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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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DIVISION
WEEK
2012
BAL at DEN GB at SF SEA at ATL HOU at NE

Prediction: BAL 13, DEN 34 (Line: DEN by 9.5)

The Ravens come off their 24-9 win over the Colts last week and now hit the road where they were only 4-4 this season. The Broncos come off their bye and are 7-1 at home including their current 11 game winning streak. This is a replay of week 15 when the Ravens lost 34-17 at home against these Broncos. This is played in Denver which matters since the Ravens are much less formidable on the road and it will be as low as 10 degrees for the game but should be clear weather otherwise.

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 17-23
9 @CLE 25-15 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BALTIMORE Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco - - 230,1
RB Ray Rice 50 2-10 -
RB Bernard Pierce 20 1-10 -
TE Dennis Pitta - 6-80,1 -
WR Anquan Boldin - 2-30 -
WR Jacoby Jones - 3-40 -
WR Torrey Smith - 3-50 -
PK Justin Tucker 2 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Ravens lost four of their last five games of the regular season and was able to overcome the visiting Colts in an emotional home game that will be Ray Lewis' final game there. That was enough to allow the offense to also look good against the #27 unit versus running backs and the #27 unit against wide receivers. The offense finally looked good and that it was hitting on all cylinders. Joe Flacco only completed 12 of 23 passes but gained 282 yards and two scores through the air. Anquan Boldin ended with a season best game of 145 yards and one touchdown.

Boldin had never gained more than 82 yards in any previous road game this season but has come on over the last five games with a total of four touchdowns and all but one of those efforts were at least 78 yards or more. In the world of "here's your problem", the one bad game he had in that time was when Champ Bailey held him to zero catches on six targets at home against the Broncos. Hard to imagine better things are in store in the cold of Denver.

Flacco threw for 254 yards and two scores in that game though he only completed 50% of his passes (20 of 40), lost a fumble and threw an interception. Notable too was that both touchdowns came in the fourth quarter after the Broncos already led 31-3 and Dennis Pitta scored both with the second coming on a 61-yard completion. Flacco had no scores and only 147 passing yards entering the fourth quarter of the blowout home loss.

Another problem is that Ray Rice turned in one of his worst fantasy games of the year when the Broncos were the visitors in week 15. He only ran 12 times for 38 yards and caught three passes for only three yards. Bernard Pierce has been seeing 12+ carries for the last three games but was limited to only five runs for 20 yards in that previous meeting.

It was a decisive beatdown of the Ravens last time as indicated in the 9.5 point favorites of the Broncos. Even in their win last week, it was predicated on a solid defensive effort sparked in some measure by Ray Lewis' final home game. And Boldin was able to victimize CB Cassius Vaughn repeatedly unlike any other game this year and certainly unlike his zero catches against Champ Bailey last time.

This time the Broncos are even more rested and are at home. It all makes Dennis Pitta the only attractive play here against the only real weakness of the Broncos. And even then, it may not happen until the fourth quarter when no one cares anymore just like last time.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 18 10 19 10 9 14
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 9 5 2 31 4 8

 

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 34-17
7 BYE ----- 16 CLE 34-12
8 NO 34-14 17 KC 38-3
9 @CIN 31-23 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DENVER Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning - - 270,2
RB Knowshon Moreno 100,1 4-40 -
TE Jacob Tamme - 1-10 -
WR Eric Decker - 7-80,1 -
WR Brandon Stokley - 4-50,1 -
WR Demaryius Thomas - 4-50 -
PK Matt Prater 2 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Broncos could be ripe for a fall - after all they have won their last 11 games and took a week off which often loses momentum. But they already whipped up on the Ravens just four weeks ago and in their stadium. And it also needs to be better noted that while Peyton Manning has garnered so much praise and admiration - deservedly so - an equally critical aspect to the Broncos great year is all about the defense. Since the week seven bye, no opponent has scored more than 23 points on them and over half of them were held to 14 points or less.

This is not the old Colts where Manning would bomb opponents with so many points that it did not matter how bad their defense was. This is a championship quality defense already that just happens to be attached with a Peyton Manning offense. Apparently that gets you 11 straight wins and the #1 seed in the playoffs.

Willis McGahee has been on "injured reserve/designated for return" and has returned to some practice time with optimistic results. He won't be eligible to play until the conference championship at the earliest and will no doubt not be ready for a full load. Likely just enough to ruin what Knowshon Moreno could do by himself.

Notable recent events also include Ronnie Hillman fumbling the ball away in the Chiefs game and being benched after only three carries for 13 yards. He remains a minor factor anyway and only ran four times for 24 yards in the previous meeting with the Ravens.

The last time that Manning faced the Ravens he only passed for 204 yards and one touchdown but had no turnovers. Notable is that when he has played at home for the last six times, he's always thrown exactly three touchdowns in each. That last meeting with the Ravens was his worst fantasy game but mostly because he only threw 28 times in the blowout win.

Both Jacob Hester and Moreno ran in scores that week and Moreno ran 32 times for 119 yards and added four receptions for 48 more yards. There was no need to challenge the Ravens with passing by the second half. The run worked well enough.

The only receiver of any note in that game was Eric Decker with eight catches for 133 yards and the one score. Decker went on to score twice in the last two games of the season as well.

There is no reason why this shouldn't go well for the Broncos given they had no problems in Baltimore just one month ago. I like a defensive touchdown in this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 8 12 2 9 7 3
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 7 18 17 2 29 11

DIVISION
WEEK
2012
BAL at DEN GB at SF SEA at ATL HOU at NE

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