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 Garrett Hartley 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 Johnny Manziel, CLE @CAR 30100018001 **
It can't get much worse than last week for Johnny JamBoogie, and there's not much upside to be gleaned from a matchup with a Carolina defense that's given up just two passing scores the past two weeks. If you want to find a hook to hang your fantasy title hopes on, it's that the Panthers just let Josh McCown rush for a touchdown against them. Yeah, pretty thin.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE @CAR 4011000000 **
The Panthers haven't given up a running back touchdown in more than a month, and with Crowell splitting the workload with Terrance West there's not much to like here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Terrance West, CLE @CAR 300000000 ***
West is splitting the touches and the production with Isaiah Crowell. When there's 40 carries to split that means plenty of fantasy success to go around. When there's a dozen carries, like last week, and the threat of Johnny Manziel swiping a rushing score looms, and the matchup isn't particularly favorable... well, half of not much isn't going to help your fantasy squad.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Josh Gordon, CLE @CAR 005600000 **
Until we see proof Johnny Manziel can pass, it's tough to trust any Cleveland receiver with a fantasy start. Even Gordon. Doesn't help that Carolina's secondary has given up just one 100-yard receiving game in the past two months.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andrew Hawkins, CLE @CAR 004400000 ***
Tough to be a PPR helper when your quarterback is running for his life, running after the first couple of reads, and has yet to prove himself as an NFL passer. Oh yeah, and Josh Gordon has taken over as the top target in Cleveland as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Cameron, CLE @CAR 002200000 ***
Cameron wasn't exactly a hot target for Johnny Manziel last week, with one target on the afternoon. Carolina isn't a favorable matchup for the position, so there's no compelling reason to reach for Cameron this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Garrett Hartley, CLE @CAR 1111 ***
Hartley is still waiting for his first opportunity as a Brown, as Cleveland was blanked last week by the Bengals. Don't expect much of an uptick from the Johnny Football-led offense, nor a helping hand from a Panthers' D that's held four straight foes to only one field goal per game.

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 @HOU 0000024020 ****
Mostly "meh" trends here, as the Texans are neither a bad nor great matchup, Flacco's a little worse on the road but not awful, etc. You'll be okay starting Flacco, but at this juncture hopefully you've got some "wow" arsenal at your disposal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @HOU 9012200000 ***
The key number is 20 carries. Forsett hasn't been there for a couple games, and not coincidentally Forsett's three-game streak of 100-yard games came to an end at that juncture. The Texans have allowed only three 100-yard rushers on the year, and not coincidentally they've faced only three players who received 20 carries. Yes, the same three. If Forsett was healthy enough to get 16 carries against Jacksonville last week he should make it to 20 this weekend--with appropriate results.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL @HOU 400000000 ***
No reason for Pierce to handle too many touches here, and he'll need some fortunate timing for them to carry any fantasy weight.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL @HOU 006801000 ***
Smith likes facing the Texans: he's scored in all three career games against them while averaging a robust 108 yards per outing. More recently, the Texans have been giving up big yardage to primary receivers but letting secondary targets find the end zone. Hard to tell which Smith is which in any given week for the Ravens, but suffice it to say both have reasonably high fantasy expectations here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL @HOU 004601000 *
Only two teams have allowed more WR TDs than the Texans, so if Smith is healthy enough to play he's a quality fantasy start; the question is whether or not he or Steve Smith will take a turn as Joe Flacco's favorite.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL @HOU 002300000 ***
Daniels, fresh off returning to the end zone last week, against his former team--who just allowed a TE TD last week. Not a particularly strong trend in Daniels' favor, but who's gonna know how to get a tight end open against that defense better than Gary Kubiak?
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @HOU 1144 ***
Tucker's been solid, with multiple field goals in three of his last four overall and three of his last four at home. Don't expect Houston to disrupt Tucker's flow; in fact, the Texans' QB issues might make it that much easier for the Ravens to play defense and settle for field goals.

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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