is going to show up? The Ravens have a score to settle since the Patriots beat them 23-20 in the Conference Championship last season held at New England.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN 34-13 10 BUF -----
2 ARI 18-20 11 IND -----
3 @BAL ----- 12 @NYJ -----
4 @BUF ----- 13 @MIA -----
5 DEN ----- 14 HOU -----
6 @SEA ----- 15 SF -----
7 NYJ ----- 16 @JAC -----
8 @STL ----- 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE @ BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 300,2
WR Danny Amendola 6-80,1
TE Martellus Bennett 6-70,1
TE Rob Gronkowski 6-70,1
PK Stephen Gostkowski 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Perhaps we were a little spoiled with the atmospheric performances of 2011. In his first two games last season, Brady passed for a combined 950 yards and seven touchdowns. Just two games. This year? About half the yardage and only three scores - two for Rob Gronkowski the default scorer and one for Aaron Hernandez who is out for four to six weeks with a low ankle sprain. So far it is Brady-lite and fantasy owners are hurting considering what they paid for him.

Stevan Ridley continues to be a nice fantasy find and while he did not score in week two, he still posted 71 rushing yards and caught three passes for 24 more yards. He was the lone runner in week one but then Danny Woodhead joined in with eight runs for only 18 yards. Ridley remains a solid fantasy play though this week should be about as challenging as any game this year.

The biggest development in the passing game is the loss of Aaron Hernandez and how that will be compensated since he had a significant role in the offense. Kellen Winslow has been signed as interim help and he could show up in box scores but needs to learn the complex offense first and realistically - there is a reason why is still available in week three of the season.

The mystery around Wes Welker is likely something that will never be answered thanks to nothing but cryptic and generalized statements from HC Bill Belichick about anything, let alone personnel assignments. Welker did not start this past week - Julian Edelman did though Welker ended with five catches for 95 yards as opposed to the five catches for 50 yards from Edelman. It certainly looks like Welker has fallen from favor in the final season of his contract. Brandon lloyd has been the primary target for Brady with a team high 21 passes in the last two weeks though he only has 13 catches for 129 yards and no scores so far. The chemistry will improve but is not there yet. And the reality is that Lloyd is the same age as Welker so there is no youth movement afoot.

Playing in Baltimore is going to be a challenge against a motivated Ravens defense. For the first time in a long time, Brady actually seems a risk this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 18 13 21 1 5 11
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 18 14 21 28 8 13

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Brady, NE BAL 0000028020 ***
Remove the one rushing touchdown scored against the Ravens since Week 8 and we have the ninth worst matchup for QBs. This one is in New England, but Brady losing both Gronk and the lesser used Danny Amendola in back-to-back games is bound to catch up at some point.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeGarrette Blount, NE BAL 401000000 ***
The only redeeming quality about this matchup is Baltimore gives up a lot of catches per game, but that's not Blount's thing. It' is the third hardest matchup to exploit in Week 14.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dion Lewis, NE BAL 2004300000 ***
Despite the good matchup for receiving backs, Lewis probably shouldn't be used -- at least not by owners looking for some comfort in their lineups.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB James White, NE BAL 004300000 ***
The Ravens have given up the fourth most catches to running backs, on average, over the last five weeks. White is a risky play with his touch share in the backfield, but he has some flex appeal in PPR.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE BAL 008801000 ***
No Gronk. No Amendola. Edelman should be asked to shoulder the receiving load and gets a relatively neutral matchup against the Ravens. Start him with confidence.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcolm Mitchell, NE BAL 006801000 ***
TB12 has shown trust in the rookie and hasn't been let down a whole lot. Mitchell has a decent enough matchup, as the visiting Ravens rate in the middle of the league in most notable categories against wideouts.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, NE BAL 004500000 ***
Baltimore has surrendered a touchdown per game to receivers over the last five weeks, giving up the 33.1 aggregate PPR points in that time.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, NE BAL 003300000 ***
Over the last five weeks, tight ends have averaged 4.8 catches for 49 yards against the Ravens. Two of the 24 grabs went for touchdowns. Bennett is a sketchy play.

Update: Bennett was limited Thursday and Friday. He has until Monday night to get right, and his official status will be known Saturday.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE BAL 2233 ***
No team is more evenly negative against kickers. Baltimore ranks 31st in FGAs, XPAs and fantasy points allowed, while also rating 32nd in combined kicking chances over the last five weeks.

Baltimore Ravens
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN 44-13 10 OAK -----
2 @PHI 23-24 11 @PIT -----
3 NE ----- 12 @SD -----
4 CLE ----- 13 PIT -----
5 @KC ----- 14 @WAS -----
6 DAL ----- 15 DEN -----
7 @HOU ----- 16 NYG -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @CIN -----
9 @CLE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 250,2
WR Steve Smith Sr. 5-100,1
WR Mike Wallace 5-80
TE Dennis Pitta 7-70,1
PK Justin Tucker 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens came within one point of being 2-0 and return home to face their nemesis of the Patriots. This is the same team that faced them in January but this time it happens in Baltimore where the Ravens have lost only once in the last two years and none last season. This week will be a challenge but one that the Ravens need to win to belong to the next level. Especially at home against a Patriots team that may struggle a bit compared to previous seasons.

Joe Flacco has been effective this year and thrown three scores but only came up with 232 yards in Philly. More interesting is that he was supposed to "take the wraps off the offense" and throw more this year. So far - it has contracted with the tight ends taking a much bigger role and the wideouts much less of a factor.

Torrey Smith entered the season with high expectations but so far has consecutive games with two catches for around 50 yards and no touchdowns. Anquan Boldin was decent in week one with four receptions for 63 yards and a score but then was held to just two catches for seven yards against the good Eagle cornerbacks. Jacoby Jones has a touchdown but only four catches over two games. The wideouts just have not done much here though the few catches they make are usually gaining more yardage.

Dennis Pitta has become the primary receiver in this offense with a team high 24 targets for 13 catches and 138 yards. He scored once in the season opener. Ed Dickson has been just blocking with only one or two catches per game. Pitta is a sign that this offense has changed but not so much for the better in passing.

Ray Rice had no scores in Philly but still turned in 152 total yards with six receptions. Rice was held to only 67 yards in New England last January but is at home this week and that always counts big.

The Ravens need to play solid defense and should in this home stand. While they have allowed more yardage this year, they still have been good holding down the opponents score. This will be a big game for the home town crowd who wants to see retribution for denying the team a chance at a Superbowl last January.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 16 6 20 4 2 4
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 13 4 9 13 14 5

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL @NE 0000027011 ***
A week after shelling Miami, Flacco heads to New England. Aside from the Russell Wilson game, New England has done fairly well at slowing quarterbacks. This is a neutral matchup for fantasy owners.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Terrance West, BAL @NE 4003200000 ***
No RB has scored in the last 79 rushing attempts faced over a four-game period. The Pats have allowed the fifth fewest points per game to the position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Kenneth Dixon, BAL @NE 3001100000 ***
The Pats have stamped out running backs of late, giving up the fifth fewest points and no rushing touchdowns in the last four games (79 attempts). RBs have averaged five catches for 49.3 yards and 0.25 aerial scores, though.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith Sr., BAL @NE 006701000 ***
This is a good matchup when including the damage by Doug Baldwin's three-TD game several weeks back. Removing it, though, makes for a decidedly negative opponent. Smith gets the benefit of the doubt in a game that could feature ample passing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, BAL @NE 005600000 ***
The Patriots have given up the second highest average of points per reception but largely because of given up the fourth fewest catches and a three-TD game to Doug Baldwin in the last five weeks. This is a negative matchup otherwise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Breshad Perriman, BAL @NE 002400000 ***
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kamar Aiken, BAL @NE 003300000 ***
Aiken has been involved more of late but has no business being on a fantasy roster.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dennis Pitta, BAL @NE 004300000 ***
New England is a solidly harsh matchup for fantasy tight ends using data since Week 8. Pitta could be started but not without assuming a good deal of risk.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @NE 2211 ***
Since Week 8, New England has afforded 15 total kicking tries over the last four games. Tucker could be a solid play if Baltimore can't quite punch it in, and he obviously is good from distance when called on.

WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

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