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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections |  Projections by Team | Game Predictions Summary

WEEK 1
2011
NO at GB (thu) CIN at CLE * MIN at SD * SEA at SF
* ATL at CHI * DAL at NYJ * NYG at WAS TEN at JAC
* BUF at KC DET at TB PHI at STL * NE at MIA (mon)
*updated CAR at ARI * IND at HOU PIT at BAL OAK at DEN (mon)

Prediction: PIT 16, BAL 13

Players to Watch: Emmanuel Sanders, Lee Evans

Same teams and same players matchup for what should be yet another low scoring game. The Steelers won 13-10 in Baltimore last year. They lost 14-17 when they hosted the Ravens earlier last season. These games are always defensive wars.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BAL - 10 @CIN -
2 SEA - 11 Bye -
3 @IND - 12 @KC -
4 @HOU - 13 CIN -
5 TEN - 14 CLE -
6 JAC - 15 @SF -
7 @ARI - 16 STL -
8 NE - 17 @CLE -
9 BAL -      
Steelers Report | Statistics | Roster
PITTSBURGH at BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger - - 240,1
RB Rashard Mendenhall 50 30 -
TE Heath Miller - 10 -
WR Hines Ward - 50 -
WR Emmanuel Sanders - 50 -
WR Mike Wallace - 70,1 -
PK Shaun Suisham 3 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: This first game is about as tough as it will get for the Steelers for the entire year. The schedule pits them against the AFC SOuth and NFC West and that should be plenty good enough to ensure another playoff run. But this week will be a fantasy bust as it almost always is with these two franchises. There are no significant changes on either team.

QUARTERBACK: Ben Roethlisberger should feast on a nice schedule this year and has a full complement of wideouts - probably as good as he has ever played with before. Roethlisberger passed for 253 yards and one score in Baltimore last year and it is unlikely that the run will accomplish much in Baltimore again this season. Expect a decent yardage from Roethlisberger but anything over one touchdown would be prolific in this matchup.

RUNNING BACKS: If any one player will benefit the most from an easier schedule this year it will be Rashard Mendenhall. Isaac Redman will remain the #2 and the team is confident he can get the job done if needed. But he only accounted for 52 runs last year and just seven catches. This will be the Mendenhall show even if the first game is almost certain to be his worst of the year.

Mendenhall ran for 45 yards on 19 carries and added just 18 yards on three receptions in Baltimore last season.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Steelers are in good shape this year with Hines Ward hanging on across from Mike Wallace who broke out last season with 1257 yards and ten scores. The intriguing part of this unit is that the 35 year-old Ward is not long for the NFL and there are two viable candidates below him. Emmanuel Sanders suffered a fractured foot that he is trying to get over but did manage to show up in the last preseason game and catch four passes for 60 yards. Antonio Brown has been impressive in the preseason as well though he's not as far along as Sanders who enters his second year with much promise. Sanders could become the #2 as early as next year or even this season if Ward was to be injured.

Wallace collected five passes for 76 yards in Baltimore last year.

TIGHT ENDS: Heath Miller rarely has more than 30 yards in any game and on the road in Baltimore is about as unattractive as it will get.

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 4 23 5 14 5


Baltimore Ravens
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PIT - 10 @SEA -
2 @TEN - 11 CIN -
3 @STL - 12 SF -
4 NYJ - 13 @CLE -
5 Bye - 14 IND -
6 HOU - 15 @SD -
7 @JAC - 16 CLE -
8 ARI - 17 @CIN -
9 @PIT -   - -
Ravens Report | Statistics | Roster
BALTIMORE vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco - - 240,1
RB Ray Rice 40 20 -
TE Ed Dickson - 20 -
WR Anquan Boldin - 80,1 -
WR Lee Evans - 70 -
WR Torrey Smith - 20 -
PK Billy Cundiff 2 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Ravens also greet a nice schedule this year with almost the same set of players and coaches. The only notable fantasy add was Lee Evans and Vonte Leach as the lead blocking back. The Ravens schedule is slightly tougher than the Steelers thanks to playing the Jets but both franchises should be point machines in the second half of the season.

QUARTERBACK: Joe Flacco threw for 266 yards and one score against the visiting Steelers last year. He had 256 yards and the one touchdown in the home game as well. He's been consistent in his games against the Steelers though will have a new tool in his arsenal of Lee Evans this year. But T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Derrick Mason are both gone.

RUNNING BACKS: Ray Rice was already a force last season with 1220 rushing yards and 556 yards more as a receiver and six scores. Only now Willis McGahee is gone and not robbing scores from him (five last year) and the Ravens picked up Vonte Leach to plow the way for Rice. That may not matter as much this week though since the Ravens only rushed for a total of 39 yards on 16 carries against the Steelers last year.

But Rice should be an elite player this season with a better blocker and schedule.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Coming over from the Cardinals was a letdown for Anquan Boldin who only managed 64 catches for 837 yards and seven scores for his worst season that wasn't cut short by injury. There is reason to believe it will improve this year since he accounted for five catches for 118 yards and one touchdown in the meeting last year with the Steelers. And the team brought in Lee Evans to help stretch the field and give Boldin a bit more room. Torrey Smith is likely to start as the #3 but it has no real fantasy value and the coaches are not happy with any of the other wideouts after Boldin and Evans.

TIGHT ENDS: Ed Dickson may start the year but Dennis Pitta is likely to get playing time as well since the coaches see no difference between the two. That makes this group hands off for fantasy teams though in total the position scored six touchdowns and 752 yards last season.

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

WEEK 1
2011
NO at GB (thu) CIN at CLE MIN at SD SEA at SF
ATL at CHI DAL at NYJ NYG at WAS TEN at JAC
BUF at KC DET at TB PHI at STL NE at MIA (mon)
  CAR at ARI IND at HOU PIT at BAL OAK at DEN (mon)

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