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 0000030021 ***
Evidently while McCown was concussed someone told him he was Johnny Unitas; since returning to the lineup he's thrown for 697 yards and four TDs in two games. Baltimore's secondary has been alternately suspect (351 & 3 to Derek Carr, 383 & 3 to Andy Dalton) and stout (175 & 0 to Peyton Manning, 124 & 1 to Mike Vick). Unlikely the Browns will be able to run on the Ravens so McCown should have the volume of attempts necessary to churn out a third straight fantasy helper.
RB Duke Johnson, CLE @BAL 2007500000 **
Duke's damage will come via the air, but the Ravens haven't allowed a RB receiving score since Week 10 of last year and haven't allowed a back to top 50 receiving yards since Week 1 of 2014. So he's got an uphill fight ahead of him.
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE @BAL 3002100000 ***
Crowell scored in the front end of this series last year, averaging five yards a pop on 11 carries. Even stranger: Terrance West scored in both ends of the series. File both under "UFO Sightings", as it's unlikely Crowell finds similar success here. He's losing touches to Duke Johnson, facing a defense that gave up just 70 rushing yards to the Bengals' dynamic RB duo in its only home tilt thus far, and has yet to hit 75 rushing yards in any game this year.
WR Travis Benjamin, CLE @BAL 0061001000 ****
Benjamin continues to get the targets, but against a talented Baltimore secondary that underachieved through the first three games before getting a wakeup call last Thursday targets may not be enough. Iif Antonio Brown can't shake free for 50 yards against the Ravens can you really trust Benjamin to give you a fantasy helper here?
WR Taylor Gabriel, CLE @BAL 004401000 **
Secondary receivers have scored in three straight against the Ravens--but will it be Gabriel? Or Andrew Hawkins? Brian Hartline? The Browns have options... just not particularly palatable ones.
TE Gary Barnidge, CLE @BAL 005300000 ***
It'll be a battle of wills: Barnidge, who's been targeted 16 times (producing 12-180-2) in two games since Josh McCown returned to the lineup, facing a Baltimore defense that's allowed a total of 31 yards to the position through four games. Err on the side of caution--and this week, err on the side of the Ravens at home, where an opposing tight end hasn't seen the end zone since November 2012.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Travis Coons, CLE @BAL 3322 ***
Coon's point totals have climbed each week, but now he travels to Baltimore where the past two Browns' kickers have totaled 10 points over two seasons. Keep your expectations in check.

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 SEA 10000027021 ***
Day is night, black is white, a 321 & 1 game from Andy Dalton is a bit of a disappointment and the Seahawks have served up quality fantasy starts in both road games this year. How to make sense of it all? Kam Chancellor's return should help Seattle right the defensive ship, and it's tough to ask Dalton to best Aaron Rodger's 249 & 2 against a visiting Seahawks D from a couple weeks back. Dial Dalton's expectations back to pre-2015 levels and you'll be just fine.
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN SEA 401000000 ***
Seattle allowed 100 combo yards to an opposing back each of their first two road trips, but with Hill and Giovani Bernard sharing the workload it's tough to bank on that happening here. Hill's fantasy value then boils down to touchdowns, and Seattle has yet to allow a running back in the end zone so he's a tough sell this week.
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN SEA 5003200000 ***
Gio's had more rushing yards than Jeremy Hill in each of Cincy's home games, and he's a bigger factor in the passing game; that combo makes him the more likely of the Bengals' backfield committee to find fantasy success against Seattle--but it's still a long shot.
WR A.J. Green, CIN SEA 004501000 ***
Green's gotten it done against all kinds of cornerbacks, good and bad, so a date with Richard Sherman shouldn't scare him--or his fantasy owners.
WR Marvin Jones, CIN SEA 004600000 ***
Not only is Jones battling a tough Seattle secondary he's sparring with Mohamed Sanu for targets. That's not a fantasy-friendly combination.
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN SEA 002200000 ***
The good news is that the four biggest WR fantasy games the Seahawks have allowed this year all came on the road. The bad news is that only one of them crossed into double-digit fantasy points. Keep your secondary Bengals wideouts on the sidelines this week.
TE Tyler Eifert, CIN SEA 005701000 ***
Eifert has cooled since his monster Week 1, but he's still a solid fantasy option against a Seattle defense that's allowed TE TDs in both of its road games this season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN SEA 1133 ***
The Seahawks have served up 10 and 13 kicker points on their two previous road trips, while The Nuge has been counting by ones (and missing two of three field goal attempts) at home. He should be fine this week but no reason to go out of your way to add him to your lineup.

* 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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