Joe Flacco 7/10
It appears on the surface to be a rough match-up for Flacco as the Cowboys boast the NFL‘s top-rated pass defense. The Cowboys are only allowing 169.5 yards passing per game, and Flacco only threw for 187 yards last week. Flacco had been averaging over 300 yards per game before last week’s brutal performance so there is a reason to think he can bounce back. Another encouraging factor is that the mistake-prone Jay Cutler threw for 275 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions at Dallas, so Flacco could have a solid game at home. There is still more to be desired from the consistency of Flacco’s receivers so this gets an average grade for the match-up.
Prediction: 250 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception
Ray Rice 9/10
I thought Rice would have a breakout game last week, and he did go for just over 100 yards rushing, but it wasn’t a monster game Rice has a knack for. He still isn’t getting the amount of carries a back of his caliber deserves (tied for 15th in carries per game) but with the Cowboys owning the aforementioned top-rated pass defense, Cam Cameron needs to finally come around and make sure Rice is the featured piece in the Ravens’ offense. This has the potential to be one of Rice’s best performances of the season at home against a fragile team with the 15th-ranked rush defense. After predicting a big game last week, I’m going to stick to my guns and think this is finally the week Rice puts together a game that made him a top-3 running back in the fantasy realm.
Prediction: 130 yards rushing, 2 touchdowns, 35 yards receiving
Anquan Boldin 8/10
Boldin has been the most consistent pass-catcher for Flacco this season as the cagey veteran has become the team leader in receptions. He hasn’t been finding the end zone with regularity, but with Smith and Dennis Pitta having consistency issues, Boldin seems to be the safest play for all Ravens’ pass-catchers. If he could start to find the end zone every other game or so, his fantasy value should start to be realized. I think he finds the end zone this weekend as he continues his march up the wide receiver fantasy ranks.
Prediction: 6 catches, 85 yards, 1 touchdown
Torrey Smith 7/10
Smith had the dreaded regression game, as consistency has evaded Smith throughout his young career. He was coming off two big games, but like many of the Ravens last week, Smith struggled and had a rough fantasy day. His 38 yards were a season low and Smith will get a lot of attention for the Cowboys top-rated pass defense. Like we saw with Mike Wallace this past Thursday, Smith is one play away from having a solid fantasy day. Play more consistent options this week until Smith can produce consistent numbers more often than not.
Prediction: 4 catches, 65 yards
Dennis Pitta 6/10
Pitta has come crashing back to Earth in the fantasy world, as he has 22 yards receiving in his past two games combined. Pitta owners have no doubt become skeptical about the third-year tight end. His value sits somewhere between his torrid start and his invisible last weeks, but where exactly is that spot? For now Pitta remains a risky play, especially going against the Cowboys’ top-rated pass defense. Like Smith, wait to see if Pitta can find some consistency before you deploy him regularly with confidence. He is still Flacco’s boy, but look elsewhere for help in the meantime.
Prediction: 4 catches, 45 yards
Defense/Special Teams 9/10
This unit is coming off a stellar game against the Chiefs and may be picking up some steam. Romo is coming off a five-interception massacre and the Ravens’ secondary has been downright ballhawkish of late. I smell another hefty amount of Cowboys’ turnovers as DeMarco Murray has also been quiet this season. Expect more of the same from the Cowboys, as they will turn the ball over and slow Murray down. The Ravens’ defense is a prideful bunch so they will want to vastly improve upon the amount of rushing yards they allowed last week. If the Ravens can put consistent pressure on Romo, this could be a big day for the defense.
Prediction: 13 points allowed, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recover, 1 touchdown, 1 sack