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 10000024021 ***
The Browns haven't been shut-down defensively against the pass, but they haven't exactly been pushovers either. Flacco threw for two TDs the last time they met, but it was his first multiple-passing TD game against them in his last four. That 250 and 2 feels like his ceiling here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL @CLE 701000000 ****
Should be a decent outing for Pierce against a Browns' defense that's giving up better than five yards a carry and has particularly struggled with power backs like Le'Veon Bell and Mark Ingram.
Update: Though officially listed as questionable, Pierce practiced in full on Friday and should be available to take what is becoming his regular role in the Baltimore backfield rotation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @CLE 5004200000 ***
Given that the Browns are allowing 192 combo yards per game to opposing backs, Forsett's share of the Ravens' backfield workload should be worth a little something in fantasy circles this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL @CLE 006600000 ***
Smith is turning "Napoleon Syndrome" and a dozen targets a game into a career rebirth in Baltimore. And while the Browns haven't erased opposing wideouts this year the prospect of Joe Haden draped all over Steve does dampen the fantasy enthusiasm a bit.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL @CLE 004500000 ***
Maybe the Browns tab Steve Smith as Cleveland's top threat and match him with Joe Haden. Maybe that opens up Torrey for more targets, which he could turn into a typical productive matchup against the Browns--he's scored or topped 75 yards in four straight meetings. Of course, until Steve stops hogging more than half the Ravens' WR targets it's all theory and tough to trust in a fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dennis Pitta, BAL @CLE 006701000 ****
The Ravens love to force-feed their tight end, but Pitta is no Jimmy Graham. Then again, it's unlikely the Browns use Joe Haden on Pitta. Call it a wash and look for Pitta to turn his typical heavy target load into another productive fantasy outing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL @CLE 003300000 ***
In PPR leagues Daniels has value, as the TE spillover in Gary Kubiak's offense is running in the 4-5 catches per game range. However, don't get used to the #TBT Kubiak unleashed on us last week with Daniels' pair of TDs; he's still TE2 in Baltimore and should be treated as such.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @CLE 1133 ***
Tucker has had multiple field goal attempts in each game this season, and in every road game dating back to Week 9 of last year. The Browns have a bend-don't-break defense, which should lend itself well to more opportunities for Tucker this week.

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 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 @MIA 40000019012 ***
The Dolphins haven't allowed a fantasy helper at quarterback; Smith has yet to provide one this season. No reason to change those expectations here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Knile Davis, KC @MIA 7016300000 *
Davis will get the call--and the bulk of the touches--against a defense that's allowed 250 combo yards to running backs this season. He's proven more than capable in the past, and this matchup tilts towards the favorable as well.
Update: Jamaal Charles is apparently back in the mix, taking a bite out of Davis' potential big weekend.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jamaal Charles, KC @MIA 00000000 *
High ankle sprains never hear as quickly as the original estimate, which likely means Charles sits this one out.
Update: Either Charles is the world's fastest healer, or the Chiefs misdiagnosed his high ankle sprain. Or maybe they're just desperate. In any event, Charles practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday, is officially listed as questionable, and is expected to share the workload with Knile Davis. It's essentially a "no one wins" situation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Donnie Avery, KC @MIA 005400000 ***
Avery flashed slightly with Dwayne Bowe out, then returned to his usual supporting role last week. Not much upside here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dwayne Bowe, KC @MIA 003400000 ***
If there's a go-to wideout on this roster--and that's a relatively big "if"--it's Bowe, though targets in his first game back from suspension barely support the theory. Miami has allowed one wide receiver per opponent to have success against them; if KC is to follow that plan, odds are the wideout is Bowe.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Travis Kelce, KC @MIA 005601000 **
Kelce still has to share with Anthony Fasano, but he's working his way into a more prominent role in the KC passing game. The Dolphins allowed Gronk to score on limited snaps; no reason Kelce can't do the same.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cairo Santos, KC @MIA 0022 ***
The Brazilian has made half of his NFL field goal attempts and remains mired near the bottom of the league in kicker scoring. Maybe he gets an uptick against a Miami D that allowed six field goal attempts last week, but best he do it on fantasy benches.

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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