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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 15
2012
CIN at PHI (THU) *GB at CHI *MIN at STL *SF at NE
CAR at SD IND at HOU *NYG at ATL TB at NO
DEN at BAL *JAC at MIA *PIT at DAL *WAS at CLE
*Updated *DET at ARI KC at OAK *SEA at BUF *NYJ at TEN (MON)

Prediction: DEN 24, BAL 20 (Line: DEN by 3)

Players to Watch: Joe Flacco

The 10-3 Broncos remain in the fight for a first round bye with the 9-4 Ravens still not yet clinching the AFC North. The Broncos are on an eight game winning streak and are 5-2 in away games while the Ravens are on a two game losing streak but are 5-1 at home.

Denver Broncos
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PIT 31-19 10 @CAR 36-14
2 @ATL 21-27 11 SD 30-23
3 HOU 25-31 12 @KC 17-9
4 OAK 37-6 13 TB 31-23
5 @NE 21-31 14 @OAK 26-13
6 @SD 35-24 15 @BAL  
7 BYE ----- 16 CLE -----
8 NO 34-14 17 KC -----
9 @CIN 31-23 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Jamaal Charles 100,1 5-40
WR Demaryius Thomas 5-80,1

Pregame Notes: The Broncos are on a roll to be sure with eight wins in a row and only this week to provide a challenge for the rest of the regular season. This is a "load 'em up" week for the Broncos who could then go on to an eleven game streak to end the year with only home games against the Browns and Chiefs remaining. The only losses on the road so far were to the Falcons and Patriots in Manning's first two road efforts of the year.

Manning remains a lock for a score and high yardage every week. His last four games at home produced three touchdowns each along with decent yardage. The only scary part for Manning owners is if they start to protect him for the playoffs after this week. A need to continue to win to secure a bye and homefield advantage should keep him in the game but for how long against the Browns and Chiefs is needed to ensure a win?

Knowshon Moreno is living proof that running back is one of the most interchangeable positions on the playing field. He comes off a 119 yard effort in Oakland and catches four passes in every game as well. Moreno even showed great yards after first contact last week but it was only the Raiders. Still he has been pretty much "McGahee" good so far and the rushing effort has not evaporated just because the Broncos had to dust off Moreno and point him in the right direction.

Demaryius Thomas suffered a shoulder sprain that continues to be sore but he still played with it and ended with five catches for 83 yards in Oakland. It was his first non-scoring game since week ten and he remains one of the most productive wideouts in the league. Eric Decker came to life last week with 88 yards one eight catches thanks to the matchup but was much less used over the last month. Brandon Stokley is back from a wrist injury though he had no catches last Sunday.

Terrell Suggs did not play last week for the Ravens and may not here. His absence decreases the pass rush pressure and Manning doesn't need much help anyway. Ray Rice is eligible to return this week and would obviously give a spark to the defense.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 8 21 2 8 16 3
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 10 22 12 12 28 5

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Brock Osweiler, DEN @WAS 0000018002 *
Despite a quality showing in Week 15 relief, the starting job is up in the air at this point. The Broncos appear headed toward starting Paxton Lynch (ankle), should he be healthy enough to go. It matters nothing either way.

Update: Lynch fully practiced Friday and split reps with Osweiler. No starter has been named as of Friday evening, but it leans in the veteran's favor.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Anderson, DEN @WAS 701000000 **
Only the Colts have yielded more rushing yards a game than the Redskins in the past five weeks, and it is by the nose of the football ... maybe even an index card's width. Anderson gashed those very Colts last week and could shine again in the title round. This is the 19th-best matchup for a ground score, and Paxton Lynch figures to start, so there's a little bit of risk.

Update: It looks like Brock Osweiler will start instead of Lynch.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Devontae Booker, DEN @WAS 3001100000 ***
While Booker has a fine matchup, Anderson quickly could steal the show once again. Washington is the fifth-best matchup in non-PPR and No. 12 in the reception-rewarding format.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cody Latimer, DEN @WAS 003400000 ***
It appears Paxton Lynch (ankle) will get the start. It really doesn't matter; gamers need to stay away from Latimer with a title on the line.

Update: It looks like Brock Osweiler will start instead of Lynch.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN @WAS 003300000 **
Sanders has struggled mightily of late while trying to play through an ankle injury, and now he is likely to have another quarterback change to Paxton Lynch. The matchup is daunting. Washington has conceded only 9.8 receptions (27th) for 146.8 yards (16th) and a score every 24.5 snags (28th) in the past five weeks.

Update: Sanders is questionable and a gametime call. He sat the first two days of practice but gave it a limited go in Friday's session. It looks like Brock Osweiler will start instead of Lynch.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN @WAS 003200000 ***
The matchup is awful, and it looks like Paxton Lynch will start. The only Broncos wideout with a hint of upside is Thomas, though he must overcome fantasy's fifth-worst match up of the week.

Update: It looks like Brock Osweiler will start instead of Lynch.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Virgil Green, DEN @WAS 002300000 ***
Green has four catches in his last four outings and belongs on the wire.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN @WAS 3311 ***
Washington offers the second-best matchup of the week, primarily due to yielding the second-most field goal attempts (14-for-14) per game over the last five weeks.

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 20-23
5 @KC 9-6 14 @WAS 28-31
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 DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 220,1
RB Danny Woodhead 10 5-30
WR Jeremy Maclin 5-70,1
WR Mike Wallace 5-90,1
TE Benjamin Watson 4-40
PK Justin Tucker 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens may be the only team that dumped their offensive coordinator while sporting a 9-4 record and leading their own division. Cam Cameron was at odds with both Joe Flacco and HC John Harbaugh for the last two seasons and the loss in Washington provided that final straw. The Ravens offensive scheme has been hard to fathom this season since it was supposed to be the big "opening up" of the passing game, the breaking out of Torrey Smith and Joe Flacco taking the next step up to being an elite quarterback.

None of that happened.

What did happen was mediocre passing that was worse than last season, and then amazingly the under-use of Ray Rice while using Bernard Pierce in even measures at times. Rice has not had a bad year with nine touchdowns already but just not to the level of 2011. More than anything, he has been used inconsistently week to week.

Rice also suffered a hip pointer last week but continued to play with the injury in overtime and is not expected to be limited at all this week.

The firing of Cam Cameron throws the entire offense into an unpredictable state this week. He is replaced for now with Colts ex-head coach Jim Caldwell who was the QB coach. Again - not often that a 9-4 team dumps the offensive coordinator and how that plays out is going to be hard to predict. The move no doubt will be a positive to Flacco and Rice but how that plays out with the play calling this week may not be as good at first.

Anquan Boldin has suddenly if not mysteriously exploded the last two weeks with three touchdowns and at least 78 yards in both games but matches on Champ Bailey. The Broncos are also solid against the run which should limit Rice to some extent though they may use him more as a receiver this week. Just no way of knowing what changes are going to happen in this first week post Cameron.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 18 11 15 21 7 5
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 12 7 8 30 10 11

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL IND 0000017010 ***
Indy has provided just 202.8 yards per outing, which ranks as the seventh fewest. On the plus side, every 10.8 completions has found the end zone (5th). Nevertheless, the weaponless Flacco is not a threat for fantasy success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alex Collins, BAL IND 11022300000 ***
Despite the Colts having given up the most yards rushing per game (135.8) to RBs over the last five weeks, this remains a difficult matchup for ground scores. Only one in 44.3 carries has found the end zone in that window. The last two weeks have resulted in consecutive 150-yard rushers against Indy, representing 50 percent of the 100-yard games on the year. Aside from last week's struggles vs. Cleveland, Collins has been on fire. This projection is ambitious, but the upstart back has earned a role in all lineups during the title week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Javorius Allen, BAL IND 3002200000 ***
Indianapolis offers the worst matchup of the week for receptions by RBs, and receiving yardage against is naturally depressed, too (31st). On the ground, Allen faces the top opponent for rushing yardage but just No. 22 for TD efficiency against.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Danny Woodhead, BAL IND 005300000 ***
None of the 11 catches by RBs over the last five games have scored on the Colts, and this is the worst per-game matchup for receiving totals and second-worst for yardage through the air.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, BAL IND 006900000 ***
The Colts have not been a kind opponent for catches (20th) or yardage (21st) on a weekly basis over the last five games, but one in every 11 balls has traveled into the end zone (13th). He should see the majority of targets with Jeremy Maclin being doubtful.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Moore, BAL IND 003300000 ***
Moore has no place on a fantasy roster in crunch time.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Benjamin Watson, BAL IND 003301000 ***
Indy has been good at limiting receptions and decent at preventing big yardage gains for tight ends, but this is the sixth-best opponent for touchdown frequency. Tight ends have averaged 53.3 yards per game (13th)
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL IND 4422 ***
Baltimore hosts, meaning weather could be a factor, but the strong-legged Tucker is capable of making one from Indianapolis if afforded the chance. The Colts bring one of the tougher matchups to the table, statistically speaking. Kickers have made 12 of 13 kicks, missing one of the seven field goal tries, for the seventh-fewest combined kicking chances a week.

WEEK 15
2012
CIN at PHI (THU) *GB at CHI *MIN at STL *SF at NE
CAR at SD IND at HOU *NYG at ATL TB at NO
DEN at BAL *JAC at MIA *PIT at DAL *WAS at CLE
*Updated *DET at ARI KC at OAK *SEA at BUF *NYJ at TEN (MON)

a d v e r t i s e m e n t