FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 9
2012
KC at SD (THU) CAR at WAS *DET at JAC TB at OAK
*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:
*UPDATED *BUF at HOU DEN at CIN *PIT at NYG NE , NYJ, SF, STL

Prediction: BAL 17, CLE 23 (Line: BAL by 3.5)

Players to Watch: Greg Little, Trent Richardson

This is a replay of week four when the Ravens won 23-16 while the Browns visited. The Ravens are coming off a bye week which will help them but the Browns are playing better and came without seven in Baltimore. The Browns offense has been improving while the Ravens defense has worsened and allowed 72 points over their last two games.

The Browns have not beaten the Ravens in their last nine meetings back to 2007.

Baltimore Ravens
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN 44-13 10 OAK -----
2 @PHI 23-24 11 @PIT -----
3 NE 31-30 12 @SD -----
4 CLE 23-16 13 PIT -----
5 @KC 9-6 14 @WAS -----
6 DAL 31-29 15 DEN -----
7 @HOU 13-43 16 NYG -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @CIN -----
9 @CLE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL @ CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 220,1
RB Justin Forsett 30 2-10
WR Devin Hester 2-30
WR Steve Smith Sr. 7-90,1
WR Mike Wallace 5-80,1
TE Dennis Pitta 3-30
TE Benjamin Watson 2-30
PK Justin Tucker 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens lead the division and even though the defense has suffered notable injuries, the remaining schedule may smooth over the effects. That would be fortunate since the offense has been less than expected and yet still has all the same players healthy. The new offense had "the wraps" taken off and it still looks pretty much the same. If even that good.

Joe Flacco hasn't passed for more than one score since week three and stands at nine touchdowns against six interceptions. Problem too is that over the last four games, Flacco only threw three touchdowns and lost four interceptions. And it is not as if the rushing game is taking over and consuming the offense. Flacco passed for 356 yards when the Browns visited five weeks ago with one passing touchdown and his only rushing score on the year.

Ray Rice is decent this year with five touchdowns though each came in one of three home games against either the Cowboys, Patriots or Bengals. He comes off his worst game of the year with only 56 total yards in Houston but he almost always totals 100 yards every week even if he's only scored in three games. Even odder has been that his last three games only averaged about two catches for 24 yards in each when his first four match-ups averaged about six catches for 44 yards each week. Losing those catches hurts Rice's ability to produce as consistently as he has in the past. Versus the Browns, Rice rushed for 49 yards on 18 carries and added eight receptions for 47 yards.

Dennis Pitta started the year as one of the surprise tight ends but has evolved back into just another player. He's not been able to gain more than 33 yards since beck in week three and his slide started when he was blanked against the Browns with no catches on his two targets.

The low scoring and marginal passing yardage by Flacco has left the wide receivers with minimal fantasy value. Torrey Smith showed up for two nice games - both at home - but is marginal in all others and was held to fewer than 42 yards in each of the last three games. One of those good efforts was versus the Browns when Smith ended with 97 yards and a score on six receptions. Anquan Boldin hasn't scored since the season opener and varies greatly from week to week with as good as 131 yards (against the Browns) and only seven yards in Philadelphia. One qualifier to the big game when Cleveland showed up - that was without Joe Haden who is back now.

Flacco took advantage of the Browns missing Haden in week four and while Boldin gained 131 yards on the Browns earlier this year, he only managed 32 yards last year in Cleveland while being covered by Haden. The passing defense is much better in recent games since the Browns have not allowed a passing score since week six. They have also not allowed a rushing touchdown at home.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 19 11 11 21 8 9
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 27 20 29 4 12 16

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL @JAC 0000024021 ***
Which Jaguars defense shows up this week? The one that did a sound job against Aaron Rodgers, or last week's road team against which Philip Rivers opened the floodgates? The Jags have given up 26.7 fantasy points per game to QBs, which is the sixth most in the NFL. It's a road game for Flacco, and his targets match up fairly well. Start him with a minor degree of confidence, or toss the vet into DFS lineups to save a few bucks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @JAC 4002200000 ***
Forsett has struggled through two appearances and is ceding double-digit work to Terrance West. Jacksonville's defense of running backs looks stronger on paper based on the small sample size; Melvin Gordon racked up 21 PPR points and scored in Week 2. Even still, Forsett is barely playable.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Terrance West, BAL @JAC 3002100000 ***
West has averaged 13 touches through two weeks that have amounted to a lot of struggling (3.2 yards per carry, no scores). Sit him until he gets it going.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, BAL @JAC 006801000 ***
Wallace has emerged as the No. 1 target in Baltimore and is playing more that 67 percent of the snaps. Jacksonville's offense is capable of scoring some points, which wasn't exactly obvious last week. Nevertheless, the Jags defense is the sixth easiest matchup for receivers, largely by way of giving up five touchdowns (tied for the most).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith Sr., BAL @JAC 005500000 ***
Smith is still trying to get his football legs underneath him, and it shows. He has a stat line of 8-83-0 through two appearances, despite seeing the most snaps of Ravens receivers. Perhaps he'll slide into the end zone this outing, but don't bank on it ... he's a sketchy WR3/flex.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kamar Aiken, BAL @JAC 002200000 ***
Aiken has been on the field for only 46.9 percent of the offensive plays for Baltimore this season, and it shows in his stats. Regardless of the matchup, he cannot be utilized until more playing time comes his way.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dennis Pitta, BAL @JAC 004501000 **
Welcome back, Dennis Pitta! After two catastrophic hip injuries in successive seasons, the talented pass-catching tight end has returned to form. Look, he's as risky as anyone, so know what you're getting into with a waiver addition. Jacksonville gave up a short touchdown to Antonio Gates last weekend but has given up only 10 tight end targets in two games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @JAC 1122 ***
Field goals don't keep pace with Jacksonville's potentially explosive offense.

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 13-17 16 @DEN -----
8 SD 7-6 17 @PIT -----
9 BAL ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CLE vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Robert Griffin III 80,1 200,1
WR Josh Gordon 4-70
WR Andrew Hawkins 5-40

Pregame Notes: The Browns come off a win over the Chargers that makes them 2-1 over the last three weeks thanks in great part to a defense that has played far better. A win this week won't change the fact that a losing season is pretty much a certainty but playing well at home is the first step forward and there is only a bye waiting next week to heal everyone up and assess where they are at.

Brandon Weeden was unable to score last week in the rain and wind but was on a three game streak of two touchdowns per week prior and while he did not score on the Ravens in the last meeting, he threw for 320 yards with only one interception in his fourth game ever played in the NFL. And that was previous to the many defensive injuries suffered by the Ravens. The Ravens secondary has lost their best cornerback and Ray Lewis is gone. And they have not been nearly as good as their ranking may suggest thanks to playing the Chiefs in week five. Weeden is still developing and will the rest of the year but he's much better than he was only five weeks back. The same cannot be said about the Ravens.

Trent Richardson has bruised ribs and was no lock to play against the Chargers but gutted it out and ended up with his best game of the year. He rushed for 122 yards on 24 carries with one touchdown. This was his second 100 yard game and while he only gained 47 yards on 14 runs in Baltimore, he scored once on them and added 57 yards on four runs. Now at home versus the Ravens missing their leading tackler Lewis, he's sure to have at least marginally better yardage and could show up big again as he did when the Chargers showed up last Sunday. WIth a bye week to heal up the ribs looming, Richardson should provide decent numbers this week as a fulltime back and could surprise yet again..

Tight ends have not held much importance in the game plans this year but notable is that the best performance by any of them this year was when Benjamin Watson gained 52 yards on five receptions in Baltimore. In most weeks, neither he nor Jordan Cameron have more than a catch apiece.

The rains of last week ended a nice streak for the wide receivers. Josh Gordon scored in three straight games before the Chargers tilt though he never caught more than three passes in a game and is just a deep threat that seems to score well. Greg Little even produced a season best five catches for 52 yards and a score in the week seven game in indy before succumbing to the weather limitations in the Chargers match-up. Travis Benjamin and Mohamed Massaquoi will be back soon and will only serve to give Weeden more targets and yet make the receivers even less reliable individually.

The Ravens were steam rolled by the Texans who scored on them using both the run and the pass with equal ease. On the road, the Ravens have allowed each opponent big games for their running back and well over 250 passing yards to everyone. This should be better than a Browns-Ravens game normally is.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 28 15 21 28 27 12
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 8 27 16 24 23 11

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Cody Kessler, CLE @MIA 0000018002 *
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound rookie is Cleveland's third starter in as many weeks. Chemistry will be an issue with the receiving corps -- there's only so much changing a team can do at this position. Starting Kessler in fantasy may lead to drinking unhealthy amounts of his namesake whiskey.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE @MIA 7011100000 ***
Miami doesn't know how to stop running backs, so there is a positive in Cleveland's offense after all. The Dolphins have yielded the 10th most fantasy points to RBs, including four touchdown runs in two games. Crowell showed some wheels in Week 2. There's hope. Crowell is a low-end RB2 or capable flex.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Duke Johnson Jr., CLE @MIA 2003300000 ***
Involved in only 46 percent of Cleveland's plays, Johnson's role is limited to that of a pass-catcher and third-down option. Miami has given up only eight catches for 28 yards. Play him only if you must, but there's an outside chance he's a strong PPR play if quarterback Cody Kessler plays the dink-and-dunk game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrelle Pryor Sr., CLE @MIA 003400000 *
Pryor is a home run weapon but offers little more than that for gamers despite seeing the most snaps among all Cleveland receivers. The matchup is sweet enough to take a high-risk flier, though.

Update: Even with Corey Coleman (hand) out of action, Pryor shouldn't be consider anything more than the wildest of DFS gambles.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andrew Hawkins, CLE @MIA 003300000 ***
Hawkins is a PPR weapon who may see more work with Corey Coleman injured. Avoid the slot receiver in any normal league formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Gary Barnidge, CLE @MIA 004500000 *
The Dolphins have given up the eighth most fantasy points to tight ends in two games of play. Barnidge could be the safety blanket for rookie QB Cody Kessler in the passer's first start.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, CLE @MIA 1111 ***
A rookie third-string quarterback leading the offense ... no thanks.

WEEK 9
2012
KC at SD (THU) CAR at WAS *DET at JAC TB at OAK
*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:
*UPDATED *BUF at HOU DEN at CIN *PIT at NYG NE , NYJ, SF, STL

 
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