Joe Flacco 7/10
Flacco had a big day last week, as he had over 300 yards, three total touchdowns and maybe most importantly, no turnovers.
It was a performance that Flacco had been looking for since early in the season. It was also a big confidence boost as Flacco outdueled Eli Manning in a game that was huge for both teams.
However, this week’s game has little riding on it as Flacco and the Ravens are all but locked into the four-seed.
Throw in the fact that leading receiver Anquan Boldin is questionable and the Bengals own the sixth-ranked defense, it makes this match-up not the sexiest of games for Flacco.
Flacco may even not play the full game as well, so avoid Flacco this week.
Prediction: 180 yards passing, one touchdown, one interception
Ray Rice 4/10
Rice had one of his better overall performances last week as he had over 100 yards rushing to go with 51 yards receiving and a touchdown.
Despite Rice’s big day, he was actually outrushed by Bernard Pierce, as the rookie ripped off 14 carries for 123 yards.
With virtually nothing to play for, look for Pierce to receive 15-plus carries against the Bengals, as Rice will get some needed rest with the playoffs starting next week.
The Bengals also own the NFL’s eighth-ranked run defense, so it won’t be easy for Rice when he in fact does get the ball.
Thus, with so many reasons to rest Rice, look for a quiet day from the Pro Bowl running back.
Prediction: 35 yards rushing, 20 yards receiving
Anquan Boldin 5/10
Boldin has been a beast in the second half of the season, and he is on the verge of his first 1,000-yard receiving season as a member of the Ravens.
However, Boldin is questionable with a shoulder injury and again, the Ravens have basically nothing to play for.
Boldin needs 79 yards to hit the 1,000-yard mark, but a healthy Boldin for the playoffs is more important than his individual statistics.
Thus, Boldin is not worth a start considering all the moving parts working against the tough, veteran receiver.
Prediction: 30 yards receiving
Torrey Smith 7/10
Smith was invisible during the Ravens’ three-game losing streak, but he came to play last week in the big win over the New York Giants.
Smith had 88 yards and a touchdown, as he gave himself a slim chance to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career.
Smith needs 145 yards to hit that benchmark, so it won’t be an easy task. The Bengals own the league’s 10th-ranked pass defense as well so it will only add to Smith’s difficulty.
Considering how inconsistent Smith is and how long he and the rest of the starters will play, and it makes Smith a risky play as usual.
Prediction: 80 yards receiving
Dennis Pitta 8/10
Pitta has been one of the most pleasant fantasy options on the Ravens, as he has come on strong in the last half of the season.
He has become Flacco’s security blanket and has worked his way into the conversation for top-10 tight ends in the fantasy realm.
Again, it remains to be seen how long the Ravens’ starters will play, but look for Pitta to continue his strong play.
Prediction: 40 yards receiving, touchdown