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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

Prediction: PIT 6, BAL 20 (LINE: BAL by 3)

Players Updated: Ben Roethlisberger

Players to Watch: Johnathan Dwyer, Ray Rice

This is a replay of week 11 when the Ravens won 13-10 in Pittsburgh. You can be sure that no matter what, there are not going to be many points in this game. The Ravens have won the last three meetings. The Ravens already have a three game lead on the Steelers in the AFC North and are on a four game winning streak. The Steelers have lost their last two and are likely without Ben Roethlisberger again.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DEN 19-31 10 KC 16-13
2 NYJ 27-10 11 BAL 10-13
3 @OAK 31-34 12 @CLE 14-20
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 @ BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger
WR Antonio Brown 4-50
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 4-50
WR Lance Moore 5-80
TE Heath Miller 5-50
TE Matt Spaeth 2-20
PK Shaun Suisham 2 FG

Pregame Notes: The loss of Big Ben really took the wind out of the offensive sails. The last three weeks have seen the Steelers never score more than 16 points and that included hosting the Chiefs. While some reports have Roethlisberger at "50/50", others speculate that there is no way the he will play this week and that he would be so limited and playing in such pain that he would be of little use and only open himself for further injury.

That's a problem this week since they'll face the Ravens in Baltimore with nothing more than Charlie Batch who threw three interceptions last week in Cleveland. Ends up that keeping Batch around for ten years as a third stringer maybe wasn't as prudent as it seemed just because he knows the playbook. His 199 yards last week severely degrades all the fantasy value on the team.

Jonathan Dwyer has been promoted to the top of the depth chart which means absolutely nothing on this offense that uses a committee backfield, rarely runs and doesn't do it that well when it tries. Dwyer only gained 19 yards on nine carries in Cleveland. He gained 55 yards on 12 runs against the Ravens in week 11. Rashard Mendenhall has apparently been demoted and Isaac Redman is rarely used anyway. This group only matters when at home against a really bad defense and two of the three are out injured. As a group they only rushed in four touchdowns all year.

To further compound the offensive problems, Mike Wallace is now only the co-split end along with Emmanuel Sanders. Wallace has rubbed the coaching staff the wrong way with less than stellar efforts in recent games. He only managed one catch for nine yards last week and since Big Ben left has yet to gain more than 24 yards in any game. Antonio Brown is expected back this week.

Playing in Baltimore is tough enough but the passing effort has fallen apart since Big Ben left and that drags down the rushing production as well. If any of these players manage more than moderate fantasy points this week it will be a miracle. Troy Polamalu may return this week which will at least help the defense.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 15 19 20 7 13 29
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 8 19 12 9 28 4

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT TB 0000024020 ***
While Big Ben's numbers haven't been overly fantasy friendly thus far, he should enjoy this matchup with a Bucs D that has held only Austin Davis in check thus far this season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT TB 9014300000 ***
Bell has topped 100 combo yards in all three games and should extend that run against an undermanned Tampa Bay defense that hasn't seen a back of his caliber yet this year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeGarrette Blount, PIT TB 201000000 **
Unlikely that Blount is able to churn out another 100-yard game like he did last week against Carolina. However, after seeing two different Falcons backs score on the Bucs last week it wouldn't be at all surprising if he was able to find the end zone while carrying out his goal line and change-of-pace duties.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Brown, PIT TB 0071001000 ****
The Bucs couldn't stop Kelvin Benjamin or Julio Jones; unlikely they'll find a way to keep Brown from his appointed rounds.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Brown, PIT TB 002301000 ***
Brown remains a bit player in this offense, with no compelling trends or evidence to suggest he warrants consideration over the Steelers' passing game mainstays.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Markus Wheaton, PIT TB 005600000 ***
It's not an overly compelling matchup for secondary receivers, though Wheaton is seeing more targets than other WR2s the Bucs have faced so he may be able to turn those looks into production.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Heath Miller, PIT TB 004400000 ***
If you're into 50 yards, Miller's your guy. If you want more from your fantasy tight end, best look elsewhere.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shaun Suisham, PIT TB 1144 ****
Multiple field goals in every game this season make Suisham a fantasy regular; doesn't hurt that the Bucs just gave up 56 points, either.

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 16-13
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 vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 200,1
RB Justin Forsett 20
WR Steve Smith 4-70,1
WR Torrey Smith 3-40
TE Owen Daniels 4-60,1
TE Dennis Pitta 1-20
PK Justin Tucker 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: At 9-2 the Ravens currently have the #2 seed and a one game lead over the Patriots and Broncos. The remaining schedule is no cake walk but the toughest games all come at home so it is not unthinkable that they could run the table. Ray Lewis is also being talked up as potentially returning before the season ends. The offense is still little more than Ray Rice and the Ravens barely scratched out the last two wins by a field goal each. This is a good time to host the Steelers.

Not a great sign that not only has Joe Flacco struggled to throw for more than one score or over 200 yards in most games, but his worst game of the year was two weeks ago when he only passed for 164 yards and no scores in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have not allowed more than one passing score in the last seven games. At least this one goes off at home but Flacco is not going to change any trends this week.

Ray Rice only accounted for 40 yards on 20 runs in Pittsburgh but added dive catches for 53 yards. Last week in San Diego, he ran for 97 yards and added eight receptions for 67 yards as well. Bernard Pierce offers relief work but never enough for any fantasy consideration. Rice should see more carries and more success in this home version of the matchup, especially with the Steelers offense struggling.

In the previous meeting with the Steelers, the only receiver with any appreciable stats was Anquan Boldin's eight catches for 79 yards which was roughly double his normal weekly production. Torrey Smith was blanketed and only managed one catch for seven yards that week. He's been very productive in recent weeks except for this matchup.

The Steelers play very well at home but less so on the road. They have allowed six rushing touchdowns away from home along with better yardage. The passing defense remains stout - ranked #1 against quarterbacks and wide receivers. This should be the fourth straight win by the Ravens over the Steelers but once again - it's not going to contain many points.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 18 11 14 18 5 5
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 1 4 1 10 13 16

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL CAR 0000024011 ***
It took 62 attempts for Flacco to approach fantasy relevancy in Week 1; he hasn't returned to either that number of throws or a significant fantasy contribution since. While Carolina has given up two TD tosses a couple times already--matching last season's total--they have yet to surrender a 20-fantasy point game to a quarterback. And after giving up multiple 100-yard rushers last week you'd think the Baltimore game plan would be run-heavy as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL CAR 5011000000 ***
Update: Pierce is listed as probable this week, but what if any role he returns to in the crowded Baltimore backfield remains to be seen.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL CAR 401000000 ***
On the heels of an 18-91-1 coming out party in Cleveland Taliaferro gets to face a Panthers defense that just got shredded for a matching set of 100-yard games by two Steelers RBs. Expect the fun to continue for the rookie.
Update: Bernard Pierce is expected back, but Gary Kubiak has always been a "hot hand" kind of guy and none of the Baltimore backs is hotter than Taliaferro. Even if Pierce gets the start, expect Taliaferro to remain in the mix--at minimum in goal-line work.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL CAR 5004200000 **
While Forsett is ceding touches to rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro he still has fantasy value as a change-of-pace guy; the Panthers have allowed two RB receiving scores already this season and served up 6-61 receiving to Joique Bell. Doesn't hurt that he'll likely get 10 carries as well, or that he's averaging better than six yards a tote.
Update: Whether it's Bernard Pierce or Taliaferro as the feature back, expect Forsett to maintain his change-of-pace duties. In this matchup, that's good enough to be a fantasy helper.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL CAR 0071001000 ****
How can you not like Smith in a revenge game against the club that told him he couldn't play anymore? The Panthers haven't allowed a wideout to top 90 yards against them, but between the volume of targets Smith is seeing and the revenge multiplier there's significant fantasy upside here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL CAR 002300000 ***
Torrey has taken a back seat to Steve in the Panthers' passing game pecking order, and that's unlikely to change with Steve facing his former club and looking to dish out a measure of revenge.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jacoby Jones, BAL CAR 002200000 ***
Secondary receivers have found little success against the Panthers; no reason to think Jones bucks that trend on Steve Smith Revenge Day.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL CAR 004300000 ***
With Dennis Pitta out for the season expect Daniels to take over his familiar role in Gary Kubiak's offense. Unfortunately, he'll open with a stout matchup against a Panthers D that has yet to allow a TE TD on the year.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL CAR 2233 ***
Tucker's had multiple field goal attempts in each game this year and has posted back-to-back double-digit points. He's a solid fantasy option again this week.

WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

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