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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 9
2010
TB at ATL MIA at BAL *NYG at SEA PIT at CIN
*NO at CAR NE at CLE KC at OAK DEN, JAC
CHI at BUF *SD at HOU *IND at PHI SF, STL
*Updated *NYJ at DET *ARI at MIN *DAL at GB TEN, WAS

Prediction: PIT 24, CIN 17

Was 2009 just a magic season for the Bengals and now they are just a 2-5 pumpkin again? The Bengals swept the Steelers last year, winning 23-20 on the road and 18-12 at home. But the tables have turned back again this year and the Steelers are keeping pace with the Ravens for the AFC North lead with a win here. This is a Monday night game so at least Terrell Owens will be looking forward to this.

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2)
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 W 23-22 16 CAR --
8 @NO L 10-20 17 @CLE --
9 @CIN -- - - -
Steelers Report | Statistics | Roster
PITTSBURGH at CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger - - 260,2
RB Rashard Mendenhall 70,1 10 -
TE Heath Miller - 30 -
WR Emmanuel Sanders - 20 -
WR Hines Ward - 90,1 -
WR Antwaan Randle El - 30 -
WR Mike Wallace - 80,1 -
PK Jeff Reed 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: Certainly no shame in losing a road game to the reigning NFL champs but the Saints played better than they had all season when they took down the Steelers and limited them to only ten points. Still no opponent has scored more than 22 points on the Steelers and this game is the end of a very daunting three week road trek. It gets much better with only three road games in the final eight weeks of the season.

QUARTERBACK: Ben Roethlisberger struggled along with the rest of the Steelers in New Orleans but he threw for multiple scores in his other two games since returning along with very healthy yardage. The Bengals defense is much less formidable this year and while they seemingly rank well, that stems from facing teams like CAR, CLE and TB who do not throw much or particularly well. Both Tom Brady and Matt Ryan posted three scores and healthy yardage on this defense.

Roethlisberger passed for 276 yards and a score in Cincy last year.

RUNNING BACKS: While he hasn't been exactly prolific in yardage with only two games over 100 rushing yards, at least Rashard Mendenhall has been a top scorer with six touchdowns on the season and around 70 or 80 yards per game. He rarely shares more than three carries with Isaac Redman but these last two weeks have also seen the Steelers make good on their pledge to lower his workload since he only had 15 carries in each while Roethlisberger passing took up the slack.

The Steelers rushed for 93 yards on 25 carries in Cincinnati last year. Willie Parker added a score via a reception.

The Bengals at home have not allowed more than 87 yards to a visiting running back but they allowed two touchdowns over the three games played in Cincy. This should be a standard game for Mendenhall with a good shot at a score and yet less than 100 rushing yards for the fifth game in a row.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Last week was a quiet one for the wideouts but the group had been performing very well with Roethlisberger back. Mike Wallace has a team high four receiving touchdowns while Hines Ward stands at three scores and both have healthy yardage in most games. Emmanuel Sanders is slow to step up though and Antwaan Randle El is rarely good for more than one catch. This is slanting towards a breakout season for Wallace but he'll need to show up in a game like this one.

Wallace led the Steelers with 102 yards on seven receptions in Cincy last season. Ward turned in 82 yards on four catches.

The Bengals were recently ravaged by Roddy White and this secondary is average at best. This should be a very nice spot to start both Ward and Wallace with each a good bet for yards and a score.

TIGHT ENDS: Heath Miller has one score this year and that was in a home game against the Browns. Otherwise he has been stuck around 30 yards per game even when facing weaker defenses. No reason here to expect more.

Miller settled for only 20 yards on five catches in Cincinnati last year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 25 14 15 28 10 3
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 11 21 20 17 11 24
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) PIT -14 7 5 -11 1 21


Cincinnati Bengals (2-5)
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NE L 24-38 10 @IND --
2 BAL W 15-10 11 BUF --
3 @CAR W 20-7 12 @NYJ --
4 @CLE L 20-23 13 NO --
5 TB L 21-24 14 @PIT --
6 Bye - 15 CLE --
7 @ATL L 32-39 16 SD --
8 MIA L 14-22 17 @BAL --
9 PIT -- - - -
Bengals Report | Statistics | Roster
CINCINNATI vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer - - 220,2
RB Cedric Benson 50 10 -
TE Jermaine Gresham - 30 -
WR Chad Ochocinco - 50 -
WR Terrell Owens - 80,1 -
WR Jordan Shipley - 40,1 -
PK Mike Nugent 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Bengals are on a four game losing streak and they are not even losing the games by a small margin lately. Most of the blame lies with a defense that allowed 22+ points in each of those four matchups and yet the offense is unable to keep pace with little more than passes to Terrell Owens in most games. Palmer has been productive in those games, but in the end never quite as accurate or productive as needed. And the Bengals just completed the easier half of their season.

QUARTERBACK: In fantasy terms, Carson Palmer has been very effective with multiple passing scores in each of the last four games and usually healthy yardage but he's also been throwing 36+ times in every week because they trail and much of what he has done came later in games. Palmer has not pulled out the wins much but he has been a pleasant surprise in fantasy terms.

Palmer passed for 183 yards and one score versus the visiting Steelers last year.

The Steelers have only allowed six passing scores in total this season and yet five different quarterbacks passed for 250+ yards against them. These games tend to be lower scoring so expect a downturn in Palmer's stats this week.

RUNNING BACKS: For one of the rare heavy use backs, Cedric Benson is less than impressive this year. He has not scored since week three and only once topped 81 rushing yards in a game. He has almost no role as a receiver so each week he makes only a marginal fantasy play. This week is even less likely to see any increase against the Steelers who have only given up two rushing touchdowns all year and no runner has topped 48 yards against them.

Benson rushed for 76 yards and one score when the Steelers visited in 2009.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Chad Ochocinco has been wildly erratic this season. He had two monster games on the road to NE and ATL and yet all other matchups have been scoreless and with minimal yardage. Terrell Owens has been the saving grace - such as it is - for the offense with a score in each of the last four games and solid yardage every week. Jordan Shipley has only been called on much in one game so far but turns in about three catches or so in most weeks. This unit has really been all about Owens.

Ochocinco only recorded five catches for 54 yards against the Steelers last year. Andre Caldwell scored once and had 52 yards on six catches.

There have only been five wide receivers to score against the Steelers and three of those came from the slot so Shipley has at least a shot at a better game this week. Owens is a must start because he has the confidence of Palmer and figures in so much each week. Ochocinco has yet to show up in a home game and facing the best defense yet is a tough place to expect him to change his mediocre ways.

TIGHT ENDS: Jermaine Gresham only has two scores on the year and rarely much yardage. The Steelers have allowed tight ends to prosper only for opponents who have no wide receivers such as Cleveland. No reason to start Gresham this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 9 24 4 24 4 19
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 6 2 6 18 21 5
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) CIN -3 -22 2 -6 17 -14

WEEK 9
2010
TB at ATL MIA at BAL NYG at SEA PIT at CIN
NO at CAR NE at CLE KC at OAK DEN, JAC
CHI at BUF SD at HOU IND at PHI SF, STL
  NYJ at DET ARI at MIN DAL at GB TEN, WAS
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