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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 12
2010
NE at DET TB at BAL PHI at CHI *MIA at OAK
NO at DAL *JAC at NYG *MIN at WAS STL at DEN
CIN at NYJ *CAR at CLE *GB at ATL *SD at IND
*UPDATED TEN at HOU PIT at BUF *KC at SEA SF at ARI

Prediction: PIT 24, BUF 20

The Steelers are tied with the Ravens for the AFC North lead and facing a 2-8 team means taking advantage of an easier win. But the next week is in Baltimore for probably the game of the year so the Steelers have to avoid looking past this game all together. The Bills have won their last two games.

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3)
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ATL W 15-9 10 NE L 26-39
2 @TEN W 19-11 11 OAK W 35-3
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 W 27-21 - - -
Steelers Report | Statistics | Roster
PITTSBURGH at BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger - - 190,2
RB Rashard Mendenhall 100,1 10 -
TE Heath Miller - 20 -
WR Emmanuel Sanders - 20 -
WR Hines Ward - 40,1 -
WR Mike Wallace - 90,1 -
PK Shaun Suisham 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: Little bit of payback to the Raiders last week after they came into Pittsburgh in 2009 and left with a win. But that still only makes the Steelers 2-2 over the last four weeks with the Ravens, and Jets left to play. Ending up against the Panthers and Browns should be beneficial but it all comes down to winning in week 13 or taking a wildcard. Having lost to the Ravens earlier, even a win in Baltimore is no guarantee.

QUARTERBACK: The last two home games were great with Ben Roethlisberger throwing for healthy yardage and three scores each but the three road games he has played this year have only totaled three touchdowns and two ended with less than 200 passing yards.

The Bills have been rather giving even when at home with eight touchdowns allowed over the last four games played there though the yardage almost always remains below 200 because teams are just rushing against one of the worst run defenses in the league.

RUNNING BACKS: Rashard Mendenhall has been light on the big yardage games with only once topping 100 rush yards in a game and he is rarely used as a receiver much. But Mendenhall has scored eight rushing touchdowns already and now faces a defense that has given up nine scores and plenty of yardage for those willing to pursue it. Mendenhall gets the benefit of almost no sharing of carries this week.

Look for a nice game here with at least one rushing score and healthy yardage. If he only would double as a receiver, he could be so much more.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Hines Ward returned from missing a game because of a concussion when his consecutive catch record went down in flames against the Patriots. Ward has been good with four scores but his role as a possession receiver continues to shrink. He has only turned in three games with more than 35 yards all year and has been particularly unproductive in the last month.

Meanwhile Mike Wallace only gets better and better. He scored in each of the last three weeks and topped 110 yards in each game. He has eight scores on the year and four efforts that went over 100 yards. Wallace has taken over as the primary receiver here and is embarking on what should be several years of elite stats.

Emmanuel Sanders has done little as a rookie but he too is coming on and has scored in each of the last two weeks though he has never exceeded 41 yards in any game.

The Bills have been better against wideouts than most positions but their #31 rank against tight ends really doesn't apply. I like both scores to end up here for either starting wideout. Likely no big game this week but certainly little chance of a bad one. The Bills allow more than one passing score in most weeks.

TIGHT ENDS: Heath Miller gets to face one of the worst defenses against tight ends but the Steelers have largely phased him out of the game plan aside from two or three small catches per week. He has only one touchdown and that was six weeks ago.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 18 15 10 26 17 5
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 18 29 11 31 28 14
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) PIT 0 14 1 5 11 9


Buffalo Bills (2-8)
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
AstroTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIA L 10-15 10 DET W 14-12
2 @GB L 7-34 11 @CIN W 49-31
3 @NE L 30-38 12 PIT --
4 NYJ L 14-38 13 @MIN --
5 JAC L 26-36 14 CLE --
6 Bye - 15 @MIA --
7 @BAL L 34-37 16 NE --
8 @KC L 10-13 17 @NYJ --
9 CHI L 19-22 - - -
Bills Report | Statistics | Roster
BUFFALO vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick - - 250,2
RB Fred Jackson 50 20 -
WR Lee Evans - 50,1 -
WR Steve Johnson - 80,1 -
WR Donald Jones - 50 -
PK Rian Lindell 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The best bet for the Bills this week is to catch the Steelers napping when the game starts. The Bills may only be 2-8 but they have won their last two games and then lost their last three by only a field goal every time. The Bills could pull off an upset here if the Steelers do not prepare enough. Sadly, the Bills have a fairly brutal schedule for the rest of season so a trap game is about all they can hope to happen.

QUARTERBACK: Ryan Fitzpatrick bounced back from his hand getting stepped on against the Lions and posted one of his best games of the year when he threw for 316 yards and four scores in Cincinnati. That ended his string of three straight weeks of single touchdown games and gives him 18 touchdowns in just eight games played along with three games of 300 yards or more.

The Steelers defense has only allowed 11 passing scores this year but that includes four in just the last two road games. Seven opponents have passed for 250+ yards and the rushing game is certain to be suppressed this week. Fitzpatrick should end up with decent yardage and one score but it could end up as two.

RUNNING BACKS: C.J. Spiller may return this week from his hamstring injury but he's been such a colossal nonfactor that it is hardly worth noticing. Fred Jackson has really taken advantage of his bigger workload against weaker defenses and rolled up two straight games with over 100 rushing yards and a score. All Spiller does is detract from what Jackson could do.

This week that is likely to not be much against the #1 defense against running backs. They have only allowed three runners to score all year and and only one player rushed for more than 54 yards. Forget about Jackson this week. Forget about Spiller until next year.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Slot receiver Donald Jones caught five passes for 70 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals last week but that was his first game of any note. His first two starts only netted him two catches for 28 yards. Lee Evans has been limited to being a possession type receiver and has not scored in four games along with only turning in moderate yards. But Steve Johnson has become a star as a rookie and may even need to be in that conversation about rookie of the year. Johnson has already scored nine times and comes off a three touchdown effort against the Bengals.

Steve Johnson has to be started every week and even against tough defenses has normally produced a score. The second score projected could end up here or with a running back. I'll give it to Lee Evans with low confidence.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 12 24 5 31 30 28
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 12 1 14 23 16 10
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) BUF 0 -23 9 -8 -14 -18

WEEK 12
2010
NE at DET TB at BAL PHI at CHI MIA at OAK
NO at DAL JAC at NYG MIN at WAS STL at DEN
CIN at NYJ CAR at CLE GB at ATL SD at IND
  TEN at HOU PIT at BUF KC at SEA SF at ARI
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