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 Miles Austin 5-80
WR Josh Gordon 3-40
WR Andrew Hawkins 2-50,1
TE Jordan Cameron 3-30
PK Billy Cundiff 1 FG 3 XP

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 Brian Hoyer, CLE @ATL 0000026010 ****
The Falcons have allowed multiple touchdown passes in four straight, which might just be a favorable enough matchup to push Hoyer--who has just one multi-TD outing in his last six games--into fringe fantasy contributor territory.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE @ATL 8012100000 ***
Don't fall for the past two weeks of Atlanta's stats against a pair of run-challenged division foes; they've given up RB TDs in all six non-division games as well as at least 123 yards from scrimmage to the RB position. Crowell was Cleveland's lead dog last week, and with Ben Tate out of the picture he's good for at least half the touches in a backfield that should have its way with the Falcons run D.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Terrance West, CLE @ATL 401000000 ***
West took a back seat to Isaiah Crowell last week after getting 26 carries in the key divisional win over Cincy the previous week. Who knows which back will be Cleveland's primary, but against an Atlanta D that's allowing an average of 186 combo yards and 1.6 TDs to opposing non-division backfields even a share means fantasy success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Josh Gordon, CLE @ATL 005801000 *
How quickly can the Browns re-incorporate Gordon into the mix? Shouldn't take long against a secondary that's allowed 100-yard games to the past three feature receivers it has faced.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andrew Hawkins, CLE @ATL 005600000 ***
Hawkins should retain his role even with the return of Josh Gordon, though there may not be as big of a need for his possession receiver skills.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Taylor Gabriel, CLE @ATL 003400000 ***
Just as Gabriel was starting to carve out a little niche for himself in the Cleveland passing attack, Josh Gordon returns to blow everything up. With Gordon hogging the looks there's unlikely to be as much fantasy value to Gabriel's game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Miles Austin, CLE @ATL 002200000 ***
Austin was supposed to take the place of Josh Gordon, and now Gordon is back. So... it's been a nice run.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Cameron, CLE @ATL 00000000 *
Battling injuries and ineffectiveness, Cameron hasn't been fantasy-relevant since Week 6. The return of Josh Gordon this week overshadows anything Cameron might bring to the table; he's back in "prove it" mode until we see anything that resembles the kind of numbers he put up last year.
Update: Cameron has been ruled out of this week's game... not that he's been much help lately anyway.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Billy Cundiff, CLE @ATL 2233 ***
After a couple big games at home, Cundiff has turtled. It's not a favorable enough matchup to expect a turnaround that will benefit your fantasy squad.

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
WR Jacoby Jones 3-50
WR Steve Smith 5-70
WR Torrey Smith 5-90,1
TE Owen Daniels 7-70,1
TE Dennis Pitta 5-50
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 @NO 0000022011 ***
Flacco has found plenty of success against the NFC South this season, a total of 891 yards and 10 TDs in three games. While he's tended to be worse on the road, no need to shy away from him in New Orleans as the Ravens try to play keep-up with Drew Brees.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @NO 6014400000 ****
The Saints have surrendered 296 RB rushing yards in two games against AFC North foes this year, plus another 74 receiving. That touches on both elements that Forsett brings to the fantasy table, and on the heels of 20-112-2 against Tennessee the last time Baltimore took the field he's a solid fantasy play again this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL @NO 200000000 ***
Pierce battles with Lorenzo Taliaferro for relevancy in the Baltimore backfield, and against New Orleans there might just be enough left over for a second back to generate fantasy help. However, Taliaferro is the more likely back to be fantasy relevant, so keep Pierce on your bench.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL @NO 200000000 ***
The Ravens continue to waffle between Taliaferro and Bernard Pierce as the change-of-pace guy to Justin Forsett. Pierce won the battle last week, if you can call 31 yards on 8 carries "winning". Taliaferro has more fantasy upside as a bull of a goal line back, so if you're picking between the two he's the more palatable option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL @NO 004601000 ****
Not that Torrey can't be fantasy relevant, but he's a little less consistent than Steve Smith and as such is a shade riskier as a fantasy play. Plus, the Saints have tended to allow one WR per week to post decent fantasy numbers so reaching down the Baltimore receiver depth chart isn't the shrewdest move.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL @NO 004500000 ***
The Saints have allowed the opposing WR1 to be fantasy relevant in six of their last seven, and Steve is still Baltimore's WR1 so he gets the fantasy nod this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL @NO 005600000 ***
The Saints gave up their first TE TDs since Week 1 last week, making this a tough matchup for Daniels to get fantasy traction in.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @NO 3322 ***
The last three kickers to visit the SuperDome have tallied at least nine points, and three of Tucker's four double-digit efforts have come on the road. In theory, it's a solid opportunity for Tucker to get his kicks this 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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