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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: 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 @CAR 0000023012 ***
Carolina hasn't allowed as much as a 20-point fantasy game to a visiting quarterback since Russell Wilson barely reached that mark with 320 and 1 in Week 1 of last season. They've held both Josh McCown and Matthew Stafford under that benchmark this season, and with one TD toss to his credit this year it's unlikely Big Ben cracks that mark as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT @CAR 5006500000 ***
The bad news is, Carolina hasn't allowed a RB rushing score or a back to rush for more than 54 yards this season. The good news is, Bell is contributing as a receiver as well and the Panthers have allowed a RB receiving score in each game this year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Brown, PIT @CAR 006800000 ***
Even the mighty Megatron could muster only 83 yards without a score against the Panthers secondary, so despite Browns' hot start temper your expectations.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Markus Wheaton, PIT @CAR 005400000 ***
Wheaton followed up his solid Week 1 showing with a down Week 2. The difficult matchup dictates Week 3 to be more like the latter than the former, which is bad fantasy news.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Lance Moore, PIT @CAR 002200000 ***
This offense usually feeds just two receivers, and against Carolina it will be lucky to provide one fantasy helper. Moore is too far down the depth chart to be banked on for production here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Heath Miller, PIT @CAR 004300000 ***
Heath has yet to produce a fantasy helper this season, and the stout Carolina defense isn't likely to change that fate.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shaun Suisham, PIT @CAR 2211 ***
The usually reliable Suisham faces a Carolina defense that has yet to allow a field goal this season. On the bright side, this is bound to be a low-scoring affair which tends to mean fewer TDs and more field goals.

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 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 HOU 0000026012 ***
Sad to say, but Eli's 277 and two against the Cardinals last week feels like his ceiling for the season. A date with a Houston defense that's given up just one passing score in two games and an average of 265 yards certainly isn't favorable.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rashad Jennings, NYG HOU 6014500000 ***
Jennings has 205 combo yards in two games and is easily the best thing going for the Giants' offense. Houston has allowed the likes of Darren McFadden and Darrel Young to find the end zone while giving up better than six yards per touch to opposing backs, clearing the way for another solid fantasy showing for Jennings.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Victor Cruz, NYG HOU 005701000 **
Well, the Giants heard Cruz's plea for more looks and doubled Victor's targets. But it's still not the offense that made Cruz... well, Cruz. The good news is, receivers targeted double-digit times against the Texans have been productive--combining for 19-189-1. So at least there's a chance here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, NYG HOU 004500000 ***
Randle is too inconsistently targeted and the Giants' offense too moribund for him to be trusted with a fantasy start.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Larry Donnell, NYG HOU 007700000 ***
Shockingly, Donnell has been the most consistent contributor in the Giants' passing game with 12-137-1 in two games. As tight ends go, you could do worse for fantasy help.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG HOU 1122 ***
Tacking on points for an offense that's averaging 14 points per game is not exactly fantasy fodder.

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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