FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 4
2012
CLE at BAL (THU) *MIN at DET *OAK at DEN *TEN at HOU
CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

Prediction: CLE 13, BAL 27 (Line: BAL by 13)

Player to Watch: Jordan Cameron

The 0-3 Browns are hitting an even tougher spot in their schedule with road games to Baltimore and New York while the 2-1 Ravens come off their big win over the Patriots. Ravens swept the Browns in 2001, winning 24-10 at Cleveland and 20-14 at home. Hard to imagine that the Ravens could be so emotionally spent from beating the Pats that they could not rise up and take this win. The Browns have not won this matchup in the last eight meetings.

Cleveland Browns
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PHI 16-17 10 BYE -----
2 @CIN 27-34 11 @DAL -----
3 BUF 14-24 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 Josh Gordon 3-40

Pregame Notes: Sure, the Browns are winless yet again but there are hints of some progress being made at least on offense. Pat Haden remains out for three more games so the defense is not at full strength. But the rookie Brandon Weeden has thrown a score or two in each of his last two games and passes for 322 yards in Cincinnati and then 237 yards against the visiting Bills. Recalling last year, those are huge numbers. Weeden is trying to make so with a less than stellar set of receivers.

That is even more evident when HC Pat Shurmur comes out and says he is considering sending Greg Little to the bench for dropping passes. Little is clearly the best receiver on the team, dropping passes aside. Josh Gordon is providing nearly nothing to the offense and belongs on the league waiver wire. But at least Jordan Cameron had 45 yards on five catches last week and the second-year tight end may be developing something with Weeden.

Mohamed Massaquoi has been the best receiver through the first two games but suffered a hamstring injury and may not play. Travis Benjamin caught a score last week but only has three catches on the season. The problem in Cleveland is no longer the quarterback, it remains with the receivers.

Trent Richardson scored a touchdown in each of the last two games though he only gained 27 yards on 12 runs against the Bills. But he added six catches for 24 yards to preserve his fantasy value. Richardson is not the problem either, he just too rarely reaches the line of scrimmage without finding multiple defenders in his way.

Playing in Baltimore is about as bad as it is going to get for the Browns though Richardson remains a moderate start thanks to his scoring and receiving ability.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 28 10 26 22 21 8
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 18 16 29 20 17 7

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Drew Stanton, CLE @CHI 0000024020 ***
Blaine Gabbert heads back to the pine with Stanton healthy enough to reclaim the starting gig after the former struggled mightily in Week 15. The Giants have permitted 265.6 yards and a TD every 11.2 receptions -- both ranking eighth in their respective categories. Since Week 10, this is the fifth-best matchup if you remove three quarterback rushing TDs from the equation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tyrod Taylor, CLE @CHI 30100017001 ***
Taylor threw just 18 times in the meeting in Week 13 and completed 50 percent of them for a pathetic 65 yards. New England's defensive strength is on the back end, and he has no fantasy utility in conventional formats this week. The Pats rank sixth toughest against QBs in the past five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Carlos Hyde, CLE @CHI 5006400000 ***
One of the last 121 touches against Jacksonville by a running back has scored, and the matchup rates as the second-worst in both scoring formats. This is strongly in the negative camp for all metrics but receptions per game (15th).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Duke Johnson Jr., CLE @CHI 1004300000 ***
Johnson (shoulder) has a fairly strong matchup through the air. Chicago has granted running backs five receptions (18th) for 33.4 yards (22nd) and a score every 25 snatches. Unless this one deviates from the norm, Johnson will be an underwhelming play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarvis Landry, CLE @CHI 006601000 ***
KC offers the sixth-hardest matchup in PPR and fourth-worst in standard scoring. The Chiefs have allowed only one of the last 59 receptions by the position to score, traversing five games of action.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Josh Gordon, CLE @CHI 005600000 ***
Receivers have managed 13 receptions (9th) and 168.4 yards (6th) a game vs. the Bears since Week 10, with one score per contest coming on those 13 balls (15th). Gordon lines up to be a moderate risk-reward option based on the quarterback play and opponent.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Corey Coleman, CLE @CHI 003500000 ***
Receivers have scored once per game since Week 10 against the Bears, and this defense is giving up the sixth-most yards on a weekly basis. However, the quarterback play has been so bad that gamers would be taking a huge risk to start him.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE David Njoku, CLE @CHI 002300000 ***
It looked like the rookie was getting on track for a two-game spell a few weeks back, but he then returned to being a non-factor in fantasy. Look elsewhere for a flier play.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Zane Gonzalez, CLE @CHI 2211 ***
Regardless of the matchup, no owner in a championship game should consider a Browns kicker, no matter his name.

Baltimore Ravens
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN 44-13 10 OAK -----
2 @PHI 23-24 11 @PIT -----
3 NE 31-30 12 @SD -----
4 CLE ----- 13 PIT -----
5 @KC ----- 14 @WAS -----
6 DAL ----- 15 DEN -----
7 @HOU ----- 16 NYG -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @CIN -----
9 @CLE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 300,2
QB Robert Griffin III 30,1 270,2
WR Michael Crabtree 6-70,1
PK Justin Tucker 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens came within a point of being 3-0 and now play their third home game in the first four weeks. The only real concern in this game is that the Ravens get complacent and allow a trap game to happen. This will be the easiest game the Ravens play this year.

Joe Flacco gets a chance to light up the scoreboard this week against a secondary that will be without CB Pat Haden and that has allowed eight passing scores over just the first three weeks. Flacco has been passing better this season with six scores already against only two interceptions. This is a great time to face the Browns.

Ray Rice has been the most productive running back this year and he has been golden every week. As if he needed any advantage, Rice rushed for at least 130 yards in both meetings with the Browns last season. He's a lock for a big game this week.

Torrey Smith was the big story last Sunday when he lost his brother on Saturday night and elected to play in the late game on Sunday. Smith had been relatively quiet this year with only two catches in each of the first two games but then posted six receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns in honor of his brother. Anquan Boldin still has not had more than 63 yards in a game and is hard to give a fantasy start with such low stats. The player deserving the attention is Dennis Pitta who no longer splits work with Ed Dickson. Pitta scored twice already this year and so far has never failed to make at least five catches per game. Between Pitta and Rice, there has not been much left over for the wideouts.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 5 6 14 3 4 11
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 28 18 30 10 12 25

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL IND 0000017010 ***
Indy has provided just 202.8 yards per outing, which ranks as the seventh fewest. On the plus side, every 10.8 completions has found the end zone (5th). Nevertheless, the weaponless Flacco is not a threat for fantasy success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alex Collins, BAL IND 11022300000 ***
Despite the Colts having given up the most yards rushing per game (135.8) to RBs over the last five weeks, this remains a difficult matchup for ground scores. Only one in 44.3 carries has found the end zone in that window. The last two weeks have resulted in consecutive 150-yard rushers against Indy, representing 50 percent of the 100-yard games on the year. Aside from last week's struggles vs. Cleveland, Collins has been on fire. This projection is ambitious, but the upstart back has earned a role in all lineups during the title week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Javorius Allen, BAL IND 3002200000 ***
Indianapolis offers the worst matchup of the week for receptions by RBs, and receiving yardage against is naturally depressed, too (31st). On the ground, Allen faces the top opponent for rushing yardage but just No. 22 for TD efficiency against.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Crabtree, BAL IND 005700000 ***
This may wind up being a conservative projection. Crabtree is the premier weapon in this offense in the red zone, and he faces an Eagles defense that has permitted wideouts to score at the eighth-easiest rate since Week 10.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Moore, BAL IND 003300000 ***
Moore has no place on a fantasy roster in crunch time.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL IND 4422 ***
Baltimore hosts, meaning weather could be a factor, but the strong-legged Tucker is capable of making one from Indianapolis if afforded the chance. The Colts bring one of the tougher matchups to the table, statistically speaking. Kickers have made 12 of 13 kicks, missing one of the seven field goal tries, for the seventh-fewest combined kicking chances a week.

WEEK 4
2012
CLE at BAL (THU) *MIN at DET *OAK at DEN *TEN at HOU
CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

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