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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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DIVISION
ROUND
SATURDAY SUNDAY
Baltimore at Pittsburgh, 4:30 PM EST Seattle at Chicago, 1 PM EST
Green Bay at Atlanta, 8 PM EST NY Jets at New England 4:30 PM EST

Prediction: BAL 16, PIT 24

In this wacky season, both teams won on the road but that only happened once in the previous seven meetings. Home field had been critical before this year. Notable too is that in the last seven meetings, neither team has scored more than 23 points. These are always low scoring games won mostly by the defenses. Both teams won their road game by one field goal and so far 31 total points is the high for the season. This will be a cold game with a chance of snow showers.

Baltimore Ravens (12-4)
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYJ W 10-9 10 @ATL L 21-26
2 @CIN L 10-15 11 @CAR W 37-13
3 CLE W 24-17 12 TB W 17-10
4 @PIT W 17-14 13 PIT L 10-13
5 DEN W 31-17 14 @HOU W 34-28
6 @NE L 20-23 15 NO W 30-24
7 BUF W 37-34 16 @CLE W 20-10
8 Bye - 17 CIN W 13-7
9 MIA W 26-10   - -
Ravens Report | Statistics | Roster
BALTIMORE Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco - - 250,1
RB Ray Rice 30 20 -
RB Willis McGahee 20 - -
TE Todd Heap - 30 -
WR Anquan Boldin - 70,1 -
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh - 30 -
WR Derrick Mason - 60 -
PK Billy Cundiff 3 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Ravens dominated the Chiefs and played like a team that deserved to win a division title. The defense shut down the Chiefs offense on all fronts and allowed only 178 offensive yards. Joe Flacco hit all the different positions with completions and scores and the Ravens simply could not have been sharper. Now back to a very familiar foe. The Ravens had lost four in a row at Pittsburgh until this season when Joe Flacco threw a touchdown with 34 seconds left to play. That was after four plays inside the PIT 10-yard line was unsuccessful in the previous series.

Notable too - they beat Charlie Batch, not Ben Roethlisberger.

QUARTERBACK: Joe Flacco posted nearly bookend games against the Steelers this year, passing for 256 yards and one score in Pittsburgh and later 266 yards and one score in the home matchup. Flacco has been much improved this year but two of his worst scoring games came against the Steelers who have only allowed six touchdowns in the eight home games. And three of those went to Tom Brady.

If Flacco can even match his previous games it will be a success against a Steelers team preparing for two weeks.

RUNNING BACKS: Ray Rice has been of little use against the Steelers with only 20 yards on eight carries in the road game and later 32 yards on nine receptions in the home matchup. He hasn't even been used as a receiver for more than two passes in either game.

Willis McGahee has one score in that first game but has been nearly phased out other than in games when the Ravens get a nice lead - not applicable in this meeting. Figure on Rice for some marginal yardage at best and McGahee unlikely to be any better.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Anquan Boldin had better success against the Steelers than the other wideouts with seven receptions for 68 yards in Pittsburgh and then 118 yards and a score at home. Derrick Mason rolled up 80 yards on six catches in the away game but then only 22 yards on two catches back in Baltimore. T.J. Houshmandzadeh was able to score in that first meeting on his three catches for 49 yards but then was held to only 20 yards on four catches in his second meeting. Recall too that week one did not have the Steelers using Ben Roethlisberger which put a slant on that game which will not exist here.

The one passing score will end up here but Boldin has been the player who steps up the most when the games are the toughest. He led the wideouts with a score and 64 yards last week.

TIGHT ENDS: Todd Heap was the man last week with his ten catches for 108 yards in Kansas City but he only had 35 yards on three catches in the road game in Pittsburgh and later and no catches in the second meeting. Expect Heap to calm down this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 18 9 20 17 12 18
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 5 1 6 4 8 8
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-)   -13 -8 -14 -13 -4 -10


Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)
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 W 27-3
8 @NO L 10-20 17 @CLE W 41-9
9 @CIN W 27-21 - - -
Steelers Report | Statistics | Roster
PITTSBURGH Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger - - 260,2
RB Rashard Mendenhall 70,1 20 -
TE Heath Miller - 20 -
WR Emmanuel Sanders - 70,1 -
WR Hines Ward - 40 -
WR Mike Wallace - 80,1 -
PK Shaun Suisham 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Steelers come off their bye week ready to play the team they know as well as any in the NFL. Unlike the first meeting with the Ravens which was a close, last second loss, no players are suspended and most all of them are healthy now as well. The Steelers are poised for a nice game here on very favorable terms. And this time Big Ben can pay amends to the home field crowd for missing the first game.

QUARTERBACK: Though he missed the first game with the Ravens in week four, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 253 yards and one score in Baltimore and was always more effective at home where he had three games with three touchdown passes in each. The Ravens are weaker against wide receivers this year and the Steelers bring a couple of good ones to the party.

Roethlisberger is at home and rested and needs to connect with his receivers to win this game. Fortunately, that is the bigger weakness of the Ravens.

RUNNING BACKS: Rashard Mendenhall scored twice on the Ravens in the first meeting and gained 79 yards on 25 carries. He later was held to only 45 yards on 19 runs in Baltimore but the Ravens on the road are weaker against the run. They gave up over 100 rushing yards to two runners this year and Jamaal Charles was hurting them last week until HC Todd Haley decided that was enough of a good thing and threw the game.

The Ravens are in top form and Mendenhall won't likely have a big game but he should turn in decent yardage here and should notch a touchdown in this game.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The wideouts have not yet had a chance to play against the Ravens at home with Ben Roethlisberger as the starter and that makes a big difference. In the road game, Mike Wallace gained 76 yards on five catches while Hines Ward was held to a single catch for 13 yards. Emmanuel Sanders netted 49 yards on three catches in that game. Back at home the stats should all be better. While Ward has normally been quiet against the Ravens, both Mike Wallace and Santonio Holmes racked up over 80 yards on the visiting Ravens last year.

The speed players matter more here and both Wallace and Sanders have a shot at a good game.

TIGHT ENDS: Heath Miller has been rarely good for more than three catches in any game and against the Ravens never had more than two catches for 32 yards. He's a marginal play but a great blocker.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 17 12 9 25 8 3
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 9 3 23 5 14 5
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-)   -8 -9 14 -20 -6 -2

DIVISION
ROUND
SATURDAY SUNDAY
Baltimore at Pittsburgh, 4:30 PM EST Seattle at Chicago, 1 PM EST
Green Bay at Atlanta, 8 PM EST NY Jets at New England 4:30 PM EST
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Tuesday Injury Report
Playoff Fantasy Player Rankings
Game Recaps
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