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 CLE 0000022010 ***
Flacco was ordinary (217 and 1) in the earlier meeting with Cleveland, and there's little in his season stats, history with the Browns, or Cleveland's season thus far suggest he'll stray far enough from ordinary to warrant fantasy consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL CLE 12022100000 ***
After giving up 154 RB rushing yards (63 to Forsett on 11 carries) to the Ravens in the earlier meeting, the Browns have allowed back-to-back 100-yard rushers the past two weeks. Forsett has been showing signs of wearing down, but in a must-win for Baltimore expect him to get enough touches--and do enough with them--to be a fantasy helper this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL CLE 004601000 *
After ceding WR1 duties to Steve Smith to start the season, Torrey has been the more productive wideout over the past two months. He's scored six touchdowns in seven games, including two last week in Houston. Maybe he draws Joe Haden this time around, or maybe he capitalizes on not getting Haden with another solid effort. Either way, he's a viable fantasy option this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL CLE 004500000 ***
Steve bettered Joe Haden to the tune of 105 yards in the earlier meeting, so aside from expected pedestrian numbers from the Baltimore passing game there's no need to fear this matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL CLE 003300000 ***
The Browns limited Baltimore tight ends to 20 yards in the earlier meeting, and Daniels has done nothing since to warrant fantasy consideration here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL CLE 1133 ***
Tucker reached double-digit points in Cleveland; chances are he'll meet or beat that performance when the Brownies limp into Baltimore with nothing to play for.

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 Dwayne Bowe 6-80,1

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 Chase Daniel, KC SD 0000018011 *
Update: Daniel will get the start in a must-win game due to Alex Smith's lacerated spleen. There's very little to like here from a fantasy perspective.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jamaal Charles, KC SD 11023200000 ***
Charles has triple-digit combo yardage and at least one touchdown in five of his last seven meetings with the Chargers, including the one earlier this season. However, Charles hasn't carried the ball more than a dozen times since Week 12 so you run the risk of Andy Reid criminally underusing Charles yet again. However, Charles' high ceiling makes the risk worthwhile.
Update: Charles practiced on a limited basis all week and is listed as questionable, but with the Chiefs down to their second-string quarterback they'll need to lean even more heavily on Charles... assuming he can hold up to the workload.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dwayne Bowe, KC SD 004600000 **
Bowe scored each of the last two times the Chargers came to town, but it's been more than a year since a Chiefs' wideout found the end zone and there's little evidence Bowe will suddenly stumble upon it this week.
Update: Bowe missed a couple practices due to injury, plus he'll now be catching balls from Chase Daniels. As if his fantasy prospects could get any dimmer.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Albert Wilson, KC SD 004500000 ***
Wilson has emerged to take his spin as the Chiefs' WR2, which is the fantasy equivalent of being the vice-president of Hair Club for Men. Only it probably has more benefits.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Travis Kelce, KC SD 004501000 **
The Chargers have given up just three TE TDs on the year, so they're far from an easy mark. Kelce racked up 33 yards in the earlier meeting with San Diego, which isn't all that impressive. And he's still sharing looks with Anthony Fasano, completing the hat trick of frustration that conspire to leave Kelce out of your fantasy lineup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cairo Santos, KC SD 1133 ***
Santos' two most productive games were a dozen last week and 11 the last time he faced the Chargers. With the Chiefs still playing for something, he's as good a bet as any for a solid kicker outing.

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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