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
WR Miles Austin 4-50
WR Josh Gordon 4-80,1
WR Andrew Hawkins 3-50
TE Jordan Cameron 3-30
PK Garrett Hartley 2 FG 3 XP

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 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.

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 @TEN 0000023010 *
Luck blew up the Titans to the tune of 370 and 4 when they met back in Week 3. He's been somewhat off that pace of late, with three straight under 200 yards, but as long as the Colts don't get cute and sit him down for Matt Hasselbeck he's as dangerous a fantasy quarterback as there is.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dan Herron, IND @TEN 6013200000 **
Plenty of opportunity here against a defense that's allowed at least one RB score in nine straight games and 12 of the last 13. The Colts had Ahmad Bradshaw (9-65, 2-18-1 and Trent Richardson (14-57, 3-23) do the damage last week; sans Bradshaw, Herron should see plenty of opportunities with this favorable matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Trent Richardson, IND @TEN 5002100000 ***
Richardson has been usurped as the Colts' primary ball-carrier, but that doesn't mean he can't hang out--and maybe fall into some fantasy value. Prior to last week Richardson had been splitting carries with Dan Herron, then in last week's blowout loss to the Cowboys things started getting weird. In a favorable matchup you could wring Richardson's last remaining drops of fantasy value from him, but the yield isn't likely to be very big.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Hakeem Nicks, IND @TEN 008800000 **
With TY Hilton out Nicks was Eli Manning's go to guy last week. He's playing for a contract, but what Nicks really needs this week is for Hilton to miss another game and leave Nicks in charge of the receiver rotation. Otherwise he's a risky bet for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Reggie Wayne, IND @TEN 004300000 ***
Wayne remains firmly in the twilight of his stellar career; there's not much fantasy value here, either.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND @TEN 002300000 *
Hilton didn't play last week, and his status for this week's game has yet to be determined. However, Indy's in the playoffs so even if TY is ready expect reduced snaps as the Colts attempt to keep him fresh for a run at the Lombardi.
Update: Hilton is listed as questionable, and with nothing to play for it would be surprising if the Colts gave him more than a few "stay warm" snaps this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, IND @TEN 005601000 **
Like his running mate, Dwayne Allen, Fleener also scored in the earlier meeting with Tennessee. That's a formidable one-two punch for Andrew Luck to lean on, and there's no reason to think he won't do just that this week.
Update: Indy's TE punch will be limited to just a "one" with Allen ruled out due to a knee injury, but the last time Fleener flew solo he was a fantasy stud so this might just work out in Coby's favor.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND @TEN 2222 ***
You can't rest the kicker, so even if the rest of Indy's JV is on the field they should still provide ample opportunity for Vinatieri to swing the leg--maybe even to the tune of the 11 points he scored against the Titans earlier this season.

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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