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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 7 SEA at ARI (THU) CIN at DET HOU at KC STL at CAR
BUF at MIA DAL at PHI SD at JAC TB at ATL
CHI at WAS DEN at IND SF at TEN MIN at NYG (MON)
*UPDATED BAL at PIT CLE at GB NE at NYJ On Bye: NO, OAK

Prediction: BAL 17, PIT 14 (Line: PIT by 1)

Players of Interest: Le'Veon Bell

The 3-3 Ravens are just one game back of the division leading Bengals but are 1-2 in road venues. The 1-4 Steelers come off their first win of the season but are 0-2 at home. These matchups tend to be low scoring and the Ravens won 13-10 in Pittsburgh last season.

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 26-23 14 MIN -
6 GB 17-19 15 @DET -
7 @PIT - 16 NE -
8 BYE WEEK 17 @CIN -
9 @CLE - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL @ PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 250,1
RB Bernard Pierce 30
RB Ray Rice 40,1 2-10
WR Marlon Brown 4-40,1
WR Jacoby Jones 2-30
WR Torrey Smith 5-60
TE Dallas Clark 4-50
PK Justin Tucker 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens are getting better on offense with Joe Flacco trying to make do with what he was left after injuries and defections changed the receiver corps. But Ray Rice is still stuck trying to find any rushing success. The bye is waiting on the other side of this game and then the schedule mostly lightens the rest of the way. As poorly as the season started and has continued, there is every reason to expect that the Ravens will still challenge for the division.

QUARTERBACKS: Though he's thrown just seven touchdowns over six games, at least Joe Flacco is posting higher yardage and remained above 269 yards in each of the last three matchups. His offensive line is doing him no favors with 19 sacks allowed already this year.

Flacco only passed for 164 yards in Pittsburgh last year.

RUNNING BACKS: Ray Rice continues to struggle in the rushing game with very few holes to run through and too often a defender before he can even reach the line of scrimmage. Rice topped 36 rushing yards just once this year. After a five years of gaining at least four yards per carry, Rice currently sports a 2.8 YPC. Playing in Pittsburgh is not likely to improve that. He still is used as a receiver but that role varies wildly from eight to no catches in a week.

Bernard Pierce still plays the lesser half of the backfield but does enough to ensure that Rice's fantasy value remains low every week. Take away the Miami win where Rice was given 34 touches to gain 102 yards and two scores and Rice's anemic production is a fantasy killer.

Rice ran for 40 yards and added 53 yards on five catches in Pittsburgh last season.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The high passing yardage ends up here and normally it is Torrey Smith benefiting. He's turned in four games with more than 90 yards but only scored once. Marlon Brown missed week five with a thigh injury but came back to post a season best 71 yards on the Packers last week. Jacoby Jones was also back in the lineup after healing his MCL after getting destroyed by his own player when trying to field a punt. Jones scored once on his two catches for 42 yards.

Even Tandon Doss contributes and comes off a season best 99 yards versus the Packers. The scores are light with only five shared by all wideouts but the yardage is divvied up each week with more than one player producing solid yardage.

TIGHT ENDS: The position is still under-used compared to last season and while Dallas Clark snagged a touchdown last week, that was the first by any tight end this year. Marginal yardage is all you can rely on here.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Steelers have only allowed five passing touchdowns this year and never more than 249 yards to a quarterback. Flacco will have a far tougher time posting high yards this week and even one touchdown is a success. The surprise this year is that the Steelers rushing defense has already allowed seven touchdowns to running backs. The yardage remains marginal and gets split up anyway for the Ravens but there is a glimmer of hope for a rushing score here. None of the Ravens make for more than a marginal start this week.

WHAT TO WATCH: The Ravens need to get past their blocking woes but that's hard to expect in this matchup. That should keep the yards and scores low for both sides.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 25 19 11 19 11 15
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 1 18 8 5 22 29

 

1 TEN 9-16 10 BUF -
2 @CIN 10-20 11 DET -
3 CHI 23-40 12 @CLE -
4 @MIN 27-34 13 @BAL -
5 BYE WEEK 14 MIA -
6 @NYJ 19-6 15 CIN -
7 BAL - 16 @GB -
8 @OAK - 17 CLE -
9 @NE - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 300,1
RB Le'Veon Bell 50,1 4-30
RB LeGarrette Blount 20
WR Antonio Brown 8-80,1
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 3-40
TE Heath Miller 6-90
PK Shaun Suisham 2 XP

Pregame Notes: After sitting on a 0-4 record during the bye week, the Steelers brought down the Jets last week but only scored 19 points in the process. The Steelers have produced far more yardage than points this season and only total eight offensive touchdowns over the five games played. This is the first home game since back in week three but going against a very well known divisional rival will make the point problems more apparent.

QUARTERBACKS: Ben Roethlisberger always throws a touchdown pass in every game but just once was he able to throw more than one. He's topped 380 passing yards twice and averages right at 300 yards per game. He's even been limited to only five interceptions but only served up six touchdowns.

Roethlisberger passed for 199 yards and score on a run against the Ravens last year.

RUNNING BACKS: Le'Veon Bell starts his first ever home game and continues to learn the offense while discovering that a bad offensive line in the NFL is much different than running for Michigan State. Bell scored twice in London during his first action but was held to only 34 yards on 16 carries in New York against the solid Jets defensive line. Bell's caught at least three passes in each game so far so he is offering at least moderate total yardage each week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Markus Wheaton remains out with a broken finger. Antonio Brown is a on a three game roll with 85+ yards in each and two scores in the last home game. Brown is solid each week while Emmanuel Sanders is held to lesser stats. He's never topped 78 yards so far but scored against the Jets for the first time this year. Each wideout produced one really good game and never in the same week. But only Brown has offered fantasy value every time.

TIGHT ENDS: Heath Miller is back to being the preferred target for Roethlisberger. Though he has yet to score, Miller posted six catches in each of the last two games and gained 70 and 84 yards respectively. No touchdowns mean his fantasy value is capped but there is plenty to like about getting six receptions for around 75 yards each week.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Denver fiasco aside, the Ravens have only allowed three passing touchdowns in the last five games. Both Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Tannehill passed for over 300 yards but neither tossed more than the one touchdown. The Ravens feature the #1 defense against the run and allowed only one touchdown all year. Eddie Lacy gained 120 yards but no other runner has been better than 87 yards. This has the markings of a game with moderate rush yards and a small chance for a touchdown by Bell. Figure Roethlisberger for healthy yardage but still just the one touchdown. Brown is the favorite to catch the one score.

WHAT TO WATCH: Bell gets his first home game and is working as a receiver as well. This will be a nice test in front of his first friendly audience.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 16 30 3 21 19 31
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 17 1 22 19 27 19

WEEK 7 SEA at ARI (THU) CIN at DET HOU at KC STL at CAR
BUF at MIA DAL at PHI SD at JAC TB at ATL
CHI at WAS DEN at IND SF at TEN MIN at NYG (MON)
*UPDATED BAL at PIT CLE at GB NE at NYJ On Bye: NO, OAK


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