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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 11
2012
MIA at BUF (THU) *CLE at DAL *NO at OAK TB at CAR
*ARI at ATL GB at DET NYJ at STL *CHI at SF (MON)
*BAL at PIT *IND at NE PHI at WAS Bye:
*UPDATED CIN at KC JAC at HOU *SD at DEN MIN, NYG, SEA, TEN

Prediction: BAL 17, PIT 16 (Line: PIT by 3.5)

Players Updated: Rashard Mendenhall, Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman

Players to Watch: Ray Rice, Byron Leftwich

This was to be the battle for the AFC North. The 7-2 Ravens are on a two game winning streak and have a one game lead on the Steelers that could be whittled away with a win here. But the 6-3 Steelers are on a four game winning streak and just lost their franchise quarterback when Ben Roethlisberger was injured in the Monday night game against the Chiefs. That should prove significant to this week.

The Ravens swept the Steelers last year, winning 35-7 in Baltimore and later 23-20 in Pittsburgh..

Baltimore Ravens
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN 44-13 10 OAK 55-20
2 @PHI 23-24 11 @PIT -----
3 NE 31-30 12 @SD -----
4 CLE 23-16 13 PIT -----
5 @KC 9-6 14 @WAS -----
6 DAL 31-29 15 DEN -----
7 @HOU 13-43 16 NYG -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @CIN -----
9 @CLE 25-15 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL @ PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 10 190,1
RB Danny Woodhead 10 4-30
WR Jeremy Maclin 3-40
WR Mike Wallace 4-50
TE Benjamin Watson 2-20
PK Justin Tucker 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens remaining schedule just got a whole lot easier looking. With Ben Roethlisberger out this week and potentially more, playing the Steelers twice in three weeks could not have possibly come at a better time. The rest of the schedule is no cakewalk with DEN, NYG and @CIN ending the regular season but the only real competitor in the AFC North is the Steelers anyway.

Joe Flacco comes off his best game of the year when he passed for 341 yards and three scores on the Raiders and he added a rushing touchdown. That was his first effort over 240 yards in five weeks and the first multiple touchdown production in the last six weeks. When at home against a really weak secondary, Flacco really shines. All others - not so much. He's been stuck at sub-200 yard outings in his last three road trips and now faces the #2 defense against quarterbacks.

Ray Rice salvaged some fantasy value with a touchdown last week but only ran 13 times for 35 yards in a game the Ravens won by 35 points. In Houston in week seven he only was allowed nine runs for 42 yards. The Ravens use of Rice has been a surprise this year given his wild success last year and he's still gaining 4.6 yards per carry now. Rice has to be bitter about getting just 13 carries against a Raiders team that yielded 251 yards to Doug Martin the previous week.

Dennis Pitta popped up again in the Oakland game when he scored on his five catches for 67 yards but he was on a five week string of games that never produced more than 33 yards. It was just one decent game and he only scores when at home anyway.

Torrey Smith's not tearing up opponents like he did last year since he only has the one effort against the Patriots when he topped 100 yards but to his credit he has become the preferred scoring target for Flacco. Smith already scored seven times this year and three in just the last two games. His yardage remains low with nothing over 70 yards since week four but he's recorded a score in five of the last seven games. Anquan Boldin produces like a tight end and not even a very good one. He's been held to fewer than 60 yards since week six and has minimal fantasy value.

This game seems destined for a low score and moderate stats at best for the Ravens players who all face top three defenses against their position.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 17 11 18 14 8 6
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 2 3 2 12 12 10

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL HOU 0000026021 ***
Without bye weeks, it's awfully tough to see a path to playing time for Flacco in fantasy lineups. The matchup is wonderful, so DFS players may want to take a flier as a contrarian move.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Danny Woodhead, BAL HOU 1005400000 **
Despite allowing the fourth-fewest receptions per contest, the Texans have permitted the seven-highest weekly receiving yardage figure. He's a so-so play as he works his way back into game shape. None of those catches scored.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alex Collins, BAL HOU 400000000 ***
Houston is the second-worst matchup in both scoring formats and has not allowed a touchdown on the last 73 rushing attempts. Collins is a sketchy play in any setup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, BAL HOU 005801000 ***
Wallace turned in a masterful touchdown grab last week and now draws the best matchup to exploit in fantasy. Houston has provided the second-most receptions, most yards, most fantasy points in both formats, and a touchdown every 7.3 snares (3rd).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Maclin, BAL HOU 007701000 ***
Despite an ideal matchup for his skill set last week, Maclin turned in a dud. This go of it, the Texans bring fantasy's best matchup for wideouts to the table. The position has scored twice a game on the second-most receptions per contest.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Benjamin Watson, BAL HOU 005400000 ***
One in 5.3 receptions has scored, which is the best rate to exploit, but Watson is a huge risk in any fantasy format, even more so without bye weeks.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL HOU 3322 ***
All 21 kicks (8 FGAs) have connected, producing the seventh-best matchup. Only eight teams offer better theoretical matchups of possible points against.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DEN 19-31 10 KC 16-13
2 NYJ 27-10 11 BAL -----
3 @OAK 31-34 12 @CLE -----
4 BYE ----- 13 @BAL -----
5 PHI 16-14 14 SD -----
6 @TEN 23-26 15 @DAL -----
7 @CIN 24-17 16 CIN -----
8 WAS 27-12 17 CLE -----
9 @NYG 24-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 3-40

Pregame Notes: The injury to Ben Roethlisberger could mean everything to the Steelers fortunes. He was said to have separated his shoulder, then just sprained his shoulder but it was enough to prompt the Steelers to bring him to the hospital that night. Some sources say that Big Ben has just a sprain and will merely be questionable for this week. Others speculate the injury is more significant and that his throwing shoulder will prevent him form playing for at least a few weeks. With the two meetings with the Ravens coming in the next three weeks this could not be timed worse.

Obviously he'll be tracked all week because the Steelers need him. HC Mike Tomlin says that it is a sternoclavicular sprain which is when the collarbone popped in front/behind sternum. It almost has to keep him out at least this week and could linger. It is the same injury that ended Brett Favre's 297 consecutive starts.

Antonio Brown remains questionable this week because of his ankle sprain and Rashard Mendenhall will also be questionable because of his strained Achilles.

Byron Leftwich is expected to take the start and that makes no one happy. Leftwich only completed seven of 14 passes for 73 yards versus the Chiefs and is a major step down from Big Ben.

The Steelers go with the hot hand at running back and there should be much more focus on the rushing effort if Big Ben is out since the Ravens are weaker versus the run than the pass. Isaac Redman gained 147 yards and a touchdown in week nine but Jonathan Dwyer proved better in the rain and was given 19 carries for 56 yards last Monday night while Redman was limited to eight runs and 21 yards. At best these runners just diminish each other and only producing 77 combined rushing yards against the Chiefs was a very disappointing surprise. It was the first time in four games that one of the two did not rack up over 100 rushing yards.

The rainy weather was not conducive to passing last week but Leftwich was unable to generate anything promising as a passer. That has to downgrade both Mike Wallace and Heath Miller.

This game needs to be a defensive battle because neither offense is likely to do much.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 14 15 14 7 6 31
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 9 21 22 18 28 8

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT GB 0000028020 ***
Green Bay has surrendered 293 yards per game, which ranks as the second most in football. The rest of the matchup isn't too appealing. At home, though, Big Ben and his vast array of weaponry shouldn't have much trouble finding a way to post fantasy-worth stats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT GB 10015500000 ***
Green Bay has been trampled through the air by running backs without giving up a touchdown. This is the fifth-best matchup for receptions and fourth-softest for yardage. On the turf, Bell has a moderate opponent at hand.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Brown, PIT GB 00101201000 ***
This is the fifth-best matchup for receptions, second for yardage, and 10th for TD frequency. Only four teams have allowed more PPR points, and the number is just three more in standard scoring.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT GB 004501000 ***
The rookie faces one of the best matchups in either scoring format. Green Bay has surrendered great numbers for receptions (5th), yardage (2nd), fantasy points (4th) and PPR points (5th). It's the 10th-easiest matchup for TD efficiency.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Martavis Bryant, PIT GB 003300000 ***
Green Bay is a top-five fantasy matchup in both scoring formats. Bryant is as risky as they come, and the lack of a large enough role should keep him on the pine.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jesse James, PIT GB 002200000 ***
James is too inconsistent to be trusted with a valuable lineup spot and no bye weeks. Green Bay is the fifth-hardest matchup, too.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chris Boswell, PIT GB 1144 ***
Green Bay has yielded the third-most possible points and the most actual fantasy points on a weekly basis (tied). Boswell is the No. 2 kicker in the past five weeks but may struggle to find ample three-point tries.

WEEK 11
2012
MIA at BUF (THU) *CLE at DAL *NO at OAK TB at CAR
*ARI at ATL GB at DET NYJ at STL *CHI at SF (MON)
*BAL at PIT *IND at NE PHI at WAS Bye:
*UPDATED CIN at KC JAC at HOU *SD at DEN MIN, NYG, SEA, TEN

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