FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 7
2012
SEA at SF (THU) *DAL at CAR *NYJ at NE DET at CHI (MON)
*ARI at MIN *GB at STL *PIT at CIN Bye:
BAL at HOU *JAC at OAK TEN at BUF ATL, DEN, KC,
*UPDATED *CLE at IND *NO at TB *WAS at NYG MIA, PHI, SD

Prediction: CLE 24, IND 27 (Line: IND by 3.5)

Players Update: Greg Little, Montario Hardesty, Trent Richardson

Players to Watch: Brandon Weeden, CLE RB's, Andrew Luck

This could be a fascinating game since both teams have defensive problems and there should be several players with unusually productive games this week. The 2-3 Colts are 2-1 in home games while the 1-5 Browns are 0-3 on the road and come off their first win of the season. The only two really good players in this game are Reggie Wayne and Pat Haden and they go against each other.

The Browns beat the Colts 27-19 in week two of last year.

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 27-41 14 KC -----
6 CIN 34-24 15 WAS -----
7 @IND ----- 16 @DEN -----
8 SD ----- 17 @PIT -----
9 BAL ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Ben Tate 40
WR Miles Austin 4-50
WR Josh Gordon 4-80,1
WR Andrew Hawkins 3-50
TE Jordan Cameron 3-30

Pregame Notes: The Browns finally notch their first win of the season with scores from their rushing, passing and defense but may have lost Trent Richardson this week since he is day-to-day with a rib cartilage injury. We'll know more from practices through the week but the Browns offense has come to life in just the last two weeks against decent defenses. No one is having a truly big game but all the parts are adding up better and at least for one week - it was enough to grab the "W".

Brandon Weeden should be in consideration for Rookie of the Year and not because his seven touchdowns are that impressive. It is not even that he has thrown for over 290 yards three times. It is that he has done this with a terrible cast of receivers who end up mostly injured anyway.

Travis Benjamin and Jordan Norwood are out. Greg Little is playing volleyball. Mohamed Massaquoi is out. Josh Gordon is the best receiver even though he only played one year in college, took a year off and now is in the NFL. Gordon has scored three times in the last two weeks and his career so far is just a 62-yard and a 70-yard touchdown catch and run when he got behind the safety. The running backs contribute as much as receivers as the wideouts have in most games. The tight ends rare amount to more than a few catches and last week was the first time any of them scored. Ben Watson's touchdown came during his two catches for six yards.

If Richardson cannot play, Montario Hardesty will get the start and should have a bigger role this week even if Richardson can guy out a start. Hardesty gained 56 yards on 15 runs and scored once on the Bengals subbing for Richardson last week. Chris Ogbonnaya chugs along with a few catches per week. This would be a great week to start a healthy Richardson against the same injury-ravaged defense that made Shonn Greene look like a superstar.

The Colts defense is in a bad way with so many injured players and that should at least support more points for the Browns. Brandon Weeden has been impressive in recent weeks as he gets a better grasp of the offense. He faces a secondary that has allowed at least two passing scores in all but one game.

The rushing defense fell apart last week but after 32 runs it was going to break because of the injuries. Back at home they should be better this week and the Browns are not at full strength anyway.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 26 10 23 23 14 6
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 18 27 24 1 16 18

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Brian Hoyer, CLE NO 0000019012 ***
Not that Hoyer can't keep up in a shootout, but that's not likely to be the Browns' game plan heading into this contest--especially if Josh Gordon remains suspended and Jordan Cameron sits out with his shoulder injury.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE NO 301000000 ***
Crowell capitalized on Ben Tate's injury to turn five touches into 32 yards and a pair of scores. He should have an expanded role this week with Tate out, but he's still the junior partner in the Cleveland backfield and as such a riskier fantasy play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Terrance West, CLE NO 600000000 ***
The best way for the Saints to slow the Browns' ground game will be to get up top quickly and force them to play catch-up--though the Pittsburgh game followed a similar path and yet Cleveland ran the ball 28 times. West wound up being the lead dog in that committee and remains in that role here, with a modicum of fantasy upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andrew Hawkins, CLE NO 007800000 ***
Brian Hoyer is no Matt Ryan, and neither is Hawkins the equal of Julio Jones or Roddy White. But if Devin Hester (5-99) and Harry Douglas (6-69) can put up decent numbers on tertiary targets the last remaining viable option in Cleveland's passing game at least warrants fantasy consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Cameron, CLE NO 00000000 *
Cameron is no lock to suit up this week after dinging his shoulder in the Kickoff Weekend loss to Atlanta. If he plays he's a solid start as the most familiar target in Cleveland's passing game, but you'll have to wait at least until the Friday injury report to get a better read on his availability.
Update: Cameron did not practice all week due to a shoulder injury. He'll be a game time decision against the Saints.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Billy Cundiff, CLE NO 2122 ****
You'd think that you can't match the New Orleans offense with field goals, and yet the Saints have allowed multiple field goal attempts in nine of their last 11 games. Still, this doesn't feel like a great opportunity to trot out Cundiff in your fantasy lineup.

Indianapolis Colts
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CHI 21-41 10 @JAC -----
2 MIN 23-20 11 @NE -----
3 JAC 17-22 12 BUF -----
4 BYE ----- 13 @DET -----
5 GB 30-27 14 TEN -----
6 @NYJ 9-35 15 @HOU -----
7 CLE ----- 16 @KC -----
8 @TEN ----- 17 HOU -----
9 MIA ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
IND vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck 260,1
QB Andrew Luck 20 300,3
RB Vick Ballard 60
RB Ahmad Bradshaw 80,1 3-40
RB Trent Richardson 80,1 5-30
WR T.Y. Hilton 4-50
WR Hakeem Nicks 5-80
WR Reggie Wayne 8-110,2
TE Dwayne Allen 2-20
TE Coby Fleener 4-40
PK Adam Vinatieri 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Last week was certainly one of those games. The Colts were on the road for only the second time and faced a wounded Jets team looking for anyone they could beat. A few more defensive losses to injury and the Colts were steam rolled by Shonn Greene which was something that no one knew was even possible. Coming back home with time to regroup, the Colts face this as the easiest game left on the schedule and a chance to notch another win.

Andrew Luck was unable to score last week - a few dropped passes did not help the effort - but he has been on a two-touchdown streak with solid yardage in each game. Luck still passed for 280 yards in New York and that was his lowest yardage since week two. Luck looks very much like a young Manning only without as many interceptions or Marshall Faulk or a young Marvin Harrison. Not unlike Weeden for the Browns, Luck has cobbled together a solid passing effort every week while getting only minimal support from the run game.

With Donald Brown out, the Colts have turned to the rookie Vick Ballard but he was limited to only eight carries in New York since the rushing effort was abandoned early on. The Colts as a team have only one rushing touchdown by a running back but face one of the weaker units in the league that just lost LB Scott Fujita last week.

Luck uses both Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen though both remain well below fantasy consideration with usually less than 30 yards per game each. Allen scored twice this year while Fleener has yet to reach the endzone.

Reggie Wayne was about as "handled" as it gets when Antonio Cromartie held him to five catches for 87 last Sunday, Wayne has been prolific in most recent games and while the Browns will throw Pat Haden into this mix, he was already burned last week and the Colts will seek to constantly move Wayne around the offense to get a better matchup. He may not line up in the same spot two plays in a row. Donnie Avery and T.Y. Hilton are still minor players here but no one approaches the contribution of Wayne. Not even combining their production.

Both teams have defensive problems but the Browns have allowed multiple touchdowns to every quarterback they have faced. Four of those topped 300 yards against them. Expect a big effort here by Luck and that drags Wayne into the mix regardless of Joe Haden. The Colts need a bounce back game from last week and this is the perfect scenario.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 10 32 6 11 17 26
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 30 22 32 5 15 23

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andrew Luck, IND PHI 20000033030 ***
Luck kept pace with Peyton to the tune of 370 and 2--plus a rushing score--in the season opener. A home date with a Philly D that let Chad Henne toss for 266 and 2 seems... well, unfair.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Trent Richardson, IND PHI 4004200000 ****
To the surprise of few, Indy had to play catch-up with the Broncos and as such Richardon's rushing attempts were limited, though to his credit he still mustered 51 combo yards on nine touches. He should see an uptick in opportunity this week, though we still haven't seen enough to credit him with being a consistent fantasy starter.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ahmad Bradshaw, IND PHI 3004300000 ***
Bradshaw capitalized on the game situation and his opportunity to produce 85 combo yards on eight touches. Odds are this game breaks a bit more in Indy's--and Trent Richardson's--favor, which puts a limit on Bradshaw's fantasy upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND PHI 0061001000 ****
Hilton has the deep speed to get behind the Eagles secondary a la Allen Hurns last week; if he sees anything close to the 11 targets he saw last week in Denver he's looking at a very big fantasy evening.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Reggie Wayne, IND PHI 006701000 ***
If a pair of rookies like Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee can confuse the Philly secondary to the tune of 172 yards and two TDs you have to like the prospects of a wily vet like Wayne carving out a useful fantasy outing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Hakeem Nicks, IND PHI 003400000 ***
Nicks reintroduced himself to the end zone last week, which was nice. However, he remains the third wheel in Indy's passing game and as such will have to queue up behind TY Hilton and Reggie Wayne for opportunities to toast a shaky Eagles secondary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dwayne Allen, IND PHI 005501000 ***
Allen turned fewer targets into more productivity thanks to a long catch-and-run for a touchdown. The whole sharing with Coby Fleener thing bites into his fantasy productivity, especially with the wideouts expected to take a larger share off the top against a shaky Philly secondary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, IND PHI 003200000 ***
Fleener's spot in the Colts' passing game pecking order fluctuates between secondary and tertiary; certainly there's opportunity against the Eagles this week, but with so many mouths to feed he can't be banked on for fantasy help.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND PHI 2233 ****
My cousin Vinny just keeps on kicking, and with this tilt sporting the highest O/U total on the board even the Vegas sharps think he'll get ample opportunity to swing the leg.

WEEK 7
2012
SEA at SF (THU) *DAL at CAR *NYJ at NE DET at CHI (MON)
*ARI at MIN *GB at STL *PIT at CIN Bye:
BAL at HOU *JAC at OAK TEN at BUF ATL, DEN, KC,
*UPDATED *CLE at IND *NO at TB *WAS at NYG MIA, PHI, SD

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