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
WR Josh Gordon, CLE @PIT 0071101000 ***
The Steelers have allowed wide receiver touchdowns in six straight, though of late those scores have been going to secondary targets. Gordon's 14-237-1 on 17 targets in the earlier meeting gives evidence that there really isn't a secondary target in Cleveland, so plan on Josh doing all the heavy lifting once again this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Miles Austin, CLE @PIT 001200000 **
After Dez Bryant takes his bite, and Jason Witten takes his, Austin has to fight Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams for table scraps. Table scraps do not tend to equal fantasy success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Gary Barnidge, CLE @PIT 001100000 ***
Barnidge will get the Browns' TE looks if Jordan Cameron can't go. Not much fantasy value to be had.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Billy Cundiff, CLE @PIT 1122 ***
Cundiff hasn't seen double-digits since Week 5, managed just three points in the earlier meeting with the Steelers, and now heads to the notoriously hard to kick in Heinz Field. That's not exactly a ringing fantasy endorsement.

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 JAC 0000025020 ***
Luck threw for 260 & 2 in Jacksonville earlier this season, and with Indy still able to move up to the third seed in the AFC he'll have every opportunity to match or better those numbers against a Jaguars defense that's allowed multiple touchdown tosses in five of their last six on the road.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Trent Richardson, IND JAC 6003200000 ***
Richardson is seeing the volume to be effective, but Donald Brown is doing more with fewer touches. As such, Richardson's productivity is stunted, both by Brown taking looks off his plate and by Richardson simply not doing enough with the carries he is receiving. It'll be a disinterested Houston defense, so if you're hurting for backfield help Richardson has at least a modicum of upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Griff Whalen, IND JAC 005601000 ***
Whalen's work in the slot is taking equally from the Indy wideouts and Coby Fleener, to the point that he's been the Colts' most productive fantasy pass-catcher the past two games. If you're scraping for PPR help, he's definitely an option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Hakeem Nicks, IND JAC 006800000 ***
Nicks is making a late push for free agency money, but it's not a particularly forceful push--certainly not one that warrants fantasy attention.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND JAC 004600000 ***
Reggie Wayne blew up the Texans for 100 yards in the earlier meeting, but he's on the shelf so those looks will now likely head to Hilton. Good news, too, as it's been almost two months since TY posted a legitimate fantasy helper.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Da'Rick Rogers, IND JAC 003300000 ***
Rogers is staking his claim to the wingman gig in Indy, and it's a friendly enough matchup that he at least warrants fantasy consideration this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, IND JAC 004501000 ***
Fleener scored in the earlier matchup with Jacksonville, but he's done so little over the past month that he can't be trusted for fantasy help here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND JAC 3333 ****
Vinny posted his second-best game of the season in the earlier meeting with Jacksonville; he's also scored double digits in two straight, three of four, and four of six. As per usual, he's a solid fantasy bet again this week.

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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