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 Ben Tate
WR Josh Gordon 2-20
WR Andrew Hawkins 3-50,1
TE Jordan Cameron 3-20
PK Billy Cundiff 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 Brian Hoyer, CLE TB 0000023010 ***
Hoyer has bounced between ordinary and bad fantasy-wise, but this may be an opportunity to get well against a Bucs' secondary that's allowed multiple TD tosses and 300-plus passing yards in all three road games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ben Tate, CLE TB 802000000 ***
Tate continues to undeservedly get the bulk of the carries in Cleveland; he's averaged 2.5 yards per tote over his last 56 attempts, encompassing three games. Fortunately for Tate's fantasy owners, Mike Pettine hasn't figured out just how bad Tate is yet. Also, the Browns have gotten Tate close enough to score three touchdowns in those three games. And the Bucs have allowed all eight backs who received at least 14 carries against them to score and/or top 60 yards. It won't be pretty, so don't watch the game; just check the last column of Tate's box score late Sunday and you'll be fine.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andrew Hawkins, CLE TB 007901000 ****
No team has allowed more fantasy points to wide receivers than the Bucs, and the closest thing to a consistent contributor among Cleveland's wideouts has been Hawkins. How's that for a ringing endorsement?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Miles Austin, CLE TB 003500000 ***
Multiple wideouts have posted fantasy helpers against the Bucs in five straight games, but you're tempting fate digging this deep into the Browns' inconsistent receiver rotation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Taylor Gabriel, CLE TB 003500000 ***
The Bucs have allowed multiple receivers to either score or top 55 yards or both in each of the past five games. There isn't much of a discernable pecking order to Cleveland's receiving corps, but Gabriel has been coming on of late with 60-plus yards in three of the past five games so if you're throwing a dart he's worthy of consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jim Dray, CLE TB 001100000 ***
The Bucs aren't a particularly favorable fantasy matchup for tight ends, and Dray isn't a particularly exciting fantasy plug-in for the injured Jordan Cameron.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Billy Cundiff, CLE TB 2233 ****
Cundiff's been building to his first double-digit points game, which came last week against the Raiders. Now hosting a Bucs' squad that's served up multiple treys in three straight outings you have to like his chances of a repeat.

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
RB Peyton Hillis
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 IND 0000026020 ***
The shutout in Philly is looking more and more like the exception rather than the rule after Eli and the Giants hopped back in the saddle with 248 and 3 in Dallas in Week 7. Considering the once-vaunted Indy D just gave up 522 and six to Ben Roethlisberger, it wouldn't be out of line to expect Eli to come up with half those numbers this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Williams, NYG IND 600000000 ***
Doesn't look like Rashad Jennings will be back so it's still Andre's show. Unfortunately Andre hasn't been particularly impressive with additional carries; after scoring the first two times his workload ticked into double digits he's laid a pair of road eggs at a shade over three yards per carry. At least he's back home this week, but keep your expectations low against a Colts defense that has shut out Giovani Bernard and Le'Veon Bell in back-to-back weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, NYG IND 006801000 **
Randle remains the most targeted Giants receiver, and while Indy's overall passing game stats are impressive they did just allow 5-83-2 to similarly sized Martavis Bryant last week so Randle's at least worth a look-see here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Odell Beckham, NYG IND 004500000 ***
Beckham has three TDs in as many games since making his NFL debut. With an extra week to acclimate to the offense--and give Ben McAdoo an opportunity to figure out how to take advantage of his skills--there's no reason to think his role reduces. It's not a favorable matchup on paper, but the Steelers showed last week Indy's secondary isn't infallible so Beckham remains in play fantasy-wise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Larry Donnell, NYG IND 007801000 ***
Indy's allowed five TE TDs and five games of 70-plus yards to the position already this year; so long as Daniel Fells doesn't keep swiping Larry's scores he's a solid bordering on spectacular fantasy play.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG IND 2222 ***
Brown has been in double digits the past two home games, but an Indy D that hasn't allowed a kicker to top 10 points since Week 2 likely holds him in check this week.

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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