Welcome to week two of the NFL Regular Season. Before each game RavensGab will take a look at the various Ravens players poised to make a significant fantasy impact and provide analysis based on current trends and matchups.
Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans
September 18th, 2011 1:05 pm Nashville, TN
Weather Forecast: Sunny
Joe Flacco, QB (224 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT)
Joe had a banner day against Pittsburgh last Sunday. It was the kind of performance that makes you wonder if he’s just a stone’s throw away from being a top flight fantasy quarterback. I wouldn’t go that far yet, but he certainly made the case to be your starter if you have a struggling top eight QB leading your roster.
Tennessee is not Pittsburgh. Not even close. Last week, Joe lit up Pittsburgh with calm confidence and precision strikes. Do the math. Joe should have a far better day if the Ravens throw the ball and don’t just hand off to Rice.
Prediction: 250 yds, 2 TD, 0 INT
Ray Rice, RB (107 yards Rush, 42 yards Rec, 2 TD)
Man did Ray Rice look good running last weekend. In the past 51 games the Pittsburgh Steelers have given up 100 yards to a running back just twice. Both times it was to Ray Rice. I sincerely believe that if he stays healthy, he’ll be right there for the rushing title. That’s bad news for the Ravens’ pocketbook but good news for fantasy owners.
Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 97 yards and a TD against the Titans last week. Expect Ray to do the same and better.
Prediction: 120 yds Rush, 30 yds Rec, 2 TD
Ricky Williams, RB (63 yards Rush, 4 yards Rec, 0 TD)
Ricky is a solid backup who played admirably in garbage time. However, watching the Ravens last week it’s clear he’s not going to have the same role McGahee/McClain did. Rice is going to be in the game for every play until he needs a rest. Williams just isn’t going to get you those 60+ yards every game, and will likely not score unless the Ravens are struggling at the goal line.
I like Ricky against the Titans, but only if the Ravens blow them out of the water.
Prediction: 45yds Rush, 10 yds Rec, 0 TD
Ed Dickson, TE (59 yards Rec, 1 TD)/ Dennis Pitta, TE (45 yards Rec, 0 TD)
Todd who? The Dickson/Pitta combo was lethal against the legendary Pittsburgh linebackers. It became clear that once the Ravens had a legitimate down field threat to keep defenses honest, Flacco was going to target the middle of the field. He made this point by going right to Dickson/Pitta early and often.
Tennessee has a couple of decent corners to manage Anquan Boldin and Lee Evans (if he plays), so I’m looking for Flacco to target Ray Rice on the screen and get the ball to his tight ends more often than he did against Pitt. That said, neither of these players is a solid bet. You won’t know who is going to get the heavy nod until the game plays out. Dickson did get the lone TD last week though, which is worth noting.
Prediction: Dickson — 45 yds, 0 TD/Pitta — 40 yds, 1 TD
Anquan Boldin, WR (74 yards Rec, 1 TD)
Anquan Boldin looked down right nasty on Sunday. He constantly shredded the Pittsburgh defense when left in single coverage. The addition of Evans to draw off pressure was clearly noticeable, and Boldin took advantage.
Tennessee has better corners than Pittsburgh does, so I’m going to be a little bearish when it comes to Boldin’s numbers. That said, if Joe’s offensive line holds up like it did last weekend, Boldin could feast on Tennessee. You have to start him if you have him, but don’t rely on him to win the game. Finnegan is likely his matchup, and can play some ball.
Prediction: 85 yrds, 1 TD
Lee Evans, WR (0 yds, 0 TD)
It was very evident last week that Pittsburgh was terrified of Lee Evans. Whether it was his speed that scared the Steeler defense, or flashbacks to last year in Buffalo, they kept him well managed all game. Rice, Boldin, Dickson and Pitta owners, all sent their thanks.
If Evans is not sidelined by an ankle injury this weekend he should have much better numbers, and contribute respectable points.
Prediction: 70 yrds, 1 TD
Billy Cundiff, K (3 PAT, 2/2 FG, Lng 30 yds)
Although the Ravens drove up the score on the Steelers, thus negating the need for field goal opportunities, Billy Cundiff had a solid fantasy day for the touches he did get. He made the most of his chances (nine points in traditional scoring leagues).
I’m thinking more of the same out of Cundiff this weekend. Handful of PATs an one or two FG tries.
Prediction: 3 PAT, 2 FG (27/35 yds)
Defense (3 INT, 4/4 FF, 4 Sack, 0 TD)
Man was I wrong about this defense last week. The unit tied the franchise record for most turnovers in a game, and came one Ed Reed dropped ball from making it an even eight. Going into the game the Ravens were a minus seven in the all time turnover battle against Pittsburgh. In one game they came back to even. Terrell Suggs had three sacks on Roethlisberger and Haloti Ngata made the offensive line look like a squad of high schoolers. A solid day all around.
Another good outing against Tennessee makes the Ravens a must have Fantasy Defense early in the season.
Prediction: 2 INT, 2/3 FF, 4 Sack, 0 TD