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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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Predictions Summary »  Player Rankings (Projections) »  myHuddle Projections by Team »  Projections Summary by Team »

WEEK 4 SF at STL (THU) CIN at CLE NYG at KC SEA at HOU
PIT at MIN (London) IND at JAC PHI at DEN WAS at OAK
CHI at DET NE at ATL BAL at BUF MIA at NO (MON)
*UPDATED ARI at TB DAL at SD NYJ at TEN On Bye: CAR, GB

Prediction: BAL 24, BUF 20 (Line: BAL by 3)

Players of Interest: Torrey Smith, E.J. Manuel

Update: Ray Rice was limited in all practices this week and will be a game time decision. Be aware he may not play and will be limited if he is active. Bernard Pierce is a strong play without Rice there but will have lower stats naturally if Rice can suit up and contribute.

The Ravens rise to 2-1 after home games against the Browns and Texans and are back on the road where their one away trip resulted in being drummed by the Broncos in the season opener. The Bills are 1-2 thanks to a one point win over the visiting Panthers but have been at least in every game. The Ravens offense has been inconsistent at best but on the road are usually less productive. This is a coin toss game between two teams still working on how good they can be this year.

1 @DEN 27-49 10 CIN -
2 CLE 14-6 11 @CHI -
3 HOU 30-9 12 NYJ -
4 @BUF - 13 PIT -
5 @MIA - 14 MIN -
6 GB - 15 @DET -
7 @PIT - 16 NE -
8 BYE WEEK 17 @CIN -
9 @CLE - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL @ BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 250,2
RB Bernard Pierce 100,1 1-10
RB Ray Rice
WR Marlon Brown 4-60,1
WR Torrey Smith 7-110,1
WR Brandon Stokley 2-20
TE Owen Daniels 3-20,1
PK Justin Tucker 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The offense is still sluggish at best and over the last two games has only scored three touchdowns while the defense has been much improved - again likely as much about being at home as anything else. The rushing effort seems locked in mediocrity no matter who is the starting back and Flacco has been a little worse each week. A road game never helps but playing in Buffalo only counts as a half road game for most teams.

QUARTERBACKS: Joe Flacco enjoyed a good statistical day in Denver but his last two weeks at home never asked him to throw more than 33 passes and the results were not surprising - only one touchdown and never more than 211 yards in a game. In fantasy terms he remains barely worth a bye week cover and with three road games in the next four weeks, his stats are not likely to improve.

RUNNING BACKS: Ray Rice missed last week with a hip injury and he may not play in this game as well. I will hold him out until it is apparent that he can play. In his place, Bernard Pierce actually has been better anyway. Pierce scored in the two home games and ran for 65 yards on 24 runs against the Texans. He has minimal role as a receiver though and that is a difference between he and Rice. Chances are that Harbaugh is not going to tip his hand until late in the week if not game time about Rice's status this week. Pierce is a more than adequate fill-in though other than his lack of use as a receiver.

Shaun Draughn suffered a high ankle sprain and will be out a few weeks, leaving no backup behind Pierce. The Ravens may sign a free agent at least temporarily if needed.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Torrey Smith has been excellent in yardage with games of 92, 85 and 92 yards so far. But he has yet to score and is the only receiver to maintain consistent stats for the Ravens. Marlon Brown scored in each of the first two weeks but then flopped against the Texans with just one reception. He continues to replace Jacoby Jones who was just injured when he was popped on the noggin by a stripper named "Sweet Pea" who apparently had nothing better to do with an over-sized $200+ bottle of champagne.

This has nothing to do with his fantasy value as he remains out with a sprained MCL. But after 17 years of writing up games, one TMZ addition is unavoidable. It is probably just as well that he is out since his helmet may not currently fit him anyway. I would love to see "head" included on his injury report description. Hopefully it will serve as a warning to other NFL players to avoid situations that could lead to a stripper to playing Whack-a-Mole™ with a giant champagne bottle. No word on what you have to do to a stripper to provoke that response. I guess I could think of a few things. Anyway...

TIGHT ENDS: Dallas Clark is still in and out of the game plan, following up his single catch week two with 46 yards on four catches versus the Texans. He has never scored and remains well outside of fantasy consideration.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Ravens should see success passing the ball against a secondary allowing every opponent two scores and healthy yardage. It is a bad sign for the Bills that they just allowed two wideouts from the Jets to eclipse 100 yards in the same game. The rushing defense has not allowed a score yet but that is just a matter of time since they are allowing 4.6 yards per run and the primary back of each opponent has gained no less than 85 yards. Bilal Powell just burned them for 149 yards so expect the starter here to have a nice game. The worse of all worlds is a limited Rice plays and waters down what will happen by sharing with Pierce.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Ravens have to create a better offensive effort this week since it won't get any easier than facing the Bills defense maybe the entire year. This is the best chance for Torrey Smith to have a big game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 29 11 20 18 17 8
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 20 16 28 11 31 11

 

1 NE 21-23 10 @PIT -
2 CAR 24-23 11 NYJ -
3 @NYJ 26-16 12 BYE WEEK
4 BAL - 13 ATL -
5 @CLE - 14 @TB -
6 CIN - 15 @JAC -
7 @MIA - 16 MIA -
8 @NO - 17 @NE -
9 KC - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BUF vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB E.J. Manuel 30 240,2
RB Fred Jackson 30 5-30
RB C.J. Spiller 40 3-20
WR Mike Williams 3-40
WR Robert Woods 4-60
TE Scott Chandler 5-60,1
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bills are having one of those frustrating seasons where they are in every game and yet usually end up not quite good enough. With a rookie quarterback and starting wide receiver, that's still progress. Unfortunately the AFC East still contains good defenses and the rest of the schedule is not much better. But so long as progress is being made with this young team, the season is still a success.

QUARTERBACKS: After three weeks, E.J. Manuel has a score in every game and currently stands at four touchdowns against only one interception. Remarkable for a rookie quarterback who is already showing signs of getting up to speed. Manuel even added six runs for 60 yards last week in New York. In fantasy terms he's still below average but he's already showing promise for the future.

RUNNING BACKS: C.J. Spiller was pulled from the Jets game with a bruised quadriceps but early word by HC Doug Marrone is that he'll be able to play this week without limitation. He was held out to ensure the injury would not worsen and with that every Spiller owner can breathe again. Spiller still has not scored this year and his lone good game was at home against the Panthers. The preseason promise to rely heavily on him has not proven true. So far Spiller has yet to get more than 21 touches in any game.

Fred Jackson is taking not only a dozen carries per week, but he also has been more used as a receiver than Spiller. He also has the lone rushing touchdown for the Bills. The committee approach is depressing what Spiller could do along with a tough schedule that doesn't improve this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The fear that a rookie quarterback was going to ruin the season for Stevie Johnson is also not true. Three games in and Johnson has two touchdowns and over 80 yards in the last two games. Manuel already relies on Johnson and is willing to throw the deeper passes. Robert Woods has started his career somewhat quietly but as a rookie, he's already impressed with one score and as many as four receptions per game. The two starting wideouts account for nearly every reception by the position.

TIGHT ENDS: Scott Chandler turned in five receptions for 79 yards and one score in New York which should send a few optimistic fantasy owners to their waiver wire. But Chandler has received the same six targets every game and will finish with under 40 yards in all but a few matchups. He's spent the last few years with the occasional nice game and then months of obscurity.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: That defense that was scorched by Peyton Manning has not allowed a touchdown since. Of course both those games were played in Baltimore which helped and Brandon Weeden is rarely mistakened for Manning. No runner has gained more than 58 yards on the Ravens who still have a great front line. It helps that this is played in Buffalo but aside from moderate yardage, the rushing effort will not likely produce much here and split up everything anyway. The passing game has to provide the way that the Bills once again get close only to lose. Spiller and Jackson are in line for sub-par stats here but Stevie Johnson remains a must start if only by being the most likely to score a touchdown on the team. The Ravens have been weaker against tight ends so it is possible that Chandler has the very rare two good games in a row.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: E.J. Manuel has done a terrific job so far and this is another big test. He'll have to provide the means to stay in the game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 21 5 27 20 8 10
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 21 5 24 23 13 4

WEEK 4 SF at STL (THU) CIN at CLE NYG at KC SEA at HOU
PIT at MIN (London) IND at JAC PHI at DEN WAS at OAK
CHI at DET NE at ATL BAL at BUF MIA at NO (MON)
*UPDATED ARI at TB DAL at SD NYJ at TEN On Bye: CAR, GB


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