FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Follow Follow @Dorey_TheHuddle
 

Player Rankings (Player Projections) »    Game Predictions Summary »    Projections by Team »

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 PIT 0000025011 ***
The second overall pick has looked the part. Stats haven't necessarily shown it for fantasy owners, but he more than passes the eyeball test. Wentz has a bright future but is not a smart fantasy start this week. Quarterbacks have hurled nearly 700 yards worth against Pittsburgh but only one touchdown pass.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ryan Mathews, PHI PIT 3011100000 ***
The matchup is quite positive, which is great, but can Carson Wentz keep defenders out of the box? Will he be outschemed? Mathews faces the 23rd-ranked defense of running backs, propelled by 15 catches for 162 yards and a score through the air.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren Sproles, PHI PIT 2003200000 ***
Here's a fair opportunity to toss Sproles into a PPR lineup if you can take the risk. Pittsburgh has been trampled through the air by receiving running backs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI PIT 006901000 ***
Matthews has been on the field for 95 percent of Philly's offensive snaps. Receivers have caught 32 balls against the Steelers, but none of them have crossed the stripe. Matthews could be the first and best be in all traditional lineups.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nelson Agholor, PHI PIT 004600000 ***
Agholor could turn in a fine game, but trusting in him is so difficult. Pittsburgh's defense ranks 16th against the position. This stems from 32 catches for 405 yards, with zero touchdowns afforded to the position. Truly bend but don't break.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dorial Green-Beckham, PHI PIT 002300000 ***
His only real hope for fantasy production is by finding the end zone against a pass defense that hasn't given up a touchdown to receivers yet. That's not a risky owners should be willing to take.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Trey Burton, PHI PIT 004400000 ***
Seven targets, five catches, 49 yards and a score. Not too shabby for the third-year H-back. The Steelers have granted tight ends 14 catches for 128 yards, ranking as the 22nd strongest defense of this position. Play Burton if you like taking unnecessary chances.

Update: Zach Ertz has been ruled out this week, solidifying Burton's role as a total flier.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Caleb Sturgis, PHI PIT 1122 ***
Sturgis has no fantasy value for Week 3 in a matchup that shouldn't provide enough kicking chances.

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 Cody Kessler, CLE @MIA 0000018002 *
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound rookie is Cleveland's third starter in as many weeks. Chemistry will be an issue with the receiving corps -- there's only so much changing a team can do at this position. Starting Kessler in fantasy may lead to drinking unhealthy amounts of his namesake whiskey.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE @MIA 7011100000 ***
Miami doesn't know how to stop running backs, so there is a positive in Cleveland's offense after all. The Dolphins have yielded the 10th most fantasy points to RBs, including four touchdown runs in two games. Crowell showed some wheels in Week 2. There's hope. Crowell is a low-end RB2 or capable flex.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Duke Johnson Jr., CLE @MIA 2003300000 ***
Involved in only 46 percent of Cleveland's plays, Johnson's role is limited to that of a pass-catcher and third-down option. Miami has given up only eight catches for 28 yards. Play him only if you must, but there's an outside chance he's a strong PPR play if quarterback Cody Kessler plays the dink-and-dunk game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrelle Pryor Sr., CLE @MIA 003400000 *
Pryor is a home run weapon but offers little more than that for gamers despite seeing the most snaps among all Cleveland receivers. The matchup is sweet enough to take a high-risk flier, though.

Update: Even with Corey Coleman (hand) out of action, Pryor shouldn't be consider anything more than the wildest of DFS gambles.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andrew Hawkins, CLE @MIA 003300000 ***
Hawkins is a PPR weapon who may see more work with Corey Coleman injured. Avoid the slot receiver in any normal league formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Gary Barnidge, CLE @MIA 004500000 *
The Dolphins have given up the eighth most fantasy points to tight ends in two games of play. Barnidge could be the safety blanket for rookie QB Cody Kessler in the passer's first start.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, CLE @MIA 1111 ***
A rookie third-string quarterback leading the offense ... no thanks.

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)

a d v e r t i s e m e n t