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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

Prediction: BAL 20, CIN 24 (Line: CIN by 2.5)

Players to Watch: Anyone who looks like they are trying

Ends up that this game that many thought might be for all the AFC North marbles really isn't for anything. The Ravens already own the division and the Bengals are locked into being a wild card team. That could mean either team may rest players since both will be playing in the first round. This is a replay of the season opener that the Ravens won 44-13 at home. This is a messy game to call and a good reason why week 17 is bad for fantasy football. Both coaches will say they want to win but what happens in the course of the game is very hard to call. HC Jim Harbaugh says they are going to Cincinnati to win and use all resources to accomplish that despite the fact that there is nothing to win and there is a chance these same two teams meet next week in the playoffs as well.

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 13-10
3 NE 31-30 12 @SD 16-13
4 CLE 23-16 13 PIT 20-23
5 @KC 9-6 14 @WAS 28-31
6 DAL 31-29 15 DEN 17-34
7 @HOU 13-43 16 NYG 33-14
8 BYE ----- 17 @CIN -----
9 @CLE 25-15 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL @ CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 230,1
QB Robert Griffin III 50 240,2
WR Michael Crabtree 5-70,1
WR DeVier Posey 2-30
PK Justin Tucker 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens come off a solid win over the Giants and are glad to have won the division since they are only 4-3 in road games this year and play much less effectively when away from home. Going to Cincinnati would have been interesting if the division was still up for grabs but now becomes essentially a scrimmage. These two teams already know each other very well anyway.

Joe Flacco passed for 299 yards and two scores in that season opener in Cincy and he's managed to score nearly every week. The Ravens are now two weeks into the new offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell but any changes to the play calling are not that apparent other than Ray Rice getting a heavy workload in week 16.

Rice turned in 107 yards as a runner and then had six catches for 51 yards and another score in his heaviest workload of the year. He was only ran ten times in that season opener though he gained 68 yards and scored twice. The switch to Caldwell's offense will be a success if he does nothing more than to give the ball more to their best player - Ray Rice.

The only offensive scheming that may happen in this game is to get Anquan Boldin a 1000 yard season since he just needs 79 more yards to get there. He already posted four catches for 63 yards and a score in the first meeting

There is nothing more to accomplish this week aside from keeping players healthy to potentially play the same team next week in Baltimore. That puts risk on all the players regardless what Harbaugh says to the media. Why not say it is for real - nothing to lose by seeing how the Bengals prepare for them.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 18 10 18 11 7 12
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 6 15 5 19 16 26

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL IND 0000017010 ***
Indy has provided just 202.8 yards per outing, which ranks as the seventh fewest. On the plus side, every 10.8 completions has found the end zone (5th). Nevertheless, the weaponless Flacco is not a threat for fantasy success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alex Collins, BAL IND 11022300000 ***
Despite the Colts having given up the most yards rushing per game (135.8) to RBs over the last five weeks, this remains a difficult matchup for ground scores. Only one in 44.3 carries has found the end zone in that window. The last two weeks have resulted in consecutive 150-yard rushers against Indy, representing 50 percent of the 100-yard games on the year. Aside from last week's struggles vs. Cleveland, Collins has been on fire. This projection is ambitious, but the upstart back has earned a role in all lineups during the title week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Javorius Allen, BAL IND 3002200000 ***
Indianapolis offers the worst matchup of the week for receptions by RBs, and receiving yardage against is naturally depressed, too (31st). On the ground, Allen faces the top opponent for rushing yardage but just No. 22 for TD efficiency against.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Crabtree, BAL IND 005700000 ***
This may wind up being a conservative projection. Crabtree is the premier weapon in this offense in the red zone, and he faces an Eagles defense that has permitted wideouts to score at the eighth-easiest rate since Week 10.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Moore, BAL IND 003300000 ***
Moore has no place on a fantasy roster in crunch time.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL IND 4422 ***
Baltimore hosts, meaning weather could be a factor, but the strong-legged Tucker is capable of making one from Indianapolis if afforded the chance. The Colts bring one of the tougher matchups to the table, statistically speaking. Kickers have made 12 of 13 kicks, missing one of the seven field goal tries, for the seventh-fewest combined kicking chances a week.

Cincinnati Bengals
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BAL 13-44 10 NYG 31-13
2 CLE 34-27 11 @KC 28-6
3 @WAS 38-31 12 OAK 34-10
4 @JAC 27-10 13 @SD 20-13
5 MIA 13-17 14 DAL 19-20
6 @CLE 24-34 15 @PHI 34-13
7 PIT 17-24 16 @PIT 13-10
8 BYE ----- 17 BAL -----
9 DEN 23-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 250,2
WR A.J. Green 6-80,1
WR Brandon LaFell 5-80

Pregame Notes: The Bengals get into the playoffs while kicking the Steelers down the ladder last week - how great was that? They even won their last four road games as well and now can notch their tenth win if the Ravens acquiesce to reality and try to mail this one in and rest players. This has been a good season for the defense that has held six of their last seven opponents to fewer than 14 points.

Andy Dalton only passed for 221 yards and no scores in that opener but had at least one score in every successive game until last week in Pittsburgh. He's already scored 26 passing touchdowns and even added four more as a runner. His pace has been off in recent weeks though with never more than one passing touchdown in the last four weeks.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis was on a hot streak with five straight weeks of 100+ total yards but then was swamped in Pittsburgh. He ran for 91 yards and a score on 18 carries in Baltimore this year. His last six weeks probably saved his job since he was stuck around 60 yards per game prior to week ten.

Mike Nugent may be back this week since his calf has improved. In the end, you never want to rely on a fantasy kicker in a meaningless game though. Josh Brown has kicked well in relief but may be released this week or next.

Jermaine Gresham only managed three catches for 30 yards in Pittsburgh while A.J. Green settled for five receptions and 70 yards. He would start his nine game scoring streak the following week.

There are no safe plays here this week. A.J. Green and Green-Ellis are both considerations and should be good for decent yardage at least but there is nothing on the line here but the wrong things - see what you opponent looks like and stay healthy for next week in case you play the Ravens again. It is all a big risk.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 12 26 7 16 10 6
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 9 23 12 5 28 7

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andy Dalton, CIN DET 0000021011 **
Detroit has averaged a pick per game and has allowed a touchdown pass every 14.9 completions (20th). This is the No. 7 matchup to exploit for yardage (265.8). All told, the struggling Dalton has fantasy's fifth-best matchup of the week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joe Mixon, CIN DET 6011100000 *
Mixon should be ready this week after fully going in Wednesday's session, which is usually a telltale sign of an imminent return. Detroit is among the four-best matchups of the week in both scoring formats. Running backs have scored once every 20 carries, which is No. 6, and this is a great matchup for versatile RBs.

Update: Mixon practiced in full all week and will play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN DET 2003300000 ***
Bernard should take a backseat as Joe Mixon is poised to return after fully practicing Wednesday. The projections will be updated accordingly later in the week. The Lions present the fourth-best PPR matchup and second-easiest in standard.

Update: Mixon practiced in full all week and will play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN DET 005701000 ***
Detroit has been content to give up top-12 weekly figures in receptions (13) and yardage (167), but this defense has clamped down against permitting scores. None of the 65 opportunities over the last five months scored. Only Baltimore has been stronger. Look for Green to draw Pro Bowl corner Darius Slay.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, CIN DET 003400000 ***
The veteran possession man in this offense has two TDs in his last six games. Sanu has been targeted at least five times in each of those contests, and Detroit offers a promising matchup for his style of play. The Lions have permitted receivers to average 13 receptions (11th) for 167 yards (7th) a game. Zero of those 65 snares found the end zone, however.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Tyler Kroft, CIN DET 003400000 ***
Detroit has been among the best tight end matchups to exploit for much of the season. In the past five games, TEs have scored once, on average, and this is a top-12 matchup for receptions and yards per game. It was Week 12 the last time he scored, and Kroft has taken advantage of good matchups, so there is hope he outplays his projection.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, CIN DET 2222 ***
Kickers have found great success with extra points against the Lions, but Cincinnati has struggled putting the ball into the end zone. This is only the 22nd-best matchup for three-point opportunities.

WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

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