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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
*updated

Prediction: CHI 6, BAL 24

The Bears drop to 5-8 with their loss to the Packers and now head to Baltimore with their 1-5 road record. The Ravens are two games behind the Bengals but at 7-6 are in the running for a wild card in the AFC at worst. The Ravens are 5-2 at home.

Chicago Bears (5-8)
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @GB 15-21 +4 46
2 PIT 17-14 +3 37.5
3 @SEA 25-19 -2 37
4 DET 48-24 -10.5 38.5
5 BYE - - -
6 @ATL 14-21 +3 45.5
7 @CIN 10-45 +1 42.5
8 CLE 30-6 +11.5 39.5
9 ARI 21-41 -3 44.5
10 @SF 6-10 +3.5 43
11 PHI 20-24 +3.5 46.5
12 @MIN 10-36 +10 47
13 STL 17-9 -9.5 41
14 GB 14-21 4 41
15 @BAL - +10 40.5
16 MIN - - -
17 @DET - - -
CHI at BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler     180
RB Matt Forte 30 30  
TE Greg Olsen   30  
WR Devin Aromashodu   20  
WR Earl Bennett   40  
WR Johnny Knox   50  
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG    
Pregame Notes: The season is winding down with little accomplished other than taking a perfectly good gunslinger quarterback and somehow turning him into a game manager who throws mostly to running backs and tight ends and yet still finds time to make turnovers. The Bears end with this game and then host the Vikings before winding up in Detroit. That means 6-10 is the high side for how the season will end.

Quarterback: Jay Cutler has thrown for a score in all but two games this year but only has two of the last eight games with more than one score and the three road games in that span never had more than one. Cutler continues to be a problem with 22 interceptions on the season against 19 touchdowns. His last four road games featured a total of 12 interceptions and never less than two in each. It has also been a month since he had much more than 200 yards in a game.

The Ravens have only given up five passing scores in Baltimore and yet made ten interceptions. Only two visiting quarterbacks have topped 177 passing yards there. Figure on a low game for Cutler that likely will be scoreless but will have at least two interceptions.

Running Backs: Matt Forte has suffered through a bad year and not only does he only have four touchdowns, those all came in home games against very weak defenses. He has not scored away from Chicago and as a runner has not topped 66 rushing yards on the road. His last four road games averaged below 30 rushing yards though with an uptick in production via receptions.

The Bears were also planning on using Kahlil Bell for up to ten runs per game but he only managed nine yards on four carries and actually made Forte look good - quite the feat.

The Ravens have only allowed three rushing scores to visitors this year and Forte is not likely to make that four. Expect the same marginal rushing yards as always and even his receptions should be a little lower this week against a defense that has not allowed more than 33 yards to running backs as receivers in Baltimore.

Wide Receivers: Devin Hester missed last week because of his calf injury and is no lock to return this week. He had been marginally productive anyway and I will assume he misses one more week until he has practiced. Last week saw Devin Aromashodu (8-76, TD) and Johnny Knox (5-83, TD) shine as replacements for Hester while Earl Bennett was shut down with just one catch. It was a season best game from Aromashodu and Knox both.

This week in Baltimore, the receivers face a secondary that has only allowed three touchdowns to wideouts in Baltimore and decent yardage only to the best of the best. That does not pertain to the Bears. Expect marginal play this week and no attractive starts from this crew.

Tight Ends: Greg Olsen has been on a down turn for the last four games with no more than 45 yards and no scores. He has seen an uptick in production in road games from the wide receivers being covered more in passing situations. Olsen may see a slight increase in use this week but not enough to warrant a fantasy start.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 16 30 15 9 23 17
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 9 5 12 10 10 3


Baltimore Ravens (7-6)
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 31-33 +3 44.5
7 BYE - - -
8 DEN 30-7 +4.5 42.5
9 @CIN 7-17 -3 43.5
10 @CLE 16-0 -11 39
11 IND 15-17 +1 44
12 PIT 20-17 -6 20
13 @GB 14-27 +3 44
14 DET 48-3 -14 40.5
15 CHI - -10 40.5
16 @PIT - - -
17 @OAK - - -
BAL vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco     200,1
RB Ray Rice 100,1 50  
RB Willis McGahee 20,1    
TE Todd Heap   40  
WR Demetrius Williams   30  
WR Kelley Washington   20  
WR Derrick Mason   60,1  
PK Billy Cundiff 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Ravens get their final home game of the year with these Bears visiting and then wind up with road games in Pittsburgh and Oakland. Both are potential wins now that the Steelers have apparently folded their tent for the season but even a loss there with wins over the Bears and Raiders would probably secure a wild card bid.

Quarterback: Joe Flacco made up for his disaster against the Packers by turning in 230 yards and one score against the Lions but he has been a poor fantasy play every game since week six. Flacco has only passed for four scores in the last seven weeks and rarely ended up above 200 passing yards. To his credit, most of the good passing efforts have all been in home games.

The Bears have a very weak secondary that has allowed a dozen passing touchdowns in road games this year and decent yardage if the opponent wants to take it. But the Ravens are always going to lean towards the run and that should have equally or better success anyway. Expect just another moderate showing by Flacco with a score.

Running Backs: Ray Rice was a fantasy stud last week when he rolled up 219 total yards and a score against the Lions but that ended a three game stretch with no touchdowns. Rice has been a fantasy gold mine nearly every week though since he adds so many yards via receptions into the mix that he never has a bad game. Only once in the last ten games did he have less than 100 total yards. Rice suffered a chest injury at the end of the game last week but it is not expected to be an issue for this Sunday.

Willis McGahee has been a factor in the last three games as well as a scorer though he had little yardage other than last week against the Lions. This remains Rice's show and McGahee shows up for goal line duty on occasion.

Expect yet another fine game from Rice who goes against a defense that has allowed each of the road opponents to score with a running back and about half feature a runner with 100 yards.

Wide Receivers: Mark Clayton missed last week because of his knee and hamstring and may not play this week as well. In the end it really doesn't matter since Derrick Mason is the only wideout here that matters and he has six scores on the year. Mason was sandwiched last week but managed to remain upright and scored on a 62-yard catch and run. Mason is expected to be fine this week. Even against the Lions, the wide receivers only had three catches aside from Mason. There is no fantasy value here beyond Mason.

The Bears give up about one touchdown each week to a wideout and Mason is the only one that counts. Expect a moderate showing here with a score for Mason.

Tight Ends: Todd Heap has not scored since week two but at least his better efforts have come at home in the easier games. That's not a big help when the Ravens are losing but Heap produces more when the pass defense is softer like this week. Expect a small uptick in yardage.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 19 1 20 25 11 13
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 17 18 23 17 20 14

The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
Other Features
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Early Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
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