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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 16
2010
CAR at PIT BAL at CLE TEN at KC *IND at OAK
*DAL at ARI DET at MIA SEA at TB NYG at GB
*NE at BUF *NYJ at CHI *MIN at PHI *SD at CIN
*UPDATED *SF at STL *WAS at JAC *HOU at DEN NO at ATL

Prediction: CAR 3, PIT 34

The Panthers come off their first win in eight games and now only have to play in Pittsburgh with an 0-6 road record. The Steelers come off a loss to the Jets and are now tied with the Ravens and cannot afford any more losses. Particularly to a team like the Panthers. This is the Thursday night game and an indication of just how long ago the schedule was made. With scant time to prepare, there is no reason to over think this game. Maybe even fewer reasons to watch it.

Carolina Panthers (2-12)
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYG L 18-31 10 @TB L 16-31
2 TB L 7-20 11 BAL L 13-37
3 CIN L 7-20 12 @CLE L 23-24
4 @NO L 14-16 13 @SEA L 14-31
5 CHI L 6-23 14 ATL L 10-31
6 Bye - 15 ARI W 19-12
7 SF W 23-20 16 @PIT --
8 @STL L 10-20 17 @ATL --
9 NO L 3-34   - -
Panthers Report | Statistics | Roster
CAROLINA at PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Jimmy Clausen - - 130
RB Jonathan Stewart 50 - -
WR Brandon LaFell - 30 -
WR Steve Smith - 30 -
WR David Gettis - 40 -
PK John Kasay 1 FG -
Pregame Notes: The win over the Cardinals last week hardly changes anything but at least it gave the long suffering fans something to cheer about. There has been precious few strides made towards a better tomorrow on this team and chances are high both DeAngelo Williams and Steve Smith will be gone next year if Smith can persuade the team to let him leave.

QUARTERBACK: Jimmy Clausen has thrown for two touchdowns on the year. That is two scores on the entire season. 243 passes so far. Seven starts. He has yet to break the vaunted 200 yard mark and now goes against one of the best secondaries on the road. If you are using Clausen, your best bet is to convince your league to reward sacks for the quarterback too.

RUNNING BACKS: Jonathan Stewart has strung together some nice efforts with both the recent home games ending with over 130 rushing yards. But those were his only efforts over 100 yards this year and he has scored only three times this season. Mike Goodson has been de-emphasized in recent weeks but still hangs around for relief work which should not exist much this week.

The Steelers are at home and have the #1 defense against running backs. Not going to happen this week. On national TV no less.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Needless to say this is a wasteland with Clausen as the starter and Steve Smith has topped out at 54 yards over the last seven games and has not scored since week two. The passing score last week actually went to Jeff King, the tight end who has not had more than 22 yards in any game this year and has only 15 receptions. There is no fantasy value here.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value. Trust me.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 32 15 30 29 30 21
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 10 1 10 7 11 9
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) CAR -22 -14 -20 -22 -19 -12


Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4)
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 W 23-7
6 CLE W 28-10 15 NYJ L 17-22
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 CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger - - 230,1
RB Rashard Mendenhall 120,2 10 -
TE Heath Miller - 30,1 -
WR Emmanuel Sanders - 30 -
WR Hines Ward - 50 -
WR Mike Wallace - 70 -
PK Shaun Suisham 1 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Steelers have to win this game and yet they know they can so motivation and dedication is in question in this short week. Troy Polamalu will miss the game to rest his ankle for a real opponent but the challenging part is determining how badly the Steelers will bother beating the Panthers. This is the easiest game of the year but it comes on the heels of the loss to the Jets that should be motivating. But it is hard to conjure up the "A" game when facing a 2-12 team.

I like the chance for a defensive score in this game.

QUARTERBACK: Ben Roethlisberger has been inconsistent this year and while he has three games with three scores in each, he has only thrown for two touchdowns over the last four weeks. The offense has not scored more than 23 points in those games and all but the Baltimore matchup should have been a points bonanza against much weaker teams.

The Panthers have allowed multiple passing scores in several games but mostly opponents have just ran all over them and not needed to pass as much. That fits into what Big Ben is already doing anyway. No reason to expect a monster game this week - it won't be needed anyway.

RUNNING BACKS: Rashard Mendenhall should love this week against a defense that has already allowed 17 rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs and high yardage to the backs who top the 20 carry mark. That should happen this week since Mendenhall already has ten touchdowns on the season and could use a nice rushing game.

The only fear here is that the Panthers fall behind and they allow Isaac Redman to have a bigger role to rest Mendenhall. But even if that happens, it should only be after a good performance. Consider Mendenhall very desirable to start this week. He's a lock to get one score and may have two.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Panthers biggest strength is in their corners against wide receivers and since the rushing defense is so poor, very few wideouts have a decent game against this secondary. They have allowed just one game over 100 yards to a wideout and only five receivers have scored on them. Safest move here is to expect only a moderate yardage game from the wide receivers. The Panthers are good against the position and the Steelers won't need them.

TIGHT ENDS: Heath Miller should return this week after missing last Sunday with a concussion. Miller has been sold with 30 or 40 yards most weeks and as high as 60 yards when the need arises. The Panthers secondary has tight ends as their weakest position and allowed six scores to the position and plenty of yards. Figure on Miller being a moderate play this week and with a chance for a touchdown.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 19 16 11 27 10 2
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 3 27 4 27 29 31
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) PIT -16 11 -7 0 19 29

WEEK 16
2010
CAR at PIT BAL at CLE TEN at KC IND at OAK
DAL at ARI DET at MIA SEA at TB NYG at GB
NE at BUF NYJ at CHI MIN at PHI SD at CIN
  SF at STL WAS at JAC HOU at DEN NO at ATL
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