FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) *IND at CHI *PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC *JAC at MIN *PIT at DEN *WAS at NO
*BUF at NYJ *MIA at HOU *SEA at ARI *CIN at BAL (MON)
*UPDATED *CAR at TB *NE at TEN SF at GB *SD at OAK (MON)

Prediction: PHI 34, CLE 13 (Line: PHI by 8)

Players Updated: Trent Richardson, Ben Watson

Players to Watch: Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson, Josh Gordon

On the plus side, no one is calling the Eagles "the team to beat" this year so there is a minimal amount of pressure. Finishing 8-8 only thanks to a four game winning streak at the end means the Eagles are looking to gain back their mojo that never appeared in 2011. Oddly enough they were 5-3 on the road though. The Browns come off another 4-12 sort of season once again trying to rebuild a struggling team. The Eagles already have plenty incentive to start the year out with a big win while the Browns will, yet again, take time to learn the new offense and integrate new players.

For what it is worth - which is really nothing - the Eagles beat the Browns 27-10 just two weeks ago.

Philadelphia Eagles
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CLE ----- 10 DAL -----
2 BAL ----- 11 @WAS -----
3 @ARI ----- 12 CAR -----
4 NYG ----- 13 @DAL -----
5 @PIT ----- 14 @TB -----
6 DET ----- 15 CIN -----
7 BYE ----- 16 WAS -----
8 ATL ----- 17 @NYG -----
9 @NO ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The Eagles remain remarkably the same in a league that thrives on constant change. Same players, same coaches, same scheme. It used to work pretty well before last year. Worked great in 2010. On the plus side, it makes this team less of a challenge to forecast.

Michael Vick is back only wearing Kevlar this time. He spent most of the preseason injured of course but has a new vest to wear that the manufacturer guarantees will prevent him from injury. it is not yet known which lawyers will handle the class action suit when 25,000 fantasy owners lose their league when Vick is yet again injured. The only notable here is that Nick Foles beat out Mike Kafka to be the backup that will start at least three games if history holds true.

LeSean McCoy is poised for yet another big year with no real backup which is never used anyway and an offense that uses him as both a runner and a receiver. Two straight years of 1600+ total yards and last year he had a career best 20 touchdowns.

Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson return as the starters and provide most of the receiving game. Jackson fell from 47-1056-6 to only 58-961-4 last year and admitted that he played to not get hurt until he got his contract redone in the offseason for five-years and $47 million. Jackson provides the deep threat while Maclin is the possession receiver. Jason Avant remains the #3 but has lived outside of fantasy relevance.

Brent Celek had a sprained MCL but is ready to go for the season opener. He has been a sleeper to some and did finish 2011 with 62-811-5 and more importantly scored in each of the final three games. This is the same passing attack of 2011 and 2010. The Eagles are entirely unchanged and hoping to have it all work better this year. At least Jackson may be trying really hard this time.

The Browns were outstanding against the pass last year mostly because of LCB Joe Haden and the fact that everyone beat up on the Browns with the run and then lost interest. Haden may end up suspended for failing a drug test which would be great for DeSean Jackson. With the Browns starting a rookie quarterback, I like the chance for a defensive score here.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 8 15 9 13 16 9
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 3 24 1 14 21 8

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Nick Foles, PHI OAK 0000024020 ***
Foles pitched four TD passes in last week's showdown with the Giants and has a decent enough matchup this week. Oakland is 16th in fantasy points allowed (20.2) since Week 10, permitting just six TDs in the last five games. This is the 17th-best defense for limiting passing yards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jay Ajayi, PHI OAK 8011100000 ***
Running backs have averaged 77.2 rushing yards (24th), 5.0 receptions (19th), 28.2 receiving yards (19th), and a touchdown every 26.3 attempts (10th) vs. the Raiders in the past five weeks. Overall, this is a bottom-nine matchup in both scoring formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeGarrette Blount, PHI OAK 200000000 ***
Oakland offers a promising matchup for touchdowns, so maybe gamers get lucky. Avoid Blount and his limited role where possible.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, PHI OAK 004501000 ***
Jeffery has scored four times in his last five outings, which matches what the Raiders have permitted during that stretch. The Oakland defense has given up 10.4 receptions (24th) for 132.4 yards (26th) since Week 10.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nelson Agholor, PHI OAK 006700000 ***
For all of Oakland's ails in 2017, this group has been solid enough against wideouts. In recent weeks, the defense even learned how to intercept passes. The last receiver to score was in Week 12, and that includes holding Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Sterling Shepard, Tyreek Hill and Dez Bryant out of the end zone.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, PHI OAK 001200000 ***
Smith has not been enough of a factor to consider him as anything more than the wildest of flex gambles for deeeeeeep leagues.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Ertz, PHI OAK 004601000 ***
Impressively, despite Oakland being the easiest team for giving up receptions to the position, it is also the strongest at limiting touchdowns to the position. Since Week 10, only one of the 31 catches have scored, but the 81.2 yards per contest against ranks first.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Jake Elliott, PHI OAK 1144 ***
In the past five games, kickers have made all 22 attempts -- an even split per FGAs and XPAs -- against Oakland. This is the No. 6 matchup to exploit for Week 16.

Cleveland Browns
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PHI ----- 10 BYE -----
2 @CIN ----- 11 @DAL -----
3 BUF ----- 12 PIT -----
4 @BAL ----- 13 @OAK -----
5 @NYG ----- 14 KC -----
6 CIN ----- 15 WAS -----
7 @IND ----- 16 @DEN -----
8 SD ----- 17 @PIT -----
9 BAL ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: Big changes here with a new offense installed by new OC Brad Childress and plenty of personnel to get integrated in the new system. The Browns may have struggled for more years than most third-world countries but at least they are trying. The NFL draft may have finally served up some notable offensive help that is desperately needed for a team that ranked in the bottom five of almost every offensive category last year.

The Oklahoma State star Brandon Weeden has won the starting job away from Colt McCoy and the 28-year old rookie simply cannot be any worse than the long line of quarterbacks that have gone through Cleveland. One worry is that Weeden has not only been accurate and picked up the offense well, he has also shown a profound ability to give the ball to the opponent via a fumble or interception. That needs to be fixed.

The Browns also drafted the first running back when the took Trent Richardson who was described as the best product from college since Adrian Peterson. That set fantasy fans clamoring for the rookie runner who ranked top ten until he needed to have his left knee scoped a month ago. That was to clean up his knee and was the second scope of the year. That forced him to miss the entire preseason and makes him a much bigger risk for now. The Browns all said that Richardson would be fine for week one but have recently backtracked on that prediction. Montario Hardesty and Brandon Jackson lay in wait behind the rookie and while Hardesty has been named the #2, both runners will contribute when Richardson cannot play.

The changes do not stop there. Greg Little (61-709-2) led all Cleveland receivers as a rookie but has been joined by Josh Gordon who was acquired in the supplemental draft for a second round pick - that was not cheap for a player who was unable to play last year. But Gordon has already impressed if only occasionally. He started slowly in training camp until he started to get into better shape after such a lengthy layoff from football. Gordon should provide a second viable option for Weeden and is worth tracking to see how quickly he can become a part of the offense. He'll be given every chance to make a difference.

Ben Watson remains the starter but missed out on all four preseason games with an undisclosed injury that is not expected to be an issue in week one. Watson only turned in 37 catches for 410 yards and two scores last year anyway and the Browns want to develop Jordan Cameron, the 6'5" ex-basketball player in his second-year. The offense has no big call for receiving tight ends so Cameron's development is only mildly interesting.

First week out against the Eagles defense that is rested, healthy and prepared won't end that well. The Browns are pointed in the right direction but it will take time to get the motor running.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 27 31 27 11 29 32
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 13 25 13 9 1 21

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB DeShone Kizer, CLE @CHI 30100019002 ***
Chicago shouldn't have too much trouble putting the hurt on Kizer. For every flash of potential and brilliance, the rookie has displayed a million more hair-pulling whiffs at trying to make a big play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE @CHI 5001100000 ***
Crowell was limited Wednesday with a shoulder issue. There really isn't much to like about this matchup. The Bears have given up zero rushing TDs in the past five games, spanning 106 carries (30th). The 94.2 rushing yards allowed is 16th, which is as close to it gets for being positive on the ground.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Duke Johnson Jr., CLE @CHI 1004300000 ***
Johnson (shoulder) has a fairly strong matchup through the air. Chicago has granted running backs five receptions (18th) for 33.4 yards (22nd) and a score every 25 snatches. Unless this one deviates from the norm, Johnson will be an underwhelming play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Josh Gordon, CLE @CHI 005600000 ***
Receivers have managed 13 receptions (9th) and 168.4 yards (6th) a game vs. the Bears since Week 10, with one score per contest coming on those 13 balls (15th). Gordon lines up to be a moderate risk-reward option based on the quarterback play and opponent.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Corey Coleman, CLE @CHI 003500000 ***
Receivers have scored once per game since Week 10 against the Bears, and this defense is giving up the sixth-most yards on a weekly basis. However, the quarterback play has been so bad that gamers would be taking a huge risk to start him.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE David Njoku, CLE @CHI 002300000 ***
It looked like the rookie was getting on track for a two-game spell a few weeks back, but he then returned to being a non-factor in fantasy. Look elsewhere for a flier play.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Zane Gonzalez, CLE @CHI 2211 ***
Regardless of the matchup, no owner in a championship game should consider a Browns kicker, no matter his name.

WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) IND at CHI PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC JAC at MIN PIT at DEN WAS at NO
BUF at NYJ MIA at HOU SEA at ARI CIN at BAL (MON)
  CAR at TB NE at TEN SF at GB SD at OAK (MON)

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