FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

Prediction: BUF 24, CLE 20 (Line: BUF by 3)

Players to Watch: Brandon Weeden, Scott Chandler

Player Updated: Alex Smith

Here is a matchup between two teams generally hanging around their respective division cellars but the Browns have not won a game yet and the 1-1 Bills are posting good points and hoping they can outscore what they allow their opponents. Going against the Browns means there is an excellent chance.

Buffalo Bills
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
AstroTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYJ 28-48 10 @NE -----
2 KC 35-17 11 MIA -----
3 @CLE ----- 12 @IND -----
4 NE ----- 13 JAC -----
5 @SF ----- 14 STL -----
6 @ARI ----- 15 SEA -----
7 TEN ----- 16 @MIA -----
8 BYE ----- 17 NYJ -----
9 @HOU ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Bryce Brown 10
RB C.J. Spiller 100,1 4-40
WR Mike Williams 4-40
TE Scott Chandler 5-50,1
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Hard to believe but it is true - the Bills feature the NFL's leading rusher in C.J. Spiller (292 yards) and Ryan Fitzpatrick is tied with Matt Ryan with a league leading five touchdown passes. Granted - Fitzpatrick only has a 186 yard per game average, but he throws two or more scores in each of his first two matchups. That is highly likely to continue since the Browns have given up 310+ pass yards and at least two scores in each of their first two games.

The turn-around in C.J. Spiller almost defies all reason. He was a dud in his first year and then turned in a few good efforts late last year when Fred Jackson was out and the Bills were at home. Now that Jackson is out yet again, it is like the second coming of O.J. Simpson (the football player). it is not enough that he leads the league in rushing yardage, he only has 29 carries and is averaging around 10 yards each run. That's insane. That's also one hell of a lucky draft pick for someone in your league.

With all the rushing success, there has been only marginal passing yards despite the five passing touchdowns. Stevie Johnson has scored in both games but has yet to top 56 yards. Donald Jones has yet to eclipse 41 yards in a game. Even the tight end Scott Chandler has scored in both weeks and yet remained below 55 yards.

The offense is clicking for the Bills and they go to Cleveland at an opportune time since Joe Haden is still out.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 15 5 22 15 31 8
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 27 10 31 19 13 29

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Kyle Orton, BUF CLE 0000023020 ***
We know Orton can have his way with the Jets; that's no surprise. But maybe, just maybe he can have his way with the Browns as well, especially considering they've allowed multiple touchdown tosses in two straight and three of four, even to relatively nondescript QBs (Mike Glennon, Ryan Mallett, Matt Ryan).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Fred Jackson, BUF CLE 3004300000 ***
Jackson was healthy enough for about half the workload last week, so you'd think he can add to that workload--and his fantasy production--here. At minimum he's a good fantasy start against a softish Browns' run D; given a larger share, he's even more than that.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Anthony Dixon, BUF CLE 400000000 ***
Dixon looks to be Buffalo's goal line guy, but the Browns are more about giving up yards than scores so that puts a crimp in Dixon's fantasy value this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bryce Brown, BUF CLE 2001100000 ***
Brown appears to be the Bills third wheel with Fred Jackson back, so even if Buffalo carves out some fantasy value for one or two backs he's on the outside looking in.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF CLE 004501000 ***
Joe Haden has been playing better, but that hasn't prevented WR1s from putting up solid fantasy games four of the past five weeks. In other words, you can exhibit concern but no need to fear a Haden/Watkins matchup this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, BUF CLE 006600000 ***
Hogan has been creeping up on Robert Woods' targets, but all that's doing is making both tough fantasy starts as there simply isn't enough passing game production to go around.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Robert Woods, BUF CLE 003500000 ***
Woods exploded last week against the Jets, but this is still Sammy Watkins' passing game; reaching deeper is a risky fantasy proposition at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Scott Chandler, BUF CLE 003300000 ***
The Browns haven't given up much to opposing tight ends this year, and with Chandler sharing looks with two other TEs he's a difficult at best fantasy start.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF CLE 3322 ***
Carp's been consistently around 10 points per game over the past month; maybe dial it back a bit due to weather, but he's still a solid fantasy option here.

Cleveland Browns
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PHI 16-17 10 BYE -----
2 @CIN 27-34 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 6-100,1
WR Josh Gordon 3-40
WR Andrew Hawkins 6-80,1
PK Billy Cundiff 1 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Browns have lost both games but been competitive in both. Brandon Weeden opened his career with a historically bad effort but then bounced back against the Bengals and threw for 322 yards and two scores. That is a 204 yard improvement from the opener and is probably a record in itself. Weeden was able to complete 26 of 37 passes and threw no interceptions. That makes a difference though not quite enough in this case.

Just as notable was the breakout game by Trent Richardson who rushed for 109 yards and a score on 19 carries and added four catches for 36 yards and a second touchdown. Richardson displayed the power and moves that made him the first back drafted this year and his inclusion as a receiver makes it even more encouraging.

Despite the bigger passing effort last week, the only real beneficiaries were Mohamed Massaquoi (5-90) and Chris Ogbonnaya (6-73), Josh Gordon continues to look like just a project with a catch or two per game and Greg Little managed 57 yards and a touchdown on his five catches but was blanked in the season opener.

This week hosting the Bills should let the Browns post some good points and see success in both running and receiving. It may not be enough for a win, but this week offers what could be rare fantasy value outside of Trent Richardson.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 30 10 24 30 13 2
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 26 23 27 3 18 27

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Brian Hoyer, CLE @BUF 0000023012 ***
How much did Josh Gordon's return help Hoyer's fantasy stats? Well, he threw for more than 300 yards but failed to connect on a touchdown--and two of his three INTs were a direct result of Gordon giving up on the play. It's a far more difficult matchup with a Buffalo defense that's allowed just two multiple TD games in the past two months, so don't reach for Hoyer here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE @BUF 6011100000 ***
It's a difficult but not impossible matchup, with Crowell as the more productive and more likely fantasy helper in Cleveland's backfield tandem.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Terrance West, CLE @BUF 4001100000 ***
West continues to split the Browns' backfield duties with fellow rookie Isaiah Crowell, but Crowell has been more productive of late and given the difficult matchup West is a risky fantasy play at best this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Josh Gordon, CLE @BUF 006801000 ***
Given Gordon's high volume of touches he could certainly be the second wideout to top 100 yards against the Bills this year. But it's tough to bank on Brian Hoyer for a touchdown--or Buffalo's secondary to give one up.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andrew Hawkins, CLE @BUF 004500000 ***
Hawkins could still carve out a role as a possession guy in this offense, but with Josh Gordon seeing such a large share of the targets it's tough for anyone else to bring much to the fantasy table.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Miles Austin, CLE @BUF 003300000 ***
Austin is firmly pushed into afterthought status with the return of Josh Gordon--and there simply isn't enough productivity in Cleveland's passing game to make anyone else fantasy relevant.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Taylor Gabriel, CLE @BUF 002200000 ***
With Josh Gordon gobbling up such a disproportionate share of the targets there's just no room for any other Browns receiver to generate much in the way of fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Cameron, CLE @BUF 003300000 *
A lousy matchup and a banged-up Cameron make for a difficult at best fantasy play.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Billy Cundiff, CLE @BUF 2222 ***
Cundiff's wild inconsistency--15 points the past two weeks, 14 of them last week alone--makes it tough to trust him against a Bills defense that's giving up around five points per game to the kicker position over the past month.

WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

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