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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 5
2010
*TB at CIN GB at WAS *STL at DET *PHI at SF
*ATL at CLE JAC at BUF *NO at ARI *MIN at NYJ
*NYG at HOU *DEN at BAL *SD at OAK MIA, NE
*UPDATED *KC at IND *CHI at CAR TEN at DAL PIT, SEA

Prediction: DEN 13, BAL 23

Update: Knowshon Moreno was limited in practice on Wednesday and then was held out on Thursday. He has not been ruled out of the game this week yet but I won't add him into the projections without a far more favorable expectation.

Update #2: Moreno has been ruled out.

The Broncos come off an upset win in Tennessee while the Ravens just sneaked past the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Denver remains knotted with the Chargers and both trail the Chiefs while the AFC North has both the Steelers and Ravens tied for the lead. This should be a fun game but one that the Ravens win with some ease.

The Ravens won 30-7 when the Broncos visited in week eight of last year.

Denver Broncos (2-2)
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @JAC L 17-24 10 KC --
2 SEA W 31-14 11 @SD --
3 IND L 13-27 12 STL --
4 @TEN W 26-20 13 @KC --
5 @BAL -- 14 @ARI --
6 NYJ -- 15 @OAK --
7 OAK -- 16 HOU --
8 @SF -- 17 SD --
9 Bye - - - -
Broncos Report | Statistics | Roster
DENVER at BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Orton - - 230,1
RB Laurence Maroney 30 20 -
RB Correll Buckhalter 20 20 -
WR Jabbar Gaffney - 40 -
WR Eddie Royal - 50,1 -
WR Brandon Lloyd - 60 -
PK Matt Prater 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: Nice win in Tennessee last week prevented a 1-3 start to the season but these next two matchups in Baltimore and then hosting the Jets will be a huge challenge for a team with almost no rushing game and that relies almost exclusively on the pass. Problem is that the Broncos have not met any defense remotely as good as the next two and yet are only 2-2 on the season.

QUARTERBACK: This should be the week of change. Something has to give. After four games, Kyle Orton has never passed for less than 295 yards and averages 355 yards per game. He has six touchdowns against only three interceptions. But the Ravens have yet to allow more than 167 pass yards and there has only been one passing touchdown allowed. Just one. But take into account too that the Ravens have only faced Mark Sanchez, Carson Palmer, Seneca Wallace and Charlie Batch.

Orton passed for 152 yards and no scores against the Ravens last year.

The Ravens are the best secondary that Orton has faced, but he's also the best quarterback they have defended as well. Figure on one score and decent yardage. Chances are slim for the running game to help out so Orton should be throwing almost all the time,

RUNNING BACKS: There is a lot of nothing going on here and even that is divided up into a rotation. Laurence Maroney has added nothing with two games that totaled 23 carries for 29 yards. That's really not that great. Knowshon Moreno has been out since week two with a bad hamstring but he was no treat while he played (though better than Maroney). I will project for Maroney and Correll Buckhalter until Moreno is certain to play.

Moreno and Buckhalter combined for 18 carries for 55 yards and one score on the Ravens last year. The Ravens at home are not going to be very generous - no reason to start any Broncos running back this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The problem here is one of consistency. Brandon Lloyd has been the best with three games over 100 yards and two scores but he had a bad game in week two when Demaryius Thomas had his one decent showing. Jabbar Gaffney is like a yo-yo with two good games and two bad ones sandwiched on either side of each good game. Eddie Royal turned in three very nice efforts and yet only managed 23 yards in week three. So far one or two of these wideouts have turned in big efforts in every game this year. It is almost never the same guy week to week.

That is complicated more against a Ravens secondary that has only allowed one passing score and that ended up with a tight end. No wideout has gained more than 58 yards against the Ravens. I am projecting based on the trends of slot receivers and split ends having more success but the confidence is low and this is not an attractive matchup.

No receiver had more than 43 yards versus the Ravens last season.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 4 22 1 30 5 29
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 1 10 2 3 27 13
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) DEN -3 -12 1 -27 22 -16


Baltimore Ravens (3-1)
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYJ W 10-9 10 @ATL --
2 @CIN L 10-15 11 @CAR --
3 CLE W 24-17 12 TB --
4 @PIT W 17-14 13 PIT --
5 DEN -- 14 @HOU --
6 @NE -- 15 NO --
7 BUF -- 16 @CLE --
8 Bye - 17 CIN --
9 MIA --   - -
Ravens Report | Statistics | Roster
BALTIMORE vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco - - 250,2
RB Ray Rice 80 20 -
TE Todd Heap - 40 -
WR Anquan Boldin - 100,1 -
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh - 30,1 -
WR Derrick Mason - 30 -
PK Billy Cundiff 3 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Ravens come off a huge win in Pittsburgh that not only ties them for the division lead but gives them the tie breaker over the Steelers with second meeting left to play back in Baltimore.With a trip to New England waiting on the other side, the schedule is not easing up but these Ravens have been up to the task so far. This week is only the second home game and the first against a non-divisional opponent.

QUARTERBACK: Joe Flacco still has not made any big strides this season in the passing game despite now having three viable targets for wideouts. He has scored in each of the last three weeks but has only once had more than one touchdown and still has yet to exceed 262 yards this season. What bodes well for this week is that the only game where Flacco generated bigger stats - three touchdowns and no turnovers - was in the only previous home game.

Flacco passed for 175 yards and one score on the Broncos last season.

The Broncos have allowed at least one passing touchdown to each opponent and wildly varying yardage depending on the opposing quarterback. Figure Flacco to be safe with one score and 250 yards but with upside to do more this week. The Broncos are weakest against the wideouts where the Ravens now have a strength.

RUNNING BACKS: The Ravens went with Willis McGahee more last week and he gained 39 yards on 14 carries and scored once against the Steelers. Ray Rice only had eight runs for 20 yards and played second fiddle to McGahee for the first time this season. Rice has been nursing a sore knee and the coaching staff looked to protect him. Look for Rice to reclaim his role as the primary this week and let McGahee return to goal line and relief duty. Rice has yet to score this season or have a truly big game. He could be at his lowest point of the year after three road games against the Jets, Bengals and Steelers have depressed his stats. Better games are coming and should start this week.

Rice rumbled for 84 yards and a score on 23 carries against the Broncos in 2009 and added five catches for 24 yards. The Broncos have yet to allow a rushing score to a running back and held Chris Johnson to only 53 yards last week in Tennessee. But expect a better showing this week by Rice and McGahee that should at least see an increase in yardage.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Derrick Mason comes off his best game of the year with 80 yards on six catches in Pittsburgh. Anquan Boldin only produced 68 yards on seven receptions while being doubled the entire game and T.J. Houshmandzadeh got a "shut up" touchdown after publicly whining about his small role in the offense. It was good to see all three wideouts involved and in perhaps the toughest venue for receivers last week. The Broncos are much less successful at stopping wideouts with Champ Bailey nursing a bad heel and Andre Goodman inactive last week on the other corner. Bailey should improve and would normally match on Mason. That should leave Boldin with a nice showing this week like his 142 yards and three scores in the previous home game.

Mason caught four passes for 40 yards and one score on the Broncos last year.

TIGHT ENDS:Todd Heap just chugs along with about four catches every week for around 40 yards and never scoring. It helps the offense, just not so much a fantasy team.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 23 26 13 21 26 32
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 25 2 25 20 16 19
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) BAL 2 -24 12 -1 -10 -13

WEEK 5
2010
TB at CIN GB at WAS STL at DET PHI at SF
ATL at CLE JAC at BUF NO at ARI MIN at NYJ
NYG at HOU DEN at BAL SD at OAK MIA, NE
  KC at IND CHI at CAR TEN at DAL PIT, SEA
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