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
RB Ben Tate 50,1 2-10
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 BAL 0000020010 ***
The Ravens have limited Andy Dalton and Ben Roethlisberger to a combined one TD, so Hoyer may have to bust his hump just to get to his standard pedestrian 200 and 1. How long until Josh Gordon returns?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Terrance West, CLE BAL 8012100000 ****
The Ravens have allowed almost as much receiving yardage to RBs as they have rushing yardage. West did a little work in the passing game last week and that's his best chance to salvage fantasy value against a defense that limited Giovani Bernard and Le'Veon Bell to a combined 25-107.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE BAL 500000000 ****
Crowell is the junior partner in Cleveland's backfield jobshare, and he'll likely need a goal line look to cull fantasy value this week. Seeing as the Ravens haven't allowed an RB TD this year, outlook not good.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andrew Hawkins, CLE BAL 007800000 ****
22 targets, 14 catches, 157 yards... and not a touchdown to show for it. Other WR1s have put up yardage on the Ravens, and such volume suggests that's what role Hawkins is playing in Cleveland. Don't look for the TD and you'll be just fine.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Travis Benjamin, CLE BAL 002201000 **
Being the third receiver on a run-heavy team with a tough matchup doesn't bode well for Benjamin's prospects; neither do three catches in two games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Miles Austin, CLE BAL 004300000 ***
Was last week's 10-target total an aberration or a trend? Doesn't much matter; Andrew Hawkins is Cleveland's de facto WR1 and the Ravens have surrendered just one WR TD all year so Austin's fantasy prospects are dim.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Cameron, CLE BAL 003400000 *
If Cameron can play he's not a bad bet to approach the 5-95 he posted against the Ravens last year when Josh Gordon was out of the lineup. But he's still iffy with the shoulder injury, so at minimum you need to have a backup plan.
Update: Cameron was limited all week in practice and will likely be a game-time decision this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Billy Cundiff, CLE BAL 3322 ***
No team has allowed more field goal attempts than Baltimore, and with Cundiff churning out regular Chuck Woolerys (two and two) or better he's a solid if unsexy fantasy play this week.

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 @CLE 10000024021 ***
The Browns haven't been shut-down defensively against the pass, but they haven't exactly been pushovers either. Flacco threw for two TDs the last time they met, but it was his first multiple-passing TD game against them in his last four. That 250 and 2 feels like his ceiling here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL @CLE 701000000 ****
Should be a decent outing for Pierce against a Browns' defense that's giving up better than five yards a carry and has particularly struggled with power backs like Le'Veon Bell and Mark Ingram.
Update: Though officially listed as questionable, Pierce practiced in full on Friday and should be available to take what is becoming his regular role in the Baltimore backfield rotation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @CLE 5004200000 ***
Given that the Browns are allowing 192 combo yards per game to opposing backs, Forsett's share of the Ravens' backfield workload should be worth a little something in fantasy circles this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL @CLE 006600000 ***
Smith is turning "Napoleon Syndrome" and a dozen targets a game into a career rebirth in Baltimore. And while the Browns haven't erased opposing wideouts this year the prospect of Joe Haden draped all over Steve does dampen the fantasy enthusiasm a bit.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL @CLE 004500000 ***
Maybe the Browns tab Steve Smith as Cleveland's top threat and match him with Joe Haden. Maybe that opens up Torrey for more targets, which he could turn into a typical productive matchup against the Browns--he's scored or topped 75 yards in four straight meetings. Of course, until Steve stops hogging more than half the Ravens' WR targets it's all theory and tough to trust in a fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dennis Pitta, BAL @CLE 006701000 ****
The Ravens love to force-feed their tight end, but Pitta is no Jimmy Graham. Then again, it's unlikely the Browns use Joe Haden on Pitta. Call it a wash and look for Pitta to turn his typical heavy target load into another productive fantasy outing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL @CLE 003300000 ***
In PPR leagues Daniels has value, as the TE spillover in Gary Kubiak's offense is running in the 4-5 catches per game range. However, don't get used to the #TBT Kubiak unleashed on us last week with Daniels' pair of TDs; he's still TE2 in Baltimore and should be treated as such.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @CLE 1133 ***
Tucker has had multiple field goal attempts in each game this season, and in every road game dating back to Week 9 of last year. The Browns have a bend-don't-break defense, which should lend itself well to more opportunities for Tucker 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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