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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 14
2010
IND at TEN *NE at CHI *TB at WAS *KC at SD
*CIN at PIT *CLE at BUF *SEA at SF DEN at ARI
ATL at CAR *NYG at MIN STL at NO PHI at DAL
*Updated GB at DET OAK at JAC MIA at NYJ *BAL at HOU

Prediction: CIN 10, PIT 27

Update: The passing could be impacted by expected snow in this game though the temperature will only be right around freezing. A cross wind could be a minor factor at 12 to 13 mph.

This is a rematch of week nine when the Steelers won 27-21 in Cincinnati. The Bengals have lost their last nine games while the Steelers are 9-3 and atop of the AFC North by one game thanks to beating the Ravens last week. There is a chance of snow showers in this game.

Cincinnati Bengals (2-10)
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NE L 24-38 10 @IND L 17-23
2 BAL W 15-10 11 BUF L 31-49
3 @CAR W 20-7 12 @NYJ L 10-26
4 @CLE L 20-23 13 NO L 30-34
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 L 21-27 - - -
Bengals Report | Statistics | Roster
CINCINNATI at PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer - - 260,1
RB Cedric Benson 40 20 -
TE Jermaine Gresham - 30 -
WR Chad Ochocinco - 70 -
WR Terrell Owens - 60 -
WR Jordan Shipley - 40,1 -
PK Clint Stitser 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: Despite the apparent futility, the Bengals are not giving up and came within four points of the Saints last week. But Terrell Owens is squawking about the play calling and the Bengals hit the road where they have only won once - against the Panthers. There are no changes planned to any of the team or coaches so 2010 is about letting ride until it is over. A home stand against the Browns next week is the last decent chance for a win.

QUARTERBACK: Carson Palmer passed for 248 yards and two scores in the previous game with the Steelers but this game moves to Pittsburgh. The Steelers have only allowed five passing scores in the five home games this year and three of those belonged to Tom Brady. Expect decent yardage and one score but anything more would truly be a success and a sign that the Steelers are not taking the Bengals serious enough.

RUNNING BACKS: Cedric Benson has been more productive in recent weeks and he scored once on the Steelers in week nine when he gained 54 yards on 18 carries and added two catches for 20 yards. He scored in two more games since then including two touchdowns against the Saints last week. One problem - those were all home games. The last four away venues held him to never more than 60 rushing yards and no touchdowns.

The Steelers only allowed one rushing touchdown at home and all but one running back were kept below 50 rushing yards. Expect a down day for Benson with no score but a couple of catches to get him marginal fantasy points.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Terrell Owens is once again calling out the offensive play calling and passing despite the fact that he is still the leading receiver and has nine touchdowns when no one else has more than four. Owens turned in 10 catches for 141 yards and two scores in the last meeting with the Steelers while Chad Ochocinco was held to only one catch for 15 yards (and yet he kept quiet). Owens has been less productive in the four games since with only two touchdowns and never more than 64 receiving yards in a game. The overall passing game for all receivers has decreased in these last four weeks.

This week in Pittsburgh it will not be as good. The Steelers have only allowed one touchdown to a visiting wide receiver this year and with the damage that Owens did in the first matchup still fresh, the Steelers will take him more seriously in a divisional game they must win. No wideout should have that big of a game barring a huge blowout and too much trash time. But the weather should be cold and could be snowy as well which depresses the passing game. I'll credit a score to Jordan Shipley to match the only other score there (Houshmandzadeh from the slot) but there is no real confidence in it. The Bengals may not even score a touchdown here.

TIGHT ENDS: The rookie Jermaine Gresham has continued to be a minor player here with a brighter future. He only managed to gain 11 yards on two catches in the last meeting but has been around 30 yards in most games.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 15 29 7 25 19 24
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 14 1 15 16 17 11
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) CIN -1 -28 8 -9 -2 -13


Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3)
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 W 19-16
4 BAL L 14-17 13 @BAL W 13-10
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 vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger - - 250,2
RB Rashard Mendenhall 100,1 30 -
WR Emmanuel Sanders - 40,1 -
WR Hines Ward - 50 -
WR Mike Wallace - 110,1 -
PK Shaun Suisham 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Steelers have taken the lead in the AFC North but that only ties them with the Ravens should the Ravens win a game and the Steelers lose one. Fortunately the schedule could hardly be kinder now with three home games and then a season finale in Cleveland. The Patriots will be a challenge next week but the Bengals and Panthers are about as easy as it gets this year.

QUARTERBACK: Ben Roethlisberger underwent surgery Monday to repair the broken nose suffered against the Ravens and he'll have to wear a clear shield on his facemask to protect it. But that should not limit him and Roethlisberger should end up with a better game this time. He only passed for 163 yards and one score in Cincinnati in week nine but the Bengals will be weaker in the secondary and Big Ben has only played in three home games. In each one - CLE, NE and OAK - he threw for 250+ yards and three touchdowns.

He won't likely need that to win this game and the weather could be a factor potentially but expect a much better effort this week than last month.

RUNNING BACKS: While Rashard Mendenhall has been the primary back all year, Isaac Redman has gone from being a short yardage relief runner five times a game to being a trick play. He has scored on two of the three most recent games on just a total of three passes. His score against the Ravens was the game winner on third and nine with nine yards to go - that is a confidence in him. He has very little use and no reliability in fantasy terms but has become at least an occasional factor for the Steelers.

Mendenhall rushed for 99 yards and one score on 22 carries in Cincinnati four weeks ago and he added a season best three catches for 31 yards. The Bengals have allowed 12 rushing scores to running backs this year already and plentiful yards to those primary backs who do not share. Expect a nice showing by Mendenhall this week and more so if the weather is bad.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Mike Wallace caught five passes for 110 yards and one score in the previous meeting with the Bengals but Hines Ward was held to only three catches for 10 yards though one was a touchdown. Wallace has scored and gained at least 90 yards in every home game with Roethlisberger this year so look for a nice showing this week. Emmanuel Sanders has been coming on recently and had a score in each of the last two home games as well. Wallace should snare one score and have big yardage but the second one could end up with any of the wideouts - even with Wallace for a second score.

TIGHT ENDS: Heath Miller received a nasty looking concussion last week and is not likely to be cleared for this game. Matt Spaeth would likely take his place but offers no fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 21 12 10 28 13 3
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 8 19 25 13 26 29
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) PIT -13 7 15 -15 13 26

WEEK 14
2010
IND at TEN NE at CHI TB at WAS KC at SD
CIN at PIT CLE at BUF SEA at SF DEN at ARI
ATL at CAR NYG at MIN STL at NO PHI at DAL
  GB at DET OAK at JAC MIA at NYJ BAL at HOU
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