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 Miles Austin 3-50
WR Andrew Hawkins 3-40
PK Garrett Hartley 1 FG 4 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.

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

QB Connor Shaw, CLE @BAL 10000016002 ***
The undrafted rookie is taking all the first-team snaps in practice and will likely make the start in Baltimore in place of the injured Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer. An undrafted rookie, activated off the practice squad, starting in Baltimore against a Ravens team that needs to win. Yeah, that's going to end well.
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE @BAL 500000000 **
With the Browns starting a third-string quarterback in Week 17 for the fifth straight season--talk about a cursed franchise--the onus will be on the ground game to carry the offensive load. The problem there is that feature backs average 45 yards per game in Baltimore, and the Ravens have allowed only one RB rushing score in Baltimore this season--and a total of six RB TDs altogether. Crowell saw the bulk of the carries last week with Terrence West pinned to the bench due to lack of practice effort, but if the upside is less than 50 yards you'll want to look elsewhere.
WR Taylor Gabriel, CLE @BAL 004600000 *
It's been tough finding fantasy wideouts in Cleveland all year, let alone when they're scraping the bottom of the quarterbacks barrel in Week 17 on the road facing a Baltimore squad in a do-or-die situation. So... nah.
WR Andrew Hawkins, CLE @BAL 003200000 *
It's tough to be a PPR threat when there are few "R"s to go around, and with Cleveland's quarterback issues this week that's likely to be the case.
Update: Making matters worse is that Hawkins is listed as questionable with a thumb injury. He practiced only on a limited basis this week and doesn't have the upside to offset the risk of little or no game action here.
WR Josh Gordon, CLE @BAL 00000000 *
No matter how good Gordon is, he can't throw the ball to himself. And between a banged-up Brian Hoyer, journeyman Tyler Thigpen and undrafted rookie Connor Shaw the Browns have all kinds of issues at quarterback. So much for that big late-season push after stashing Gordon, eh?
TE Jordan Cameron, CLE @BAL 003300000 *
It took until Week 16 but Cameron finally delivered on expectations last week with 88 yards and a touchdown. Now he'll face a tough matchup--the Ravens have allowed just five TE TDs on the year--while saddled with quarterback issues. Tough to bank on him for fantasy help this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Garrett Hartley, CLE @BAL 1100 **
Hartley has been a solid addition since replacing Billy Cundiff, though the Johnny Manziel-led offense hasn't provided a ton of opportunities. Cundiff had three points in the earlier meeting with Baltimore; tough to bank on Hartley providing a dramatic upgrade, especially if it's undrafted rookie Connor Shaw at quarterback for the Brownies.

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
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.

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

QB Andy Dalton, CIN @PIT 0000027021 ***
The Steelers have given up 300-plus passing yards in three straight games and multiple touchdown tosses in eight of the last nine. That stretch includes Dalton's 302 and 2 (with a rushing TD to boot), though in two subsequent games Andy has a total of 263 and 2. The tiebreaker is Dalton's penchant for coming up small in big games, so while there's upside in the matchup you'll likely want to find fantasy help elsewhere.
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN @PIT 9001100000 ****
Hill averaged almost six yards a carry in limited work against the Steelers in the earlier matchup; since then he's racked up a pair of 140-yard games--still at a six-yards per carry pace. Hill is on a roll, and while Pittsburgh has been relatively solid against the run they've shown a weakness for bigger backs like Arian Foster, Mark Ingram... and, this week, Hill.
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN @PIT 2003200000 ***
Gio has become the complimentary guy, and in a tough matchup he's a far riskier fantasy play than the Bengals' current bell cow, Jeremy Hill.
WR A.J. Green, CIN @PIT 005801000 *
Green gashed the Steelers for 11-224-1 just three weeks ago. He's banged up coming out of the win over Denver, but all indications are he'll play--and against a secondary that's allowed three 130-plus yard receivers in the past month, all indications are he'll perform well.
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN @PIT 004500000 ***
It was all AJ Green the last time Cincy faced Pittsburgh, and that's become typical of the Bengals passing game as Sanu hasn't scored since Week 12 or topped 50 yards since Week 9. He's never broken 40 yards against the Steelers; no reason to believe that changes here.
TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN @PIT 005601000 ***
There's hope for Gresham this week against a Steelers defense that's allowed six TE TDs in the past eight games. Gresham has scored in two of the last three, including last week and the earlier matchup with Pittsburgh. At this juncture there's no WR2 to AJ Green, so Gresham could fill that opening.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN @PIT 2222 ***
The Nuge is coming off his best two-game stretch of the season; the Steelers have allowed six field goals in their last two. Almost makes you believe he's a safe bet to improve upon his three point performance in the earlier meeting with Pittsburgh in Week 14. Almost.

* 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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