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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 2
2012
* 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
Grass
  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
RB Willis McGahee 60,1
RB Ben Tate 20
WR Miles Austin 3-50
WR Nate Burleson 4-40
WR Andrew Hawkins 3-40
PK Billy Cundiff 2 FG 3 XP

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.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 32 29 29 30 13 2
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 27 29 14 30 29 30

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Edwin Baker, CLE @PIT 5004300000 ***
Baker scored in New York--not an easy feat against the Jets--and he appears to be the lead dog in Cleveland's backfield mix. Three other Browns backs did nada in the earlier meeting with Pittsburgh, but Baker gets a Steelers defense that has given up five RB TDs and 305 rushing yards the past three weeks--plus he'll get more than the 4-6 carries Wills McGahee, Chris Ogbonnaya, and Fozzy Whittaker received.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Josh Gordon, CLE @PIT 0071101000 ***
The Steelers have allowed wide receiver touchdowns in six straight, though of late those scores have been going to secondary targets. Gordon's 14-237-1 on 17 targets in the earlier meeting gives evidence that there really isn't a secondary target in Cleveland, so plan on Josh doing all the heavy lifting once again this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nate Burleson, CLE @PIT 004500000 ***
Burleson might be the most trustworthy secondary target on the Detroit roster, but even he's been laying eggs of late. WR2s have had success against the Vikings, in part because of emerging shutdown corner Xavier Rhodes' success against WR1s. However, unless Calvin Johnson sits this one out due to injury it's too tough to identify which--if any--Lions wingmen will step up and contribute.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Miles Austin, CLE @PIT 001200000 **
After Dez Bryant takes his bite, and Jason Witten takes his, Austin has to fight Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams for table scraps. Table scraps do not tend to equal fantasy success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Gary Barnidge, CLE @PIT 001100000 ***
Barnidge will get the Browns' TE looks if Jordan Cameron can't go. Not much fantasy value to be had.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Billy Cundiff, CLE @PIT 1122 ***
Cundiff hasn't seen double-digits since Week 5, managed just three points in the earlier meeting with the Steelers, and now heads to the notoriously hard to kick in Heinz Field. That's not exactly a ringing fantasy endorsement.

Cincinnati Bengals
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  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
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis 100,1 1-10
WR A.J. Green 6-100,1
TE Jermaine Gresham 6-60,1
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.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 30 19 12 27 19 25
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 24 16 26 28 6 24

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andy Dalton, CIN BAL 0000027020 ***
Dalton has multiple touchdown tosses in four straight home games and three straight overall, plus he took the Ravens for 274 & 2 in the earlier meeting between these clubs. Baltimore has held both Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady to single scoring strikes the past two weeks, however, so if Dalton is to help both your fantasy team to a title and his Bengals to the postseason he'll have to earn it.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jason Campbell, CIN BAL 20000023010 ***
Campbell was knocked out of the earlier meeting with Pittsburgh after 124 yards, with Brandon Weeden finishing out the game for Cleveland. It'll be Campbell at least to start this time around, against a Steelers squad with a faint playoff heartbeat. Pittsburgh hasn't allowed more than 251 passing yards since Weeden and Campbell combined for 333 in that Week 12 game, plus Campbell has just one passing score in the past two games combined. In other words, not a whole lot of optimism for Campbell this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN BAL 4007401000 ***
Gio had 95 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in the earlier meeting with Baltimore. His ability to create via the passing game as well as on the ground make him the safer fantasy play as he shares the workload with BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, CIN BAL 300000000 ***
Baltimore has allowed five RB rushing scores in the past four games; since it takes a short-yardage plunge for BJGE to create fantasy value out of his job-share gig, that the Ravens have been dented of late is somewhat reassuring.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN BAL 0061001000 ****
Green has scored or topped 90 yards in four straight, and he did both as part of his 8-151-1 showing in the earlier meeting with Baltimore. Recency, primacy... either way you slice it, Green's a great play this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones, CIN BAL 005400000 ***
Jones and Mohamed Sanu have each scored in the past fortnight, but neither did anything in the earlier meeting with Baltimore--nor should either be banked on for fantasy help here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN BAL 002400000 ***
Sanu and Marvin Jones have each scored in the past fortnight, but neither did anything in the earlier meeting with Baltimore--nor should either be banked on for fantasy help here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN BAL 3333 ****
The Nuge has but one double-digit game on the season, hasn't topped six points in a month, and mustered only five in the earlier meeting with Baltimore. If Cincy is to secure a playoff spot, they'll likely do so relying on something other than Nugent's leg.

WEEK 2
2012
* 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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