Fantasy Forecast : Week 10


Welcome to week ten 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 Cleveland Browns
November 16, 2009, 9:00 pm Cleveland, OH
Weather Forecast: Partly Cloudy/Windy

Joe Flacco, QB (Week 9: 195 yds, 0 TD, 2 INT)

In perhaps his ugliest performance of the season, Joe Flacco laid an absolute egg vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. Flacco had simply no answer for the Bengals’ Defense, and the few times Flacco was able to step up and make a play his passes were often way short leading to a number of INT’s and near misses. There’s really not much to say other than one hopes he recovers quickly for Monday night’s contest in Cleveland.

In his previous effort against the Browns, Flacco put on an absolute show for the fans in Baltimore, throwing for 342 yards and a touchdown. Although one would expect more of the same against the lowly Browns, neither of these teams resemble the ones which met way back in week three. Although the Browns have continued to struggle, they will surely bring everything they have to avoid being embarrassed before a national audience. The Ravens on the other hand have been up and down all season and despite trouncing the Browns in the first meeting, are 1-4 since and are 0-5 in the last few Monday Night Football appearances.

I don’t expect Flacco to have a down game, but I wouldn’t peg him for ridiculous numbers either. That’s why I’m advising a start with caution only based on the favorable matchup.

Prediction: 250 yds, 2 TD

Ray Rice, RB (Week 9: 48 yds Rush, 87 yds Rec, 1 TD)

Ray Rice was the lone bright spot out of an otherwise dismal performance last week at Paul Brown Stadium. Week in and week out he is proving himself to be a premiere back in the NFL. Whether he cuts teams up on the ground or dings them for big plays through the air, Ray Rice is a complete offensive weapon.

If you have him he’s a must start this week against the Browns. Cincy has a solid rush defense, but their pass coverage is a tad suspect. I’d look for Ray to have another strong showing this Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, perhaps not on the ground, but definitely through the air.

Prediction: 50 yds Rush, 80 yds Rec, 1 TD

Willis McGahee, RB (Week 9: 0 yds Rush, 0 yds Rec, 0 TD)

The theme continues into week ten, Willis McGahee is in action and presumed dead. McGahee seems to clearly be the Ravens’ red zone and short yardage back, however, this year the Ravens seldom find themselves in a running situation down in the red, and very rarely have enjoyed 3rd Down situations of 5 yards or less. Start against the Browns at your own peril. The 67 yards and 2 TD performance of week 3 clearly will not be repeated this week.

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

Le’Ron McClain, FB/RB (Week 8: 2 yds Rush, 24 yds Rec, 0 TD)

In my predictions from Le’Ron McClain last week, I clearly got him all backwards. I predicted 20 yards rushing and 5 yards receiving when I should have had it the other way around. For the past few weeks Le’Ron has been used as a change of pass back to spell Ray Rice. It remains to be seen how long the trend continues.

Against the Browns don’t expect huge numbers or any sort of valuable production of McClain, but don’t be entirely shocked if he maybe snakes a lone touchdown from Ray Rice either.

Prediction: 10 yds Rush, 15 Yds Rec, 0 TD)

Todd Heap, TE (Week 9: 28 yds, 0 TD)

Heap is going to have up and down games like any other TE in the league. The only problem is other TE’s get targeted in the end zone from time to time. Flacco, Heap, and the Ravens offense in general simply haven’t been put into a position where Heap can be used effectively to churn out big points.

Against the Browns, Heap should probably have a pretty solid outing. The Browns pass coverage unit is not the best, but it remains to be seen how the offense clicks before knowing if Heap is going to have monster numbers.

Prediction: 45 yds, 1 TD

Derrick Mason, WR (Week 9: 31 yds, 0 TD)

It’s hard to make receptions when the following three things happen: 1.) Your Offensive Line has its worst performance of the season, 2.) You’re QB is having a down day, 3.) The corner assigned to you is holding you all day long up and down the field. Don’t get me wrong, Leon Hall and now (surprisingly) Jonathon Joseph are good cornerbacks, but they were holding Mason all day long and got a free pass from the Refs to do so. It’s the nature of the game, but it’s a wonder that Mason had 30 yards all day with the mugging going on in the backfield.

Against the Browns Mason threw up 118 yards and a touchdown for his statistically strongest outing all season. I wouldn’t look for such gaudy numbers out of the aging WR but I would look for another solid game.

Prediction: 85 yds, 1 TD

Mark Clayton, WR (Week 9: 15 yds, 0 TD)

Clayton couldn’t get separation from Jonathon Joseph and he couldn’t get open. Couple that with the poor play from the QB and the offensive line and its no wonder he was only targeted twice.

The Browns cannot cover the pass very well outside of about 150 yards. If Clayton can find a way to get separation and stay open, Flacco should reward him handsomely with any number of targets, unlike the two he had all day against the Bengals

Prediction: 45 yrds, 1 TD

Kelley Washington, WR (Week 9: 10 yds, 0 TD)

Kelley has good hands and good vision, not to mention the fact that he’s 6’4, which allows him to catch some of Joe Flacco’s rainbow shots down the field. I kept waiting for Kelley to come alive against his former team, but unfortunately the woes on offense were legion and he simply wasn’t given the opportunity to make plays.

In his first meeting against the Browns, Kelley put up 66 yards of total offense. This week I’d more or less expect the same.

Prediction: 65 yrds, 0 TD

Steven Hauschka, K (Week 9: 1 PAT, 0/1 FG (29 yds)

Steve Hauschka is on the verge of being removed from this team. Twice already the team has held tryouts with prospective FA kickers. The first time was due to injury, the second due to ineffectiveness. He single handedly robbed his team of all of the momentum they had gained in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter in Cincinnati. He makes that kick and the Ravens are in prime position to win. But unfortunately, once again, wide left.

Against the Browns, one would expect at least 2 FG’s out of young Hauschka, but beware the pressure of a division game if the score is close with little time remaining. He’s choked twice badly, he will do it again.

Prediction: 3 PATs, 2 FG (36/40 yds)

Defense (Week 9: 0 INT, 1 FF, 1 Sack, 0 TD)

The score belies how awful this game really was for the Ravens’ Defense. Although they made the correct adjustments in the second half, and the play of Lardarius Webb shown through, the unit as a whole play abysmally. They couldn’t stop the run; they couldn’t defend the pass (without drawing flag after, flag after, flag after, flag after, flag… etc). It was a very sloppy very lackadaisical showing.

Against the Browns earlier this season the Ravens came away as an absolutely stout defensive unit. The day was led by four interceptions and two sacks. One would hope that they would bring the same swagger on Monday night; however, no one really knows which Ravens team will show up these days. Start them with confidence if for no other reason than the Browns are awful.

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