FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 16 ARI at SEA DEN at HOU NE at BAL PIT at GB
CHI at PHI IND at KC NO at CAR TB at STL
CLE at NYJ MIN at CIN NYG at DET TEN at JAC
*UPDATED DAL at WAS MIA at BUF OAK at SD ATL at SF (MON)

Prediction: PIT 24, GB 27 (Line: GB by 7)

Update: Aaron Rodgers is already considered out this week. Eddie Lacy was held out of practices for two days to rest him but he's fine and will play with no limitations. There may be snow for this game though likely before it happens.

The Steelers are 6-8 and already out of the running but still playing as evidenced with their win over the Bengals last week. The 7-6-1 Packers remain in the hunt for the NFC North title with their amazing comeback win over the Cursed Cowboys. A win by the Packers here means the season finale in Chicago is for all those marbles.

1 TEN 9-16 10 BUF 23-10
2 @CIN 10-20 11 DET 37-27
3 CHI 23-40 12 @CLE 27-11
4 @MIN 27-34 13 @BAL 20-22
5 BYE WEEK 14 MIA 28-34
6 @NYJ 19-6 15 CIN 30-20
7 BAL 19-16 16 @GB -
8 @OAK 18-21 17 CLE -
9 @NE 31-55 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT @ GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 250,2
RB Le'Veon Bell 90,1 5-30
RB LeGarrette Blount 40
WR Antonio Brown 3-110,1
WR Lance Moore 4-30
TE Heath Miller 4-20
PK Shaun Suisham 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Steelers took down the Bengals on a weekend where five of the division leaders were upset. But the Steelers are only 2-5 on the road and come off what has to be the most satisfying win of the year. The Steelers need to retool their defense in the offseason along with the offensive line but otherwise the offense has made good strides this season that can carry over to 2014.

QUARTERBACKS: Ben Roethlisberger still has thrown a touchdown in every game this year and currently stands at 25 scores versus only 11 interceptions. Even his notoriously common propensity to be sacked waned greatly over the last five weeks that saw him dumped only five times total. Like most quarterbacks, he's tended to come up with less production in road games this year.

RUNNING BACKS: Le'Veon Bell still has not topped 100 rushing yards in a game but he's been good for around 90 total yards almost every week. In more recent games, he is now getting between five and ten receptions as well. Bell scored six times on the season and while he's not been a major difference yet, he has been the best back for the Steelers in many years and allowed them to settle on just one runner.

WIDE RECEIVERS: If nothing else, this year has proven that Antonio Brown is up to the task of being the #1 wideout and scored eight times this season - five times in just the last five weeks. He tops 80 yards in at least half his games and broke 100 yards four different times though all were at home. Emmanuel Sanders stands at five touchdowns on the year but rarely brings in more than around 60 yards despite catching five or more passes in most of his games. Even Jerricho Cotchery scored nine touchdowns though with minimal yardage in almost every game. This is one of the most productive sets of wideouts in the NFL.

TIGHT ENDS: He's lagged 2012 significantly but Heath Miller is still a minor factor. He scored eight times last year but only once for 2013. Miller is consistent around 40 yards per week and can get up to 80 on occasion but remains well below fantasy starter consideration.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Packers have always allowed a passing touchdown to visitors this year but at home have been much less accommodating. This game also could turn depending on whether Aaron Rodgers can play though early returns are that he won't. The Packers are only average in all categories of defense but are better in Green Bay much like how the Steelers are mostly average but are worse on the road. This will be a cold game with a chance of snow. You should still consider Roethlisberger, Bell and Brown as very good starts but leave the rest alone since they'll offer too much risk of a bad game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 10 29 2 26 15 26
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 22 21 23 19 11 24

 

1 @SF 28-34 10 PHI 13-27
2 WAS 38-20 11 @NYG 13-27
3 @CIN 30-34 12 MIN 26-26
4 BYE WEEK 13 @DET 10-40
5 DET 22-9 14 ATL 22-21
6 @BAL 19-17 15 @DAL 37-36
7 CLE 31-13 16 PIT -
8 @MIN 44-31 17 @CHI -
9 CHI 20-27 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
GB vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Flynn 250,1
RB Eddie Lacy 100,2 2-20
WR Jarrett Boykin 2-30
WR Jordy Nelson 6-90
TE Andrew Quarless 3-30
PK Mason Crosby 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Two wins by one point each and suddenly the Packers still have life. This week will be hard enough without Aaron Rodgers but the finale in Chicago is almost certain a loss without him. It is somewhat encouraging to see Matt Flynn stage a comeback and throw four second half touchdowns in Dallas but then again, it was in Dallas. At least this one will be at home.

QUARTERBACKS: Like last week, Aaron Rodgers still holds out hope that he will be cleared to play and to be certain - any loss and it doesn't matter next week. There is no doubt that he won't be 100% by game time the question is if he is good enough to play and that won't be made official until the very last minute. That all said, Matt Flynn is practicing to start and is the expected direction again this week.

RUNNING BACKS: Eddie Lacy left Dallas with his best game to date - 141 yards and a score on 21 carries and 30 more yards on four receptions. His production has been inconsistent with the odd, almost inexplicably bad game but at home he is almost always good for around 90 total yards and seven of his eight scores came in just the last nine games.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Playing the Cowboys is always good for wide receivers and Jordy Nelson scored for the first time since week eight when Rodgers was still playing. James Jones also scored though he only had 49 yards on three catches for one of his lower yardage efforts. Even Jarrett Boykin reappeared with 83 yards on six catches after near invisibility for the previous two games. Flynn was less effective in his only other home game but is still getting up to speed.

TIGHT ENDS: Brandon Bostick is out with a foot injury but Andrew Quarless suddenly was added to the game plan and posted back-to-back games with six catches for 66 yards and one score. Both times. He was little used until week 14 but facing weak defenses the last two weeks brought him into use.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Steelers defense is hard to gauge because they played against so many bad teams that it often made them look better than they were. Now where a Flynn or a less than 100% Rodgers fits into it is only even harder to forecast. This much you can bank on - the Steelers are no where near as good against the run as they once were. They've allowed many big games and four different backs even scored twice on them. The same for the secondary that has been good at times but also allowed monster games to Calvin Johnson, Josh Gordon, Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson. Figure Lacy as a very strong start this week and at last Nelson to have enough upside to merit considerations here.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 14 17 4 19 4 17
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 9 18 11 13 29 12

WEEK 16 ARI at SEA DEN at HOU NE at BAL PIT at GB
CHI at PHI IND at KC NO at CAR TB at STL
CLE at NYJ MIN at CIN NYG at DET TEN at JAC
*UPDATED DAL at WAS MIA at BUF OAK at SD ATL at SF (MON)


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