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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 0000026011 ***
Flacco has now thrown 62 passes in back-to-back season openers, but last year he didn't come within a dozen attempts of that number the rest of the season, and he's had more than 37 attempts against the Steelers just once in 12 career meetings. As a result Flacco has but one 300-yard effort and two multiple touchdown outings against Pittsburgh and it's tough to see Baltimore changing its spots enough for him to be a fantasy factor on Thursday night.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL PIT 6013200000 **
Prior to last week's 84 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown it had been five years since Forsett was fantasy relevant. He'll be battling Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliaferro for touches in Baltimore's backfield, but last week's performance puts him in the lead role for now. Against a Steel Curtain that just served up 175 yards and two TDs to the Terrance West/Isaiah Crowell/Ben Tate combo platter, that's enough to warrant consideration this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL PIT 400000000 **
Pierce fumbled away his opportunity to lock up what now looks to be at least a season-long run as the Ravens' feature back; now he's sharing with Justin Forsett and maybe even rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro, and as the junior partner in the backfield jobshare he's a difficult fantasy start at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL PIT 2001100000 ***
The rookie can't be banked on for a fantasy start just yet, but he has all the traits of the kind of back that emerges from a muddy backfield on a zone-blocking team to become... well, the next Alfred Morris or Arian Foster. If you get potential points he's startable; otherwise he's a bench stash with upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL PIT 003601000 ***
Torrey took a back seat to new teammate Steve Smith last week, but historically against the Steelers he's been at the fore: 40 targets in the past five meetings, including 16 (resulting in 9-154-1) last year as he moved out from under Anquan Boldin's shadow. Expect him to be more involved this week, enough so to at least warrant fantasy consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL PIT 007800000 ***
Smith saw twice as many targets as any other Raven last week and turned one of them into a highlight-reel touchdown catch-and-grab. Going forward you can't expect the looks to be so lopsided, but it's worth noting that the leading target for Cleveland last week was the similar-in-stature (and role) Andrew Hawkins.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dennis Pitta, BAL PIT 005600000 ***
Pitta didn't play in either Steelers game last season and had just one catch in each end of the 2012 season series. But after racking up 33 targets, 20 catches, and 169 yards in a month of action last year--then opening with 10-83 on 15 targets in Week 1 it's clear he's an integral part of this offense. Pittsburgh surrendered 90 yards to a trio of Cleveland tight ends last week; feels like an eminently reachable touchdown for Pitta this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL PIT 1122 ***
Tucker has multiple treys in each of his four career outings against the Steelers; coming off two field goals and three PATs last week he should be in line for another busy evening here.

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 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 SEA 0000020012 ***
The stat bears repeating: only once in the past 17 games has a quarterback facing the Seahawks been worthy of a fantasy start (top 12 fantasy score that week). And in three of their past four games they've faced the upper crust of QBs--Peyton, Rodgers, Brees--and given up an average of just over 14 fantasy points per contest. You wanna throw Rivers up against that wall, you're on your own.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ryan Mathews, SD SEA 4004300000 ***
Mathews remains the kingpin of San Diego's three-headed backfield committee, but with fantasy points at a premium against an elite defense just a share isn't enough to warrant a fantasy start.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Danny Woodhead, SD SEA 2005300000 ***
Woodhead was a fantasy no-show in the season opener, and it's tough to see him getting off the shneid against Seattle here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, SD SEA 003301000 **
In Week 1 the Packers offered up their WR3 as a sacrifice to Richard Sherman. The Chargers won't necessarily do the same, but do you really want to put your fantasy faith in a third receiver against a shutdown D? Really?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keenan Allen, SD SEA 004500000 ***
Allen was shut down by Patrick Peterson last week; now he'll spend at least part of his Sunday battling Richard Sherman. Color us dispositive with regards to his fantasy prospects.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD SEA 003300000 ***
On the bright side, he won't spend the entire day in Richard Sherman's shadow. If that's enough for you to reward him with a fantasy start... well, then you're a braver man than I.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD SEA 007700000 ****
Gates turned back the clock in Week 1 with a game reminiscent of his glory days. He'll have a decent shot at a follow up if for no other reason than he's likely to duck Richard Sherman. If you must back a horse in the San Diego passing game, Gates is probably your guy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Ladarius Green, SD SEA 002300000 ***
Green remains the padawan to Antonio Gates' Jedi; in this matchup with the Death Star of defenses, there isn't enough in the way of fantasy stats to feed two mouths so the junior partner is an even less likely fantasy helper.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, SD SEA 3311 ***
With points hard to come by, you can cross your fingers and hope San Diego gets close enough for some field goals... or look elsewhere for your fantasy kicker this week.

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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