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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 @JAC 0000024021 ***
Which Jaguars defense shows up this week? The one that did a sound job against Aaron Rodgers, or last week's road team against which Philip Rivers opened the floodgates? The Jags have given up 26.7 fantasy points per game to QBs, which is the sixth most in the NFL. It's a road game for Flacco, and his targets match up fairly well. Start him with a minor degree of confidence, or toss the vet into DFS lineups to save a few bucks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @JAC 4002200000 ***
Forsett has struggled through two appearances and is ceding double-digit work to Terrance West. Jacksonville's defense of running backs looks stronger on paper based on the small sample size; Melvin Gordon racked up 21 PPR points and scored in Week 2. Even still, Forsett is barely playable.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Terrance West, BAL @JAC 3002100000 ***
West has averaged 13 touches through two weeks that have amounted to a lot of struggling (3.2 yards per carry, no scores). Sit him until he gets it going.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, BAL @JAC 006801000 ***
Wallace has emerged as the No. 1 target in Baltimore and is playing more that 67 percent of the snaps. Jacksonville's offense is capable of scoring some points, which wasn't exactly obvious last week. Nevertheless, the Jags defense is the sixth easiest matchup for receivers, largely by way of giving up five touchdowns (tied for the most).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith Sr., BAL @JAC 005500000 ***
Smith is still trying to get his football legs underneath him, and it shows. He has a stat line of 8-83-0 through two appearances, despite seeing the most snaps of Ravens receivers. Perhaps he'll slide into the end zone this outing, but don't bank on it ... he's a sketchy WR3/flex.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kamar Aiken, BAL @JAC 002200000 ***
Aiken has been on the field for only 46.9 percent of the offensive plays for Baltimore this season, and it shows in his stats. Regardless of the matchup, he cannot be utilized until more playing time comes his way.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dennis Pitta, BAL @JAC 004501000 **
Welcome back, Dennis Pitta! After two catastrophic hip injuries in successive seasons, the talented pass-catching tight end has returned to form. Look, he's as risky as anyone, so know what you're getting into with a waiver addition. Jacksonville gave up a short touchdown to Antonio Gates last weekend but has given up only 10 tight end targets in two games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @JAC 1122 ***
Field goals don't keep pace with Jacksonville's potentially explosive offense.

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 DEN 10000019011 ***
There is no way Dalton should be in a fantasy lineup this week. Denver will stifle the passing game if A.J. Green gets bottled up again this week. Dalton was sacked seven times by the Jets -- a number Denver may come close to matching.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN DEN 5012200000 ***
Gamers get nothing in return from Hill without a touchdown. This doesn't line up to be a good setting to deploy him, considering Denver has given up only one touchdown on the ground to the position in 2016.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN DEN 2007600000 ***
Denver has given up 10 catches, 53 yards and a touchdown to running backs through the air, which at least gives a glimmer of hope for Bernard. He stood out in Week 2 in a similar situation -- A.J. Green was locked down, forcing Andy Dalton into the checkdown game. PPR owners must include Gio in their RB2 plans.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tyler Boyd, CIN DEN 004500000 ***
Boyd was in on 79 percent of the snaps in Week 2 and will be looked to when A.J. Green is doubled. The rookie has PPR appeal as a WR3 or flex option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN DEN 004400000 ***
Didn't see that one coming ... Green was blanketed and removed from the passing attack a week ago versus the Steelers. Green has an even tougher matchup this time out. Play him if you must, but his production should match that of a flex choice.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, CIN DEN 003200000 ***
LaFell saw the playing time (95% of snaps) and targets (8) last week but couldn't catch more than three balls for 39 yards. His true value resides in PPR leagues and in the flex neighborhood. Unfortunately, no team has been better vs. WRs than Denver. The Broncos have allowed only 16 catches to wideouts.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Tyler Kroft, CIN DEN 004401000 **
Denver's secondary forces quarterbacks to take shots to their tight ends, which is partly why the position has averaged nine targets per game this young season. Kroft is returning from injury and is a terribly risky play, despite the upside.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN DEN 3322 ***
Nugent's leg should be busy as Denver's defense is likely to stall out Cincy's offense with regularity.

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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