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
CLE @ BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Robert Griffin III 30,1 270,2
WR Josh Gordon 3-40
WR Andrew Hawkins 2-50,1

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 Cody Kessler, CLE @WAS 0000024011 ***
Kessler was rotating with wide receiver/former quarterback Terrelle Pryor Sr. in Week 3. The third-string quarterback entering the season, Kessler isn't a fantasy-worthy option, even with a slightly positive matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE @WAS 8012100000 ***
Crowell is a rock-solid RB or DFS play this week in all scoring formats. No team has granted more touchdowns to running backs on the ground than Washington. This is the fifth best matchup for fantasy backs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Duke Johnson Jr., CLE @WAS 3004300000 ***
For as much of a marshmallow Washington is against running backs on the ground, this defense does a reasonable job at limiting the position through the air -- where Johnson finds his value its highest. He's a fringe consideration in PPR.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrelle Pryor Sr., CLE @WAS 2006800000 **
Pryor is a WR3 play in most fantasy setups. He won't go nuts like he did last week. The former quarterback is in for a fine matchup against fantasy's third softest matchup of his position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andrew Hawkins, CLE @WAS 003300000 ***
Hawkins has PPR appeal for truly desperate gamers, but that is where it ends. Washington has given up 43 catches, but Cleveland's offensive deficiencies make Hawkins far too risky.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Gary Barnidge, CLE @WAS 006501000 ***
It's understandably difficult to consider Barnidge as being starter-worthy between his slow beginning to the year and difficult matchup. Last week, he posted double-digit fantasy points and is clawing back to respectability. Washington hasn't allowed a touchdown to the position, but its starting free safety is now done for the year.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, CLE @WAS 2222 ***
Parkey replaced Patrick Murray last week and hit only three of his six three-point attempts. The Redskins are the 10th easiest matchup for fantasy feet.

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 Steve Smith Sr. 5-70
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 OAK 0000028020 ***
Oakland is the third easiest matchup for quarterbacks this season as one of two teams to give up 1,000-plus yards. Flacco is getting into the swing of things and should be a midrange QB1 this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL OAK 4001100000 ***
The Raiders have given up an offensive touchdown per game to the position, ranking as the eighth softest matchup for PPR backs. Starting Forsett is a gamble, even against a weak opponent.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Terrance West, BAL OAK 4001100000 ***
West has no fantasy value without finding the end zone, and that's one of the few areas against running backs in which the Raiders have been strong, giving up only two scores in three games on the ground.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Kenneth Dixon, BAL OAK 4001100000 *
Is this the week Dixon returns to the field after suffering a preseason knee sprain? Be cautious, as veterans are given priority by both the head coach and OC in Baltimore.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, BAL OAK 005901000 ***
Only the Bills have allowed more PPR WR points than the Raiders, which is driven by tons of yardage but only two scores. The Raiders have been more well-rounded in their suckiness: 43 receptions, 664 yards, 5 TDs allowed.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith Sr., BAL OAK 007700000 ***
Smith caught eight balls last week and is slowly coming around after last year's devastating injury. The Raiders have been terrible against wide receivers, and Joe Flacco may need to chuck it to keep pace with Derek Carr's offense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Breshad Perriman, BAL OAK 002200000 ***
Maybe this is the week Perriman's speed leads to a big one? Oakland has stunk against receivers, giving up the second most plays of 40-plus to receivers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dennis Pitta, BAL OAK 007801000 ***
Tight ends have done OK vs. Oakland, accounting for 245 yards but only one score. Pitta is a fringe fantasy play with some upside.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL OAK 2222 ***
Tucker's accuracy and leg strength make him a sound fantasy play every week. Oakland has given up five field goals on seven attempts in three games.

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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