FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 7
2012
SEA at SF (THU) *DAL at CAR *NYJ at NE DET at CHI (MON)
*ARI at MIN *GB at STL *PIT at CIN Bye:
BAL at HOU *JAC at OAK TEN at BUF ATL, DEN, KC,
*UPDATED *CLE at IND *NO at TB *WAS at NYG MIA, PHI, SD

Prediction: PIT 24, CIN 27 (Line: PIT by 2.5)

Players Updated: Rashard Mendenhall, Baron Batch, Isaac Redman, Armon Binns, Ben Roethlisberger, Jonathan Dwyer

Players to Watch: Andy Dalton

The 2-3 Steelers head to Cincinnati with an 0-3 road record while the 3-3 Bengals are just 1-1 at home. The Steelers swept the Bengals in 2011, winning 35-7 at home and 24-17 in Cincinnati.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DEN 19-31 10 KC -----
2 NYJ 27-10 11 BAL -----
3 @OAK 31-34 12 @CLE -----
4 BYE ----- 13 @BAL -----
5 PHI 16-14 14 SD -----
6 @TEN 23-26 15 @DAL -----
7 @CIN ----- 16 CIN -----
8 WAS ----- 17 CLE -----
9 @NYG ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT @ CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 260,2
RB Daryl Richardson 60 5-30
RB DeAngelo Williams 50
WR Antonio Brown 4-50
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 2-40

Pregame Notes: You have to assume that the loss to the Titans was just a trap game and a number of bad bounces conspired to let the Titans take the win last Thursday. The loss drops them to 2-3 and worse yet 0-3 on the road. Of their two wins, the Eagles fell by only two points. This new offense is nothing special so far and that has translated into mostly disappointing results for fantasy players.

Ben Roethlisberger has scored in every game this year but the last two were only one touchdown each. He has passed for more than 340 yards in the last two road games and only been intercepted twice. But the scores are just not there outside of the Oakland loss. Surprisingly he has only been sacked twice in the last three games and that is freakishly low for a quarterback who ranks near the top of most sacked every season. But just fewer touchdowns. Part of the problem has been a defense that is not meeting expectations and has missed a few players including Troy Polamalu.

Rashard Mendenhall returned in the Philly game with 68 yards on 13 runs and a touchdown on his three catches for 33 yards. And then he injured his Achilles last week and was a killer to every fantasy owner who wanted in on that action they saw in week five. The reality is that Mendenhall is going to share carries and his status this week is not certain though his Achilles is not considered serious and he was mostly held out as a precaution. In his place Isaac Redman turned in 105 yards on four catches against the Titans. This will be another committee backfield though against a weak opponent, Mendenhall could be good enough to merit a fantasy start even with sharing.

Heath Miller started out with four scores in his first three weeks but has not scored since week three. But he remains solid with around 50 yards in most games anyway and usually comes in third for targets on the team.

Mike Wallace was a scary prospect to draft with his holdout but he has more than paid back his draft slot. Wallace has scored in all but one game this year and turns in 75+ yards in most games. Antonio Brown is the disappointment with only one score on the season but he remains the #1 target for Roethlisberger and is very consistent around seven catches for 80 yards in most games. But he only scored once so far and comes off a freakishly low 20 yards on four catches against the Titans.

What is not going to help the Steelers offensive line is being without C Maurkice Pouncey and RT Marcus Gilbert.

One of the biggest challenges this week is that the Bengals secondary has only allowed four scores to wideouts and no receiver has totaled more than 90 yards against them.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 8 15 11 6 9 28
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 21 28 5 22 20 29

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT NYG 0000027011 ***
The Giants have allowed the fourth fewest points per game on the 11th highest opportunity rating. On the plus side for Big Ben, quarterbacks have posted the highest yards per completion and ninth most yards per game versus the G-men since Week 7.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT NYG 8018700000 ***
New York has allowed running backs to score at the fifth easiest rate on the through and eighth easiest overall, but the position has posted only 115 offensive yards a game in the last five weeks against the Giants.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Brown, PIT NYG 0071001000 ***
AB faces a tough task this week -- which probably means he scores only once instead of three times -- with the Giants owning fantasy's fourth most difficult matchup for receivers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eli Rogers, PIT NYG 004300000 ***
There isn't much upside in playing Rogers this week. The Giants have allowed the fourth fewest points per game to PPR receivers, and only two of the last 43 receptions face have gone the distance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Ladarius Green, PIT NYG 004400000 ***
Green draws a Giants team that has allowed the most yards per game on the 11th highest yardage figure, but only one of the 21 catches went for a touchdown over the past five games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chris Boswell, PIT NYG 2233 ***
The Giants have given up the fifth most FGAs per game and 25th most XPAs on average since Week 7, translating to the 10th highest fantasy points per game provided to the position.

Cincinnati Bengals
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BAL 13-44 10 NYG -----
2 CLE 34-27 11 @KC -----
3 @WAS 38-31 12 OAK -----
4 @JAC 27-10 13 @SD -----
5 MIA 13-17 14 DAL -----
6 @CLE 24-34 15 @PHI -----
7 PIT ----- 16 @PIT -----
8 BYE ----- 17 BAL -----
9 DEN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 10,1 250,2
WR A.J. Green 5-100,1
WR Brandon LaFell 2-20
PK Mike Nugent 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bengals are on a two game losing streak after opening the year 3-1. This week's game is crucial since a win both keeps them in the divisional race and drops the Steelers back another notch. More than anything is to avoid landing on bye with three straight losses after a strong opening to the season.

Andy Dalton has been highly productive with four of his last five games containing three touchdowns and passing for more than 310 yards three times. Dalton has made good progress this year including other receivers besides A.J. Green. With 12 passing scores, Dalton remains in the top ten of fantasy quarterbacks so far this year.

Proving that his success with the Patriots was because he was "with the Patriots", Benjarvus Green-Ellis only gained 62 rushing yards on 16 runs and did not score on the Browns last week. He's been nothing more than a straight-line plodder who needs first down on the one-yard line to score. That has only happened twice and not since week three.

A.J. Green has been unstoppable so far, scoring in every game since week two and posting three games over 100 yards already. His six receiving scores are tied with Victor Cruz for best in the league and with yardage considered is the #1 wideout with almost 15% more fantasy points than other receiver. Both Armon Binns and Andrew Hawkins figure in each week but their marginal stats leave them outside of fantasy relevance.

Jermaine Gresham scored for the second time this year when he handed in 68 yards on three catches in Cleveland and that makes three of the last four weeks gaining over 60 yards. He's a low level fantasy starter with the upside for a score in every game.

The Steelers will show up with a still decent rushing defense and with Green-Ellis a mediocre runner anyway he remains a marginal play for a but of yardage. But the Steelers have given up nine passing scores this year and and average two each in a road game along with decent yardage. Dalton will be attacking the secondary and that is where this game is lost or won. This game is a chance for Dalton to show that he's progressing against a divisional foe.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 9 25 2 18 15 20
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 11 7 15 23 8 5

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andy Dalton, CIN PHI 0000025011 ***
Dalton simply doesn't have enough weapons to warrant a fantasy start. Philadelphia has allowed only one 300-yard passer on the season, and this is a neutral matchup if you remove Aaron Rodgers' destruction against them in Week 12.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN PHI 7013300000 ***
Philadelphia has given up only two touchdowns on the last 102 attempts faced. This is the fifth worst matchup for a running back looking to find the end zone based on data over the last five weeks. Hill will need to defy the odds -- or least get a good shot from short range -- to find paydirt.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rex Burkhead, CIN PHI 2002200000 ***
Replacing Gio Bernard, Burkhead managed seven offensive touches last week. There is little reason to trust him in any lineup, especially against fantasy's fourth worst matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tyler Boyd, CIN PHI 005601000 ***
The rookie has been thrust into a larger role with A.J. Green on the mend. Philly represents the third best potential for points, which has led to the fourth most on a per-game basis (44.0 for teams in PPR). Wide receivers have scored at the fifth most frequent rate against this defense since Week 7.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, CIN PHI 004400000 ***
Over the last five weeks, receivers have tallied averages of 13 receptions, 210.2 yards and a score every 8.1 grabs -- all top-12 numbers for the position. LaFell is a decent flex play in Week 13.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Tyler Eifert, CIN PHI 005700000 ***
The Eagles have given up the second fewest catches and third fewest yards per game since Week 7, but allowing a TD every eight catches translates to this being the fifth worst at keeping the position out of the end zone.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN PHI 2222 ***
The seventh most field goal attempts allowed plus the 13th highest average of XPAs translates to Philly allowing the seventh most fantasy points per game to the position.

WEEK 7
2012
SEA at SF (THU) *DAL at CAR *NYJ at NE DET at CHI (MON)
*ARI at MIN *GB at STL *PIT at CIN Bye:
BAL at HOU *JAC at OAK TEN at BUF ATL, DEN, KC,
*UPDATED *CLE at IND *NO at TB *WAS at NYG MIA, PHI, SD

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