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Fantasy Forecast: Week 6

SP RAVENS 12

Welcome to week six 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.

Baltimore Ravens at Minnesota Vikings

October 18, 2009, 1:05 pm Minneapolis, MN

Weather Forecast: N/A

Joe Flacco, QB (Week 5: 195 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT)

Last week Joe Flacco posted his worst performance of the season thus far. Not only did Cincinnati have an answer for everything he tried to do, but the Offensive line couldn’t stop a paraplegic kitten let alone the intimidating front seven of the Bengal’s defense.

Given what we’ve seen so far this season, we’ll chalk this up to just a bad day, but you have to be worried as a fantasy owner when Baltimore is traveling to Minnesota this coming Sunday.

If you thought the Bengals defense was nasty, the Vikings defense is down right fearsome. They remind me a lot of the Ravens in their philosophy and their approach. This means Joe is going to be counted on for a lot of running plays, and a lot of quick dumps over the middle and to the sidelines. I wouldn’t expect a lot of big down the field throws from Bazooka Joe, but I would anticipate a conservative ground and pound attack.

Prediction: 225 yds, 1 TD

Ray Rice, RB (Week 5: 69 yds Rush, 74 yds Rec, 1 TD)

Ray Rice once again had a solid outing for the Ravens. He was one of the few bright moments in an otherwise bleak and disappointing game. The Bengals simply couldn’t bottle up the explosive young back, and he made them pay for every missed tackle, every blown assignment.

This week against the Vikings, it’s hard to gauge how well Ray will play. The Vikings have one of the best defenses in the league and are well suited to shutting down the run. Ray could break out wild, or he could dominate in the short passing game (like he did against the Bengals) but I wouldn’t bet on a lot out of him playing in Minnesota this weekend.

Prediction: 50 yds Rush, 65 yds Rec, 1 TD

Willis McGahee, RB (Week 5: 11 yds Rush, 13 yds Rec, 1 TD)

Willis McGahee is officially missing in action and presumed dead. I’m not sure what’s going on behind the purple curtain in Owings Mills, but Willis is being denied a place in Cam Cameron’s game plan. There’s no logical explanation why, but he’s just disappeared entirely. One would think that Willis is just poised for a breakout game against the Vikings, but for further analysis I ask you to see Rice, Ray.

Prediction: 40 yds Rush, 5 yds Rec, 1 TD

Le’Ron McClain, RB (Week 5: 6 yds Rush, 10 yds Rec, 0 TD)

Le’Ron is a fullback. If you’re still holding on to him for fantasy value, I advise you to re-evaluate your strategy.

Prediction: 10 yds rush, 5 yds Rec, 0 TD

Todd Heap, TE (Week 5: 41 yds, 0 TD)

Much like against the Patriots, Heap had a solid outing last weekend against the Bengals. Sound familiar? He was targeted 7 times in the game, but couldn’t break anything for big gains. In his defense he was wide open in the endzone but Joe just threw an egg in his direction. Not Heap’s fault it was picked off.

Against the Vikings, Heap should factor heavily into the game plan. The Bengals crippled the Ravens by keeping Derrick Mason out of the game plan, so Joe is going to have to go to another sturdy target in order to get the offense rolling The only caveat to that is the fact that that once again Jared Gaither is likely inactive. That means we’ll be seeing Heap mostly in blocking packages and the occasional short yardage situation over the middle. Once again, I wouldn’t expect a lot out of him for this week’s game.

Prediction: 45 yds, 1 TD

L.J. Smith, TE (Week 5: 0 yds, 0 TD)

L.J. Who?

Prediction: 10 yds, 0 TD.

Derrick Mason, WR (Week 5: 00 yds, 0 TD)

The Bengals did exactly what they needed to do to stymie the Ravens. They got pressure on Joe, and they took Derrick Mason out of the game. You want to beat Cam Cameron? Take way his quarterback’s comfort, and his primary receiver. It’s how teams beat Phillip Rivers for years. The Ravens have to hope that Joe has more time this weekend, or that the Vikings’ corners aren’t as good as Leon Hall.

Prediction: 85 yds, 1 TD

Mark Clayton, WR (Week 5: 36 yds, 0 TD)

Not many members of the Ravens’ offensive corps had a good week against the Bengals. Clayton was no different. He had his moments, but really couldn’t get anything going. That’s not entirely surprising after the Foxboro Flop (Foxboro Flop® a registered trademark of RavensGab.com)

This week against the Vikings, Clayton should put up similar numbers assuming Joe can get the ball to him enough to make a difference.

Prediction: 50 yrds, 0 TD

Kelley Washington, WR (Week 5: 21 yds, 0 TD)

Once again, I would have thought for sure Kelley would have put up big numbers against his former team. Instead however I direct you to kindly see Clayton, Mark.

Something has to happen with Kelley Washington. He has too much potential to simply disappear. One of these weeks he is absolutely going to explode and have a monster outing. Whether that happens against the Vikings remains to be seen. However, you can only double team Derrick Mason for so long before Joe lights up one of his other receivers; and Kelley Washington has never dropped a pass in the red zone with the game on the line. Just saying.

Prediction: 65 yrds, 1 TD

Steven Hauschka, K (Week 5: 2 PATs, 0 FG (N/A yds)

Hauschka is a dependable kicker for PATs, but we still have no clue how the kid is going to respond to actually kicking field goals when they matter. That’s either a credit to this offense, or a severe knock against Cam Cameron. For the sixth consecutive week, it’ll be worth watching to see if he’s up to the challenge.

Prediction: 4 PATs, 1 FG (36 yds)

Defense (Week 5: 1 INT, 3 FF, 1 Sack, 1 TD)

The Defense had a good game against the Bengals. They got entirely too sloppy at the end, and its clear that the secondary (aside from Ed Reed) can’t tackle a toddler, but for the most part, they came ready to play and put up a solid effort on all fronts. 3 forced fumbles, a sack, 65 tackles, and an INT for six usually translates into a win. However, unfortunately for the Ravens, Joe couldn’t get it done on offense, and when it mattered most, the defense simply fell apart.

Against the Vikings, I would advise against starting the Ravens defense. The unit couldn’t stop Cedric Benson PERIOD, and let me tell you this, Benson is not Adrian Peterson. Couple that with Brett “I can beat you like a rented mule if I want to” Favre and things could get scary for Baltimore if they don’t fix the holes in their ship.


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