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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
RB Trent Richardson 80,1 6-40
WR Steve Smith 6-90,1
WR Mike Wallace 4-70,1
TE Benjamin Watson 4-40
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 Ryan Mallett, BAL @CIN 400540020012 **
Mallett was less horrible than expected last week against the Steelers, but he'll likely live up (down?) to expectations against a Cincy D that's given up just two passing scores in the past five games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Javorius Allen, BAL @CIN 4005400000 ***
Allen was a surprising success last week, finding the end zone and contributing 114 yards from scrimmage against the Steel Curtain. However, a healthy Ravens backfield mustered just 58 combo yards in the earlier meeting with Cincy--plus the Bengals have something to play for and have given up a total of 212 rushing yards in their last four home games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kamar Aiken, BAL @CIN 005601000 **
Aiken is the Ravens' volume guy, but against a Cincy defense that's given up one WR TD in their last four at home, with only one WR topping 65 yards in that span, volume can only take him so far.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Butler, BAL @CIN 003400000 ***
A secondary target against a Bengals defense that's allowed only one WR TD in its last four at home--and has Ryan Mallet throwing the ball in his general direction--is a bad fantasy bet.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, BAL @CIN 002300000 ***
Wallace was blanked in the earlier meeting with Green Bay and is far too inconsistent to be anything more than a wildly tossed fantasy dart.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Benjamin Watson, BAL @CIN 007801000 ***
Watson was a monster in the earlier meeting with Atlanta, racking up 10-127-1. However, the Falcons have only given up one TE TD since their Week 10 bye and only one tight end has topped 55 yards since Watson's outburst so a repeat is hardly guaranteed--especially after Watson's disappointing 1-5 last week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Maxx Williams, BAL @CIN 003200000 ***
Williams has been decent since returning from a concussion, but there's a different between "decent" and "fantasy-relevant"--especially against a Bengals defense that's given up one TE TD all season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @CIN 0011 ***
Two and a half points
less per game without Flacco
Thanks, Schaub and Clausen

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 Danny Woodhead 10 3-20
WR Malcom Floyd 4-60
WR Stevie Johnson 6-80,1
TE Antonio Gates 5-50

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 @DEN 0000024001 ***
Rivers' quest for the passing title takes a hit against the league's top pass defense. The Broncos limited him to 202 yards in the earlier meeting, and he hasn't thrown for 300 yards against Denver since January of 2011. Don't expect much here with the Broncos still playing for playoff positioning.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Danny Woodhead, SD @DEN 1005600000 ***
Game script suggests plenty of throwing, and the Broncos' pass rush suggests plenty of checkdowns to Woodhead. That's the extend of the upside in San Diego's backfield this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Travis Benjamin, SD @DEN 003500000 *
The Steelers have allowed two receivers to score or top 60 yards in three straight so you have to believe there's at least one fantasy helper here. And Benjamin is the best bet among Cleveland's thinning receiving corps.

Update: Benjamin was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday and is listed as questionable due to an ankle injury. You may need to check his status pre-game if you're planning to use him in your Week 17 fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dontrelle Inman, SD @DEN 004400000 ***
Inman proved to be Philip Rivers' go-to guy last week, and the Broncos have been much more lenient of late in giving up five WR TDs over the past three games. But seeing as how Chargers wideouts combined for four catches and 60 yards against Denver just a month ago, expectations should be limited.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Javontee Herndon, SD @DEN 005300000 ***
Herndon's top NFL outing is 5-47, and he's still looking for his first pro TD. Unlikely to come against a top pass defense on a team going nowhere... at least until the offseason.

Update: Herndon is listed as questionable with a chest injury, but after limited practice sessions early in the week he was available for the full session on Friday so he should be good to go this weekend.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD @DEN 003300000 ***
Banged up, facing an elite pass defense, with nothing to play for... tough to get excited about Floyd's fantasy prospects here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD @DEN 006500000 ***
The Broncos haven't given up a TE TD in a month, with Gates' 6-50 the top TE game against them in that span. He's topped five catches and 50 yards each of the past three meetings with Denver, with three TDs in those three games, so there's at least a little upside to him here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Lambo, SD @DEN 1100 ***
Three points in home game
vs. DEN; even altitude
won't be enough help

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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