FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 11
2012
MIA at BUF (THU) *CLE at DAL *NO at OAK TB at CAR
*ARI at ATL GB at DET NYJ at STL *CHI at SF (MON)
*BAL at PIT *IND at NE PHI at WAS Bye:
*UPDATED CIN at KC JAC at HOU *SD at DEN MIN, NYG, SEA, TEN

Prediction: BAL 17, PIT 16 (Line: PIT by 3.5)

Players Updated: Rashard Mendenhall, Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman

Players to Watch: Ray Rice, Byron Leftwich

This was to be the battle for the AFC North. The 7-2 Ravens are on a two game winning streak and have a one game lead on the Steelers that could be whittled away with a win here. But the 6-3 Steelers are on a four game winning streak and just lost their franchise quarterback when Ben Roethlisberger was injured in the Monday night game against the Chiefs. That should prove significant to this week.

The Ravens swept the Steelers last year, winning 35-7 in Baltimore and later 23-20 in Pittsburgh..

Baltimore Ravens
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN 44-13 10 OAK 55-20
2 @PHI 23-24 11 @PIT -----
3 NE 31-30 12 @SD -----
4 CLE 23-16 13 PIT -----
5 @KC 9-6 14 @WAS -----
6 DAL 31-29 15 DEN -----
7 @HOU 13-43 16 NYG -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @CIN -----
9 @CLE 25-15 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL @ PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 10 190,1
RB Justin Forsett 20 2-10
WR Steve Smith 6-100,1
WR Torrey Smith 4-50,1
TE Owen Daniels 5-60,1
TE Dennis Pitta 4-40
PK Justin Tucker 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens remaining schedule just got a whole lot easier looking. With Ben Roethlisberger out this week and potentially more, playing the Steelers twice in three weeks could not have possibly come at a better time. The rest of the schedule is no cakewalk with DEN, NYG and @CIN ending the regular season but the only real competitor in the AFC North is the Steelers anyway.

Joe Flacco comes off his best game of the year when he passed for 341 yards and three scores on the Raiders and he added a rushing touchdown. That was his first effort over 240 yards in five weeks and the first multiple touchdown production in the last six weeks. When at home against a really weak secondary, Flacco really shines. All others - not so much. He's been stuck at sub-200 yard outings in his last three road trips and now faces the #2 defense against quarterbacks.

Ray Rice salvaged some fantasy value with a touchdown last week but only ran 13 times for 35 yards in a game the Ravens won by 35 points. In Houston in week seven he only was allowed nine runs for 42 yards. The Ravens use of Rice has been a surprise this year given his wild success last year and he's still gaining 4.6 yards per carry now. Rice has to be bitter about getting just 13 carries against a Raiders team that yielded 251 yards to Doug Martin the previous week.

Dennis Pitta popped up again in the Oakland game when he scored on his five catches for 67 yards but he was on a five week string of games that never produced more than 33 yards. It was just one decent game and he only scores when at home anyway.

Torrey Smith's not tearing up opponents like he did last year since he only has the one effort against the Patriots when he topped 100 yards but to his credit he has become the preferred scoring target for Flacco. Smith already scored seven times this year and three in just the last two games. His yardage remains low with nothing over 70 yards since week four but he's recorded a score in five of the last seven games. Anquan Boldin produces like a tight end and not even a very good one. He's been held to fewer than 60 yards since week six and has minimal fantasy value.

This game seems destined for a low score and moderate stats at best for the Ravens players who all face top three defenses against their position.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 17 11 18 14 8 6
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 2 3 2 12 12 10

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL SD 0000025020 ***
The only QB who failed to throw for at least 280 yards and multiple touchdowns when the Chargers came to town lost his starting job a couple months ago (EJ Manuel). The rest average a robust 295 and 3. Since Flacco seems to be better at home as well, you have to like his chances of being a fantasy helper this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL SD 9012100000 ***
Forset has back-to-back 100-yard efforts, each with two TDs. Now he gets to host a Chargers D that's allowed at least 130 RB yards from scrimmage in every road game. You have to like Forsett's chances of making it three straight biggies.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL SD 200000000 *****
The utterly ordinary Pierce has apparently leapfrogged Lorenzo Taliaferro for between the tackles duty. It's been 10 weeks since Pierce produced more than 32 rushing yards, so unless you're banking on him getting some goal line love he has no place in any self-respecting fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL SD 005901000 ***
Last week was the first time since Week 6 both Smiths produced fantasy helpers. Expect lightning to strike again as the Chargers have allowed nine different wideouts to score and/or top 100 yards in five road games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL SD 005801000 ***
The Chargers have allowed nine different wideouts to score and/or top 100 yards in five road games; it's tough to see them slowing Smith from his appointed rounds in Baltimore this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL SD 002200000 ***
Daniels' targets have dipped dramatically over the past month; no reason to think he'll suddenly regain fantasy import here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL SD 1144 ***
Tucker's a solid option with just a couple fantasy dogs this season; he's a decent fantasy option with definite upside as well.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DEN 19-31 10 KC 16-13
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 24-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 3-40
WR Lance Moore 5-70
TE Heath Miller 4-50
PK Shaun Suisham 3 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The injury to Ben Roethlisberger could mean everything to the Steelers fortunes. He was said to have separated his shoulder, then just sprained his shoulder but it was enough to prompt the Steelers to bring him to the hospital that night. Some sources say that Big Ben has just a sprain and will merely be questionable for this week. Others speculate the injury is more significant and that his throwing shoulder will prevent him form playing for at least a few weeks. With the two meetings with the Ravens coming in the next three weeks this could not be timed worse.

Obviously he'll be tracked all week because the Steelers need him. HC Mike Tomlin says that it is a sternoclavicular sprain which is when the collarbone popped in front/behind sternum. It almost has to keep him out at least this week and could linger. It is the same injury that ended Brett Favre's 297 consecutive starts.

Antonio Brown remains questionable this week because of his ankle sprain and Rashard Mendenhall will also be questionable because of his strained Achilles.

Byron Leftwich is expected to take the start and that makes no one happy. Leftwich only completed seven of 14 passes for 73 yards versus the Chiefs and is a major step down from Big Ben.

The Steelers go with the hot hand at running back and there should be much more focus on the rushing effort if Big Ben is out since the Ravens are weaker versus the run than the pass. Isaac Redman gained 147 yards and a touchdown in week nine but Jonathan Dwyer proved better in the rain and was given 19 carries for 56 yards last Monday night while Redman was limited to eight runs and 21 yards. At best these runners just diminish each other and only producing 77 combined rushing yards against the Chiefs was a very disappointing surprise. It was the first time in four games that one of the two did not rack up over 100 rushing yards.

The rainy weather was not conducive to passing last week but Leftwich was unable to generate anything promising as a passer. That has to downgrade both Mike Wallace and Heath Miller.

This game needs to be a defensive battle because neither offense is likely to do much.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 14 15 14 7 6 31
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 9 21 22 18 28 8

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT NO 0000030020 ***
Big Ben has come back to the pack after his two six-TD outings, with just one scoring strike in each of the past two. He's a good-not-great bet to get back in the multiple scoring strike swing against the Saints.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT NO 12013200000 ****
The past two games have seen fellow AFC North backs Jeremy Hill (152) and Justin Forsett (182) gouge the Saints; earlier in the year the Browns' rookie combo platter pounded them for 122. So Bell is an excellent bet to follow up last week's 204 with another healthy fantasy showing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Brown, PIT NO 0091101000 ***
Brown's a lock against a Saints D that's allowed 89 & 1 to three straight WR1s and TDs or 100 yards or both to six of seven WR1s and nine WRs overall in that span.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Martavis Bryant, PIT NO 005701000 **
There's likely enough left over for Bryant to be fantasy relevant this week, though he's not quite as reliable an option as Antonio Brown.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Markus Wheaton, PIT NO 004500000 ***
Wheaton is the third option in Pittsburgh's passing game, not nearly reliable enough to be trusted with a fantasy start at this juncture of the season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Heath Miller, PIT NO 003400000 ****
Only two tight ends have found the end zone against the Saints, and only one has topped 50 yards. That makes this an uphill fight for fantasy relevancy for Miller.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shaun Suisham, PIT NO 3333 ***
Suisham hasn't been a particularly consistent fantasy contributor--not surprising when you consider his offense scored 10 and 13 points two weeks on either side of a 51-point outburst. You can likely do better for fantasy purposes.

WEEK 11
2012
MIA at BUF (THU) *CLE at DAL *NO at OAK TB at CAR
*ARI at ATL GB at DET NYJ at STL *CHI at SF (MON)
*BAL at PIT *IND at NE PHI at WAS Bye:
*UPDATED CIN at KC JAC at HOU *SD at DEN MIN, NYG, SEA, TEN

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