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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 10 WAS at MIN (THU) DAL at NO JAC at TEN STL at IND
CIN at BAL HOU at ARI SEA at ATL MIA at TB (MON)
BUF at PIT DEN at SD OAK at NYG On Bye:
*UPDATED CAR at SF DET at CHI PHI at GB CLE, KC, NE, NYJ

Prediction: CIN 23, BAL 17 (Line: (CIN by 1.5)

Update: Giovani Bernard was limited in all practices this week and then listed as questionable. He is still expected to play at this point but his ribs are clearly an issue with him. Jermaine Gresham was limited on Wednesday and then held out on Thursday and Friday because of a groin injury. He is listed as questionable but may not play. I am removing him from the projections based on the risk.

The 6-3 Bengals have a two game lead in the AFC North but are only 2-3 in road games. The 3-5 Ravens are 2-1 at home but are on a three game losing streak. A win here would really help the Bengals to assert their dominance in the division while the Ravens desperately need any win let alone this matchup that will either help prop up their dwindling hopes or just dash them with almost half of the season left to play. This is quietly a pretty important division game because what it could mean to either team.

The Ravens won 44-13 against the Bengals in the 2012 season opener.

1 @CHI 21-24 10 @BAL -
2 PIT 20-10 11 CLE -
3 GB 34-30 12 BYE WEEK
4 @CLE 6-17 13 @SD -
5 NE 13-6 14 IND -
6 @BUF 27-24 15 @PIT -
7 @DET 27-24 16 MIN -
8 NYJ 49-9 17 BAL -
9 @MIA 20-22 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN @ BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 290,1
RB Giovani Bernard 20 4-30
WR A.J. Green 6-100
WR Marvin Jones 4-60,1
TE Tyler Eifert 5-60
TE Jermaine Gresham
PK Mike Nugent 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The loss in Miami was a surprise but could be tied to looking at this game instead of preparing enough. The Bengals were on a four game winning streak until week nine. After this game is just a home game against the Browns and then the latest bye in the NFL. The Bengals not only are improved this year, the ultra-late bye is going to make them even better in the final weeks of the season.

QUARTERBACKS: After three straight big games, Andy Dalton settled down with no touchdowns and three interceptions with his 338 yards versus the Dolphins. Where he goes from here will be interesting since Dalton passed for 221 yards and no scores in Baltimore last year. And then in week 11 he faces the Browns who held him to a season low 206 yards and no scores back in week four. He scored 11 touchdowns over three weeks and those were not against the easiest of secondaries either.

RUNNING BACKS: Giovanni Bernard comes off his best game yet when he ran for 79 yards on nine carries and scored twice on the Dolphins while added four catches for 25. His weekly production is very inconsistent but at least he is having bigger games lately. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was also better than usual when he was given 21 carries to gain 72 yards. Green-Ellis has lost nearly all fantasy value though unless facing a weak rush defense. Bernard at least adds in receptions to help maintain at least moderate stats each week. Bernard suffered a rib injury that drove him late from the Dolphins game. I will assume that it will not preclude him from playing this week and update as needed.

Green-Ellis rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown in Baltimore last season.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Regardless of how well the rest of the offense is doing, A.J. Green's been on a nice run of four straight 100+ yard efforts. Marvin Jones scored in weeks six and seven before his breakout game against the Jets when he reeled off eight catches for 122 yards and four touchdowns. That sent the world to the waiver wire just in time to catch his four catches for 66 yards and no scores in Miami. Jones has added a consistent weapon to the offense and that in turn helps Green. Mohamed Sanu still hasn't scored this year and mostly drops passes at inopportune times. With Green maintaining great stats and Jones stepping up nicely, the offense will continue to be in all games.

Green caught five passes for 70 yards in Baltimore last year.

TIGHT ENDS: Marginal production is divided into two for both Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert. The emergence of Marvin Jones won't make this unit any more productive.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Ravens are #1 stopping running backs and they've only allowed one touchdown to the position all year. Several players managed to rack up decent rushing yardage but the scores are just never there. The best runners so far have all been big backs - Eddie Lacy, Fred Jackson and Le'Veon Bell. But C.J. Spiller found success against this defense so Bernard should produce moderate stats or better depending on his ribs. The Ravens have only played in three home games this year and allowed just one passing score that was thrown by Aaron Rodgers. This will be a lower scoring game particularly with the Ravens defense at home. Dalton, Bernard, Green-Ellis and Green are all moderate plays with not a lot of upside this week.

WHAT TO WATCH: The Bengals need to win a game like this if they think they can advance in the playoffs. Dalton doesn't have to be a star here to win but he does have to limit turnovers and mistakes.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 12 18 5 13 21 16
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 14 1 22 22 29 17

 

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 16-19 16 NE -
8 BYE WEEK 17 @CIN -
9 @CLE 18-24 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 270,2
WR Marlon Brown 4-60,1
WR Steve Smith 5-60
WR Torrey Smith 5-80
PK Justin Tucker 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Losing the last two games - both on the road against divisional opponents - only spotlighted the woes of the offense that cannot score touchdowns. The defense remains above average and has only given up about 11 points per home game but there's not enough firepower on the team to play catchup. Worrisome too is a rushing game that has already fallen to #29 in the league. This is yet another Super Bowl winner that deconstructed the next year.

QUARTERBACKS: Joe Flacco's been moderately successful but has been constantly been placed in passing situations. He scores in almost every game and more often than not throws for two touchdowns but never more. Flacco threw for over 300 yards on three occasions. Most of the losses have been by frustratingly little margins but they continue to pile up.

Flacco passed for 299 yards and two scores when the Bengals visited last year.

RUNNING BACKS: Ray Rice is like a race car that spent plenty of time in the winner's circle but now is just used to get groceries. Rice's decline this year seems so profound that it cannot be explained away with just blocking problems or offensive issues around him. He has truly been bad and comes off his second game of the year with only 17 rushing yards. Even his receiving yardage is so low that he doesn't merit more than a flex consideration knowing you won't get a score and you won't get more than about 50 or 60 total yards in most games. Bernard Pierce still takes about six runs per week but does even less with them.

Rice ran for 68 yards and two scores on the visiting Bengals last time.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The decent passing yards means that Torrey Smith is usually a solid play every week even if he's only notched one touchdown on the year. Smith is generally good for at least 60 yards and has twice topped 100 yards. Marlon Brown is less productive with catches and gains but has a team high five touchdowns including two just last week in Cleveland. This unit is nearly top ten from the collective yardage but the scores are light. Other than Brown, the Ravens have only thrown two scores to all other wideouts over the entire season.

TIGHT ENDS: No real fantasy value. Dallas Clark did have one big game at home against the Packers (4-81, TD) and even scores in Pittsburgh but only caught three passes for nine yards in that game. Last week it was down to just one catch for 18 yards and that was his second week with just a single catch.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Bengals have allowed multiple passing touchdowns to all but one road opponent and that was facing pretty light opponents like Brian Hoyer and Thad Lewis. They are very good against the run that the Ravens no longer have anyway. There should be decent to very good yardage here from Flacco but expected more than one pass touchdown is pretty optimistic based on everything to this point. Both Smith and Brown are moderate plays with upside at least for yardage. Clark has a shot at a touchdown in this game but he's been too inconsistent to merit a start. Back at home, it should be the same sort of stats from the Ravens that we have been seeing all year.

WHAT TO WATCH: Be nice if the Ravens could just score more touchdowns. They can run up and down the field but the scores are lacking and this is a divisional game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 22 29 11 22 12 18
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 8 6 12 7 11 20

WEEK 10 WAS at MIN (THU) DAL at NO JAC at TEN STL at IND
CIN at BAL HOU at ARI SEA at ATL MIA at TB (MON)
BUF at PIT DEN at SD OAK at NYG On Bye:
*UPDATED CAR at SF DET at CHI PHI at GB CLE, KC, NE, NYJ


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