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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 9
2012
KC at SD (THU) CAR at WAS *DET at JAC TB at OAK
*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:
*UPDATED *BUF at HOU DEN at CIN *PIT at NYG NE , NYJ, SF, STL

Prediction: DEN 31, CIN 17 (Line: DEN by 3)

Players to Watch: Willis McGahee, Andy Dalton

The 4-3 Broncos served notice to the league when they shredded the Saints while Peyton Manning looks as dangerous as a guy who just figured out how to drive a M1 Abrams tank. The 3-4 Bengals are on a three game losing streak and looking like the Bengals of old. Only with A.J. Green instead of a young Chad Johnson. The Bengals are only 1-2 at home but are coming off their bye week.

Denver Broncos
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PIT 31-19 10 @CAR -----
2 @ATL 21-27 11 SD -----
3 HOU 25-31 12 @KC -----
4 OAK 37-6 13 TB -----
5 @NE 21-31 14 @OAK -----
6 @SD 35-24 15 @BAL -----
7 BYE ----- 16 CLE -----
8 NO 34-14 17 KC -----
9 @CIN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DEN @ CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 300,3
WR Emmanuel Sanders 3-40
WR Demaryius Thomas 6-90,1
TE Jacob Tamme 2-20
PK Connor Barth 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Apparently it only requires three weeks for Peyton Manning to join an entirely new team with questionable receivers and turn it all into a scoring machine. He is setting records now with four straight games with over 300 passing yards and three touchdowns. He not only threw 17 touchdowns so far, he has only had one interception in the last five games. He doesn't even get sacked anymore. The scariest thing of all is that he not only has his new versions of Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison, but he also enjoys his best rushing support in many years. Oh yes, and this has to be the best defense he has ever played with. Add it all together and one guy in every league is giggling about the fourth round pick he made in his fantasy draft.

Willis McGahee continues to provide solid rushing in every game and when he doesn't, he becomes a receiver with as many ass six catches in a game. He evolved into a near lock for 100+ total yards every week and just shifts the amount of rushing and receiving yards around. Ronnie Hillman ran for 86 yards on 14 runs against the Saints but that was just letting the little brother kick the bully when he was already down. Hillman has no reliable fantasy value yet.

The tight ends always figure in at least a little every week but there is no way to discern if it will be Jacob Tamme or Joel Dreessen. Last week it was Virgil Green for the first time. Sadly no reliable fantasy value here.

Simply put, Manning has made both Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker into must start receivers every week. Decker is on a four game scoring streak and has five touchdowns on the year. He is the lesser used of the wideouts but still has been just a lock for a score for the past month and usually decent yardage as well. Thomas only scored four times on the year and just twice in recent weeks but already logged four efforts over 100 yards. Brandon Stokley also scores on occasion but Decker and Thomas are the primary duo for the offense.

Manning won't post 300 yards and three scores every week. But then again he might. The Bengals are solid against the pass but the only quarterback they faced of any real note was Ben Roethlisberger (278, TD). Otherwise it has been Brandon Weeden (twice), Ryan Tannehill, Joe Flacco, Robert Griffin and Blaine Gabbert. None in the same class as Manning.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 6 10 2 6 19 6
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 16 28 8 27 21 28

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Peyton Manning, DEN @CIN 0000025020 ***
Cincy's been solid against the pass all season; Peyton's been ordinary the past couple of weeks. Dial back expectations, though you needn't go so far as to bench Manning here.
Update: Peyton has been limited in practice by the same thigh injury that sent him into the locker room early last week. No indication he'll miss the Monday night game, but if you have a roster spot you may want to stash Brock Osweiler... just in case.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Anderson, DEN @CIN 10014301000 ***
The Broncos are going to run Anderson plenty--109 carries over the past four games, resulting in 478 yards and four rushing scores. The Bengals couldn't contain similarly heavy-loaded backs like Stevan Ridley (27-113-1), Terrance West (26-94-1) or Le'Veon Bell (26-185-2), so expect Anderson to work back towards his 100-yard days after a couple weeks under that milestone.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN @CIN 0071001000 ***
Cincy's secondary has been among the best this year at shutting down opposing wide receivers. That said, the last time they say a tandem even close to the talent level of Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders they gave up matching 100-yard games to Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. No worries about Demaryius making his appointed rounds this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN @CIN 004600000 ***
It's not a particularly favorable matchup, and Sanders has taken a back seat to Demaryius Thomas the past couple of weeks against tougher defenses. But the pattern set by the Steelers, with both Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant topping 100 yards, seems to be the closest fit to what Denver brings to the table this week. Consider Sanders just a half-step behind Thomas at the top end of the Denver passing game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Julius Thomas, DEN @CIN 003400000 ***
Thomas had one catch in his return to action last week. Now he'll face a Cincy D that was beaten by Rob Gronkowski and Greg Olsen earlier in the year but held Jimmy Graham in check and has allowed only one TE TD in the past two months. He's still a threat, but if you've found a quality backup plan during his absence you'll want to give serious consideration to employing it for at least one more week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, DEN @CIN 2233 ***
Peyton Manning's struggles are to Barth's benefit, as he's booted five field goals in two of the past three games; prior to that Denver had just two multi-field goal games all year. Cincy's surrendered multiple treys in three straight, so Barth's fun times three should continue this week.

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 17-24 16 @PIT -----
8 BYE ----- 17 BAL -----
9 DEN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 230,2
WR A.J. Green 5-60,1
WR Greg Little 5-80,1
TE Jermaine Gresham 6-60,1
PK Mike Nugent 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: At 3-4 and on a three game losing streak, the Bengals are flirting with the return to mediocrity. The schedule is no less challenging either so they need to figure out how to produce more points and expand an offense that has become little more than Andy Dalton passing to A.J. Green. It has been great for Green owners but less so for the actual Bengals.

Dalton's been a nice surprise again this year with scores in the last six games and a total of 13 passing touchdowns with ten interceptions. He scores more than once in most games and other than the 105 yard flop in week seven to the Steelers, Dalton has produced good to great yardage every week. He's another one of the quarterbacks that can really go off when facing a weak defense but isn't good enough yet to post a big game on a good defense.

The rushing game has been of minor help to the offense with only three rushing touchdowns scored this year and none for BenJarvus Green-Ellis since week three. He still has yet to break 100 rushing yards this year despite taking nearly all the carries for the Bengals. He rarely is used as a receiver so all he really offers is just around 60 or so rushing yards in most games. Not exactly acceptable for a primary back who doesn't really share carries. Even Cedric Benson was markedly better than this.

The entirety of the passing game revolves around A.J. Green who is on a six-game scoring streak but finally was held to just one catch by the Steelers. He's been one of the most productive wideouts this year and generally commands ten to twelve passes per week. Armon Binns only seems to get worse and Andrew Hawkins settled down to more of a typical slot receiver with two or three catches per game. The intention was to try Marvin Jones out across from Green but he's been out for two weeks with a slightly torn MCL.

Jermaine Gresham rounds out the receivers and has become the second best target for Dalton. He's only scored twice but offers up around 60 yards in most games with much more consistency than any of the others.

The Broncos come in with a very good rushing defense to pit against the bad running of Green-Ellis. Dalton has to try to find secondary receivers because the Broncos can cover "one guy" passing schemes.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 13 27 4 19 17 18
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 15 18 7 30 6 15

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andy Dalton, CIN DEN 0000023021 ***
No guarantee that attempting to keep up with Peyton Manning translates into helpful fantasy stats; didn't work for Derek Carr, Shaun Hill, Alex Smith or Philip Rivers over the past six weeks. Dalton's been too unreliable a fantasy contributor of late to not be lumped in with that mediocre grouping, especially given his penchant for coming up small in big games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN DEN 5004200000 ***
Tre Mason is the only back to find fantasy success against the Broncos. Not that the Bengals won't try with Hill, but his big games have come against bottom-feeding run defenses (New Orleans, Cleveland, and Jacksonville all rank in the top 10 in fantasy points allowed to RBs). Dial your expectations back accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN DEN 3003200000 ***
It's official: Gio's a complementary back. And with feature backs having enough trouble carving out fantasy value against the Broncos, no reason to reach for a secondary guy for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN DEN 005601000 **
It's not impossible for Green to carve out fantasy value against the Broncos, especially given the volume of targets he's bound to see. But it won't be easy, so keep your expectations in check.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN DEN 003300000 ***
Complementary targets have found the end zone against Denver while primary targets posted bigger yardage--as recently as Week 14, when Sammy Watkins did the heavy lifting with 127 yards while Chris Hogan found the end zone. However, multiple receivers have posted fantasy helpers on the Broncos only four times in 14 games, so Sanu's chances of warranting a spot in your lineup are slim.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN DEN 004301000 ****
Update: Looks like Gresham will play this week, though he's been little if any fantasy help this season and doesn't look like he'll change that fact this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN DEN 1122 ***
Since serving up 16 points to Greg Zuerlein and the Rams in Week 11 the Broncos have allowed a total of 17 kicker points in four games. The Nuge broke a two-game field goal drought with three against the Browns last week, but the overriding trend here is opposing kickers falling short against Denver. Plan accordingly.

WEEK 9
2012
KC at SD (THU) CAR at WAS *DET at JAC TB at OAK
*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:
*UPDATED *BUF at HOU DEN at CIN *PIT at NYG NE , NYJ, SF, STL

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