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Fantasy Forecast: Week Five

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Welcome to week five 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 the strengths and weaknesses associated with each based on current trends and matchups.

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
October 11, 2009, 1:05 pm Baltimore, MD
Weather Forecast: Partly Cloudy, 67 Deg.

Joe Flacco, QB (Week 4: 264 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT)

Joe Flacco was the unsung hero of last week’s game against the Patriots. If it hadn’t been for an untimely miscommunication at the half (leading to his lone INT) and a disastrous dropped ball on the final drive, Flacco would be labeled as the second coming of John Unitas this week. The final drive he led against a very good Patriots defense was masterful. It exhibited all of the reasons why the Ravens decided to draft the young quarterback.

He’s not putting up the flashy stats (like his contemporary Phillip Rivers), but Flacco is still averaging 275 yards a game and putting up 8 touchdowns to only 4 INT’s. Any question of how Flacco would fair against elite level competition was answered in spades. He shredded the Pats during the final two minute drill. They simply had no way to contain him.

On paper, this week seems like a bit of a trap game for Flacco. Last year he dominated Cincinnati in both meetings (400 yards of total offense and three touchdowns), but that was a Bengals squad in a complete stat of flux. The Bengals squad he faces this week has been completely re-energized and is only 1 bad tipped ball away from being undefeated. Of biggest concern to young Flacco should be Defensive End Antwan Odom. Odom is an absolute monster and is currently leading the league in sacks, and has 2 INT’s. If Jared Gaither can’t play, then its up to Michael Oher to keep Flacco up right. If Oher can’t handle the pressure, then Joe might be in for a long afternoon.

Prediction: 300 yds, 2 TD, INT

Ray Rice, RB (Week 4: 103 yds Rush, 49 yds Rec, 0 TD)

Ray Rice had a strong outing against the Patriots. It was more or less what we’ve come to expect out of the diminutive back. The only real shame is that Cam Cameron decided not to use him even when it became clear that the Patriots had no answer for him. I fully believe that if they kept handing him the ball, the Ravens could have easily won. This is especially true on the final play of the game, wherein the Ravens only needed four yards, and the Patriots were clearly showing pass defense. Give Ray the ball there and the Ravens are 4-0.

This week against the Bengals, Ray should be poised to have another big week. The Bengals are giving up on average 93 yards to opposing rushers. I don’t know if he’ll have a chance to find the end zone, but he’ll definitely be given every opportunity to rack up some yardage.

Prediction: 95 yds Rush, 35 yds Rec, 1 TD

Willis McGahee, RB (Week 4: 11 yds Rush, 13 yds Rec, 1 TD)

Willis McGahee sort of disappeared in Foxboro, but I’m not sure it was entirely his fault. Like with Ray Rice, Willis fell victim to Cam’s insistence on a pass heavy offensive scheme. Logic would suggest that Willis should have had a day similar to little Ray’s, but then again a lot of things didn’t make sense last Sunday.

This Sunday against the Bengals, looks for Willis to bounce back and put up similar numbers to his game in Cleveland. Cincy is weak against the bruising big back, and is allowing close to 100 yards a game rushing from opponents.

Prediction: 70 yds Rush, 20 yds Rec, 1 TD

Le’Ron McClain, RB (Week 4: 0 yds Rush, 0 yds Rec, 0 TD)

Like I said last week, Le’Ron is a fullback. He gets his carries, and he’s shown better than expected hands on the reception front, but it doesn’t change the fact that his opportunities will be limited.

Do not expect any different against the Bengals.

Prediction: 15 yds rush, 10 yds Rec, 0 TD

Todd Heap, TE (Week 4: 46 yds, 0 TD)

Much like against the Browns, Heap had a solid outing last weekend against the Patriots. Once again he failed to find the End Zone but he did have respectable catches for 46 yards which came up huge in clutch situations..

Against the Bengals, Heap has to hope that the Ravens don’t rely too heavily on the run. Couple that with the fact that Jared Gaither is likely inactive, and that means we’ll be seeing Heap mostly in blocking packages and the occasional short yardage situation over the middle. I wouldn’t expect a lot out of him for this week’s game.

Prediction: 35 yds, 0 TD

L.J. Smith, TE (Week 4: 0 yds, 0 TD)

LJ Smith is a bit of a mystery. No one is really sure how he’s going to fit into Cam’s offense. After recording his first reception against the Browns, I’m not sure he even saw the field against the Pats. I can’t imagine we’ll be seeing much of him this week against the Bengals, especially if the offense line struggles to contain Antwan Odom.

Prediction: 10 yds, 0 TD.

Derrick Mason, WR (Week 4: 88 yds, 1 TD)

Another week, another solid outing out of Derrick Mason. What more can you say about the guy? He is a solid contributor any time he’s on the field. If Joe throws the ball anywhere in his general vicinity he will catch it and make the play. You can always depend on Derrick Mason to come up huge with the game on the line.

Against the Bengals, one would imagine more of the same out of Derrick. But keep this in mind. 80% of Mason’s production last week came in the first half. After that it became Belichek’s personal vendetta to ensure he didn’t catch another pass.

Prediction: 90 yds, 1 TD

Mark Clayton, WR (Week 4: 45 yds, 0 TD)

The #1 Goat of the Week. He is one bad moment away from being this towns #1 hero. His drop on the 4 yard line last week was absolutely 100% inexcusable. Kids on the sandlot make that catch 9 times out of 10, so it would reason that a professional athlete should catch that ball. Although we put a lot of pressure on Clayton for that miss, it was perhaps his first miss on the previous play which is more frustrating. A well placed ball in the corner of the endzone should have been reeled in by Clayton but it wasn’t he let it slip through his fingers and as such, the Ravens faced 4th and 4 with 34 seconds remaining.

This week against the Bengals, Clayton should put up similar numbers assuming Joe ever throws the ball his way ever again.

Prediction: 50 yrds, 0 TD

Kelley Washington, WR (Week 4: 31 yds, 0 TD)

I would have thought for sure Kelley would have put up big numbers against his former team. I’m not talking hall of fame numbers, but numbers big enough to show what they were missing out on. Instead he put up decent not great numbers, and made a few good timely catches they helped put the Ravens in position to win the game.

Kelley’s other former team is the Bengals. He still holds alittle bad blood with this squad in that he never felt he was given a fair chance to succeed behind Ocho, Housh and Henry. I think he’d like to put up some big figures to really show Marvin lewis where he went wrong.

Prediction: 75 yrds, 1 TD

Steven Hauschka, K (Week 4: 3 PATs, 0 FG (N/A yds)

Hauschka was dependable against the Pats. He wasn’t asked to kick any meaningful FG’s throughout the game, so it remains to be seen how he handles the pressure. Once again, it’ll be worth watching to see if he’s up to the challenge.

Prediction: 4 PATs, 1 FG (36 yds)

Defense

Defense had an OK game against the Pats. If it weren’t for a few questionable calls the production would have been even better. Terrell Suggs’ force fumble and recovered touchdown against Tom Brady was a thing of beauty. If he can have the same type of production against Carson Palmer, the Bengals are going to have a very long day. But also beware, Carson palmer has had his best games career wise when playing the Ravens. He has consistently given this defense fits for years.


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