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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 @CAR 0000023012 ***
Carolina hasn't allowed as much as a 20-point fantasy game to a visiting quarterback since Russell Wilson barely reached that mark with 320 and 1 in Week 1 of last season. They've held both Josh McCown and Matthew Stafford under that benchmark this season, and with one TD toss to his credit this year it's unlikely Big Ben cracks that mark as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT @CAR 5006500000 ***
The bad news is, Carolina hasn't allowed a RB rushing score or a back to rush for more than 54 yards this season. The good news is, Bell is contributing as a receiver as well and the Panthers have allowed a RB receiving score in each game this year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Brown, PIT @CAR 006800000 ***
Even the mighty Megatron could muster only 83 yards without a score against the Panthers secondary, so despite Browns' hot start temper your expectations.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Markus Wheaton, PIT @CAR 005400000 ***
Wheaton followed up his solid Week 1 showing with a down Week 2. The difficult matchup dictates Week 3 to be more like the latter than the former, which is bad fantasy news.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Lance Moore, PIT @CAR 002200000 ***
This offense usually feeds just two receivers, and against Carolina it will be lucky to provide one fantasy helper. Moore is too far down the depth chart to be banked on for production here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Heath Miller, PIT @CAR 004300000 ***
Heath has yet to produce a fantasy helper this season, and the stout Carolina defense isn't likely to change that fate.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shaun Suisham, PIT @CAR 2211 ***
The usually reliable Suisham faces a Carolina defense that has yet to allow a field goal this season. On the bright side, this is bound to be a low-scoring affair which tends to mean fewer TDs and more field goals.

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 @CLE 10000024021 ***
The Browns haven't been shut-down defensively against the pass, but they haven't exactly been pushovers either. Flacco threw for two TDs the last time they met, but it was his first multiple-passing TD game against them in his last four. That 250 and 2 feels like his ceiling here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL @CLE 701000000 ****
Should be a decent outing for Pierce against a Browns' defense that's giving up better than five yards a carry and has particularly struggled with power backs like Le'Veon Bell and Mark Ingram.
Update: Though officially listed as questionable, Pierce practiced in full on Friday and should be available to take what is becoming his regular role in the Baltimore backfield rotation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @CLE 5004200000 ***
Given that the Browns are allowing 192 combo yards per game to opposing backs, Forsett's share of the Ravens' backfield workload should be worth a little something in fantasy circles this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL @CLE 006600000 ***
Smith is turning "Napoleon Syndrome" and a dozen targets a game into a career rebirth in Baltimore. And while the Browns haven't erased opposing wideouts this year the prospect of Joe Haden draped all over Steve does dampen the fantasy enthusiasm a bit.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL @CLE 004500000 ***
Maybe the Browns tab Steve Smith as Cleveland's top threat and match him with Joe Haden. Maybe that opens up Torrey for more targets, which he could turn into a typical productive matchup against the Browns--he's scored or topped 75 yards in four straight meetings. Of course, until Steve stops hogging more than half the Ravens' WR targets it's all theory and tough to trust in a fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dennis Pitta, BAL @CLE 006701000 ****
The Ravens love to force-feed their tight end, but Pitta is no Jimmy Graham. Then again, it's unlikely the Browns use Joe Haden on Pitta. Call it a wash and look for Pitta to turn his typical heavy target load into another productive fantasy outing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL @CLE 003300000 ***
In PPR leagues Daniels has value, as the TE spillover in Gary Kubiak's offense is running in the 4-5 catches per game range. However, don't get used to the #TBT Kubiak unleashed on us last week with Daniels' pair of TDs; he's still TE2 in Baltimore and should be treated as such.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @CLE 1133 ***
Tucker has had multiple field goal attempts in each game this season, and in every road game dating back to Week 9 of last year. The Browns have a bend-don't-break defense, which should lend itself well to more opportunities for Tucker 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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