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

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 @HOU 0000031031 ***
No Antonio Brown limits things a little for Big Ben. The matchup is awfully promising, and he has talented playmakers in JuJu Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant, in addition to the always dangerous Le'Veon Bell from the backfield. Houston has provided quarterbacks a touchdown every 12.3 completions (12th) and surrendered a big day to Blake Bortles a week ago.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT @HOU 6015500000 ***
Bell should see the rock aplenty with Antonio Brown out of action. The dual threat will face a Texans defense giving up big gains on the ground but modest numbers in the passing game to RBs. Since Week 10, this group has allowed 110.4 rushing yards, 34.4 receiving yards, and a rushing score every 17.7 carries (4th).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT @HOU 0071202000 ***
The rookie gets to take off the training wheels, if that didn't already happen last year. The Texans have provided wideouts big performances while limiting overall team figures, mostly due to cake matchups. The likes of Larry Fitzgerald, Marquise Goodwin, Keelan Cole and Jaydon Mickens throttled this secondary in the past five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jesse James, PIT @HOU 003300000 ***
We won't even rehash the catch controversy from Week 15. James will see a few more looks with Antonio Brown out, but there shouldn't a great deal of confidence in starting him. Houston provides a wonderful matchup, so brave owners may be able to stomach the risk.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chris Boswell, PIT @HOU 1144 ***
On a per-game rate, the Texans offer the top matchup for extra points and the No. 10 matchup for field goal tries. Together this forms fantasy's seventh-best matchup.

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 Jonathan Stewart 40 3-20

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 @ARI 0000020011 ***
Sans two rushing TDs by quarterbacks, this is the fifth-worst matchup of the week. Quarterbacks have averaged just 193 yards (30th) since Week 10. Manning is coming off of a monster performance that should be viewed as an aberration. One of every 16 passes faced by the Cardinals has gone for a TD, which ranks 22nd.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonathan Stewart, NYG @ARI 5011100000 ***
Stewart's Week 8 meeting with the Bucs wasn't pretty, but he salvaged fantasy worth with a touchdown on his 34-yard day. This week, Tampa Bay could be missing several cogs on defense, and this is the softest matchup for finding the end zone on the ground in the past five weeks of data.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Wayne Gallman, NYG @ARI 4006400000 ***
Gallman has been explosive in his limited work the last two games, logging 4.9 yards per carry on his 20 totes. He also has added 80 receiving yards on 13 grabs. The rook hasn't scored in limited action since Week 4. Arizona boasts the third-best defense of limiting rushing yardage and 10th-strongest at stopping overall yardage gains. The matchup is merely average for everything else.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cody Latimer, NYG @ARI 003400000 ***
It appears Paxton Lynch (ankle) will get the start. It really doesn't matter; gamers need to stay away from Latimer with a title on the line.

Update: It looks like Brock Osweiler will start instead of Lynch.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sterling Shepard, NYG @ARI 004400000 ***
Shepard was nothing short of impressive last weekend and now faces the fourth-best defense of his position. The Cardinals have smothered receivers across the board in the past five weeks, giving up only 108.2 yards (31st) on 10 catches (26th) per game. WRs have scored three times over those five contests.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Roger Lewis, NYG @ARI 003300000 ***
Arizona has dominated receivers and shouldn't have any trouble holding the great Roger Lewis in check.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Evan Engram, NYG @ARI 005601000 ***
Just one of the last 17 catches by tight ends has scored on Arizona, and this matchup is among the five worst in both scoring formats. Engram's projection is optimistic, but he has the track record and athleticism to make something happen.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Aldrick Rosas, NYG @ARI 2211 ***
Arizona is a neutral matchup against the position. One field goal and another extra point attempt missed, while only 40.9 percent of all kicks against the Cards were worth three points.

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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