FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

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: PIT 24, NYG 30 (Line: NYG by 3.5)

Players Updated: Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman, Ahmad Bradshaw

Players to Watch: Victor Cruz

The 4-3 Steelers are on a two game winning streak and pulled within one game of the Ravens. They are also just 1-3 on the road while the 6-2 Giants are on a four game winning streak and winning more with good defense and maybe a little bit of luck. This week may be the toughest game left on the Steelers schedule.

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 24-17 16 CIN -----
8 WAS 27-12 17 CLE -----
9 @NYG ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT @ NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 300,2
WR Antonio Brown 5-70
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 3-50
WR Lance Moore 5-90,1
TE Heath Miller 6-60,1
PK Shaun Suisham 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Steelers are only 4-3 but are in a good place for the AFC North with the Ravens reeling from defensive injuries and all but one divisional matchup left to play. The defense has been better as of late holding opponents to under 20 points in three of four games but then again, the Steelers are 4-3 and have not really played any decent teams other than opening in Denver where they lost. This week will be a good benchmark for them on the road against the reigning NFL Champs.

Ben Roethlisberger threw a touchdown in every game so far but the final four games only scored six passing touchdowns and that included the obligatory three touchdowns against the Redskins. Passing for only 222 yards on the Redskins was disappointing given that every other opponent passed for 299+ yards on them and that includes a list of guys like Sam Bradford. Big Ben throws for high yardage and few scores usually.

Rashard Mendenhall has been clear to do individual work but is likely to miss this week. Jonathan Dwyer should end up as the starter again though his quad has been an issue. Dwyer has made the most of his two games with over 100 rushing yards in each. His two games as starter dwarfs if not doubles what anyone else has done in a game. Isaac Redman may be back this week from his ankle sprain but will need to practice to show he is ready.

Heath Miller scored again last week giving him six scores on the year along with around 50 yards in every game. He's developed into a nice fantasy tight end by now who offers rare consistency.

The lack of scoring by Roethlisberger hits home with the wide receivers that still gets the yardage but not the touchdowns. Big Ben just hasn't been effective in the red zone lately and when he is, it usually ends up with a tight end. Leonard Pope scored on the Skins. Antonio Brown only has one touchdown all year and that was back in week three. He's consistent with around 80 yards in most games but the scores never end up with him. Mike Wallace started the season with a touchdown in each of the first three games but since only scored once in the last four weeks while turning in disappointing stats. The amazing part about Roethlisberger is that he can throw for as many yards as he does and yet not create a big game for any individual receiver.

The Giants at home have allowed multiple scores to every visitor and high yardage. If Roethlisberger returns to single touchdown games again, it bodes poorly for the future.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 9 14 14 2 6 30
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 26 9 26 19 15 2

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT BAL 0000031021 ***
The earlier meeting with Baltimore was easily Big Ben's worst fantasy outing of the season, with no TDs and 217 passing yards. Since then he's topped 300 twice and 250 two more times along with four multiple touchdown efforts. His track record against the Ravens isn't exactly sterling, with just two multiple TD outings in the past 11 meetings and only one trip north of 300 yards. But fresh off 522 and six, and with six teams on the bye, he's at least worth a look-see this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT BAL 6008700000 ****
Bell has reached triple-digit combo yardage in every game this season, including 107 in the earlier meeting with Baltimore. He had 232 combo yards in last season's series as well, so in performance leagues he's a rock-solid fantasy play. It's be nice if he mixed in a few more touchdowns, however; a Ravens D that's allowed only three RB TDs this year doesn't project to be much of a helper.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Brown, PIT BAL 0081202000 ***
Brown has had plenty of nice yardage outings against the Ravens, but he's still looking for his first touchdown grab against them. Baltimore has allowed only six WR TDs on the season, so it's no lock for Brown to find the end zone here; however, that he has five TDs in four home games suggests it's at least a strong possibility.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Martavis Bryant, PIT BAL 003400000 ****
Bryant has three TDs in two NFL games and could be the Steelers new version of Plaxico Burress. He's a red zone option that wasn't at Big Ben's disposal in the earlier meeting; at minimum he's a viable option in TD-heavy scoring systems with six teams on the bye.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Markus Wheaton, PIT BAL 004300000 ****
The emergence of Martavis Bryant, along with the return of Lance Moore from injury and the presence of Darrius Heyward-Bey, have all conspired to bump Wheaton from viable WR2 to just one of the guys in Pittsburgh. It's not a favorable enough matchup to go this deep into the Steelers' receiver rotation for fantasy assistance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Heath Miller, PIT BAL 004300000 ****
Both of Miller's fantasy helpers this year came at home, so he's got that going for him. Working against him: his 4-35 in the earlier meeting with Baltimore, a Ravens defense that's allowed only one TE TD on the season, and a plethora of targets for Ben Roethlisberger to spread the ball around to.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shaun Suisham, PIT BAL 3322 ****
The Ravens haven't allowed a double-digit scoring game to a kicker since Week 1, so there's a ceiling on Suisham's fantasy prospects this week.

New York Giants
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 DAL 17-24 10 @CIN -----
2 TB 41-34 11 BYE -----
3 @CAR 36-7 12 GB -----
4 @PHI 17-19 13 @WAS -----
5 CLE 41-27 14 NO -----
6 @SF 26-3 15 @ATL -----
7 WAS 27-23 16 @BAL -----
8 @DAL 29-24 17 PHI -----
9 PIT ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NYG vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 240,2
RB Peyton Hillis 20
RB Rashad Jennings 70,1 6-40
WR Victor Cruz 6-80,1
WR Kevin Ogletree
WR Rueben Randle 2-20

Pregame Notes: Nothing is better than living right and getting the breaks. The Giants should have lost in Dallas but were saved solely because Dez Bryant's fingers are about an inch too long. That win places the Giants two and a half games up in the NFC East with a week 11 bye looming. A 2-2 start to the season has long been forgotten by now and with a late bye to rest and heal up, the G-Men should be making another playoff run.

Eli Manning's been as good as the Giants need him to be. He turned in a season worst 192 yards in Dallas with no scores for the first time this year but it was a surreal game that opened with plenty of Dallas turnovers. Manning's thrown for high yardage in most games and gets scoring help from the running backs as well. In most weeks he is safely above 250 pass yards and already has the 510 yard game as tops in the NFL this year.

Ahmad Bradshaw fell off from his three game scoring streak but only because Andre Brown was allowed to take the short scoring run. Bradshaw looks healthy again with 22 carries last week while Brown is down to a season low of three runs. But last week Bradshaw was not used as a receiver and that wasn't the first time this year. Bradshaw is hard to call from week to week but some of that stems from how much his foot bothers him. The Giants always score a rushing touchdown at home. The question is who gets the call.

Martellus Bennett is a cog in the passing machine but it is not a major role by any means. He can still have the odd good showing like the 79 yards against the Skins but last week only posted 29 yards on four receptions playing back in his old home stadium in Dallas. He's too risky for relying on for more than mediocre yardage.

The Cowboys shut down Victor Cruz but they were the first team to do that in over a month. Cruz scored six times over the previous four games and remains the top receiver in New York by a large margin. Hakeem Nicks has been back for three games and yet not produced more than 53 yards so far. Aside from his one good game versus the Buccaneers, he's been a complete flop or out injured every week.

The Giants face a defense that is hurt with injured players but still have been playing well in most games. The venue is what helps the most this week. That and Manning doing whatever is needed to secure a win.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 16 7 5 17 1 3
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 4 5 9 16 9 4

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Eli Manning, NYG IND 0000026020 ***
The shutout in Philly is looking more and more like the exception rather than the rule after Eli and the Giants hopped back in the saddle with 248 and 3 in Dallas in Week 7. Considering the once-vaunted Indy D just gave up 522 and six to Ben Roethlisberger, it wouldn't be out of line to expect Eli to come up with half those numbers this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Williams, NYG IND 600000000 ***
Doesn't look like Rashad Jennings will be back so it's still Andre's show. Unfortunately Andre hasn't been particularly impressive with additional carries; after scoring the first two times his workload ticked into double digits he's laid a pair of road eggs at a shade over three yards per carry. At least he's back home this week, but keep your expectations low against a Colts defense that has shut out Giovani Bernard and Le'Veon Bell in back-to-back weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, NYG IND 006801000 **
Randle remains the most targeted Giants receiver, and while Indy's overall passing game stats are impressive they did just allow 5-83-2 to similarly sized Martavis Bryant last week so Randle's at least worth a look-see here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Odell Beckham, NYG IND 004500000 ***
Beckham has three TDs in as many games since making his NFL debut. With an extra week to acclimate to the offense--and give Ben McAdoo an opportunity to figure out how to take advantage of his skills--there's no reason to think his role reduces. It's not a favorable matchup on paper, but the Steelers showed last week Indy's secondary isn't infallible so Beckham remains in play fantasy-wise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Larry Donnell, NYG IND 007801000 ***
Indy's allowed five TE TDs and five games of 70-plus yards to the position already this year; so long as Daniel Fells doesn't keep swiping Larry's scores he's a solid bordering on spectacular fantasy play.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG IND 2222 ***
Brown has been in double digits the past two home games, but an Indy D that hasn't allowed a kicker to top 10 points since Week 2 likely holds him in check this week.

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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