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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
QB Michael Vick 40 270,2
RB DeAngelo Williams 20
WR Antonio Brown 5-70
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 3-50
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 @CLE 0000030020 ***
Since an Abe Lincoln (four scores) back in 2007, Big Ben has as many goose eggs (two) in Cleveland as he has multiple touchdown games. He's also never had a 300-yard performance in Cleveland. After last week's crushing disappointment in Baltimore Roethlisberger has now gone more than a calendar year--eight games, dating back to Week 14 of last season--since throwing multiple touchdowns on the road. Don't let Big Ben disappoint you again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeAngelo Williams, PIT @CLE 8013200000 ***
Williams' only dog since taking over for the injured Le'Veon Bell was a 54-yard bummer against the Browns in Week 10. He's scored in five of the other six games and rushed for 100 yards in three of the six. Can he be trusted here? The Browns D has been better of late: only one RB rushing score in the past eight games, no 100-yard rushers or 30-yard receiving backs in the past seven. This isn't the layup you were hoping for.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Brown, PIT @CLE 0091101000 ***
Death, taxes, and Brown tearing up the Browns. He's topped 100 yards in three straight against Cleveland and scored double-digit points in PPR leagues in eight straight meetings--all the way back to his very first game against the Browns, when he was held to 4-52. Cleveland's injury-riddled secondary has allowed 11 WR TDs and four 100-yard efforts in the past six games; Brown is a solid candidate to boost both of those numbers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Martavis Bryant, PIT @CLE 004601000 *
Bryant ravaged the Browns for 178 yards and a touchdown in the earlier meeting. He's playing second fiddle to Antonio Brown--and sharing those duties to some extent with Markus Wheaton--but he's still a solid fantasy bet against a Cleveland secondary that's allowed 11 WR TDs in the past six games.

Update: Bryant did not practice Wednesday or Thursday due to illness, but he returned for a full session on Friday. He's listed as questionable, but all signs point towards business as usual for him.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Markus Wheaton, PIT @CLE 004500000 ***
There wasn't much left over after Bryant and Brown accounted for 317 yards and three TDs in the earlier meeting, and given Ben Roethlisberger's road success--or lack thereof--the pie will be significantly smaller here. That said, Wheaton's role as the Steelers' third receiver has produced fantasy helpers in four of five since the bye and this matchup is certainly not to be feared.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Heath Miller, PIT @CLE 003300000 ***
Since Miller's 4-40 in the Week 10 meeting the Browns have given up one TE TD, and no tight end has hit the 50 yard mark. Miller hasn't scored against the Browns since January of 2011; no reason to think that slump ends here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chris Boswell, PIT @CLE 1133 ***
Streak of six straight
with double-digit points snapped;
start new streak 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 Rashad Jennings 70,1 6-40
WR Victor Cruz 6-80,1
WR Hakeem Nicks 4-50

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 PHI 0000028030 ***
Eli threw for just 189 and 1 in Philly earlier this year, but he's averaging 317 and almost three TDs per game the last six times the Eagles have come to Gotham. And after watching Philly give up 3 TDs to Tom Brady, 4 to Kirk Cousins, and 5 each to Jameis Winston and Matthew Stafford--in just the past six weeks--you have to like Eli's chances here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rashad Jennings, NYG PHI 6002200000 ***
Now that Jennings has consolidated the Giants' backfield touches--he has at least 16 touches in each of the last three games, producing triple-digit yards from scrimmage in each--he's perfectly situated to take advantage of the Eagles. Philly has allowed at least one RB TD in six straight games and 120 or more RB combo yards in eight straight since Jennings averaged better than five yards per touch on 16 touches against the Eagles back in Week 6. With more usage that's a baseline here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Odell Beckham, NYG PHI 0071202000 ***
Josh Norman ended OBJ's run of five straight with triple-digit yardage but only a suspension could stop the scoring. Back with a vengeance and facing a Philly D that's allowed at least one WR TD in eight straight games--15 total TDs over that span--look for an upgrade over his earlier 7-61-1 against the Eagles.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Will Tye, NYG PHI 004400000 ***
Since giving up 5-51 to the combo entry of Tye and Larry Donnell back in Week 6 the Eagles have surrendered four TE TDs and six games of 40-plus, while Tye has two TDs and four games of 40-plus yards as the Giants' lone healthy tight end. It's enough to make him a viable fantasy option this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG PHI 2233 ***
Expect lots of points
in game that has no meaning;
Brown should get his, too

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

a d v e r t i s e m e n t