FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

Prediction: BAL 20, CIN 24 (Line: CIN by 2.5)

Players to Watch: Anyone who looks like they are trying

Ends up that this game that many thought might be for all the AFC North marbles really isn't for anything. The Ravens already own the division and the Bengals are locked into being a wild card team. That could mean either team may rest players since both will be playing in the first round. This is a replay of the season opener that the Ravens won 44-13 at home. This is a messy game to call and a good reason why week 17 is bad for fantasy football. Both coaches will say they want to win but what happens in the course of the game is very hard to call. HC Jim Harbaugh says they are going to Cincinnati to win and use all resources to accomplish that despite the fact that there is nothing to win and there is a chance these same two teams meet next week in the playoffs as well.

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 17-34
7 @HOU 13-43 16 NYG 33-14
8 BYE ----- 17 @CIN -----
9 @CLE 25-15 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL @ CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 230,1
RB Bernard Pierce 30 2-10
WR Steve Smith 6-90,1
WR Torrey Smith 5-70,1
TE Owen Daniels 4-40,1
TE Dennis Pitta 5-50
PK Justin Tucker 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens come off a solid win over the Giants and are glad to have won the division since they are only 4-3 in road games this year and play much less effectively when away from home. Going to Cincinnati would have been interesting if the division was still up for grabs but now becomes essentially a scrimmage. These two teams already know each other very well anyway.

Joe Flacco passed for 299 yards and two scores in that season opener in Cincy and he's managed to score nearly every week. The Ravens are now two weeks into the new offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell but any changes to the play calling are not that apparent other than Ray Rice getting a heavy workload in week 16.

Rice turned in 107 yards as a runner and then had six catches for 51 yards and another score in his heaviest workload of the year. He was only ran ten times in that season opener though he gained 68 yards and scored twice. The switch to Caldwell's offense will be a success if he does nothing more than to give the ball more to their best player - Ray Rice.

The only offensive scheming that may happen in this game is to get Anquan Boldin a 1000 yard season since he just needs 79 more yards to get there. He already posted four catches for 63 yards and a score in the first meeting

There is nothing more to accomplish this week aside from keeping players healthy to potentially play the same team next week in Baltimore. That puts risk on all the players regardless what Harbaugh says to the media. Why not say it is for real - nothing to lose by seeing how the Bengals prepare for them.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 18 10 18 11 7 12
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 6 15 5 19 16 26

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL @IND 0000027021 ***
The only QBs not to throw for 300-plus yards and/or multiple touchdowns against the Colts thus far this year were the Titans tag team of Whitehurst and Mettenburger; does that even count? Flacco, meanwhile, has posted some solid home numbers but struggled in his only road tilt. He's at least a decent enough play this week thanks to Steve Smith.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL @IND 501000000 ****
Three of four foes have scored RB rushing TDs against Indy, and Pierce or no Pierce Taliaferro has taken over those duties in Baltimore. If Gary Kubiak continues to ride the reasonably hot hand, Taliaferro should see a decent chunk of carries as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @IND 6004200000 ***
While Lorenzo Taliaferro and Bernard Pierce battle over between the tackles carries, Forsett should continue to serve as the Ravens' change of pace and pass catching back. He's also been the most effective Baltimore back thus far this season and in PPR leagues leapfrogs Taliaferro in the fantasy rankings.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL @IND 003401000 ***
Torrey stepped ever-so-briefly out of Steve Smith's shadow last week, but he's still too infrequently targeted to be banked on for fantasy help in a matchup that's less than favorable.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL @IND 005800000 ***
You wanna be the one who tells Steve Smith he's not a good play against an Indy secondary that has yet to allow so much as an 80-yard receiver? Yeah, me neither. He's too heavily targeted to not be a fantasy factor here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL @IND 006601000 ***
The three teams to face Indy that actually use the tight end were each rewarded with at least 80 yards, so that's the stat line Daniels walks into this week. He's targeted enough to be a good fantasy play this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @IND 2133 ***
Tucker has been all over the board this season, but tacking on treys for a good offense with red zone issues isn't a bad gig if you can get it.

Cincinnati Bengals
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BAL 13-44 10 NYG 31-13
2 CLE 34-27 11 @KC 28-6
3 @WAS 38-31 12 OAK 34-10
4 @JAC 27-10 13 @SD 20-13
5 MIA 13-17 14 DAL 19-20
6 @CLE 24-34 15 @PHI 34-13
7 PIT 17-24 16 @PIT 13-10
8 BYE ----- 17 BAL -----
9 DEN 23-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 250,2
WR A.J. Green 6-80,1
WR Marvin Jones 4-60,1
TE Jermaine Gresham 5-50

Pregame Notes: The Bengals get into the playoffs while kicking the Steelers down the ladder last week - how great was that? They even won their last four road games as well and now can notch their tenth win if the Ravens acquiesce to reality and try to mail this one in and rest players. This has been a good season for the defense that has held six of their last seven opponents to fewer than 14 points.

Andy Dalton only passed for 221 yards and no scores in that opener but had at least one score in every successive game until last week in Pittsburgh. He's already scored 26 passing touchdowns and even added four more as a runner. His pace has been off in recent weeks though with never more than one passing touchdown in the last four weeks.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis was on a hot streak with five straight weeks of 100+ total yards but then was swamped in Pittsburgh. He ran for 91 yards and a score on 18 carries in Baltimore this year. His last six weeks probably saved his job since he was stuck around 60 yards per game prior to week ten.

Mike Nugent may be back this week since his calf has improved. In the end, you never want to rely on a fantasy kicker in a meaningless game though. Josh Brown has kicked well in relief but may be released this week or next.

Jermaine Gresham only managed three catches for 30 yards in Pittsburgh while A.J. Green settled for five receptions and 70 yards. He would start his nine game scoring streak the following week.

There are no safe plays here this week. A.J. Green and Green-Ellis are both considerations and should be good for decent yardage at least but there is nothing on the line here but the wrong things - see what you opponent looks like and stay healthy for next week in case you play the Ravens again. It is all a big risk.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 12 26 7 16 10 6
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 9 23 12 5 28 7

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andy Dalton, CIN @NE 0000023010 ***
Dalton has been far more caretaker than aggressor under the Bengals new OC. No reason to think the undefeated Bengals change their stripes here, meaning Dalton is at best a fringe fantasy play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN @NE 9015501000 ***
The Patriots have given up a couple 100-yard rushers already this season as well as a league-high four RB receiving scores. Both slot into Gio's role in the Cincy offense, priming him for another solid fantasy outing here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN @NE 401000000 ****
Hill has scored in back-to-back games and is pushing for more than just goal line duty in the Bengals' run-heavy attack. He's a fantasy play for the short-yardage work alone; if he starts taking a bigger bite out of Giovani Bernard's numbers, he could work himself into every-week starter consideration alongside his backfieldmate.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN @NE 005800000 ***
Even with Andy Dalton downshifting into game manager mode Green remains an elite fantasy receiver. He's posted 100-plus yards in both games in which he finished without an injury, and the bye week likely has him at tip-top health heading into the Sunday night tilt.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones, CIN @NE 003400000 ***
Jones' much-anticipated 2014 debut may be delayed after he tweaked his ankle in practice. Hopefully the Bengals will give us a straight answer about his status so it's not a Sunday night decision, but generally when teams face the Patriots they try to out-Belichick Belichick on the injury report so don't expect a clear answer.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN @NE 003400000 ***
Until Marvin Jones is back at full speed Sanu remains the primary wingman to AJ Green. It's a role that has a modicum of fantasy upside, limited by the Bengals' transition to a run-heavy approach. This isn't a particularly favorable matchup, plus there's still the possibility that Jones' midweek ankle tweak doesn't delay his return. It all adds up to something less than a fantasy recommendation for Sanu.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN @NE 003200000 ***
Gresham's primary contribution to the Bengals attack has been his blocking, and odds are that doesn't generate much in the way of fantasy help for you.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN @NE 1133 ***
The Nuge should capitalize on opportunities provided by a defense that's giving up an average of nine points per game to opposing kickers.

WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

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