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 Carson Wentz, PHI DAL 10100023011 ***
Dallas is a fringe matchup for quarterbacks, but the Cowboys have nothing on the line this week, so look for some key personnel to get a break. The rookie authored a 13.8-point fantasy day in Week 8 against Dallas.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matt McGloin, PHI DAL 0000015002 *
The tall task of replacing Derek Carr starts off with the worst possible matchup in fantasy this week. While McGloin may prove in time to be able to win games, he should not be relied on in fantasy this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren Sproles, PHI DAL 7015400000 ***
Sproles should lead in touches against a Dallas team giving up 4.8 receptions a game to the position since Week 11. Otherwise, it's not a great matchup, with Dallas allowing only three RB scores in the last five games. Perhaps that improves if the Cowboys rest key players.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeGarrette Blount, PHI DAL 701000000 ***
Miami has yielded four RB touchdowns in the last five weeks, but two have come through the air. The bruising back posted a 29-123-1 line in Week 2 against the Dolphins.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Byron Marshall, PHI DAL 3001100000 ***
The undrafted rookie from Oregon will play second fiddle to Darren Sproles in what has been a low-end matchup for RBs over the last five games. The Cowboys have given up the fourth fewest points per game to the position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI DAL 004401000 *
Matthews landed 11 of 14 targets for 65 yards and a TD in Week 8's matchup with the Cowboys. Dallas has nothing at stake and may opt for resting key players. Matthews is a strong choice in most any format.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Paul Turner, PHI DAL 003401000 *
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, PHI DAL 004500000 ***
Jeffery had a respectable day in Week 8 against this defense (4-63-1). The Vikings have regressed since then, but Matt Barkley has been a turnover machine in his last two games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dorial Green-Beckham, PHI DAL 003500000 ***
DGB is merely a gamble in the deepest of formats. Keep him parked, unless you have a scoring-only league that is begging for crazy flier plays.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Ertz, PHI DAL 004400000 ***
Stats-wise, this is the best matchup in Week 17 when using data since Week 11. The Cowboys have given up 20.6 PPR points to the position, on average. Ertz was quiet in the last one, but he has been more involved lately. Consider this a conservative projection.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Caleb Sturgis, PHI DAL 1133 ***
Dallas is the 13th best FGA matchup, but only five teams have been harsher for extra point kicks.

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
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE @PIT 4005300000 ***
Crowell was stifled in the Week 11 contest against Pittsburgh. The only hope this time around is if the Steelers rest key defenders. Keep your expectations in check.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Duke Johnson Jr., CLE @PIT 2004300000 **
Johnson caught three passes for 46 yards in the Week 11 tilt against the Steelers. He's barely worth thinking about at this point, but Johnson could serve as a desperation flex in PPR.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Corey Coleman, CLE @PIT 004400000 **
Coleman has no viable utility in Week 17. The Steelers are among the best at stopping wideouts, and the Cleveland QB situation is a disaster.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, CLE @PIT 2211 ***
Pittsburgh hasn't allowed many kicks in 2016. Using data from the last five weeks, this is the sixth worst matchup in Week 17.

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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