FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

Prediction: CLE 20, OAK 23 (LINE: OAK by 1)

Players Updated: Darren McFadden, Marcel Reece, Brandon Weeden

Players to Watch: Darren McFadden

Here is one of those ugly games. Both teams are 3-8 on the season with the Raiders on a four-game losing stretch and the Browns coming off a rare win. The difference is that the Browns actually have a defense of sorts and yet not a great offense. The Raiders have no defense as far as can be proven and an offense that sputters on a good day. Coin toss game that could have all sorts of mistakes that impact the outcome.

The Raiders won 24-17 when the Browns visited last year.

Cleveland Browns
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PHI 16-17 10 BYE -----
2 @CIN 27-34 11 @DAL 20-23
3 BUF 14-24 12 PIT 20-14
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 4-50
WR Josh Gordon 4-60,1
TE Jordan Cameron 2-20

Pregame Notes: The Browns are winding down their season with a few decent opportunities to post points before wrapping up with road games to Denver and Pittsburgh that likely are not going to go well. The defense has been very good recently by holding the last six opponents to 24 points or less but the offense never scores that many points and hence the fundamental problem. Adding a quarterback and running back in the NFL draft still looks like a good idea. They just need receivers for the quarterback and not just some guy they scraped off the supplemental draft.

Brandon Weeden suffered a concussion last week and needs to pass his tests this week in order to play. If he cannot, Colt McCoy gets to reprise the reason why the Browns were even worse in 2011. Weeden's status will be clearer at the end of the week. If he cannot play, the offense takes a big hit that it hardly can survive.

Trent Richardson may be lagging Doug Martin but not by all that much. He's scored seven touchdowns and remained above 100 total yards in each of the last four games with a trip to meet the #30 defense this week. He's stepped up his role as a receiver as well with 16 reception over just the last three weeks. Richardson gives the Browns a solid core for the offense and a great fantasy play for this week.

Jordan Cameron finally caught his first NFL touchdown but has been a nonfactor all year after getting talked up in the summer. Ben Watson hasn't been fantasy relevant either though he had a freakish two touchdown game in Dallas.

This lackluster passing attack is now using for different wide receivers every week and there is simply not enough production combined to merit fantasy attention. Josh Gordon remains the best by far but that only equates to around 50 yards per game for the last month. His string of three straight scoring games is a dot in the rear view mirror by now and Greg Little declined down to a single catch last week. Weeden suggests that he could handle the job with better receivers but that help is not coming this year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 29 18 29 25 19 10
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 28 30 21 27 31 17

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Brian Hoyer, CLE BAL 0000020010 ***
The Ravens have limited Andy Dalton and Ben Roethlisberger to a combined one TD, so Hoyer may have to bust his hump just to get to his standard pedestrian 200 and 1. How long until Josh Gordon returns?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Terrance West, CLE BAL 8012100000 ****
The Ravens have allowed almost as much receiving yardage to RBs as they have rushing yardage. West did a little work in the passing game last week and that's his best chance to salvage fantasy value against a defense that limited Giovani Bernard and Le'Veon Bell to a combined 25-107.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE BAL 500000000 ****
Crowell is the junior partner in Cleveland's backfield jobshare, and he'll likely need a goal line look to cull fantasy value this week. Seeing as the Ravens haven't allowed an RB TD this year, outlook not good.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andrew Hawkins, CLE BAL 007800000 ****
22 targets, 14 catches, 157 yards... and not a touchdown to show for it. Other WR1s have put up yardage on the Ravens, and such volume suggests that's what role Hawkins is playing in Cleveland. Don't look for the TD and you'll be just fine.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Travis Benjamin, CLE BAL 002201000 **
Being the third receiver on a run-heavy team with a tough matchup doesn't bode well for Benjamin's prospects; neither do three catches in two games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Miles Austin, CLE BAL 004300000 ***
Was last week's 10-target total an aberration or a trend? Doesn't much matter; Andrew Hawkins is Cleveland's de facto WR1 and the Ravens have surrendered just one WR TD all year so Austin's fantasy prospects are dim.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Cameron, CLE BAL 003400000 *
If Cameron can play he's not a bad bet to approach the 5-95 he posted against the Ravens last year when Josh Gordon was out of the lineup. But he's still iffy with the shoulder injury, so at minimum you need to have a backup plan.
Update: Cameron was limited all week in practice and will likely be a game-time decision this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Billy Cundiff, CLE BAL 3322 ***
No team has allowed more field goal attempts than Baltimore, and with Cundiff churning out regular Chuck Woolerys (two and two) or better he's a solid if unsexy fantasy play this week.

Oakland Raiders
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SD 14-22 10 @BAL 20-55
2 @MIA 13-35 11 NO 17-38
3 PIT 34-31 12 @CIN 10-34
4 @DEN 6-37 13 CLE -----
5 BYE ----- 14 DEN -----
6 @ATL 20-23 15 KC -----
7 JAC 26-23 16 @CAR -----
8 @KC 26-16 17 @SD -----
9 TB 32-42 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
OAK vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub 220,2
RB Darren McFadden 60 1-10
RB Marcel Reece 40 3-20,1
WR James Jones 3-40
WR Denarius Moore 4-70,1
PK Sebastian Janikowski 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Raiders are having the worst of problems currently since their current four game losing streak has them allowing an average of 42 points per opponent and yet the offense has only once been better than 20 points. Their last three losses were all by at least 21 points. The offense is capped in what it can accomplish but there is apparently no end to how bad the defense can play.

Carson Palmer had a very uncharacteristic bad game when he only threw for 146 yards and one score against an inspired Bengals team. But he was scoring multiple touchdowns in the four previous games and passed for over 300 yards in three of those. Palmer has a bit of a problem with turnovers and totals 12 interceptions and four lost fumbles so far. But he delivers plenty of yards and usually two scores in most recent games.

Darren McFadden may return this week from his ankle injury after missing the last three weeks and allowing Marcel Reece to actually play well. This would be an opportune week for him to return against the Browns defense but it depends on how he practices and how well he can shoulder much of the load. Updates as information becomes available later in the week. With three home games ahead and then week 16 in Carolina, this is a very opportune time for him to make a showing on fantasy teams. For this first week, it may be impossible to know how much McFadden can play and now much Reece still helps out. It has only been three weeks since he got his high ankle sprain which is short unless it was very mild.

Joe Haden should end up on Darius Heyward-Bey who was just shut down in Cincinnati to no catches. Brandon Myers gets to face the #1 defense against his position so the passing game is going to need to go through Denarius Moore over any other receiver. This can be made much easier if McFadden plays and makes the Browns respect the run more. As with all Oakland games, there could be several outcomes possible here and the one that happens will probably involve the lowest fantasy points from an offense that has really slipped and appears to be reaching that part of the season where "oh screw it" sets in.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 13 21 17 10 10 31
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 20 20 25 1 9 13

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Derek Carr, OAK @NE 0000020013 ***
Carr has been meh through his first two games, and aside from garbage time there's no reason to expect him to outperform Matt Cassel (202 & 1) or Ryan Tannehill (178 & 2) against the Patriots.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, OAK @NE 4003200000 ***
McFadden's best bet, assuming he gets the snaps because Maurice Jones-Drew and his bum hand can't go, is some sort of receiving score; the Pats have allowed RB receiving TDs in back-to-back contests. Otherwise, nothing compelling about McFadden's ground potential against the Pats this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, OAK @NE 005501000 ***
Jones has scored in each of his games as a Raider, but all that means is Darrelle Revis will be acutely aware of where Jones is at all times. Nothing says you have to start a Raider this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Denarius Moore, OAK @NE 003400000 ***
Moore is clinging to the fringe of fantasy relevancy as he battles Andre Holmes and Rod Streater for looks in Oakland's unproductive passing game. If you're using him here you're playing the "not being covered by Revis" card. Good luck with that.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK @NE 003300000 ***
Rivera has posted matching 31-yard performances thus far, so if 31 yards gets you bonus points in your fantasy league... he's your guy.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @NE 1111 ***
No kicker has fewer fantasy points; 30 have more. You can do better.

WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

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