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
WR Dwayne Bowe 3-40,1
WR Brian Hartline 4-60
WR Andrew Hawkins 3-40

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 Josh McCown, CLE BAL 10000027020 ***
With Johnny Manziel unable to control himself off the field it'll be McCown on the field this week. He strafed the Ravens for 457 yards and two TDs in the earlier meeting and has multiple touchdown tosses in five of the six games where he saw the majority of snaps under center. No reason to think he won't find similar success at home this week.
RB Duke Johnson, CLE BAL 4006501000 **
Johnson's work as a receiver make him the Browns back to have if you have to have one. He caught six balls for 55 yards in the earlier meeting with Baltimore and has Cleveland's only RB TD in the past month and a half, so if there's any upside to a Browns back it rests with Duke.
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE BAL 5002100000 ***
Crowell scored a receiving touchdown in the earlier meeting with Baltimore, but with Duke Johnson handling most of the pass-catching duties Isaiah is reduced to hammering out minimal fantasy value on 10 or so carries--unlikely, as the Browns haven't scored a rushing TD since Week 2.
WR Travis Benjamin, CLE BAL 006900000 ***
Benjamin was just reacquainting himself with Johnny Manziel, responsible for two of his three 100-yard games and three of his four TDs; now he'll have to switch back to McCown, with whom he tallied one TD in six games and averaged 66 yards per contest. Consider Benjamin's fantasy ceiling lower than it was with Johnny Football.
WR Taylor Gabriel, CLE BAL 004600000 ***
Gabriel is battling Brian Hartline and Andrew Hawkins for secondary looks, and thus far he's mostly been losing with only one game north of 32 yards and no TDs.

Update: Gabriel did not practice this week due to a concussion, making him an unlikely participant Monday night. The upside is not worth the risk of taking a zero.
TE Gary Barnidge, CLE BAL 006801000 ***
No one is happier to see Josh McCown back under center than Barnidge, who averaged 3-38 with one touchdown in four games with Johnny Football and 6-60-1 in six games with McCown. That run included 8-139-1 in Baltimore, by far the biggest game the Ravens have surrendered at the position. They just gave up another TE TD last week, and with McCown back under center things are looking up for Barnidge once again.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Travis Coons, CLE BAL 3322 ***
Coons kicked four field goals in the earlier meeting in Baltimore, one of eight kickers with multiple treys against the Ravens. He's had just one multiple field goal since then, however, and the Browns' offense is in disarray so temper expectations accordingly.

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 Greg Little 2-30
PK Mike Nugent 3 FG 2 XP

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 STL 0000026011 ***
Tough matchup, but at least it's a Sunday noon game so Dalton has a shot. Only two QBs have notched multiple scores against the Rams this season, only one has topped 300 yards, and Dalton will be hard-pressed to do either this week.
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN STL 401000000 **
It was a horrible matchup for Hill last week, and he averaged just a shade over three yards a carry... but he still found the end zone twice. What little the Rams have given up on the ground has come on the road, so there's a chance Hill turns his 15 touches into a score... just not a particularly bankable one.
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN STL 3005500000 ***
Gio continues to be the more productive Bengals back, particularly at home. Fresh off 128 receiving yards Gio faces a Rams defense that's already allowed four RBs to top 70 receiving yards; one more reason to like him just a little bit more than Jeremy Hill again this week.
WR A.J. Green, CIN STL 005700000 ***
Only one wideout has scored on the Rams since their Week 6 bye, and none have topped 50 yards. That's a tough matchup for Green, and while he's proven himself to be matchup proof you should still lower the expectations bar here.
WR Marvin Jones, CIN STL 005600000 ***
If only one wideout has scored and none have topped 50 yards against the Rams since their Week 6 bye, you have to believe the pickings have been incredibly thin for secondary targets. You'd be absolutely right.
TE Tyler Eifert, CIN STL 005701000 ***
While the Rams are tough on tight ends they aren't infallible; in fact, they've given up 100 yard efforts in back-to-back games. Eifert is more of a TD guy than a yardage guy, but he'll take what he can get against a solid defense. No reason to shy away from him here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN STL 1133 ***
Nugent's baseline is similar to the Rams, who have allowed at least six kicker points in every game and double digits in back-to-back tilts. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

* 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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