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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

Prediction: BAL 20, SD 13 (Line: PICK)

Players Updated: Ed Dickson

Players to Watch: Ryan Mathews, Joe Flacco

The 8-2 Ravens are only 3-2 on the road with a three game winning streak and head to San Diego where the 4-6 Chargers are only 2-2 at home and on a two game losing streak. The Ravens lost 14-34 in San Diego last year.

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 13-10
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 @ SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 230,1
WR Steve Smith 6-90,1
WR Torrey Smith 5-70,1
TE Owen Daniels 5-60,1
PK Justin Tucker 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The most remarkable aspect of the Ravens is how did they lose to the Eagles? They are now two games up on the Steelers and will play them again next week in Baltimore where the AFC North division can realistically be assured to stay in Baltimore. The ending schedule has only games against the Broncos and Giants to worry about otherwise and both of those will be at home.

Ed Reed was able to get his one-game suspension overturned and replaced by a $50,000 fine. With Lewis out, Reed's presence means even more to the defense.

For being in an offense that was supposed to let Flacco loose this year, it's all played out like a dog tied to your front porch that you eventually set free and he just lays down on the porch and stays. if anything, Flacco has been worse in recent weeks and aside from the home game against the Raiders, he only threw four scores in the other six most recent games. Flacco has never thrown for more than one touchdown in a road game or posted more yardage than the 232 yards he had in Philly in their loss there.

Ray Rice comes off a predictably bad game in Pittsburgh but he's been disappointing this season considering the expectations he had last summer. Rice scored seven times this year but only topped 100 rush yards twice. He's been stuck at right around 100 total yards in most games. Bernard Pierce does spell him five to ten times each week which doesn't help his stats.

Dennis Pitta suffered a mild concussion in the Steelers tilt but is expected to be fine this week. His symptoms cleared up at the game last week. He's been consistent at around 30 yards in most games but scored just once in the last seven weeks.

Torrey Smith is the leading scorer for receivers with seven touchdowns but his yardage has really waned with the lower passing efforts of Flacco. Smith has not topped 70 yards in any game since week four and failed to reach even 50 yards in four different matchups. He's still easily the preferred scoring target for Flacco who relies on Anquan Boldin for a handful of possession catches in most weeks.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 18 11 21 17 7 4
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 16 17 20 5 1 29

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL @PIT 0000024021 ****
In 15 career meetings with the Steelers Flacco has thrown multiple touchdowns exactly thrice--just once in the past six games, his 166 and 2 in the home meeting earlier this year. His average outing in Pittsburgh? 195 yards, one TD. He has just one total TD in two road games against AFC North foes this year, so even though he has three multiple TD outings in the past five games (two at home, one against the hapless Bucs) don't expect big things here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @PIT 6014200000 ****
Forsett had a junior share of the workload in the earlier meeting, yet he still produced 72 yards from scrimmage on a dozen touches. He's the lead dog now, against a Steelers D that's allowed six RB TDs, three 75-yard rushers and a 50-yard receiver in just the past three games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL @PIT 2002200000 ****
Bernard Pierce carried 22 times for 96 yards in the earlier meeting with Pittsburgh. Taliaferro has taken Pierce's gig, and while 22-96 seems aggressive as the Ravens' goal line guy he should at least be able to capitalize on a Steelers D that's allowed six RB TDs in just the past three games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL @PIT 006801000 ***
Smith is the Ravens' WR1 but he's no fantasy lock this week. He tallied 6-71 on 10 targets in the earlier meeting with Pittsburgh and is coming off a rough 3-35 on nine targets against Cincy last week. The upside is that the Steelers allowed multiple WRs to score and top 100 yards last week, but this one isn't likely to be the 85 point shootout that was so dial back expectations accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL @PIT 003400000 ***
Torrey had one catch in the earlier meeting with Pittsburgh and was shut out in Cincy last week. He can take solace in the fact that the Steelers allowed multiple WRs to score and top 100 yards last week, but this won't be a shootout like that game turned into so keep your expectations in check.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL @PIT 005301000 ****
You may remember Daniels from his two-TD outing against the Steelers in the earlier meeting. He was the TE2 that game, as Dennis Pitta was still healthy; now Daniels is working his way back from an injury of his own so he's no lock to take the field this week. It's a favorable matchup against a Pittsburgh D that's allowed three more TE TDs since Daniels pulled his double, so if Owen is healthy enough to go he deserves a fantasy look-see.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @PIT 1133 ***
Remember when Heinz Field used to be a nightmare for opposing kickers? This season every visiting kicker has tallied at least nine points in Pittsburgh. Tucker has multiple treys in four straight and six of seven; a visit to the confluence of the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers shouldn't be a deterrent.

San Diego Chargers
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @OAK 22-14 10 @TB 24-34
2 TEN 38-10 11 @DEN 23-30
3 ATL 3-27 12 BAL -----
4 @KC 37-20 13 CIN -----
5 @NO 24-31 14 @PIT -----
6 DEN 24-35 15 CAR -----
7 BYE ----- 16 @NYJ -----
8 @CLE 6-7 17 OAK -----
9 KC 31-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SD vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers 260,1
RB Donald Brown 40 1-10
RB Ronnie Brown 10 6-40
RB Ryan Mathews 70 3-20
RB Danny Woodhead 10 3-20
WR Malcom Floyd 4-60
TE Antonio Gates 5-50
PK Nick Novak 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: It is bad enough to know that the Chargers are 4-6. It is even worse to realize that was opening season wins over the Raiders and Titans, and then two wins over the Chiefs to break up the six losses. The only remaining game that should safely be a win is the home stand against the Raiders in the season finale'. The only time the Chargers have faced a really good defense like the Ravens was when they lost by 24 points to the visiting Falcons.

The bad mojo has set in on the Chargers and all concerned expect a coaching upheaval in the offseason. Philip Rivers has been able to maintain at least moderate fantasy value with six of the last seven games containing two or three touchdowns but again - those were facing mostly weak defenses. And Rivers has become a turnover machine. He threw 17 touchdowns so far. He also has tossed 14 interceptions and lost four fumbles and was sacked 26 times. He's getting beaten up and losing the ball with regularity.

Ryan Mathews has to be part of any retrospective of the 2012 season for the Chargers. He was destined to become a true workhorse according to Norv Turner this summer. Turner gained 1091 rush yards and 455 yards on 50 catches last year. This season he is getting benched for fumbling, mixed in with Ronnie Brown and even Jackie Battle and last week was held out of the first two series because, according to Turner, he had missed two practices because of his neck. Apparently only in San Diego do practices equate to availability for specific offensive series. Mathews has been held to less than 18 carries in each of the last three games but has seen some uptick in receptions.

In the 2011 meeting with the Ravens, Mathews rushed for 90 yards and two scores on 26 carries and caught two passes for 19 yards.

Antonio Gates comes off his worst game of the year with only 17 yards in Denver... no wait,,, he had just 14 yards in Cleveland... 19 yards in New Orleans... Gates has the look of a player who has already taken the final turn. He's topped 60 yards only once this year and scores only against the weakest of opposing secondaries. He is just another tight end now.

Vincent Brown remains out and Malcom Floyd has spent the year miscast as the primary receiver but at least these last two weeks have discovered Danario Alexander to be healthy and productive. In Tampa Bay, he turned five catches into 134 yards and a score. In Denver last Sunday, he gathered seven receptions for 96 yards and two more scores. In this offense, that's astronomic and the only positive development this year.

The visiting Ravens are solid against the pass and weaker against the run. Mathews already had success against them last year but there is little confidence that he will be used correctly this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 19 6 30 11 18 6
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 8 20 16 15 26 4

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Philip Rivers, SD @MIA 0000025020 ****
Rivers has multiple TD tosses in seven straight, not just the "last couple" that busted against Miami's D this week. Plenty of Rivers to like here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Branden Oliver, SD @MIA 6014401000 ***
Oliver's carries and yards have gone south the past couple of weeks as their opposition toughened. Miami's closer to that end of the spectrum, though don't be surprised if Oliver can recoup some of his value as a receiver against a Dolphins D that has given up three RB receiving scores and a couple of 60-yard receiving games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keenan Allen, SD @MIA 005700000 ****
Allen has shown signs of exiting his sophomore slump; at minimum he remains heavily targeted, a good thing here as four of the past five WRs who have seen 10 targets in a game against the Dolphins have found the end zone.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD @MIA 004500000 ***
Floyd is a consistently targeted second fiddle; over the past few games that's been enough to land him in the nd zone a couple times, but only once all season have the Dolphins allowed multiple receivers to score in the same game so this week Floyd's more of an afterthought.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD @MIA 005601000 ****
Gates has scored in four straight, and while the Dolphins aren't quite that fantasy-friendly to the position they have allowed four TE TDs on the year so no need to run scared.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, SD @MIA 2133 ****
The Bolts consistently give Novak opportunities for PATs, but field goals have been tougher to come by of late. This is still a good offense and Novak a quality kicker, but he's merely an okay fantasy option here.

WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

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