Game Predictions & Player Projections - BAL vs. DEN

Game Predictions & Player Projections - BAL vs. DEN


Game Predictions & Player Projections - BAL vs. DEN


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Prediction: BAL 13, DEN 31 (Line: DEN by 4)

Update: Breshad Perriman and Lorenzo Taliaferro are both out this week.

Injury Report
Wednesday – (Did Not Practice) – Breshard Perriman, Lorenzo Taliaferro

Thursday – (Did Not Practice) – Breshard Perriman, Lorenzo Taliaferro
Friday – (Did Not Practice) – Breshard Perriman, Lorenzo Taliaferro

The Ravens finished 10-6 last year but were just 4-4 in road games. John Harbaugh enters his eighth season as head coach but the offense will change now that Marc Trestman is the coordinator. That promises more passing and less rushing. The biggest changes are the loss of Torrey Smith and Owen Daniels. But the Ravens went straight to the draft and picked Breshad Perriman (1.26) and Maxx Williams (2.23) with their first two picks. Perriman has been injured and Williams very slow to pick up the offense so the start of the year should see lower overall stats.

The Broncos come off a 12-4 season that yet again ended quickly in the playoffs. But the coaching staff is all new with head coach Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison both coming over from these Ravens. Kubiak has long been associated with the Broncos as a player (1983-1991) and a coach (1995-2005). The offense is slated to be more ball-control and better rushing. The only real change in personnel is the loss of Julius Thomas to the Jaguars and his replacement Owen Daniels following Kubiak.

Have to prefer the homefield Broncos even with a new system being installed. Chances are the Ravens will have a tougher time with their new offense thanks to notably lesser talent in the skill positions.

Baltimore Ravens

1 @DEN —— 10 JAC ——
2 @OAK —— 11 STL ——
3 CIN —— 12 @CLE ——
4 @PIT —— 13 @MIA ——
5 CLE —— 14 SEA ——
6 @SF —— 15 KC ——
7 @ARI —— 16 PIT ——
8 SD —— 17 @CIN ——
9 BYE ——  
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL @ DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 250,1
RB Justin Forsett 50 8-60
WR Kamar Aiken 5-60,1
WR Marlon Brown 4-70
WR Steve Smith 3-40
WR Mike Wallace 4-70
TE Crockett Gillmore 2-20
TE Benjamin Watson 20
PK Justin Tucker 2 FG 1 XP

The addition of Marc Trestman is always a fantasy boon since he prefers aggressive, pass-oriented game plans that makes use of all receivers. Problem here is that the only ones are Steve Smith in his final year before social security kicks in and … and … Justin Forsett? Breshad Perriman was a great pick and will figure in later but is injured. This offense looks to take more time to bear fruit but hopefully that will be before 2016. The team is a mixture of really old and really young players.

QUARTERBACK : Joe Flacco has stalled out around 3900 pass yards in each of the last three seasons. 2014 was his best fantasy year with 3986 yards and 27 touchdowns. Once Trestman’s scheme is familiar, Flacco should be a lock to break 4000 yards though the health of his receivers will be key as well. Fortunately he already learned that Justin Forsett is a perfectly good receiver.

RUNNING BACK : Perhaps one of the very biggest surprises of 2015 was when Justin Forsett went from being a journeyman running back on his fourth NFL team to suddenly posting top ten stats each week. Forsett never gained more than 619 yards in his seven year career and has languished as a little used back for the previous three years. But with Ray Rice’s departure catching the Ravens unprepared, he was pressed into duty behind one of the best lines in the league. The results were 235-1266-8 and a rusher and 44-263-0 as a receiver. Considering that Trestman’s previous back (Matt Forte) just caught 102 passes, the optimism around Forsett is understandable no matter how unlikely his break out seemed.

The Ravens drafted Javorius “Buck” Allen in the fourth round but the ex-Trojan has not impressed and will likely be the #3 back behind Lorenzo Taliaferro. Trestman never asked Forte to share much so the reasonable assumption is Forsett gets to be the workhorse alone at the age of 30.

WIDE RECEIVER : The loss of Torrey Smith after four seasons is a big change and Steve Smith has already said this is his final season at the ripe old age of 36. Smith was always a deep threat miscast as a possession receiver and the Ravens made a great pick of Breshad Perriman. But the rookie sprained his PCL and missed the entire training camp. It was recently disclosed that his healing was going slower than expected and that he will miss the start of the year and perhaps not play until October. That hurts for anyone who spent an earlier draft pick on him but then again Odell Beckham missed last September as well. Perriman is no Beckham but he can become the #1 wideout for a team that loves to pass. The opportunity is big but Perriman has to be on the field to take any advantage.

Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown will be playing in his absence. Both players caught exactly 24 passes last year and ended around 260 yards each. They’ll run deeper routes in this new offense.

TIGHT END : The Ravens lost Owen Daniels and Dennis Pitta starts the year on PUP and may never play again. Second round pick of Maxx Williams has not performed well in the preseason and he is not expected to start for week one in part due to an undisclosed injury. That leaves Crockett Gilmore as the starter for this game.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Installing a new offense on the road in Denver where the chance that the Ravens fall quickly behind is less than ideal. Worse yet is that Trestman does not have Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett. He has Steve Smith, Kamar Aiken and Crockett Gilmore. Since Steve Smith should draw Talib Aqib, this does not look like a hot start. Forsett is a must start but that is the end of it for the first week. Aiken or Brown might have a decent game and even score, but the risk in relying on anyone but Forsett is just too high.

Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 18 7 11 16 10 15
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 26 11 3 26 8 2

Denver Broncos

1 BAL —— 10 KC ——
2 @KC —— 11 @CHI ——
3 @DET —— 12 NE ——
4 MIN —— 13 @SD ——
5 @OAK —— 14 OAK ——
6 @CLE —— 15 @PIT ——
7 BYE —— 16 CIN ——
8 GB —— 17 SD ——
9 @IND ——  
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB C.J. Anderson 60,1 4-30
WR Emmanuel Sanders 4-70,1
WR Demaryius Thomas 6-100,1
TE Garrett Graham 2-20
PK Brandon McManus 1 FG 4 XP

The Broncos move on the Gary Kubiak/Rick Dennison and while the plan may be to run more and control the ball better, Denver has already been one of the top ten teams for rushing for a few years anyway. And so long as Peyton Manning plays, it is going to mostly be his team and his way. And that means any significant drop in passing is likely far overrated. This is the same team as last year other than losing Julius Thomas who was unreliable at the end of the season both years. Owen Daniels replaces him but has a far lower outlook. As always, any team with Manning is a team that fantasy leaguers love.

QUARTERBACK : Peyton Manning had an “off” year in 2014 but only because he threw 55 touchdowns in 2013. Manning still ended with 4727 yards and 39 touchdowns while nursing a quad injury for the final six week games. His stats dipped sharply right when fantasy playoffs happened but he had been a beast for the first half of the season. Manning is looking for one more ring and of course, one more season that will net him every single appreciable career passing record in the history of the NFL.

RUNNING BACK : The Monte Ball era was “don’t blink” fast thanks to a severe groin injury and the success of C.J. Anderson. The undrafted second year back didn’t play much until week ten but he was a difference maker down the stretch turning in 100+ total yards in seven games and scoring ten times. Anderson is the starter again this year and while some expect Ronnie Hillman to figure in, that is less likely. Hillman spent the last three seasons showing why he is not just not good enough for more than a minor complementary role. He’s averaged right around 4.0 yards per carry and isn’t big enough for a major role. Peyton Manning has already stated that Anderson will be the bell cow.

Ball’s release leaves just Anderson and Hillman as backs likely to see the field and Hillman will only play a complementary role.

WIDE RECEIVER : Demaryius Thomas was second only to Antonio Bryant last year when he caught 111 passes for 1619 yards and 11 touchdowns. He signed a new contract with the Broncos in the offseason and will remain an elite fantasy play so long as Manning is there. He’s topped 1400 yards in each of the last three seasons while scoring double digit touchdowns. Emmanuel Sanders enjoyed the Manning experience last year when he left the Steelers and nearly doubled his previous best season. Sanders ended with a stat line of 101-1404-9 but is expected to have at least incrementally fewer passes for 2015 and said so himself. Then again, those Manning records are not going to make themselves.

Wes Welker is gone so Cody Latimer should be stepping up but he’s not received good reviews from camp and is not expected to be a fantasy factor in the new offense.

TIGHT END : Bringing in Owen Daniels to replace Julius Thomas is more about helping install the new offense and giving a veteran presence than any revival of his career. Daniels has slowed down at the age of 33 and has never been more than a moderate tight end play anyway. He’ll have a role here and will catch passes, but this is not likely another 10+ touchdown tight end.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Ravens are into the fourth season with Dean Pees as the defensive coordinator and they ranked #1 against the run in 2014 when they dominated the line and only allowed five rushing touchdowns all year. They never faced a runner who topped 100 rush yards and only three managed more than 60 rushing yards in a game. Look for a slower opening for C.J. Anderson though he could catch passes as well to help his fantasy value. Bottom line with Denver is clear – Manning, Thomas, Sanders and Anderson are must starts every week and even more so at home. The Ravens are good against the run but only average in other facets.

Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 3 10 2 11 12 20
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 14 1 31 13 19 6

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