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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
WR Steve Smith Sr. 6-90,1
TE Dennis Pitta 5-50
TE Benjamin Watson 3-30
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 @NE 0000027011 ***
A week after shelling Miami, Flacco heads to New England. Aside from the Russell Wilson game, New England has done fairly well at slowing quarterbacks. This is a neutral matchup for fantasy owners.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Terrance West, BAL @NE 4003200000 ***
No RB has scored in the last 79 rushing attempts faced over a four-game period. The Pats have allowed the fifth fewest points per game to the position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Kenneth Dixon, BAL @NE 3001100000 ***
The Pats have stamped out running backs of late, giving up the fifth fewest points and no rushing touchdowns in the last four games (79 attempts). RBs have averaged five catches for 49.3 yards and 0.25 aerial scores, though.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith Sr., BAL @NE 006701000 ***
This is a good matchup when including the damage by Doug Baldwin's three-TD game several weeks back. Removing it, though, makes for a decidedly negative opponent. Smith gets the benefit of the doubt in a game that could feature ample passing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, BAL @NE 005600000 ***
The Patriots have given up the second highest average of points per reception but largely because of given up the fourth fewest catches and a three-TD game to Doug Baldwin in the last five weeks. This is a negative matchup otherwise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Breshad Perriman, BAL @NE 002400000 ***
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kamar Aiken, BAL @NE 003300000 ***
Aiken has been involved more of late but has no business being on a fantasy roster.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dennis Pitta, BAL @NE 004300000 ***
New England is a solidly harsh matchup for fantasy tight ends using data since Week 8. Pitta could be started but not without assuming a good deal of risk.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @NE 2211 ***
Since Week 8, New England has afforded 15 total kicking tries over the last four games. Tucker could be a solid play if Baltimore can't quite punch it in, and he obviously is good from distance when called on.

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 Brandon LaFell 5-80

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 @CLE 10000025020 ***
Not having A.J. Green makes Dalton a tough sell any week, but the Browns offer some hope for a decent day. Only three teams have given up TDs at a more frequent clip.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN @CLE 10012200000 ***
Cleveland offers the seventh best matchup to exploit, with most of the damage coming via total touchdowns per touch and offensive yards per contest. The position has averaged 121.8 rushing yards since Week 8.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rex Burkhead, CIN @CLE 5002200000 **
Burkhead isn't an ideal pass receiver out of the backfield, but the Browns have been pushed around enough by the position that he could have low-end appeal in deep leagues.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, CIN @CLE 004601000 ***
Cleveland is the fourth worst team at preventing wideouts from scoring with ease over the last five weeks. LaFell is the de factor WR1 in Cincy without A.J. Green, so he'll likely draw the mixed bag that is cornerback Joe Haden.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tyler Boyd, CIN @CLE 006700000 ***
The Browns have allowed only 11.8 catches (22nd) for 143 yards (22nd) per game since Week 8, but giving up a touchdown every 7.8 grabs rates them as the fourth most generous defense in this category.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Tyler Eifert, CIN @CLE 006901000 ***
Eifert draws the 11th best PPR matchup for tight ends in Week 14. The Browns have allowed tight ends to score once every 7.3 catches in the last five weeks.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN @CLE 1133 ***
Extra points have been the fastest way to points against the Browns, but that doesn't necessarily amount to a high-scoring fantasy day. Cleveland has given up only five field goals in the last four games since scoring TDs usually is met with little resistance.

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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