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Staff Picks: Backing the Ravens

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

Congratulations to Stopa for winning the 2012 Staff Picks, though the outcome was hardly in doubt for about 10 weeks. His 143-107-6 mark equates to 57.2 percent, a massive rate while picking all 256 games. Unfortunately for him it falls just short of the Staff Picks record of 141-99 (58.75 percent) set in 2000. And Pianow lost his Week 17 best bet, but still finishes at 12-5, 70.58 percent, on the year.

This week, the Ravens are the only consensus pick, and three of us (Erickson, Stopa and me) have them as our best bets.

Erickson Pianowski Liss Stopa Del Don
Bengals +4.5 at Texans Bengals Bengals Bengals Bengals Texans
Vikings +8 at Packers Vikings Packers Packers Vikings Packers
Colts +6.5 at Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens
Seahawks -3 at Redskins Redskins Redskins Redskins Seahawks Seahawks
Best Bet Ravens Packers Ravens Ravens Seahawks
Last Week's Record 7-9 10-6 10-6 7-9 6-10
2012 Record 110-140-6 125-125-6 121-129-6 143-107-6 123-127-6
Best Bet Record 3-12-2 12-5 7-10 8-9 10-7
Consensus Pick Record 22-30-1
2011 Playoff Record 8-3 5-6 9-2 6-5 7-4
2010 Playoff Record 6-5 5-6 5-6 7-4 8-3
2009 Playoff Record 5-6 4-7 1-10 6-5 5-6
2008 Playoff Record 6-5 5-6 5-6 8-3 4-7
2007 Playoff Record 8-3 3-8 6-5 N/A 2-9
2006 Playoff Record 7-4 N/A 4-7 N/A N/A
2005 Playoff Record 5-6 N/A 3-8 N/A N/A
2004 Playoff Record 6-5 N/A 4-7 N/A N/A
2003 Playoff Record 6-5 N/A 4-7 N/A N/A
2002 Playoff Record 6-5 7-4 5-6 N/A N/A
2001 Playoff Record 6-4-1 7-3-1 4-6-1 N/A N/A
2000 Playoff Record 6-5 7-4 6-5 N/A N/A
2011 Record 121-128-7 134-115-7 124-125-7 123-126-7 127-122-7
2010 Record 129-122-5 134-117-5 126-125-5 136-115-5 134-117-5
2009 Record 123-130-3 132-121-3 131-122-3 130-123-3 126-127-3
2008 Record 132-114-10 128-118-10 124-122-10 125-121-10 130-116-10
2007 Record 127-120 118-129 127-120 N/A 130-117
2006 Record 118-129 N/A 139-108 N/A N/A
2005 Record 121-126 N/A 127-120 N/A N/A
2004 Record 124-124 N/A 130-118 N/A N/A
2003 Record 121-126 118-129 124-123 N/A N/A
2002 Record 113-136 123-126 141-108 N/A N/A
2001 Record 124-113 117-120 118-119 N/A N/A
2000 Record 123-117 134-106 141-99 N/A N/A

Consensus Picks

This week we have one consensus pick: the Ravens. We went 22-30-1 on consensus picks for the season. Last year we were 30-24-2 on consensus picks.


EricksonI was wrong about the Colts last week, but I'll double-down now that they're on the road, and less likely to ride a wave of emotion. I still think that they are above their skis, especially in Baltimore.
PianowskiI will be flabbergasted if the Vikings win. Maybe the Packers won't cover, but for them to lose Christian Ponder probably has to play another strong game, and I'll pick against that every time (Ponder's excellent play in Week 17 was ignored in favor of the Adrian Peterson love fest). I hate to pick against the Seahawks, but that line seems modestly inflated to me.
LissI like the Ravens and Packers playing the weakest teams in the field at home. I just can't back Houston after its free-fall out of easy home field advantage. WAS-SEA is a toss-up, but give me the home dog.
Stopa If the past few years have taught us anything, it's that hot teams do well in the playoffs. Cincy is 7-2 since its bye, with the losses by one to Dallas and eight to Denver. Houston, meanwhile, has been unimpressive since its bye, as it got blasted by the Pats and Vikings, split with Indy, and needed overtime to beat the Jags and Titans (the Jim Schwartz challenge game), with only a 14-point win over the Titans in that stretch. I wish I liked Andy Dalton a smidge more, but Cincy can win outright here behind its underrated defense. I like the Bengals 24-20... I'd be surprised if the Vikings win the game, as Christian Ponder is unlikely to duplicate his 120 QB rating from Week 17. But the Packers have just one sack in two games against the Vikings elite offensive line, so it's hard to see a blowout, either. Barring a multi-INT game from Ponder, Minny keeps it within a score. I like the under here, too (outdoors, and as a bounce-back from last week). Packers 23-17... It was a great, fun story in Indy, but it all comes crashing down here (for reasons I've beaten to death in recent weeks). Pencil in Ray Rice as fantasy's best player in the Wild Card round. Ravens 34-17... Much like Andrew Luck's story is ending this week, this feels like the week it ends for RG3. Seattle is just better in all phases, especially on defense. Seahawks 27-13.
Del DonSeattle is a different team away from home, and maybe this is the sucker side, but they just look so superior on paper, and the QBs should be something close to a wash. The Texans really faded down the stretch, but it's still mildly surprising to see Vegas value them so similarly to Cincinnati.

The players:

Jeff Erickson: RotoWire Senior editor, 2001, 2008 Staff Picks Champ. Writes the Value Meter. Covers and roots for the Bengals.

Scott Pianowski: Fantasy expert for Yahoo! Sports, and also contributes to 2009 and 2011 Staff Picks Champ. Roots for the Patriots.

Chris Liss: RotoWire Managing Editor, 2000, 2002, 2006 Staff Picks Champ, 2003, 2004 co-champ. Writes East Coast Offense, Beating the Book and Surviving the Week in addition to Staff Picks. Covers and roots for the Giants.

Mark Stopa: Staff Writer, 2010 and 2012 Staff Picks Champ, Writes Working the Wire. Roots for the Bills.

Dalton Del Don: Fantasy Expert for Yahoo! Sports, 2007 Staff Picks Champ. Roots for the 49ers.