Joe Flacco 6/10
Flacco’s consistency has been driving fantasy owners mad, as he has been feast or famine the entire season. Last week Flacco looked poised for his biggest game of the season after a monster first half. Then Flacco proceeded to do nothing productive in the second half as he had two turnovers and no touchdowns in the second half.
Now Flacco gets a Broncos’ defense that is fourth overall and seventh against the pass, so he will have his work cut out for him.
If Flacco has another inconsistent day, the Ravens’ defense will be at his mercy as that will mean that Peyton Manning will be on the field all day.
Despite the Ravens being at home with a ton to play for, expect another dud from Flacco.
Prediction: 190 yards passing, one touchdown, one interception, one lost fumble
Ray Rice 8/10
It will be interesting to see if Rice gets an increased workload now that Cam Cameron and his pass happy offensive philosophy are out.
Rice is coming off a season high in rushing yards and total yards last week, as Cameron finally gave Rice 20 carries.
The Ravens are 5-0 this season when Rice gets a minimum of 25 touches, so expect new OC Jim Caldwell to feed Rice early and often.
Rice should get ample carries, but it remains to be seen how well he does against the Broncos’ sixth-rated run defense.
Rice torched the Washington Redskins’ fourth-ranked run defense last week, so Rice should have another solid day.
Prediction: 23 carries, 105 yards rushing, touchdown, 4 catches, 35 yards receiving
Torrey Smith 7/10
Smith pulled another disappearing act last week against the Redskins’ atrocious pass defense. At this point most fantasy owners have found more consistent options as Smith either has a big day or does basically nothing.
The only way I would expect a big day from Smith is if the Ravens get so far behind Manning and the Broncos that the Ravens need to start airing it out.
Smith is too sketchy to trust, especially considering that it is the fantasy playoffs. Unless you think the Ravens will air the ball out, bench Smith.
Prediction: 2 catches, 45 yards
Anquan Boldin 8/10
Boldin had only three catches last week, but all three were huge plays in the game. His first two grabs came in the first quarter and both went for touchdown strikes. His third catch came in the fourth quarter, as his grab set up a Rice touchdown.
If you are going to start any Ravens’ pass catcher this week, it should be Boldin. The rugged veteran is hot and he usually has big games against physical defenses like the Broncos possess.
With the focus on Rice, Boldin is poised to be the biggest part of the Ravens’ passing game, so start the physical receiver despite the tough match-up.
Prediction: 6 catches, 105 yards, touchdown
Dennis Pitta 7/10
Pitta had a double-digit fantasy day last week and now has three touchdowns in his last five games. Pitta continues to be Flacco’s security blanket and remains a viable fantasy option at tight end.
Admittedly, Pitta has also been inconsistent at times, as his quarterback has been a model of inconsistency.
However, Pitta has had some success in games that Flacco has struggled, so if you need to plug a tight end in, Pitta is a decent option.
Prediction: 5 catches, 60 yards