FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 5
2012
ARI at STL (THU) CHI at JAC MIA at CIN *TEN at MIN
ATL at WAS *CLE at NYG PHI at PIT *HOU at NYJ (MON)
BAL at KC *DEN at NE *SD at NO Bye:
*Updated BUF at SF GB at IND SEA at CAR DAL, DET, OAK, TB

Prediction: CLE 13, NYG 30 (Line: NYG by 10)

Players to Watch: Any CLE receiver who actually catches the ball

Players Updated: Hakeem Nicks, Domenik Hixon, Ramses Barden, Martellus Bennet, Mohamed Massaquoi

The 0-4 Browns now head to New York in search of their first win but the 2-2 Giants just lost a close one in Philadelphia and will be primed to make this game a statement.

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 16-23 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 Shaun Draughn 10
WR Josh Gordon 2-20
WR Andrew Hawkins 3-50,1
TE Jordan Cameron 3-20
PK Garrett Hartley 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Sure, the Browns have not won any games. But they have certainly been in most games and there are enough positives to hope for better times ahead, if only in 2013. Brandon Weeden has been genuinely impressive with over 320 passing yards during the two road efforts in Cincinnati and Baltimore. He only has three touchdowns against seven interceptions but given the number of dropped passes by several receivers it is a miracle he has the yardage he did. Weeden is getting better fast and trying to drag his band of mediocre receivers along with him.

Greg Little is thrown the most passes and has the most drops - by far. He let a touchdown go through his hands in Baltimore and this team has too few opportunities to let that happen. Amazingly, Weeden has two efforts over 320 yards and yet there are no receivers here that are worth a fantasy start. Josh Gordon has been a colossal flop so far. Travis Benjamin and Jordan Norwood help out when they too are not dropping passes. Mohamed Massaquoi has been marginal and that was when he was healthy.

Second-year tight end Jordan Cameron seemed to be on the rise with seven targets in week three that resulted in five receptions for 45 yards but then he was only able to hang onto one of his six passes in Baltimore while Benjamin Watson had his best game of the year of five catches for 52 yards. None of these receivers have any consistency if they even have one decent game.

Trent Richardson is pretty light on the rushing yardage but he has scored once in each of the last three games. Richardson has gained 222 yards on 64 runs for a 3.5 yard rushing average - not that bad considering how many times he is met in the backfield by a defender. He's propping up his fantasy value with around four or five catches per game.

No doubt going to New York after the Giants are coming off a loss will not make it any better. The Browns played a competitive game against the Ravens but this non-divisional matchup is going to be even harder. The Giants should have enough defense here to keep the Browns from making this into a close game. But once again, Weeden will need to throw early and often.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 29 12 25 23 17 9
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 21 11 22 8 14 10

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Connor Shaw, CLE @BAL 10000016002 ***
The undrafted rookie is taking all the first-team snaps in practice and will likely make the start in Baltimore in place of the injured Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer. An undrafted rookie, activated off the practice squad, starting in Baltimore against a Ravens team that needs to win. Yeah, that's going to end well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE @BAL 500000000 **
With the Browns starting a third-string quarterback in Week 17 for the fifth straight season--talk about a cursed franchise--the onus will be on the ground game to carry the offensive load. The problem there is that feature backs average 45 yards per game in Baltimore, and the Ravens have allowed only one RB rushing score in Baltimore this season--and a total of six RB TDs altogether. Crowell saw the bulk of the carries last week with Terrence West pinned to the bench due to lack of practice effort, but if the upside is less than 50 yards you'll want to look elsewhere.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Taylor Gabriel, CLE @BAL 004600000 *
It's been tough finding fantasy wideouts in Cleveland all year, let alone when they're scraping the bottom of the quarterbacks barrel in Week 17 on the road facing a Baltimore squad in a do-or-die situation. So... nah.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andrew Hawkins, CLE @BAL 003200000 *
It's tough to be a PPR threat when there are few "R"s to go around, and with Cleveland's quarterback issues this week that's likely to be the case.
Update: Making matters worse is that Hawkins is listed as questionable with a thumb injury. He practiced only on a limited basis this week and doesn't have the upside to offset the risk of little or no game action here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Josh Gordon, CLE @BAL 00000000 *
No matter how good Gordon is, he can't throw the ball to himself. And between a banged-up Brian Hoyer, journeyman Tyler Thigpen and undrafted rookie Connor Shaw the Browns have all kinds of issues at quarterback. So much for that big late-season push after stashing Gordon, eh?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Cameron, CLE @BAL 003300000 *
It took until Week 16 but Cameron finally delivered on expectations last week with 88 yards and a touchdown. Now he'll face a tough matchup--the Ravens have allowed just five TE TDs on the year--while saddled with quarterback issues. Tough to bank on him for fantasy help this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Garrett Hartley, CLE @BAL 1100 **
Hartley has been a solid addition since replacing Billy Cundiff, though the Johnny Manziel-led offense hasn't provided a ton of opportunities. Cundiff had three points in the earlier meeting with Baltimore; tough to bank on Hartley providing a dramatic upgrade, especially if it's undrafted rookie Connor Shaw at quarterback for the Brownies.

New York Giants
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 DAL 17-24 10 @CIN -----
2 TB 41-34 11 BYE -----
3 @CAR 36-7 12 GB -----
4 @PHI 17-19 13 @WAS -----
5 CLE ----- 14 NO -----
6 @SF ----- 15 @ATL -----
7 WAS ----- 16 @BAL -----
8 @DAL ----- 17 PHI -----
9 PIT ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NYG vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 310,3
WR Victor Cruz 6-100,2

Pregame Notes: Tough loss to the Eagles means the Giants are now 0-2 in their own division and have a tough slate looming once this game is over. A home game is not likely to become a trap after a loss and the Giants are losing any margin of error already this early in the season.

Eli Manning has again fallen short against a divisional rival but in fantasy terms has been no worse than solid. He passed for 309 yards and two scores on the Eagles and has never failed to score at least once each week. Manning is good enough that he doesn't miss Hakeem Nicks, he just switches over to whomever the replacement is that week and makes them a temporary fantasy stud.

Last week it was Domenik Hixon with six receptions for 114 yards and the previous game Ramses Barden ended with nine catches for 138 yards. Nicks has not yet practiced and suffered a setback with his knee which made him downgraded to doubtful and then not play. Until he can practice and looks good to go, Hixon will replace him. Victor Cruz comes off his second big game of the year when he posted nine receptions for 109 yards and a score on the Eagles and he remains the one consistent player for the Giants. He'll especially enjoy the absence of CB Joe Haden who continues to serve a suspension.

Last week was a disappoint when Martellus Bennett only came away with one catch for two yards after three straight weeks of scoring and gaining decent yardage. He had a 38-yard catch to open the game nullified with an unrelated penalty but then they shifted away from him. Bear Pascoe even scored a touchdown in his only catch in the game. Bennett will be back and is in no jeopardy of being phased out.

Fantasy hell happened too when Ahmad Bradshaw returned and he not only had a mediocre game of 39 rush yards and 38 receiving yards with no touchdowns, he completely killed off all value of Andre Brown (5-14). This is back to being Bradshaw's show and that one big game by Brown may not happen again if Bradshaw can somehow remain healthy,

The Browns secondary is not at full strength and has allowed nine touchdowns already this year and three games over 310 yards. Expect a strong showing here by the passing game and just moderate numbers from the rushing effort as the Browns have yet to allow any running back to rush in a score.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 11 17 2 12 3 22
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 29 19 31 3 7 27

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Eli Manning, NYG PHI 0000026021 ***
The last time Manning saw the Eagles it didn't go so well. In fact, he hasn't thrown a touchdown against Philly in either of his two previous meetings. With nothing for either team to play for except pride, expect Manning to have a game more in line with his last two home dates with the Eagles: 334 and 2, 208 and 5.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Williams, NYG PHI 5011100000 ***
No reason for the Giants to risk the banged-up Rashad Jennings here, and Williams is coming off an impressive 26-110 showing against the Rams last week. He handled the load the last time the Giants met Philly, rushing for 58 yards on 16 carries; expect an uptick against a defense that's allowed at least 80 to three straight feature backs.
Update: Turns out Williams is also banged up, as he was limited in practice all week by a shoulder injury. If he can't go, the Giants may just throw all game--or give meaningful carries to Orleans Darkwa.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Odell Beckham, NYG PHI 00101202000 ***
Beckham's lone dog during his remarkable rookie season came in Philly back in Week 6. Now he's sporting a three-game streak of 100-yard games, an eight-game streak of 90-yard games, and a three-game scoring streak with six TDs in that span. You gotta think he'll bounce back against an Eagles secondary that's given up more fantasy points to wide receivers than any other team in the league.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, NYG PHI 003500000 ***
Not since the Packers in Week 11 have multiple receivers posted fantasy helpers against the Eagles; it's been pretty much one guy each week doing the bulk of the damage. And in New York, that one guy is Odell Beckham Jr.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Preston Parker, NYG PHI 003300000 ***
Parker's the third wheel in a Giants' passing game that's somewhere between unicycle and one of those old-fashioned bicycles with the hugh front tire and the much smaller rear tire. In other words, look for fantasy help elsewhere.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Larry Donnell, NYG PHI 003200000 ***
Giants tight ends amassed 75 yards in the earlier meeting with Philly, but only six of them went to Donnell. Also working against Larry this week: the Eagles have allowed only one TE TD all year, none in their past 13 games. You're bound to find more favorable trends elsewhere.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG PHI 1133 ***
Brown didn't even swing the leg in the earlier meeting with Philly, and he has just two field goals in five NFC East contests this season. Get your fantasy kicks elsewhere.

WEEK 5
2012
ARI at STL (THU) CHI at JAC MIA at CIN *TEN at MIN
ATL at WAS *CLE at NYG PHI at PIT *HOU at NYJ (MON)
BAL at KC *DEN at NE *SD at NO Bye:
*Updated BUF at SF GB at IND SEA at CAR DAL, DET, OAK, TB

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