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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
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 ATL 0000027020 ****
Flacco rolls into this matchup off a five-TD, 306-yard performance and should continue the hot streak against a Falcons' secondary that's given up 300 yards in two of their last three outings--and in the other they allowed their only multiple TD-passing game of the season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL ATL 6004301000 ****
Forsett has settled in as the Ravens' most effective back, if not the most heavily used. He's scored or topped 100 yards in three straight, but his biggest impact this game might come as a receiver against an Atlanta defense that's allowed four different backs to top 50 receiving yards already this year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL ATL 8011100000 ***
Pierce saw more touches than other Baltimore backs last week and found the end zone for the first time this season. However, he averaged just over two yards per carry and the volume may have come thanks to the 30-plus point lead the Ravens enjoyed most of the afternoon. Start him because the Falcons have served up 11 RB rushing scores already this year, but limit expectations because if he continues to languish at two yards per carry the Ravens won't hesitate to give more carries to Justin Forsett or go to the bullpen for Lorenzo Taliaferro.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL ATL 0061001000 ****
Smith's been a monster this season, and there's no reason to think an Atlanta secondary that has consistently allowed multiple receivers to post helpful fantasy numbers against them will shut down Joe Flacco's favorite target.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL ATL 003400000 ****
The Falcons have allowed multiple receivers to score and/or top 50 yards in every game this season, so with Joe Flacco on a roll you can expect Torrey's semi-resurgence to continue--at least enough to make him a viable fantasy option this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL ATL 004400000 ****
Daniels has yet to blossom into Dennis Pitta's role in this offense, so a big fantasy day looks unlikely against an Atlanta defense that has yet to surrender a TE TD on the season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL ATL 2233 ****
Tucker's averaging better than 10 points a game over the past five, while the Falcons have served up at least 8 (and an average of almost 12) over the past three. Good opportunity for Tucker to get his kicks this week.

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
WR Greg Little 2-20
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 @IND 0000024011 ***
If this goes according to plan Dalton won't throw enough to put up big fantasy numbers; the Bengals would like to keep him under 30 attempts for the game. However, this could very well turn into a shootout with Andrew Luck, in which case Dalton tops 30 attempts--and, subsequently, 300 yards. He's a solid play with upside, so he's definitely a viable fantasy option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN @IND 7014300000 ***
Lots to like about Gio every week, but specifically this week: every back with double-digit carries against the Colts has reached the end zone, plus no team has given up more receiving scores to RBs than Indy. Regardless of which team imposes its will this week--a run-heavy Hue Jackson game plan or a Luck/Dalton shootout--Gio will get you fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN @IND 3004200000 ***
Hill isn't necessarily the full-time goal line back in Cincy, but he'll see enough touches that he's a decent bet to register fantasy value against an Indy defense that's allowed RB TDs in five of six games. Plus, who wouldn't want to see another Icky Shuffle?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Tate, CIN @IND 004401000 **
Tate and Dane Sanzenbacher are handling wingman roles with Cincy's receiver rotation jumbled by injuries. There's fantasy value if this turns into a Luck/Dalton shootout; otherwise Tate is a secondary option on what the Bengals hopes is a run-heavy team this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN @IND 005700000 ****
Sanu has capably slid into the WR1 slot in Cincy, and with AJ Green and Marvin Jones still on hiatus he'll be Andy Dalton's primary weapon should this turn into a shootout with Andrew Luck. Even if the Bengals control the ball Sanu will get his opportunities, making him the best fantasy play among Cincy receivers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN @IND 004500000 **
Last week's 6-68 was Gresham's most prolific pass-catching outing since the middle of the 2012 season. The Colts have allowed four tight ends to top 70 yards against them this year, so given that volume Gresham is a sneaky helpful fantasy play this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN @IND 2222 ****
On the heels of a missed game-winning chip shot, Nugent goes on the road to face a Colts team that's allowing roughly five points per game to opposing kickers over the past month. You can probably do better fantasy-wise.

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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