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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 11
2012
MIA at BUF (THU) *CLE at DAL *NO at OAK TB at CAR
*ARI at ATL GB at DET NYJ at STL *CHI at SF (MON)
*BAL at PIT *IND at NE PHI at WAS Bye:
*UPDATED CIN at KC JAC at HOU *SD at DEN MIN, NYG, SEA, TEN

Prediction: CLE 13 , DAL 27 (Line: DAL by 7.5)

Players Updated: Miles Austin

Players to Watch: Brandon Weeden, Felix Jones

The 2-7 Browns are better than their record suggest but they are also 0-4 on the road and about to face one of the tougher defenses this year. The 4-5 Cowboys come off their win in Philadelphia but are only 1-2 at home. Dallas is far too desperate to take anyone lightly and need to win games like this big because everyone is getting more scrutiny this season.

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 15-25 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Miles Austin 5-80
WR Josh Gordon 3-60,1
WR Andrew Hawkins 3-40
PK Garrett Hartley 1 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Browns come off their bye already knowing that the season is over and that player evaluations will start to take precedence. Trent Richardson has more than justified his draft pick but Brandon Weeden is still no lock to continue next year in that fine Cleveland tradition that has witnessed eight different quarterbacks over the last ten years.

Weeden was on a nice streak with two scores in three straight games but then his stats fell apart for the last two games with only 176 yards at most and no scores. Of course both were at home and featured Richardson running the ball more. That's not going to be a big option for the offense until the Chiefs game in week 14. Weeden's been more than solid considering what he has to work with but he needs to show up even more in these final games in order to get the ultra-rare "two years starting" badge in Cleveland.

Richardson's scored six times this year and totaled over 100 yards three times including the last two. His first 100 yard effort was in a road game in Cincinnati but his second meeting with the Bengals only produced 54 total yards. Nice to see Richardson catch six passes against the Ravens when the three previous games saw him rarely used as a receiver. Richardson already has 31 receptions on the season.

The Browns wideouts are very hard to forecast because almost all of them are healthy again. Mohamed Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin returned in week nine and joined Josh Gordon and Greg Little. Gordon has been the only hot hand with four touchdowns in three games but he turned back into a pumpkin in the last two weeks with fewer than 50 yards and no score in each. Again - when Richardson can run it really takes the wind out of the passing game but that should not be an issue for the next two weeks at the least.

The Browns face a defense that is top ten against all positions and one of the very best versus wideouts - particularly playing in Dallas. THe Cowboys have only allowed seven passing scores this year and only once more than one to an opponent. Add in that they've held visitors to only one rushing touchdown and this is certain to be a lower scoring game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 29 14 27 25 18 15
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 5 10 10 8 19 27

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Johnny Manziel, CLE @CAR 30100018001 **
It can't get much worse than last week for Johnny JamBoogie, and there's not much upside to be gleaned from a matchup with a Carolina defense that's given up just two passing scores the past two weeks. If you want to find a hook to hang your fantasy title hopes on, it's that the Panthers just let Josh McCown rush for a touchdown against them. Yeah, pretty thin.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE @CAR 4011000000 **
The Panthers haven't given up a running back touchdown in more than a month, and with Crowell splitting the workload with Terrance West there's not much to like here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Terrance West, CLE @CAR 300000000 ***
West is splitting the touches and the production with Isaiah Crowell. When there's 40 carries to split that means plenty of fantasy success to go around. When there's a dozen carries, like last week, and the threat of Johnny Manziel swiping a rushing score looms, and the matchup isn't particularly favorable... well, half of not much isn't going to help your fantasy squad.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Josh Gordon, CLE @CAR 005600000 **
Until we see proof Johnny Manziel can pass, it's tough to trust any Cleveland receiver with a fantasy start. Even Gordon. Doesn't help that Carolina's secondary has given up just one 100-yard receiving game in the past two months.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andrew Hawkins, CLE @CAR 004400000 ***
Tough to be a PPR helper when your quarterback is running for his life, running after the first couple of reads, and has yet to prove himself as an NFL passer. Oh yeah, and Josh Gordon has taken over as the top target in Cleveland as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Cameron, CLE @CAR 002200000 ***
Cameron wasn't exactly a hot target for Johnny Manziel last week, with one target on the afternoon. Carolina isn't a favorable matchup for the position, so there's no compelling reason to reach for Cameron this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Garrett Hartley, CLE @CAR 1111 ***
Hartley is still waiting for his first opportunity as a Brown, as Cleveland was blanked last week by the Bengals. Don't expect much of an uptick from the Johnny Football-led offense, nor a helping hand from a Panthers' D that's held four straight foes to only one field goal per game.

Dallas Cowboys
Homefield: Cowboys Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYG 24-17 10 @PHI 38-23
2 @SEA 7-27 11 CLE -----
3 TB 16-10 12 WAS -----
4 CHI 18-34 13 PHI -----
5 BYE ----- 14 @CIN -----
6 @BAL 29-31 15 PIT -----
7 @CAR 19-14 16 NO -----
8 NYG 24-29 17 @WAS -----
9 @ATL 13-19 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DAL vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 290,2
QB Brandon Weeden 230,1
RB DeMarco Murray
WR Dez Bryant 5-90,1
TE Jason Witten 7-60,1
PK Dan Bailey 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys are only 4-5 but since the Giants are losing games and are only 6-4, there is still a chance to win the division though they've lost the first head-to-head tiebreaker with the Giants. The Cowboys are about to start the easiest stretch of their schedule now with five home games and only two road games - both of those against average opponents at best. The Cowboys need a big win here to get back on track.

For all the bad press that Tony Romo attracts, he's been pretty much error-free in three of his last four games that had no turnovers and almost no sacks. When he is bad - sure. He can throw four or more interceptions which he has done twice now. In home games he's been limited to only one touchdown at most but this will be a weaker team showing up and Romo has yet to play in Dallas this season and throw for fewer than 283 yards. His problem has been one of fewer touchdowns with 13 scores so far this year and seven games of just one or no touchdowns.

DeMarco Murray's been out since week six and early reports are that he may miss his fifth game thanks to a foot that is slow to heal. Murray's always been tagged as injury prone and it was the main reason why he fell in the NFL draft. Felix Jones is running rather well lately with 71 yards on 16 carries last week in Philly where he scored on a pass reception. His last two games were both on the road and against decent defenses and he still produced 90+ total yards in each since the Cowboys have stopped using a committee as much and mainly just rely on Jones. This would be a very nice week for Jones at home against one of the weaker rushing defenses of the Browns.

Jason Witten is still a beast with receptions though his 15 catches in the last two weeks only gained 98 combined yards. His last two home games merely posted 18 (NYG) and 13 (CHI) receptions though he's not as likely to be needed as he was in those games.

The best news is that both Dez Bryant and Miles Austin have played well in every home game. Both wideouts have either scored a touchdown or turned in over 100 yards while in Cowboys Stadium. The Browns secondary allows scores to wide receivers but only two players notched 100 yard games against them. Add in the Cowboys likely success running the ball and while both wideouts are decent starts, neither should have a monster game here. LCB Pat Haden will match on Miles Austin and should hold him to lower stats this week but otherwise the usual suspects should see at least good results in this match-up.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 16 21 9 3 21 20
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 23 25 28 3 10 15

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tony Romo, DAL IND 0000027031 ***
Romo has three or more TD tosses in four of his last five games, and with DeMarco Murray dinged or out he'll be forced to shoulder more of the offensive load. Indy's pass defense numbers of late have been artificially inflated by them shutting down the likes of Tom Savage, Brian Hoyer and Blake Bortles. Romo is more of the Tom Brady (257 & 2), Eli Manning (359 & 2), Ben Roethlisberger (522 & 6) ilk; expect similar positive results.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joseph Randle, DAL IND 2011100000 **
Don't be surprised if Randle gets the call, either to start if DeMarco Murray sits or to replace Murray after a couple hits to his broken hand (and subsequent fumbles). Indy's a favorable matchup for running backs, so if/when Randle winds up with the workload he has a very good chance of making fantasy noise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL IND 7001100000 *
Dr. Jerry Jones thinks there's still a chance Murray plays despite surgery on a broken hand earlier this week. Dr. Reality Check thinks even if he does his fantasy impact will be limited due to ball security concerns and risk of more damage. Then again, Murray's a free agent after the season so maybe use and dispose is the game plan?
Update: Murray practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday, and everything coming out of Dallas points towards him giving it a go on Sunday. But keep in mind it's a similar injury to the one that kept Emmitt Smith and Marshall Faulk out a couple weeks each, plus there's no way it won't affect ball security and pass-catching. Stay glued to the inactive list Sunday morning; hopefully you'll get a definitive answer.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lance Dunbar, DAL IND 1003300000 ***
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL IND 006801000 ***
Vontae Davis is a shutdown corner, but he's also human. Bryant can beat any matchup given enough targets, and he usually is--especially if DeMarco Murray is limited or out of this one. Proceed as per usual with Bryant in your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cole Beasley, DAL IND 003401000 ***
Beasley has been more productive of late than fellow secondary target Terrance Williams, and with Vontae Davis likely shadowing Dez Bryant Tony Romo might throw a little more frequently at his alternate receivers. That puts Beasley at least on the fringe of fantasy relevance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL IND 002400000 ***
Williams played second fiddle to Dez Bryant for a while, but now Cole Beasley is horning in on his action. It's been far too long since Williams posted anything of fantasy relevance to be trusted at this critical juncture.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL IND 005601000 ***
Indy's been a favorable matchup for tight ends, and with Witten coming off his largest target game of the season he's back on Tony Romo's radar. The combination of Vontae Davis on Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray's injury only add to the probability of Witten posting a fantasy helper here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL IND 1144 ***
Bailey has but one multiple field goal effort in his past eight games; fortunately he's salvaged fantasy value with four or more PATs in four of his last five games. The Vegas sharps like this game for lots of points; no reason Bailey can't get his share of the fun.

WEEK 11
2012
MIA at BUF (THU) *CLE at DAL *NO at OAK TB at CAR
*ARI at ATL GB at DET NYJ at STL *CHI at SF (MON)
*BAL at PIT *IND at NE PHI at WAS Bye:
*UPDATED CIN at KC JAC at HOU *SD at DEN MIN, NYG, SEA, TEN

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