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 OAK 0000022010 ***
While Oakland has allowed three straight multiple TD games with at least 250 yards in each, Hoyer has just one of the former and two of the latter. Look for fantasy help elsewhere.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ben Tate, CLE OAK 1102000000 ****
Mike Pettine vowed changes after last week's struggles, so don't necessarily expect Tate to get the bulk of the work this week. That said, it's a favorable enough matchup that both Tate and Isaiah Crowell could carve out fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE OAK 500000000 **
Great week for a shakeup in the Cleveland backfield, as it looks like Crowell might get first crack at a Raiders' run D that's giving up an average of 131 RB rushing yards and one RB rushing score per game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andrew Hawkins, CLE OAK 007700000 ***
Hawkins is the closest thing to reliable in Cleveland's passing game, and with Oakland allowing at least one WR TD in each of the past three games he's the best bet to capitalize; that combined with his usual PPR volume make him the safest (only?) fantasy play of the bunch.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Miles Austin, CLE OAK 003500000 ***
Austin is consistently around 50 yards per week, which isn't enough to blip on the fantasy radar. And since he hasn't seen the end zone since Week 3 he's a difficult fantasy play even in a friendly matchup like this.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Travis Benjamin, CLE OAK 002200000 ***
Since scoring two TDs two weeks ago Travis has just one catch; clearly the Cleveland passing game is not all about the Benjamin. Upside, to be sure, but lots of risk if you plan on using this home run hitter in your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Cameron, CLE OAK 003301000 **
The Raiders have allowed three TE TDs in the past four games, with the only dissenter being a Cardinals offense that doesn't give its tight ends the time of day. That bodes well for Cameron, who followed up his 102 and 1 against the Steelers with a disappointing one-catch outing against Jacksonville.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Billy Cundiff, CLE OAK 2233 ***
Cundiff hasn't had a double-digit outing yet this season, and over the past month the Raiders have been giving up too many touchdowns to surrender multiple field goals. That's a bad recipe for fantasy kicking success.

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 @PIT 0000031030 ****
Does it really matter what the Steelers have or haven't allowed? Luck is en fuego right now, with multiple touchdowns in every game and five straight (and six of seven) with 300-plus yards. Pep Hamilton has seen the light!
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ahmad Bradshaw, IND @PIT 6014401000 ****
Three backs have rushed for at least 75 yards against the Steelers in the past two games, and two backs have scored receiving touchdowns. Talk about teeing one up right in Bradshaw's wheelhouse...
Update: Trent Richardson hasn't practiced all week and is officially listed as questionable. Whether he's limited or out entirely, it means more touches for Bradshaw. And that's a very good thing, fantasy-wise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Trent Richardson, IND @PIT 3002100000 **
Richardson continues to get most of the between-the-tackle work, and while he hasn't topped 80 yards yet he's at least found the end zone a couple times in the past month. He's not as safe a fantasy bet as Ahmad Bradshaw, but it's a favorable enough matchup to be a viable fantasy option this week.
Update: While listed as questionable, Richardson did not practice all week. Even if he goes he clearly won't be at 100 percent, so dial back your expectations accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND @PIT 009900000 ***
Hilton has at least 80 yards in five straight, triple-digit yardage in three of the last four, and stakes first claim to Andrew Luck's copious yardage total.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Donte Moncrief, IND @PIT 004500000 ****
Moncrief has been seeing an uptick in playing time, and the injury to Reggie Wayne should lead to more targets as well. It's a big pie Andrew Luck is creating; you could do worse than banking on Moncrief to carve out a slice this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Hakeem Nicks, IND @PIT 002300000 ***
Nicks remains on the fringe of relevancy, both for the Colts and fantasy wise. So long as Andrew Luck keeps churning out 300-yard games Nicks has a shot at being a fantasy helper. Reggie Wayne's possible absence this week certainly doesn't hurt Nicks' chances.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dwayne Allen, IND @PIT 003501000 ****
Allen is slightly more targeted and slightly more productive than his running mate at tight end. With Indy scoring at least one TE TD in every game thus far one--or both--need to be in fantasy lineups, and Allen is the slightly safer bet.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, IND @PIT 002201000 ***
While he's playing second fiddle to Dwayne Allen Fleener is still a fantasy factor in his own right with touchdowns in three of the past five games. Indy has at least one TE TD in every game, so if you're reaching for help at the position you could certainly do worse than Fleener.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND @PIT 1144 ***
My Cousin Vinny is averaging better than nine points per game; opposing kickers are averaging better than nine points per game against the Steelers. Pencil Adam in for something north of nine and call it a day.

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

a d v e r t i s e m e n t