Week Fifteen Analysis:
Last week I promised you Joe Flacco's first game of the year with more than two touchdowns. It took 59 minutes and 56 seconds, but I made good on that promise. And this week he faces a similarly yielding secondary, Detroit. And he won't have to battle his way through a blizzard to get to three touchdowns. Of the last eight quarterbacks to face the Lions, only Matt Flynn hasn't scored multiple touchdowns. Three of them scored three times or more. The Ravens running game is hopelessly broken, and Detroit's run defense is usually very stout. Flacco has his arsenal of receivers fully intact, with Dennis Pitta returning. So the gameplan should go through Flacco's arm.
Week Fourteen Analysis:
Joe Flacco hasn't topped one touchdown in three games, and he hasn't topped two touchdowns all year. But, dust him off as he faces the bottom-tier Vikings secondary. They've allowed the most passing touchdowns, 25, and they've allowed the fourth-most passing yards 300 per game. Every opposing quarterback has thrown touchdowns against Minnesota, and 10 of 12 have thrown multiple touchdown. Last week Josh McCown uncorked a deep passing attack against Minnesota to the tune of 355 yards and two scores. Flacco can easily do the same.
Week Twelve Analysis:
Another week, another easy matchup for Eli Manning, this time against his perennial whipping boys, Dallas. When Manning saw Dallas in the season opener, he threw for 450 yards and four touchdowns. And, he's thrown multiple touchdowns in seven of his last nine meeting with his division rival. And Dallas just got embarrassed by Drew Brees in their last game, giving up nearly 400 yards and four touchdowns. All that sounds great, until you remember that Eli simply doesn't capitalize on these matchups any more. Since that week one explosion against Dallas, he's averaging less than one touchdown per game. And, he's topped 300 yards one time since week two. I love the matchup, but Eli has let us down repeatedly in these same situations all year.
Week Eleven Analysis:
Quietly, Joe Flacco is putting up good numbers. He's thrown multiple touchdowns in three of the past four games and four of the past six games. Torrey Smith has emerged as one of the league's elite downfield receivers, and Marlon Brown and Jacoby Jones are decent role players. He faces an inconsistent Bears defense that just put Charles Tillman on injured reserve. The only quarterback who has failed to score against Chicago is Seneca Wallace, and Matthew Stafford just picked 'em apart for three scores.
Week Six Analysis:
This is a tricky matchup for Joe Flacco with plenty of danger. He's posted two really strong fantasy games, and three bad ones this year. In his two good games, he's thrown the ball 50 and 62 times. And, they lost both games. In his three bad games, he's thrown the ball 33, 24, and 32 times. And, sure enough, they won both games. The Ravens win when they run the ball. Period. Sure, fantasy owners want Joe Flacco to throw his arm out of socket, but John Harbaugh must view that as a worst case scenario. The obvious—and probably singular—recipe for fantasy success for Flacco is for his own defense to yield a lot of points to Green Bay, forcing Flacco to throw often against the NFL's 7th-worst pass defense.
Week Five Analysis:
For some reason, the Ravens are trying wrench Joe Flacco's shoulder out of socket. His attempts are waaaay up, with his two biggest attempt days of his entire career happening already this year. Those reps have allowed him to throw for over 340 yards twice this season. If he keeps these reps going, he's got a great chance to do that again this weekend against the Dolphins. Miami is allowing over 300 passing yards per game this season and allowed the sixth-most passing yards last season.
Week Four Analysis:
We all expected Joe Flacco to struggle last week against a very good Houston defense. This week, he has a much more forgiving test as he goes up against the battered Buffalo secondary. They've allowed multiple passing touchdowns in every game this year, and last week Geno Smith threw two, ran one, and passed for 331 yards in just his third career game. So, it's a very good opportunity for Flacco to return to the form we saw in the playoffs last year, when he threw for multiple touchdowns in seven of his last eight games.
Week One Analysis:
Champ Bailey is still using walking boot on his sprained foot, which opens up a huge opportunity for Joe Flacco. Chris Harris may be forced to take Champ's place. Opposite him, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie starts after his ignominious ejection from Philadelphia, where he was among the worst starting CBs last year. This secondary is a mess without Bailey, and it opens the door to another game of pitch and catch for Joe Flacco and his receivers. In his two meetings with Denver last year, he threw five touchdowns, and another multiple touchdown game seems likely.
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The NFL's highest paid player is barely on the fantasy radar, and little more than a bye week fill-in for your fantasy team. Over the past four seasons, he's thrown 21, 25, 20, and 22 touchdowns. That's barely functional for a starting quarterback. Granted, his playoff run last year, was impressive as he connected on all those deep balls. The loss of Anquan Boldin will be felt, but hopefully the development of Torry Smith and Dennis Pitta will make up for it. Still, I'm not ready to jump on board with Flacco suddenly looking dramatically different/better from the guy we've seen for five years.
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