Fantasy Forecast: Week One

Welcome to week one 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 match-ups.

Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets

September 13, 2010 8:30 pm Meadowlands, NJ

Weather Forecast: Partly Cloudy

Joe Flacco, QB (3613 yards, 21 TD, 12 INT)

Flacco is coming into the Meadowlands with massive expectations. From here on out he is fully expected to step forward and become the elite quarterback he is projected to be, however in week one he faces a tough test against Rex Ryan and his media darling New York Jets. The addition of Revis won’t have as big an impact as most people think it will, but the Ravens have questions at right tackle, and the Jets bring a solid and effective pash rush. I like Flacco this week to put up decent if not spectacular numbers.

Prediction: 210 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT

Ray Rice, RB (1339 yards Rush, 703 yards Rec, 8 TD)

Ray Rice is poised to be an absolute fantasy monster. Whether that translates into actual production remains to be seen. With the upgrades to the passing attack one has legitimate concerns over the hit Rice will take to his receiving numbers.

Against the Jets I like Ray Rice a lot more than some others. The Jets bring a pretty good defensive line to the table and they will do their best to bottle up the dynamic running back, but I like Rice to see a lot of screens and no huddle runs designed to keep Rex’s defense on its heels. I mean hell Indianapolis did it to him every year when he was in Baltimore to great success.

Prediction: 70 yds Rush, 40 yds Rec, 1 TD

Willis McGahee, RB (544 yards Rush, 85 yards Rec, 14 TD)

If you read my fantasy primer you know I’m not huge on McGahee to turn out any sort of respectable yardage. That being said I still believe he is the Ravens primary goal line back and will snake TDs away from Ray Rice early and often throughout the season (after all he was averaging just shy of a TD a game last year).

Keep in mind that if Ray begins to spin his wheels and Joe can’t get off of Revis Island, Cam will not hesitate to revert to smash mouth football and use Willis to pound the rock.

Prediction: 30 yds Rush, 15 yds Rec, 1 TD

Todd Heap, TE (593 yards Rec, 6 TD)

For almost two straight seasons heap has had a down year numbers wise. In 2008 he was asked to block for Joe Flacco almost exclusively, rarely seeing any opportunity to stretch the field. In 2009 he was able to break out more often, but when L.J. Smith failed to materialize, Heap was called upon to block once again, and was also asked to play every down (which took its toll injury wise).

This season I like Heap to bounce back. Although I think T.J. Houshmandzadeh will fill a slot roll that Heap was relying on for his bread and butter, the additions of Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson will take off the pressure and allow Heap to what he does best. Create space, and catch the ball. Against the Jets I like Heap as Joe’s safety valve if the WR’s aren’t producing.

Prediction: 60 yds, 1 TD

Ed Dickson, TE (Not Applicable)

Dickson is the rookie tight-end out of Oregon whom everyone around the league is suddenly high on. Odds are if you have him on your fantasy squad you have a zip code located somewhere in the greater Baltimore area. Dickson will be a solid bench player for you now but shouldn’t be starting as it is unknown what role he will play in Cameron’s system.

I expect a number of two TE sets this week against the Jets but don’t expect anything out of Dickson numbers wise.

Prediction: 20 yds, 0 TD

Derrick Mason, WR (1028 yards Rec, 7 TD)

Mr. Dependable. Mr. Automatic. As a fantasy player I have a crush on Derrick Mason. Some might accuse me of being a homer, but in all honesty I think he’ll have a resurgent year. As we saw in the week 17 game against Pittsburgh last year, when you don’t double cover Mason he will beat you like you called his momma fat. Teams can’t double Mason anymore and I think his numbers will reflect it in a big way.

I like Mason against the Jets a lot. Hell a whole lot. 

Prediction: 100 yds, 1 TD

Anquan Boldin, WR (1024 yards Rec, 4 TD)

Harder than coffin nails, Anquan Boldin was brought in to be the Ravens’ very own Hines Ward. Finally slotted to be the number one receiver he always felt himself to be, much of Baltimore’s hopes rest on his shoulders.

Against the Jets I’m not so high on Boldin. I think Revis will be set against him and although the CB is not going to be up to speed by a long shot, I just don’t feel Boldin in this match-up. In week three though? I think Boldin puts up megastar numbers. Just not this week

Prediction: 75 yrds, 0 TD

T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR(911 yds, 3 TD)

Last year’s number one target in Seattle managed to put up decent reception numbers despite having literally zero help from his quarterback or supporting cast. I’ve always been a big Housh hater mostly because of how easily he carved up our secondary for so many years in Cincy. Now that he’s in Baltimore I want to just hug him. Once he gets up to speed on the playbook I’m expecting big things. For now though he’s probably a marginal flex option at best, and even then, only in deeper leagues.

Against the Jets, look for Housh to be used in the slot early and often Wes Welker style. Mostly on third downs, and almost exclusively in slant routes.

Prediction: 30 yrds, 0 TD

Billy Cundiff, K(23 PAT, 18/23 FG, Lng 46 yds)

Billy Cundiff is once again a solid option at kicker. He beat out Shayne Graham for the job and has secured the confidence of Coach John Harbaugh. I always liked Graham Gano better, but since he’s now a Redskin, you could do a heck of a lot worse than Cundiff.

Prediction: 3 PATs, 2 FG (35/25 yds)

Defense (22 INT, 15 FF, 32 Sack, 3 TD)

I’m not going to beat the dead horse any further than everyone else has already beaten it. The Ravens have some questions relating to their defense. In preseason the tackling wasn’t crisp, mental mistakes were common, and the secondary was being held together with scotch tape and bubble gum. However, that being said, I have faith that the Ravens can bottle up Sanchez and his less than stellar stable of Wide Outs and Tight Ends (I’m not a big Dustin Keller fan). I wouldn’t necessarily start them if I had better options, but it’s not going to cripple your team if you do.

Prediction: 2 INT, 2 FF, 5 Sack, 0 TD

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