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 @ATL 0000026010 ****
The Falcons have allowed multiple touchdown passes in four straight, which might just be a favorable enough matchup to push Hoyer--who has just one multi-TD outing in his last six games--into fringe fantasy contributor territory.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE @ATL 8012100000 ***
Don't fall for the past two weeks of Atlanta's stats against a pair of run-challenged division foes; they've given up RB TDs in all six non-division games as well as at least 123 yards from scrimmage to the RB position. Crowell was Cleveland's lead dog last week, and with Ben Tate out of the picture he's good for at least half the touches in a backfield that should have its way with the Falcons run D.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Terrance West, CLE @ATL 401000000 ***
West took a back seat to Isaiah Crowell last week after getting 26 carries in the key divisional win over Cincy the previous week. Who knows which back will be Cleveland's primary, but against an Atlanta D that's allowing an average of 186 combo yards and 1.6 TDs to opposing non-division backfields even a share means fantasy success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Josh Gordon, CLE @ATL 005801000 *
How quickly can the Browns re-incorporate Gordon into the mix? Shouldn't take long against a secondary that's allowed 100-yard games to the past three feature receivers it has faced.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andrew Hawkins, CLE @ATL 005600000 ***
Hawkins should retain his role even with the return of Josh Gordon, though there may not be as big of a need for his possession receiver skills.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Taylor Gabriel, CLE @ATL 003400000 ***
Just as Gabriel was starting to carve out a little niche for himself in the Cleveland passing attack, Josh Gordon returns to blow everything up. With Gordon hogging the looks there's unlikely to be as much fantasy value to Gabriel's game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Miles Austin, CLE @ATL 002200000 ***
Austin was supposed to take the place of Josh Gordon, and now Gordon is back. So... it's been a nice run.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Cameron, CLE @ATL 00000000 *
Battling injuries and ineffectiveness, Cameron hasn't been fantasy-relevant since Week 6. The return of Josh Gordon this week overshadows anything Cameron might bring to the table; he's back in "prove it" mode until we see anything that resembles the kind of numbers he put up last year.
Update: Cameron has been ruled out of this week's game... not that he's been much help lately anyway.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Billy Cundiff, CLE @ATL 2233 ***
After a couple big games at home, Cundiff has turtled. It's not a favorable enough matchup to expect a turnaround that will benefit your fantasy squad.

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 KC 0000019011 ***
It's not a particularly favorable matchup for Carr, nor has he been particularly forthcoming with fantasy help this year. You should have better options at your disposal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, OAK KC 4004200000 ***
It's been a month since McFadden saw the end zone, and a Chiefs D that has yet to surrender a single RB TD isn't exactly opening the door for him.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, OAK KC 30140000 ***
It's sad, really, what's become of MJD as his career limps towards its finish. He has 28 yards to show for his last 18 carries. Ugh.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Holmes, OAK KC 004500000 ***
There may be situations yet this year where Holmes is a viable fantasy option, and his future is bright. But this week, given the lack of consistent targets and formidable matchup, there's no reason to go this route.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, OAK KC 005500000 ***
Nothing to like about this matchup or Jones' situation in Oakland. Look for fantasy help elsewhere.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK KC 005401000 **
Rivera has been Oakland's most reliable pass-catcher of late, and the Chiefs have served up eight TE TDs already this season. If you're forced to start a Raider, he's your best bet.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK KC 1011 ***
SeaBass hasn't hit double-digits this year; a date with a KC defense that's given up more than 20 points once in the past two months doesn't feel like his jumping-off point.

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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