FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 5 BUF at CLE (THU) DET at GB NE at CIN SEA at IND
DEN at DAL KC at TEN SD at OAK NYJ at ATL (MON)
BAL at MIA HOU at SF NO at CHI On Bye:
*UPDATED CAR at ARI JAC at STL PHI at NYG MIN, PIT, TB, WAS

Prediction: BAL 22, MIA 23 (Line: MIA by 3)

Players of Interest: Dallas Clark, Charles Clay

UPDATES: Brandon Gibson is questionable to play and was limited in all practices. Barring any setback with his ankle he should be active this week. Jacoby Jones was able to have limited practices and is listed as questionable. He will be a game time decision. Marlon Brown is also questionable to play but is likely to be active even though he is not 100% because of his thigh.

The 2-2 Ravens are 0-2 on the road and heading for their third away game. The 3-1 Dolphins are back at home after the Saints handed them their first loss during the Monday night game last week. This should be a close game since that is the only kind the Dolphins know. The Ravens lack of road success is troubling here.

1 @DEN 27-49 10 CIN -
2 CLE 14-6 11 @CHI -
3 HOU 30-9 12 NYJ -
4 @BUF 20-23 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 @ MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 250,2
RB Bernard Pierce 20 1-10
RB Ray Rice 50 2-10
WR Marlon Brown 4-30
WR Jacoby Jones
WR Steve Smith 4-50
WR Torrey Smith 8-100
TE Owen Daniels 4-50
PK Justin Tucker 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens lost to the Bills but remain in a three-way tie for the AFC North lead that surprisingly includes everyone besides Pittsburgh. The Ravens schedule has not been kind and it is not going to get any better this year. The only plus is that they only have one divisional matchup after week 13 and will have a good idea of their chances to win the division. This is a division like the NFC East - once one of the toughest and now no one seems to deserve winning the title.

QUARTERBACKS: While Joe Flacco fell short in Buffalo, he did throw for 347 yards and two touchdowns. But he also tossed five interceptions His only two decent games were the away venues when he scored twice and threw for over 340 yards both times. And he also was sacked four times in each and totaled seven interceptions in those two games and yet zero when playing at home. His fantasy fortunes only take off when the Ravens are getting beaten.

RUNNING BACKS: Ray Rice was able to play last week but he only gained 17 yards on five runs and never caught a pass. Rice was a game time decision because of his hip flexor injury but hopefully will be able to practice in full this week. Bernard Pierce also strained his calf during the loss to the Bills. He is expected to be fine and has no real value when Rice plays anyway. Rice has yet to run more than 13 times this year and has not scored since the season opener.

This is an anemic rushing attack that has only been effective in home games when Rice was out and Pierce took a heavy load.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Deonte Thompson had his first playing time of the year but left with a concussion. He helped to cover for Brandon Stokley who is out with a groin strain. Marlon Brown also suffered a thigh injury and could be limited this week. Basically all wideouts not named Torrey are banged up and question marks. I will assume all can play and update as needed. Jacoby Jones may return as early as this week but he'll only resume being the #3 receiver with Brown already productive.

Torrey Smith is the only consistently productive wideout and comes off a five catch, 166 yard effort with one touchdown. The worst that Smith turned in this year was 85 yards.

TIGHT ENDS: Dallas Clark is good for around four catches per week with no scores. But he does get a treat this week facing the #32 defense against tight ends.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: More germane is how badly the Ravens have played in away games and currently have injuries to most offensive skill players. The Fins have just one home game so far and they limited Matt Ryan to 231 yards and two scores using a lot more than what Flacco has to work with. No runner has topped 90 rushing yards on them and Rice has been so sub-standard and injured that he is a risky start no matter where or against whomever. All teams throw at least one score on Miami but there is no reason to expect a lot of fireworks here. Smith is the only must-start. Consider Flacco, Rice and Clark while anyone else are only moderate plays at best and below average results are most likely.

This is where you need to roll out Clark against a defense that has allowed six touchdowns to the position and two 100 yard efforts.

WHAT TO WATCH: With so many injuries, there's no certainty about who will play or how well. In the end, it is as much about limiting turnovers this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 27 24 7 27 17 10
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 22 28 3 32 18 22

 

1 @CLE 23-10 10 @TB -
2 @IND 24-20 11 SD -
3 ATL 27-23 12 CAR -
4 @NO 17-38 13 @NYJ -
5 BAL - 14 @PIT -
6 BYE WEEK 15 NE -
7 BUF - 16 @BUF -
8 @NE - 17 NYJ -
9 CIN - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIA vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Tannehill 20 230,1
RB Lamar Miller 60,1 1-10
RB Knowshon Moreno 50 3-20
RB Daniel Thomas 20 1-10
WR Brandon Gibson 3-40
WR Brian Hartline 5-60
WR Mike Wallace 4-50
TE Charles Clay 6-50,1
PK Caleb Sturgis 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Dolphins have been solid on defense and good enough on offense to stay in the divisional race. With only a bye waiting after this week, the Fins can focus on how to stop the Ravens and come up with a better answer every time they are asked "Why is Lamar Miller sharing with Daniel Thomas anyway?" This offense is still a work in progress but the coaching staff seems devoted to stunting the growth in the name of sharing the ball.

QUARTERBACKS: Ryan Tannehill is better this year but that is just an upgrade from horrible to almost average. He's thrown a score in every game but only once was able to creep up to two touchdown passes in the same game. Tannehill is also getting beat down weekly with a NFL-leading 18 sacks already absorbed.

The pass blocking still needs work but they'll have to improve in place as there are no great lineman just sitting around waiting to be approached. Tannehill is just a game manager but does have to throw around 35 times every week.

RUNNING BACKS: There doesn't seem to be a rational answer that doesn't involve naked pictures or embezzlement. Lamar Miller has been so more productive than Daniel Thomas and yet still gives up around a third of the carries to him. Miller averaged 5.8 yards per carry over the last three games. Thomas averages 1.6 yards per carry. Miller has yet to be given more than 14 caries in any game and the five to eight carries afforded to Thomas is not advancing the ball. Case in point - against the Saints, Miller ran for 62 yards on 11 carries. Thomas racked up five yards on four runs. Why bother? Even this week the Fins are publicly backing Thomas while the speculation as to why is being converted into a popular drinking game.

WIDE RECEIVERS: There is nothing above average here and both Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace only have one truly good game all year. Wallace has been stuck around 25 yards each week other than the one Indy game. Hartline usually ends closer to 50 yards but has two scores on the season. Brandon Gibson improves or disappears in as a direct opposite of what Wallace and Hartline accomplish. There's marginal fantasy value here at best.

TIGHT ENDS: Charles Clay continues to contribute and improve each week. He has bee good for at least four catches and 40 yards but has been as high as 109 yards. He is a fullback - even wears #42 - but plays as a tight end and H-back. He's no big difference maker, but he is a consistent part of the Fins passing and growing in importance.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Ravens were shredded in the opener by Peyton Manning but since have been much better and only allowed one passing score in the last three weeks. But two of those were at home and in Buffalo gave up the one score to E.J. Manuel when he won that game. This defense is still stout and has only allowed one rushing score which came just last week in Buffalo as well. There is marginal fantasy value on this Dolphins team. At home helps, but the only real starters are Miller and Clay and even they should only be considered to provide moderate stats. The Ravens top corner Lardarius Webb left their game last week with a thigh strain and may be limited here. Have to like that only a bye waits on the other side. The Ravens have to return home to face the Packers.

WHAT TO WATCH: Hopefully a better passing effort and fewer sacks than normal since they are back at home.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 23 22 15 8 15 21
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 16 9 22 21 23 14

WEEK 5 BUF at CLE (THU) DET at GB NE at CIN SEA at IND
DEN at DAL KC at TEN SD at OAK NYJ at ATL (MON)
BAL at MIA HOU at SF NO at CHI On Bye:
*UPDATED CAR at ARI JAC at STL PHI at NYG MIN, PIT, TB, WAS


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