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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 6
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
DAL
Monday
MIA
SF
updated*
IND

Prediction: BAL 20, MIN 24

Late Update: Harvin was limited on Friday and is considered a game time decision. It is bad matchup anyway and Harvin presents more risk this week.

Early Update: Percy Harvin was held out of practice on Wednesday and then was limited on Thursday because of his shoulder but the team is still optimistic that he will be able to play this week. Friday's practice should be the definitive proof.

The Ravens are a surprising 3-2 thanks to close losses these last couple of weeks and now they are on the road to face the 5-0 Vikings who have played largely a powder puff schedule but are at home with a more balanced offense. This one is a coin flip but has to slightly favor the home team. The Ravens and ill afford another loss and will make a game of this one.

Baltimore Ravens (3-2)
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 KC 38-24 -12.5 36
2 @SD 31-26 +4 41
3 CLE 34-3 -13 38.5
4 @NE 21-27 +2 44.5
5 CIN 14-17 -8.5 42
6 @MIN - +3 43.5
7 BYE - - -
8 DEN - - -
9 @CIN - - -
10 @CLE - - -
11 IND - - -
12 PIT - - -
13 @GB - - -
14 DET - - -
15 CHI - - -
16 @PIT - - -
17 @OAK - - -
BAL at MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco     220,2
RB Ray Rice 60 30  
RB Willis McGahee 40 10  
TE Todd Heap   50,1  
WR Mark Clayton   40  
WR Kelley Washington   30  
WR Derrick Mason   40,1  
PK Steve Hauschka 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: Not unlike the Jets, the Ravens started the year with a surprising passing game and looked great through three games only to lose their last two. Having the Bengals win in Baltimore and watching Cedric Benson rip up the defense was tough to swallow and will no doubt translate to this week as motivation. But this is a road game in a dome and the Vikings are for real this year. The schedule maker has done the Ravens no favors with the upcoming slate of games.

Quarterback: Joe Flacco is still having a very nice sophomore season and has thrown at least one score in every game and multiple touchdowns more often than not. Both road efforts resulted in two scores and he's been above 250 passing yards in most games. Notable is that two of his worst efforts were in the losses.

The Vikings have allowed a passing score in every game and while most opponents have remained at 200 yards or less, Aaron Rodgers did reach 384 yards and two scores in the one instance. For an unfamiliar opponent like the Ravens, chances are good that Flacco remains with only moderate yardage but could score twice.

Running Backs: While Ray Rice has continued to support his fantasy value during the recent losses, Willis McGahee has gone from lucky draft pick to a bad start with only two yards last week and 24 yards the previous week (though with one score). Rice actually saw increased use and effectiveness in the last two losses than he did in the three wins. He even scores against the Bengals when he had seven receptions for 74 yards. In a tough game, it's getting harder to rely on McGahee and Rice is starting to pick up even more work including as a receiver.

The Vikings have not allowed any running back to score this year. No back has gained more than 83 rushing yards on them and in Minnesota, that falls to only 51 rushing yards. This throws a lot of risk on McGahee this week but should stretch Rice into a receiver more.

Wide Receivers: Derrick Mason was shut out last week for only the second time in 69 games with the Ravens. This came on the heels of two excellent showings of 5-118 and 7-88 and a touchdown in each of the two prior games. Mason remains the only wideout that really matters on this team and Kelley Washington has faded each week as the opponents have become tougher. He faced his ex-team last week and only posed one catch for 21 yards against the Bengals. Mark Clayton is stuck at 40 yards per week regardless what is going on.

The Vikings have been very good against wide receivers this year and allowed three scores but only one game over 87 yards. Playing at home, no opposing wide receiver has gained more than 55 yards. I like one passing score here and Mason is the most likely.

Tight Ends: This is a good week to start Todd Heap. Need a bye week replacement tight end? See if Heap is available. Heap has scored twice this year and been above 40 yards in the three other games. The Vikings are #32 against the tight end so consider Heap a good start this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 11 3 17 19 21 8
Preventing Fantasy Points    MIN 18 3 7 32 13 14


Minnesota Vikings (5-0)
Homefield: Metrodome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CLE 34-20 +3.5 40
2 @DET 27-13 -10 47
3 SF 27-24 -7 40.5
4 GB 30-20 -3.5 46
5 @STL 38-10 -10 39
6 BAL - -3.5 43.5
7 @PIT - - -
8 @GB - - -
9 BYE - - -
10 DET - - -
11 SEA - - -
12 CHI - - -
13 @ARI - - -
14 CIN - - -
15 @CAR - - -
16 @CHI - - -
17 NYG - - -
MIN vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre     270,2
RB Adrian Peterson 70,1 10  
RB Chester Taylor 10 60  
TE Vishante Shiancoe   20,1  
WR Bernard Berrian   50  
WR Sidney Rice   50,1  
WR Percy Harvin   50  
PK Ryan Longwell 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Vikings are undefeated after five games against some of the worst teams in the league and the two tougher matchups - SF and GB - both came at home. This week is a major challenge and then two road trips will show the Vikings exactly how good they are this year - or are not. But the defense has remained solid and the addition of Brett Favre has admittedly energized the passing game even if that has come at the expense of handing off to Adrian Peterson on every play like the good old days.

Quarterback: Hard to argue with the results that adding Brett Favre has yielded. The 40-Year OId Viking has thrown at least one score in every game and has a total of nine touchdowns against just two interceptions. His two home games resulted in 270+ yards and five touchdowns since they happened to be the toughest matchups of the year so far.

The Ravens have only allowed all non-Cleveland opponents to pass for at least one score and Rivers passed for 436 yards and two scores in one of the Ravens road games. Expect a decent showing here by Favre that should result in two passing scores and decent to good yardage.

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson has scored seven rushing touchdowns this season but has not topped 100 rushing yards since week one. He has propped up his fantasy value with the scores but has only averaged 75 rushing yards per game over the last four weeks. That is not the same Peterson that some speculated could break 200 yards this year.

The Ravens started the season with their standard crushing of the runners but have allowed two rushing scores in the last two weeks and Cedric Benson gained 120 yards in Baltimore that the Ravens took as an insult (that they could not stop). The defense is going to be motivated against the run this week but playing in Minnesota favors Peterson for at least moderate yardage and a score.

Wide Receivers: After finally having a good game against the visiting Packers with six catches for 75 yards for Bernard Berrian, he laid another egg in St. Louis with just 39 yards on three receptions. Sidney Rice has become the consistent receiver for Favre and he has scored twice and remained above 55 yards for the last three weeks. Percy Harvin had a season high 66 yards on four catches in St. Louis but has not scored since week two.

The Ravens secondary is good but not the dominating unit of the past. Four wideouts have recorded a score against them and and several have had good yardage games. The safest bet is to look for moderate yardage across the board for the receivers and one passing score that I will credit Rice but could go to any of the wideouts. Playing at home should help and these numbers could go higher based on what happens with Peterson.

Tight Ends: Vishante Shiancoe has become the most common target near the end zone for Favre and has scored in three of the last four games. His yardage is always meager but he's become a trusted outlet for Favre.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 18 4 13 21 6 3
Preventing Fantasy Points    BAL 22 11 22 5 24 5

The Huddle
WEEK 6
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
DAL
Monday
MIA
SF
IND
Other Features
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Early Injury Report
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