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

Prediction: CLE 13, CIN 23 (Line: CIN by 8)

Players to watch: Mohamed Massaquoi, Andrew Hawkins

Players Updated: Benjamin Watson

Realistically the Browns are in a rebuilding year every season but one seems to have started even further back. The Bengals have won six of the last seven meetings and the three most recent. While the Bengals have their own problems, they have more pieces on the offense than the Browns do.

The Bengals swept the Browns last year, winning 27-17 in Cleveland and later 23-20 in Cincinnati.

Cleveland Browns
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PHI 16-17 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
vs Rush Catch Pass

Pregame Notes: The Browns almost pulled off the win over the Eagles who seemingly were hell bent on giving away the game. The Browns defense did play an opportunistic game though still gave up 467 yards to the opponent. The changes made to the offense - gonna take some time.

Trent Richardson debuted with only 39 yards on 19 carries and added just one catch. He was regularly bottled up by the Eagles but accounted for every running back carry. That will play out better next week hosting the Bills. It is a tough schedule though and the Browns really have no really soft games.

Brandon Weeden's first game as an NFL starter ended with only 12 of 35 completions for 118 yards and four interceptions. His 5.1 QB rating represented the worst by any rookie starting in week one for the last 50 years. That's historically bad. His rough start is to be expected in some measure though that bad sort of takes your breath away.

The minimal passing success meant all receivers were without any fantasy value. Greg Little had no catches while square dancing with Nnamdi Asomugha. Josh Gordon managed two receptions for 32 yards while Mohammed Massaquoi was the big winner with a team high three catches for 41 yards. All in all - bereft of significance.

Heading to face the Bengals won't be much better since they need someone to beat up on after their humbling on Monday night. Even if the Browns were to win this - and they won't - it is still unlikely anyone will have fantasy value. Richardson will improve as the offense around him does but he alone remains the only fantasy play and even then only if there is a soft matchup which almost never happens on their schedule. If a touchdown happens by the offense, it almost has to go to Richardson.

Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 32 29 29 30 13 2
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 27 29 14 30 29 30

QB Drew Stanton, CLE @CHI 0000024020 ***
Blaine Gabbert heads back to the pine with Stanton healthy enough to reclaim the starting gig after the former struggled mightily in Week 15. The Giants have permitted 265.6 yards and a TD every 11.2 receptions -- both ranking eighth in their respective categories. Since Week 10, this is the fifth-best matchup if you remove three quarterback rushing TDs from the equation.
QB Tyrod Taylor, CLE @CHI 30100017001 ***
Taylor threw just 18 times in the meeting in Week 13 and completed 50 percent of them for a pathetic 65 yards. New England's defensive strength is on the back end, and he has no fantasy utility in conventional formats this week. The Pats rank sixth toughest against QBs in the past five weeks.
RB Carlos Hyde, CLE @CHI 5006400000 ***
One of the last 121 touches against Jacksonville by a running back has scored, and the matchup rates as the second-worst in both scoring formats. This is strongly in the negative camp for all metrics but receptions per game (15th).
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.
WR Jarvis Landry, CLE @CHI 006601000 ***
KC offers the sixth-hardest matchup in PPR and fourth-worst in standard scoring. The Chiefs have allowed only one of the last 59 receptions by the position to score, traversing five games of action.
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.
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.
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.

Cincinnati Bengals
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BAL 13-44 10 NYG -----
2 CLE ----- 11 @KC -----
3 @WAS ----- 12 OAK -----
4 @JAC ----- 13 @SD -----
5 MIA ----- 14 DAL -----
6 @CLE ----- 15 @PHI -----
7 PIT ----- 16 @PIT -----
8 BYE ----- 17 BAL -----
9 DEN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 230,2
WR A.J. Green 6-100,1
WR Brandon LaFell 3-50

Pregame Notes: Nothing like the feeling that you need to regroup and rethink things after only one game. The Bengals hung with the Ravens through two quarters and trailed only by 17-10 at the half before the wheels came off. Andy Dalton only threw for 221 yards and no scores and completed just 22 of 37 but he was often pressured and sacked four times. It was still a credible game but he was unable to mount a comeback once the beat was on.

The good news? Nothing wrong with getting 91 rushing yards from Benjarvus Green-Ellis who scored once on his 18 carries. He ran with authority and should be a definite factor when facing lesser teams such as this week. He goes against the same team that gave up over 100 rushing yards and a score each time they faced Cedric Benson last season.

A.J. Green (5-70) is missing Jerome Simpson who would stretch the defense last year and Arman Binns (4-28) does not look much like a replacement so far. But - the new slot receiver Andrew Hawkins looks like a breakout candidate in his second season with a team leading eight receptions for 86 yards last Monday. That came from nine targets while Green only snagged five of his 11 throws. Hawkins gets the benefit of not being Green who the secondary constantly chases. It is just one game but so far - Hawkins is one to watch. Stash him if you have the room, it will be apparent soon enough what his outlook will be this season.

Jermaine Gresham was another tight end who had high expectations from some fantasy leaguers but his eight passes only resulted in three catches for 30 yards. If Hawkins can become a good sized cog in the machine, that will limit what Gresham can do.

The beauty of this game is that cornerback extraordinaire Pat Haden has been suspended for four games because of violating the drug policy. That means A.J. Green all over the field.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 30 19 12 27 19 25
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 24 16 26 28 6 24

QB Andy Dalton, CIN DET 0000021011 **
Detroit has averaged a pick per game and has allowed a touchdown pass every 14.9 completions (20th). This is the No. 7 matchup to exploit for yardage (265.8). All told, the struggling Dalton has fantasy's fifth-best matchup of the week.
RB Joe Mixon, CIN DET 6011100000 *
Mixon should be ready this week after fully going in Wednesday's session, which is usually a telltale sign of an imminent return. Detroit is among the four-best matchups of the week in both scoring formats. Running backs have scored once every 20 carries, which is No. 6, and this is a great matchup for versatile RBs.

Update: Mixon practiced in full all week and will play.
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN DET 2003300000 ***
Bernard should take a backseat as Joe Mixon is poised to return after fully practicing Wednesday. The projections will be updated accordingly later in the week. The Lions present the fourth-best PPR matchup and second-easiest in standard.

Update: Mixon practiced in full all week and will play.
WR A.J. Green, CIN DET 005701000 ***
Detroit has been content to give up top-12 weekly figures in receptions (13) and yardage (167), but this defense has clamped down against permitting scores. None of the 65 opportunities over the last five months scored. Only Baltimore has been stronger. Look for Green to draw Pro Bowl corner Darius Slay.
WR Brandon LaFell, CIN DET 003400000 ***
The veteran possession man in this offense has two TDs in his last six games. Sanu has been targeted at least five times in each of those contests, and Detroit offers a promising matchup for his style of play. The Lions have permitted receivers to average 13 receptions (11th) for 167 yards (7th) a game. Zero of those 65 snares found the end zone, however.
TE Tyler Kroft, CIN DET 003400000 ***
Detroit has been among the best tight end matchups to exploit for much of the season. In the past five games, TEs have scored once, on average, and this is a top-12 matchup for receptions and yards per game. It was Week 12 the last time he scored, and Kroft has taken advantage of good matchups, so there is hope he outplays his projection.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, CIN DET 2222 ***
Kickers have found great success with extra points against the Lions, but Cincinnati has struggled putting the ball into the end zone. This is only the 22nd-best matchup for three-point opportunities.

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

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