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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 7
2010
PHI at TEN* STL at TB BUF at BAL MIN at GB*
CIN at ATL SF at CAR* ARI at SEA* NYG at DAL*
CLE at NO* WAS at CHI* OAK at DEN* DET, HOU
*Updated PIT at MIA JAC at KC* NE at SD* IND, NYJ

Prediction: PIT 24, MIA 13

The Steelers are atop the AFC North since the Ravens lost and hit the road to Miami with a 2-0 road record. The Dolphins come off a squeaker over the Packers and are only 3-2 and trail the Jets by two games in the AFC East. Oddly enough, the Fins are 0-2 at home.

The Steelers won 30-24 in Miami during week 17 last season.

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1)
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ATL W 15-9 10 NE --
2 @TEN W 19-11 11 OAK --
3 @TB W 38-13 12 @BUF --
4 BAL L 14-17 13 @BAL --
5 Bye - 14 CIN --
6 CLE W 28-10 15 NYJ --
7 @MIA -- 16 CAR --
8 @NO -- 17 @CLE --
9 @CIN -- - - -
Steelers Report | Statistics | Roster
PITTSBURGH at MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger - - 240,2
RB Rashard Mendenhall 70,1 20 -
TE Heath Miller - 50,1 -
WR Hines Ward - 50,1 -
WR Emmanuel Sanders - 30 -
WR Mike Wallace - 70 -
PK Jeff Reed 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Steelers got Ben Roethlisberger back last week but his presence wasn't really needed to take down the visiting Browns. But with three road games in a row facing them, the Steelers will be glad to get some balance back into their offense. The Steelers defense is #1 in points allowed by a large margin, only giving up 12 points per game on average. Pumping up the passing game only makes this team even harder to beat.

QUARTERBACK: It was only one game back and it was only the Browns visiting but Steelers fans (and fantasy owners) were happy to see Ben Roethlisberger return with his 257 passing yards and three scores. He looked sharp and had no problem connecting with his receivers which no longer include Santonio Holmes. First game - Mike Wallace gets 90 yards and a score and it's "Santonio Who?"

Roethlisberger passed for 230 yards and three touchdowns in Miami last season.

The Dolphins have only allowed six passing touchdowns and three were by Mark Sanchez but this has been a good secondary that held Aaron Rodgers to only 313 yards and one score (without two of his favorite receivers) and Tom Brady only threw for one score and 153 yards but the Fins were massacred by the Pats anyway. Expect a decent game here by Big Ben but two scores are likely his upper limit.

RUNNING BACKS: Rashard Mendenhall was already on a hot streak before Roethlisberger showed up and has five touchdowns on the season. Last week versus the Browns, Mendenhall gained 84 yards on 27 carries and scored once. The only problem with Mendenhall is that he is on pace to gain around 370 carries this year and the team wants him to run a bit less to save him for the post season. WIth the addition of Roethlisberger, Mendenhall should hopefully be more consistent with a few receptions each week. Mendenhall suffered a helmet-to-helmet hit last week but is not expected to be affected by it.

Mendenhall gained 94 yards on 20 carries in Miami last season.

The Dolphins have only been average against the run and the Steelers will feature Mendenhall. Expect one touchdown run and decent yardage.

WIDE RECEIVERS: In his first week back, Roethlisberger found all four wide receivers and threw touchdown passes to both Mike Wallace (3-90) and Hines Ward (5-54). The rookie Emmanuel Sanders even had his first work of the year with two receptions for 37 yards and will overtake Antwaan Randle El in the slot sooner than later. Both Sanders and Wallace offer speed to the passing game.

Ward (8-61) was the lead receiver in Miami but both MIke Wallace (2-64) and Santonio Holmes (1-5) scored a touchdown.

The Dolphins have only allowed three receivers to score and Greg Jennings just last week was the first opponent to top 100 yards against them. I like one touchdown to this unit and that should favor Hines Ward slightly but no receiver should end up with a big game.

TIGHT ENDS: After four games of mediocrity, Heath Miller had a season best two catches for 50 yards and one score against the Browns as Big Ben reacquainted himself with one of his favorite targets. The Dolphins have been soft against tight ends this year and Miller should be in line for a second nice game.

Miller caught five passed for 56 yards and one score in Miami last season.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 28 11 18 28 15 1
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 11 14 11 22 16 20
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) PIT -17 3 -7 -6 1 19


Miami Dolphins (3-2)
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BUF W 15-10 10 TEN --
2 @MIN W 14-10 11 CHI --
3 NYJ L 23-31 12 @OAK --
4 NE L 14-41 13 CLE --
5 Bye - 14 @NYJ --
6 @GB W 23-20 15 BUF --
7 PIT -- 16 DET --
8 @CIN -- 17 @NE --
9 @BAL -- - - -
Dolphins Report | Statistics | Roster
MIAMI vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Henne - - 230,1
RB Ricky Williams 30 10 -
RB Ronnie Brown 40 20 -
TE Anthony Fasano - 20,1 -
WR Brandon Marshall - 70 -
WR Brian Hartline - 30 -
WR Davone Bess - 50 -
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Dolphins come off a nice win in Green Bay thanks in no small part to rampant injuries to the Packers and now have a brutal four game stretch ahead. Losing to both the Jets and Patriots in Miami means the Dolphins are even further behind than their 3-2 record suggests. These next four weeks may be too much to maintain their standing in the AFC East and the Fins have to win all favored games to hope for a winning record.

QUARTERBACK: Chad Henne has quieted the whispers for now with three straight games of two touchdowns and twice exceeding 300 yards but he has also picked up an interception problem that may amplify this week. Henne has made strides in using Brandon Marshall heavily but weeks like this will demand more diversity in the passing attack.

Henne only threw for 140 yards and one score against the Steelers last year.

The Steelers have only allowed three passing scores this year and never more than one per opponent. Henne will do well enough to thrown that one touchdown and top 200 passing yards. Both teams are going to spend time trying to establish the run and that will make for a lower scoring game with fewer plays.

RUNNING BACKS: The intention to return to a more run-heavy attack translated into about ten more carries than normal last week. Ronnie Brown had 19 runs but only gained 73 yards while his previous games always had around a dozen carries. Ricky Williams went from around ten carries per game to 13 and he ended with 64 yards but both backs were reduced to only one short reception. The Dolphins only have one rushing score on the year and no runner with more than 80 rush yards in any game.

The Steelers come in with their #2 ranked defense that has only given up two touchdowns to running backs and never more than 42 yards to a runner. No runner has more than 42 yards. That includes Michael Turner, Chris Johnson and Ray Rice. This is a good week to bench your Miami running backs who have never been more than marginally productive in any matchup.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Brandon Marshall has two games with ten catches and 120+ yards but those sandwich a 50 yard effort against the visiting Patriots. Davone Bess has scored in each of the last two weeks though he has yet to break 100 yards this year. Bess led receivers with 85 yards and one score against the Steelers last year but only two wideouts have manage to score on the Steelers and only Roddy White has truly had even a decent game against this secondary. Marshall should end with at least moderate yardage since he gets up to 17 passes each week but the Steelers should be able to hold him at bay. Bess will have a moderate game as well and only because the defense is mostly watching for Marshall.

TIGHT ENDS: Anthony Fasano has been inconsistently used this year but does have a score in two of the last three games. and he is being targeted more in the tougher games. The Steelers are weaker against tight ends only in a relative way but with Marshall and Bess concerning the secondary, I like Fasano to score yet again this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 15 24 9 25 19 19
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 7 2 6 18 9 4
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) MIA -8 -22 -3 -7 -10 -15

WEEK 7
2010
PHI at TEN STL at TB BUF at BAL MIN at GB
CIN at ATL SF at CAR ARI at SEA NYG at DAL
CLE at NO WAS at CHI OAK at DEN DET, HOU
  PIT at MIA JAC at KC NE at SD IND, NYJ
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