FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 5
2012
ARI at STL (THU) CHI at JAC MIA at CIN *TEN at MIN
ATL at WAS *CLE at NYG PHI at PIT *HOU at NYJ (MON)
BAL at KC *DEN at NE *SD at NO Bye:
*Updated BUF at SF GB at IND SEA at CAR DAL, DET, OAK, TB

Prediction: BAL 34, KC 17 (Line: BAL by 4.5)

Players to Watch: Matt Cassel, maybe Brady Quinn

The 3-1 Ravens hit the road where their only loss on the season came. They face the 1-3 Chiefs who have been beaten rather soundly by all but the Saints. This could be a trap game but most likely ends up as a very nice win for the Ravens against a soft defense.

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 31-30 12 @SD -----
4 CLE 23-16 13 PIT -----
5 @KC ----- 14 @WAS -----
6 DAL ----- 15 DEN -----
7 @HOU ----- 16 NYG -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @CIN -----
9 @CLE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL @ KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 280,3
RB Bernard Pierce 10
WR Jacoby Jones 1-20
WR Steve Smith 5-60
WR Torrey Smith 5-80,1
TE Owen Daniels 5-50,1
TE Dennis Pitta 5-50,1
PK Justin Tucker 2 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens were one point away from being 4-0 and yet they are winning with a balance between the defense and the offense. Ray Rice has been solid enough thanks to adding in receptions but the offense has improved thanks to Joe Flacco. He has thrown for around 300 yards or more in three of four games and averages around two touchdowns per game. Those high yardage games all came at home though and the lone road trip only produced 232 yards and one touchdown in the only loss. The Eagles were effective against the Ravens but the Chiefs will offer a secondary that is less likely to be a problem.

Rice has scored three times this year but comes off his worst game when the Ravens inexplicably could not rush against the Browns and Rice was held to only 49 yards on 18 runs. He has been good for around five catches for 50 yards in almost every game though and even a bad game from him is better than most. In reception point leagues, Rice remains a top back.

Last week had fantasy owners freaking out because Dennis Pitta had taken over the receiving role as a tight end and had totaled more targets than anyone on the team. He was good for five catches per week at a minimum and scored twice. That led many fantasy leaguers to jump aboard the fan bus and start him against the Browns. Of course the result was two passes and no catches. One pass was almost a touchdown. But that aberration was a function of both Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin having great nights thanks in no small part to Joe Haden being suspended. Pitta will be back this week.

Torrey Smith was only producing two catches per week for around 50 yards for the first two games and then suffered the death of his brother which in some part inspired him to turn in two very nice efforts - 6-127 and two scores against the Patriots and then 6-97 and a touchdown versus the Browns. Anquan Boldin exploded for nine catches and 131 yards last week but that was an extreme case and Boldin had almost no value in the two previous weeks. It was a matchup blessing with the Browns trying to replace Haden. Not the start of anything new.

The Ravens just have to prepare and remain motivated. The Chiefs have never allowed fewer than two passing touchdowns to anyone and they rank 23rd against running backs without having faced many decent runners like Rice. The Chiefs have allowed no less than 37 points in both of their home games.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 6 6 8 13 8 5
Preventing Fantasy Points KC 25 23 7 14 27 31

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL JAC 0000021010 ****
The Jags have held seven of the last nine quarterbacks they've faced to one or zero touchdown passes. And for a guy who's tended to be better at home Flacco's Baltimore averages of a shade under 250 yards and two TDs isn't all that impressive. While the ceiling is low the floor is relatively high, especially since Flacco has added rushing scores to his repertoire the past two weeks. Consider him solid, but don't expect too much.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL JAC 10022100000 ***
Five straight feature backs have scored and/or topped 100 yards against the Jaguars. Forsett's personal streak with those milestones is four straight, including 71 and 1 last week despite limited touches due to his sore knee. Assuming he's still healthy enough to get 15 touches he's a solid fantasy prospect with significant upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL JAC 300000000 ***
Pierce is somewhere between Option 2 and Option 3 in Baltimore. Last week Lorenzo Taliaferro saw more touches, so you would have to think Pierce is closer to third than second on the depth chart. Either way, he's a tricky start in what is overall a favorable matchup for the Ravens' backfield.
Update: Bump Pierce up slightly, as Taliaferro didn't practice all week and may not go on Sunday.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL JAC 006801000 ***
WR1s have had the most success against Jacksonville recently--Beckham 7-90, Hilton 4-122-1, Bryant 6-158-2--and with Torrey Smith hurt Steve is clearly Baltimore's top option. That should help him put up numbers more in line with last week (7-70-1) and Week 12 (4-89-1) and less like Weeks 13 (1-2) or 10 (3-17).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kamar Aiken, BAL JAC 004500000 ***
Aiken moved up to wingman duties with Torrey Smith out, producing a solid 6-65-1. He's less likely to have such success against a Jacksonville defense that in the past month has held WR2s to stat lines like 4-17, 3-52, 4-38, and 0-0.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL JAC 004500000 *
Update: Smith is a game-time decision, but he was still hobbling at practice Friday so even if he's cleared you might want to look elsewhere for fantasy help.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL JAC 1144 ***
Tucker's gotten his kicks of late with two double-digit efforts in his past three games, and a date with a Jacksonville D that's allowed at least six points to each of the past seven kicker's they've faced doesn't hurt his prospects.

Kansas City Chiefs
Homefield: Arrowhead Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ATL 24-40 10 @PIT -----
2 @BUF 17-35 11 CIN -----
3 @NO 27-24 12 DEN -----
4 SD 20-37 13 CAR -----
5 BAL ----- 14 @CLE -----
6 @TB ----- 15 @OAK -----
7 BYE ----- 16 IND -----
8 OAK ----- 17 @DEN -----
9 @SD ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
KC vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith 10 200,1
RB Jamaal Charles 80,1 5-30
WR Jason Avant 2-20
WR Donnie Avery 6-80
WR Dwayne Bowe 6-80,1
TE Anthony Fasano 5-40

Pregame Notes: The Chiefs continue to sink, brought down by a defense that has allowed 35+ points in each loss and and offense led by Matt Cassel who is in jeopardy of the coaching staff uttering those immortal words - "okay, so who else do we got?" Cassel threw five touchdowns already but that goes against seven interceptions and three lost fumbles. Plus losing by 17+ points three times in four games means the "catch up" offense ain' t "catching up". In fact most of the production that Cassel does have comes later in games against a prevent defense where most of the secondary is hoping they catch it so they can help run out the clock.

Matt Cassel will play this week while HC Romeo Crennel makes sure that he remains in "hook distance" to Cassel on every play. Then the Chiefs can use Brady Quinn with almost certainly no better results. Changing starters usually comes later in the season so the coaching staff can claim to still be trying to win.

Jamaal Charles is the #2 rusher in the NFL and without him the Chiefs would really have a problem. After shredding the Saints for 233 rushing yards, Charles posted 115 total yards and two touchdowns on the Chargers last week. Peyton Hillis was inactive last week because of his ankle and may not play again this week. Hillis has been a nonfactor anyway in all but one game.

There has been decent passing yardage - at least 250 per game. But most of that ends up with either a running back (Charles or Dexter McCluster) or with Dwayne Bowe who is the master of late game slop yards and scores. Bowe already has two games with 100+ yards and three touchdowns on the season. No other wide receiver has scored or even offered enough yardage to merit any fantasy consideration. Bowe not only remains the only fantasy option among all receivers, he is a must start because of trash time.

Tight ends have been shockingly ignored this year. They rarely have more than 20 yards in any game and have zero fantasy relevance despite the apparent lack of viable receivers. Or is that just a lack of viable passes being thrown?

Going against the Ravens is not going to be much fun though they tend to be less formidable away from home. The Ravens have only given up two passing touchdowns though the last three teams topped 300 passing yards. Charles will remain the focus and while the Ravens have not allowed more than 91 rush yards to any runner, they have given up six rushing touchdowns.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points KC 20 1 26 26 15 27
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 16 18 26 20 20 6

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Alex Smith, KC OAK 0000020010 ***
Smith's 234 and 2 in the earlier loss to Oakland was his best fantasy outing since the first month of the season. If that's the top end, might as well swing for the fantasy fences elsewhere.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jamaal Charles, KC OAK 12022100000 ***
If Charles gets in some practice time this week he's his usual must-play. He tallied 122 yards from scrimmage and scored in the earlier meeting, giving him eight TDs and 465 combo yards in his last three against Oakland.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dwayne Bowe, KC OAK 004500000 ***
The Chiefs haven't scored a WR TD all year; the Raiders haven't allowed one in a month. Looks like Bowe is bench fodder again this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jason Avant, KC OAK 004500000 ***
Avant outgunned Dwayne Bowe last week, which isn't necessarily saying much. No reason to look for any fantasy help among KC's wideouts anyway.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Travis Kelce, KC OAK 004701000 **
The Raiders have given up four TE TDs in the past five games and served up 67 yards to Kelce in the earlier meeting. Kelce is coming off a 7-110 showing in Arizona and is easily the best fantasy play in KC's passing game.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cairo Santos, KC OAK 1133 ***
Santos hasn't seen double digits since Week 8 and has just one multiple field goal effort in the past six games, but his peak effort during that span was eight points in Oakland. Don't go overboard, as he's topped out at 11 this year, but there's a chance he's fantasy relevant this week.

WEEK 5
2012
ARI at STL (THU) CHI at JAC MIA at CIN *TEN at MIN
ATL at WAS *CLE at NYG PHI at PIT *HOU at NYJ (MON)
BAL at KC *DEN at NE *SD at NO Bye:
*Updated BUF at SF GB at IND SEA at CAR DAL, DET, OAK, TB

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