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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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Game Predictions Summary

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WEEK 2
2010
BAL at CIN* CHI at DAL PIT at TEN HOU at WAS
TB at CAR* PHI at DET* SEA at DEN* JAC at SD
BUF at GB ARI at ATL* STL at OAK* NYG at IND*
*Updated MIA at MIN* KC at CLE* NE at NYJ NO at SF*

Prediction: PIT 13, TEN 27

The Steelers come off an overtime win over the Falcons in but one of the many point-starved games of week one. In Tennessee, the Titans open with their second home game after slapping the Raiders around . Look for yet another one of those "points are at a premium" sort of games. The Steelers were only 3-5 in road games last year.

The Steelers opened 2009 with a 13-10 home win over the Titans.

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ATL W 15-9 10 NE --
2 @TEN -- 11 OAK --
3 @TB -- 12 @BUF --
4 BAL -- 13 @BAL --
5 Bye - 14 CIN --
6 CLE -- 15 NYJ --
7 @MIA -- 16 CAR --
8 @NO -- 17 @CLE --
9 @CIN -- - - -
Steelers Report | Statistics | Roster
PITTSBURGH at TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Dennis Dixon - - 250,1
RB Rashard Mendenhall 50 20 -
TE Heath Miller - 50 -
WR Hines Ward - 80,1 -
WR Antwaan Randle El - 10 -
WR Mike Wallace - 70 -
PK Jeff Reed 2 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Steelers opened with a win and the defense looked much improved with Troy Polamalu back in black but the offense struggled against the visiting Falcons. To make matters worse, the Steelers not only have RT Willie Colon already on injured reserve, but they just lost LT Max Starks for a month with a high ankle sprain. The Steelers will likely need to move Flozell Adams over to the left so he can be offsides on Dennis Dixon's blind side. Starting the season with major line problems is going to make a big difference starting this week.

QUARTERBACK: Dennis Dixon debuted last week and passed for 236 yards and no scores along with one interception and three sacks. With Starks out, those sack totals should be rising. The most important thing that Dixon did against the Falcons was not to make many mistakes. He found Hines Ward for over 100 yards worth of passes and was more of a game manager in a tilt that had 31 rushes and only 26 passes. That won't likely be enough this week.

Roethlisberger passed for 363 yards and one score versus the visiting Titans last year.

The Titans secondary was their weakness in 2009 and their run defense was very solid - especially at home. But the Titans are healthy as well to start the season and had no problem holding Jason Campbell at bay last week. That all makes Dixon an unattractive play this week. Whatever he gets above a marginal showing will come in trash time if it exists. He may not make it that far if the line cannot protect him.

RUNNING BACKS: Rashard Mendenhall won the game last week when he burst through the line for a 50-yard touchdown run in overtime but he only had 70 yards on 21 carries up until that point for a 3.3 yards per carry average. At home. Against the Falcons. The offensive line problems are a definite negative here and Mendenhall ran well enough when he could get past the line. He was limited to only two catches though and it was surprising to see Isaac Redman get six runs in the game with most in the first half.

The Steelers as a team only gained 36 yards on 23 carries against the Titans in 2009. Mendenhall goes against a defense that surprisingly allowed Darren McFadden to gain 95 yards on 18 carries but that was in a blowout. Expect lesser results with Mendenhall in a game that the TItans will not have the luxury of taking lightly.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Dixon did a nice job connecting to Hines Ward (6-108) and even Mike Wallace (2-62) though he threw few passes to the wide receivers. This week has to be another good effort with the wideouts to remain in the game and Hines Ward (8-103) and Santonio Holes (9-131, 1 TD) had big efforts against the Titans last season. Wallace only had 32 yards on three catches as the slot man in that game.

This week the Steelers are going to have to throw and that goes directly to the starting wideouts. I like Ward for plenty of possession catches and Wallace for a strong showing in yardage along with a score. Antwaan Randle El only had two catches for eight yards last week and the slot has not been in the game plan so far now that Wallace has moved up. Consider both Ward and Wallace as decent starts this week.

TIGHT ENDS: Heath Miller only had 40 yards on four catches last week but that was second best on the team and he'll need to come into play more this week. Miller turned in eight receptions for 64 yards versus the Titans last year. Expect at least a decent showing here by Miller though his numbers may be impacted if he has to stay in and block more.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 24 8 18 20 6 20
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 16 29 2 19 23 12


Tennessee Titans (1-0)
Homefield: LP Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 OAK W 38-13 10 @MIA --
2 PIT -- 11 WAS --
3 @NYG -- 12 @HOU --
4 DEN -- 13 JAC --
5 @DAL -- 14 IND --
6 @JAC -- 15 HOU --
7 PHI -- 16 @KC --
8 @SD -- 17 @IND --
9 Bye - - - -
Titans Report | Statistics | Roster
TENNESSEE vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Vince Young 30 - 170,1
RB Chris Johnson 110,1 30 -
TE Bo Scaife - 40 -
WR Justin Gage - 30,1 -
WR Nate Washington - 50 -
WR Kenny Britt - 20 -
PK Rob Bironas 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Big win last week in one of the few games that played out to an expected blowout. Chris Johnson is running well and even Vince Young had one of his best ever passing games. The schedule gets tougher though starting this week when three of the next four games come on the road in New York, Dallas and Jacksonville.The Titans are catching the Steelers at a very opportune time thanks to injuries and suspensions and should get away with a solid win here that normally would be much tougher.

I like a defensive score in this game.

QUARTERBACK: Vince Young opened the season with a bang when he completed 13 of 17 passes for 154 yards and two scores. He had a passer rating of 142.8 for the highest of his career. Having Chris Johnson around tends to soften up the defenses and at least this once Young took advantage. It remains an aberration for now though and this week won't be nearly as efficient.

Collins was the starter against the Steelers when he had 244 yards and one score. Expect Young to turn in a low stat game that may see one passing score but not much in yardage regardless.

RUNNING BACKS: Could this be the one? For 12 straight games back through last year, Chris Johnson has topped 100 rushing yards. But the Steelers are always tough against the run and just limited Michael Turner to 42 yards last week. Johnson only gained 57 yards on 15 carries in Pittsburgh last year. The question with Johnson is if he is going to break a long gainer which for 12 straight games has been "yup". Johnson broke off a 76-yard scoring run last week to salvage his stats in one play and the reality is that he really does always get that one long run or more.

Johnson is an obvious fantasy start but he will have to get a long gainer to maintain his lock on the three digit stats. Johnson should end up with a few more receptions this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: While Young had a nice day passing and Nate Washington (3-88, 1 TD) turned in a 56-yard scoring catch, Kenny Britt failed to be thrown any passes and no other wideouts had any catches. This week will be another game that will be challenging for the wide receivers but the Steelers on the road will play a less fierce brand of defense and what should be a solid lead by the Titans results in more running and less throwing anyway.

There is not safe play here in any week, let alone when they play the Steelers defense.

TIGHT ENDS: Bo Scaife only recorded three receptions for 37 yards but he scored a touchdown to equal his total from 2009. He remains nothing more than a bye week filler who opened last year in Pittsburgh with five catches for 48 yards.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 13 3 23 6 7 11
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 12 2 17 16 28 14

WEEK 2
2010
BAL at CIN CHI at DAL PIT at TEN HOU at WAS
TB at CAR PHI at DET SEA at DEN JAC at SD
BUF at GB ARI at ATL STL at OAK NYG at IND
  MIA at MIN KC at CLE NE at NYJ NO at SF
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