Joe Flacco: 8/10
Flacco is coming off a mediocre fantasy week against the Dallas Cowboys and has been rather unimpressive in his last two games. However, the Ravens are facing a stout opponent in the Texans and it would be expected that this will be a close game, if not a game that the Texans can lead throughout. Throw in the recent rash of injuries and the Ravens will have plenty to handle with the Texans’ potent rushing offense. Thus I expect a huge effort from Flacco this weekend as the onus is now on the offense to take over the team. As the quarterback, Flacco has a chance to take the leadership role, especially considering Ray Lewis is done for the season. With a bye week on the horizon expect Flacco and the Ravens to leave it all on the field.
Prediction: 320 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception
Ray Rice: 8/10
Rice finally hit pay-dirt last Sunday, as offensive coordinator Cam Cameron finally gave Rice goal-line carries. Those carries allowed Rice to his first two-touchdown game since week 1. Rice will need to be at his best this Sunday against the Texans’ seventh-rated run defense. If Rice can have a successful day, that means the Ravens can control the clock and keep the uber-dangerous Arian Foster off the field as much as possible. Last week The Cowboys’ rushing success against the Ravens’ defense enabled Dallas to have the football for more than double the amount of time the Ravens had it for, and it nearly won the game for Dallas. Look for the Ravens to attempt that formula this week as Rice will be the main cog for controlling the clock.
Prediction: 80 yards rushing, 1 touchdown, 30 yards receiving.
Torrey Smith: 7/10
Smith will continue to receive average predictions as long as he keeps his string of inconsistent play alive. He did have a 19-yard touchdown last week, but had just one other catch for five yards. Smith has only led the Ravens in receiving yards once this season as he struggles to find consistency. It isn’t the greatest match-up for Smith, but the Ravens may be in throwing situations often if they get behind, so there is a chance for a big day from Smith.
Prediction: 70 yards receiving
Anquan Boldin: 8/10
Boldin is heading in the right direction for fantasy owners as he has led the Ravens in receiving yards for three straight games. He has become Flacco’s most trusted option and should get plenty of looks this weekend as each team’s offense looks to go blow for blow. The only discouraging thing for Boldin-owners is that he has not found the end zone since week 1. However, look for that to change this weekend as Flacco figures to be throwing often if the Ravens get behind. Boldin has been the most consistent receiver this season, so expect another solid effort heading into the bye week.
Prediction: 90 yards receiving, 1 touchdown
Dennis Pitta: 7/10
The search for Dennis Pitta in recent weeks has come up empty, as the third-year tight end has hit a wall. Pitta has only 55 yards receiving combined in his last three games and his status as a starter-worthy tight end in the fantasy realm has all but evaporated. However, Pitta may be a valuable piece this Sunday. The Texans and J.J. Watt have a very disruptive pass rush, so Pitta may be a popular check-down option if the Texans’ pressure becomes overwhelming. Pitta has had an extremely up and down season thus far, so it remains to be seen how he will play heading into the by week.
Prediction: 60 yards receiving
Defense/Special Teams: 5/10
To say the Ravens’ defense has underachieved this season is a massive understatement. Now the already beleagured group must face a potent offense without two of its best players in Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb. Linebacker Terrell Suggs will most likely not play, so help is not here yet. The Ravens’ defense figures to improve upon their 26th ranking at some point in the season, but don’t expect that turnaround this week. Look for Arian Foster and company to gash the Ravens’ banged-up defense all game as the Ravens’ defense will hit the bye week with their tails between their legs.
Prediction: 27 points allowed, 1 sack, 1 interception