Welcome to week nine 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 Pittsburgh Steelers
October 6, 2011 8:05 pm Pittsburgh, PA
Weather Forecast: Cool, Clear Skies
Joe Flacco, QB (336 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT)
So after throwing an absolute wank against the Jaguars in week seven, Flacco stormed the field against the Cardinals and for 30 minutes, threw another absolute wank. That said, in the second half, Flacco rallied his soldiers and put up insanely high yardage to win the game. He didn’t have a TD pass, but you can blame that on two things: 1.) a well executed red zone attack, and 2.) Pass Interference on Anquan Boldin in the end zone leading to 1st and goal at the one.
Flacco averages around 176 yards per game against Pittsburgh with an average of 1.5 touchdowns and 1.5 interceptions. If you’re debating starting Flacco, I’d say try another option. The best thing going for him right now is the injury factor for the Pittsburgh defense and that’s not a certainty.
Prediction: 175 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Ray Rice, RB (63 yards Rush, 36 yards Rec, 3 TD)
He didn’t get the massive amounts of fantasy yards one would expect when playing a team like the Cardinals, but that’s to be expected when your offense is sputtering and down by three scores. Rice made the most of it however by nabbing three TD’s due to Boldin’s ability to consistently draw the PI calls in the end zone.
Although Ray Rice has been having a ton of success against Pittsburgh of late, he’s still averaging around 55 yards per game when he’s playing at Heinz Field (that’s total yards, rushing and receiving). Ray Rice is going to be Ray Rice, but this week he might be better suited to the Flex than as a #1 or 2 starter.
Prediction: 65 yds Rush, 40 yds Rec, 1 TD
Ed Dickson, TE (46 yards Rec, 0 TD)/ Dennis Pitta, TE (44 yards Rec, 0 TD)
Both Tight Ends played well against the Cardinals and benefited enormously from the Ravens switching offense packages to the hurry up shotgun approach. Flacco’s quick strike play benefits his intermediate targets, which means good things for Dickson/Pitta.
If Flacco comes out in a similar progression to the one seen in the Arizona game, he could really shred Pittsburgh with his tight ends. However, I expect Pitt to come out with a similar game plan to the one they used against New England which will limit the field of play by putting Ike Taylor on the intermediate target. That could really hurt the TE productions.
Prediction: Dickson — 35 yds, 0 TD/Pitta — 30 yds, 0 TD
Anquan Boldin, WR (145 yards Rec, 0 TD)
At halftime against the Cardinals, Boldin evidently took Flacco aside and told him to get the ball his way. Joe listened and the result is 145 yards of offense. Take away the fact that Arizona kept fouling him deep and Boldin might have added two if not three TD’s to those already stellar numbers.
Boldin average 67 yards a game against Pittsburgh when playing at Heinz Field or on neutral turf, but if Joe can click with him again, the Steelers don’t have anyone in their secondary that can match Boldin’s size or physicality. Ike Taylor is their best corner but he’s lacking in the stretch defense aspect of his game. If it’s this matchup, Boldin could see good numbers.
Prediction: 75 yrds, 1 TD
Torrey Smith, WR (57 yds, 0 TD)
Torrey Smith put up 57 yards on three receptions (he was targeted nine times), and had a mediocre fantasy day across the board. His drops are beginning to be an area of concern and are really killing his value. Additionally his inability to get consistent separation on go routes makes him ineffectual.
Smith might be worth a flyer if he can get open and expose the holes, but much depends on the pass protection around Joe and you can’t like the looks of that right now.
Prediction: 60 yrds, 0 TD
Billy Cundiff, K (3 PAT, 3/3 FG, Lng 47 yds)
Cundiff had a great day against the Cardinals. In standard scoring leagues he netted 12 points. Heinz Field is a tough place to kick, but Cundiff has had a good deal of success there and will likely be given a whole mess of opportunities to score points.
Prediction: 2 PAT, 3 FG (35/37 yds)
Defense (1 INT, 1/2 FF, 6 Sack, 0 TD)
Letting up so many points really hurt the Ravens defense numbers wise, but they’re still the best team in the league and still keep opponents to low scores better than anyone else. Also, you have to take into account how often Ben Roethlisberger is sacked, and how prone to fumbles he is under enormous pressure.
If Terrell Suggs lives up to his hype and plays as he usually does in Pittsburgh, I expect a decent day for the Ravens defense, right in the 7-9 point range.
Prediction: 2 INT, 2/3 FF, 5 Sack, 0 TD