Joe Flacco 7/10
Flacco continued to drive fantasy owners insane last week, as he had another up and down game. He had two touchdowns, but also had two turnovers.
The mediocre game from Flacco came at home where he has been much better this season, so his struggles at home now have to be discouraging.
The good news is Flacco will get a shot to turn things around against the NFL’s 28th-ranked pass defense at home, so both of those factors are encouraging.
Matt Ryan and Drew Brees have had successful days against the Giants’ defense the last two weeks, so this game will be one of the last chances for Flacco to turn things around before the playoffs.
Despite the good match-up on paper, it would be wise to avoid Flacco as his inconsistent nature is too much of a risk, especially considering most leagues are in the championship week. Look elsewhere for a more substantial option.
Prediction: 260 yards passing, two touchdowns, one interception
Ray Rice 9/10
Last week was an absolute disaster for Rice and his fantasy owners, as he registered a miniscule three points in standard fantasy leagues.
Rice had 41 total yards, as he had little room in both the run and pass game. However, a major factor in Rice’s disappointing day was his limited amount of touches.
Common sense would’ve been to give Rice at least 20 touches, but new offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell thought otherwise as he neglected his best player for the majority of the game. Rice’s combined 15 touches is inexcusable on Caldwell’s part, so Rice figures to get 25 touches this weekend if Caldwell wants to keep his job.
Thus, with the division championship on the line, as well as Caldwell’s job security, look for a big game from Rice. Throw in the fact the Giants’ defense is ranked 22nd in run defense, and I fully expect Rice to have one of his better games of the season.
Prediction: 110 rushing yards, touchdown, 35 receiving yards
Anquan Boldin 7/10
Boldin had been red hot until last week, when he had zero catches on six targets. That output was even more disappointing when you consider Torrey Smith only played roughly half the game after a concussion.
Boldin is a risky play mainly because of his quarterbacks’ bi-polar nature, but if you are to start a Ravens’ wide receiver, it should be Boldin. He is a cagey veteran who has found the end zone frequently before last week.
However, play Boldin with caution as his hot streak before last week’s dud may be completely over.
Prediction: 5 catches, 60 yards receiving, touchdown
Torrey Smith 5/10
If you are still contemplating playing Smith, then you are either related to Smith or have a crush on him, as he has been fantasy fools gold for most of the season.
Smith had one catch for 14 yards last week before exiting with a concussion. Smith is listed as questionable, though it appears he will play.
Smith has hit his worst stretch of play this season as he has no touchdowns in his last five games, and has only gone over 35 yards receiving once during that span. That occurrence happened during the Ravens furious comeback against the San Diego Chargers four weeks ago, so even Smith’s only recent solid performance was extremely skewed.
Thus, with so much uncertainty surrounding Smith and his quarterback, stay away from Smith this week.
Prediction: 3 catches, 60 yards receiving
Dennis Pitta 9/10
Pitta has been a man possessed recently, and nothing exemplifies that better than his monster game last week.
Pitta set a career-high in receiving yards with 125 and also scored two touchdowns for the first time in his career.
Pitta now has four touchdowns in his last four games and has over 40 yards receiving in three of four games.
Pitta now ranks 10th in receiving yards by a tight end, sixth in touchdowns and eighth in receptions, so his output earns him a spot as a viable tight end option.
Pitta has also been Flacco’s security blanket, so his rapport with his quarterback further sustains his value. Start Pitta confidently this weekend while he is hot and going against a porous pass defense.
Prediction: 6 catches, 80 yards, touchdown