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 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.

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 @CLE 0000020011 ***
Carr flashed a couple weeks back against the Chargers, but that was an island of competency in a season-long sea of no fantasy help whatsoever. Not that the Browns' secondary has been particularly good this season--quite the opposite--but you shouldn't bank on the rookie for help here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, OAK @CLE 5004200000 ****
Four of six feature backs to face the Browns have rushed for at least 80 yards and a touchdown; with enough touches McFadden could very well do the same. He's a sneaky fantasy play if you're desperate for running back help this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, OAK @CLE 50000000 ***
MoJo's next fantasy-relevant moment as a Raider will be his first. Could happen in this favorable matchup, but right now it appears as if they're willing to ride Darren McFadden right up to his next injury.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, OAK @CLE 005501000 **
No need to fear Joe Haden anymore--or Buster Skreen, for that matter. Jones is the closest thing the Raiders have to a reliable contributor in the passing game, so he's the best bet to capitalize on this dramatically underachieving secondary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Holmes, OAK @CLE 003500000 **
Holmes whetted appetites before dashing hopes with a couple of drops last week. It's a favorable matchup against an underachieving secondary, but it will be tough to trust Holmes with a fantasy lineup spot until he demonstrates some consistency.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brice Butler, OAK @CLE 002300000 ***
Butler might be becoming the Raiders new favorite "go deep" guy. Against a secondary that's struggled as much as the Browns have, there's fantasy value in that role this week. High risk, but there's definitely home run potential here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK @CLE 002100000 ***
Jimmy Graham scored the only two TE TDs the Browns have allowed, but that's probably because Joe Haden was covering him. No need to extend that courtesy to Rivera, who is still looking for his first TD--or 35-yard game--of the year.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @CLE 2211 ***
SeaBass's next double-digit game will be his first, and he's averaging an anemic four points per game. You have better options.

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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