FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 15
2012
CIN at PHI (THU) *GB at CHI *MIN at STL *SF at NE
CAR at SD IND at HOU *NYG at ATL TB at NO
DEN at BAL *JAC at MIA *PIT at DAL *WAS at CLE
*Updated *DET at ARI KC at OAK *SEA at BUF *NYJ at TEN (MON)

Prediction: WAS 24, CLE 20 (Line: WAS by 2.5)

Player Updated: Robert Griffin III

Players to Watch: WAS QB, Josh Gordon, Brandon Weeden

The Redskins are on a four game winning streak that has brought them to the bring of the playoffs. The Browns are only 5-8 but have won their last three games and are at home for the last time this year. This game goes smoother with Robert Griffin III under center but we may not be sure about that until late in the week.

Washington Redskins
Homefield: FedEx Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NO 40-32 10 BYE -----
2 @STL 28-31 11 PHI 31-6
3 CIN 31-38 12 @DAL 38-31
4 @TB 24-22 13 NYG 17-16
5 ATL 17-24 14 BAL 31-28
6 MIN 38-26 15 @CLE -----
7 @NYG 23-27 16 @PHI -----
8 @PIT 12-27 17 DAL -----
9 CAR 13-21 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
WAS @ CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Kirk Cousins 10 100,1
WR Pierre Garcon 6-80,1
TE Vernon Davis 2-30

Pregame Notes: These last four games cements RG3 in the hearts of Redskins fans and coming back to beat the Ravens was almost as good as plowing under the entire NFC East division since the week 10 bye. The question of the week will be how healthy Griffin is and you can find any answer you want if you ask enough people. Some team mates have referred to Kirk Cousins has starting and others have insisted that Griffin will be good to go.

He injured his right knee when it whipped into a defender and caused a Grade 1 sprain to his LCL. The problem that this causes is that he may very well be good enough to play. But if he does, will he run? Will he be replaced mid-game by Cousins if the Skins are winning or losing badly? What if his knee gets popped again by a Cleveland defense that already has 34 sacks on the season?

It is all risk right when you do not want any.

Regardless who starts at quarterback, it is reasonable to assume that the Redskins will want to run more to protect the passer and Alfred Morris is on a three game tear with over 110 rushing yards in each and scores in two of them. Morris is hitting the end of the season strongly and erases any notion that the Skins need a better back. He's already gained 1228 rushing yards and seven scores with a healthy 4.9 yard average.

Any change at quarterback won't really change the passing picture much in fantasy terms. The only reliable player has been Pierre Garcon and he'll most likely end up on CB Joe Haden's dance card all game. The Skins need to run the table to reach the playoffs but this game will be tougher than it may seem at first. Much depends on which quarterback plays and that could be a changing situation even during the game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 1 22 11 23 17 8
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 20 18 26 6 6 14

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Kirk Cousins, WAS @ARI 0000027021 ***
Arizona remains tough versus quarterbacks, giving up the eighth fewest points per game (19.1) since Week 7. Only one team has allowed fewer yards per game, and the Cards rank as the fourth best D in touchdown efficiency. That said, Cousins is still very playable for gamers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Robert Kelley, WAS @ARI 4002101000 **
Dallas slowed the Kelley hype train last week, but the Cardinals present a decent shot at getting back on track. Running backs have scored six times in the last 98 carries and 102 offensive touches, which ranks second and third, respectively. Arizona ranks as the toughest against allowing combined yardage per game over the last five weeks, though.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Chris Thompson, WAS @ARI 2003200000 ***
This is the stoutest defense of pass-receiving backs in the past five weeks: Only eight catches for 59 yards have been permitted.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jamison Crowder, WAS @ARI 007901000 ***
Crowder has authored six straight games of double-digit PPR points, including scoring TDs in four of those contests. Arizona is must stronger on the outside than in the slot, and receivers like Crowder have averaged the fifth most catches and seventh most yards per game over the last five weeks when facing the Cardinals.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Pierre Garcon, WAS @ARI 006500000 ***
Garcon has quietly put together a fine fantasy season. The veteran faces a Cardinals defense that has allowed the fifth most receptions and seventh most yards per game to receivers since Week 7 -- right up his alley for a WR3 PPR showing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeSean Jackson, WAS @ARI 003400000 ***
D-Jax is an all-or-nothing play most of the time. Arizona has given up a TD ever 14.5 receptions, which is the ninth least efficient rate for receivers. Wideouts have scored the 11th fewest points per play against the Cards since Week 7.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vernon Davis, WAS @ARI 006500000 ***
Davis comes and goes which makes his utility suspect in any fantasy format. The Cardinals have destroyed tight ends over the last five weeks. Arizona is the toughest matchup for catches, yards, touchdown ease, and fantasy points against ... yikes.

Update: Jordan Reed will not play this week, which normally would be a great boost for Davis, but this matchup is stifling.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dustin Hopkins, WAS @ARI 2233 ***
Arizona has granted twice as many extra point attempts as the seven field goal tries afforded to the position over the past five weeks.

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 20-17
5 @NYG 27-41 14 KC 30-7
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
CLE vs WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Robert Griffin III 20 150,1
WR Josh Gordon 6-80,1
WR Andrew Hawkins 3-50,1

Pregame Notes: The Browns are playing out another losing season but there has been some progress made with the offense. Perhaps not quite enough to prevent the Browns from going after another quarterback in the draft or free agency - Michael Vick's name has been mentioned. The rookie Brandon Weeden has been a definite upgrade from Colt McCoy of 2011 but his 13 passing touchdowns are not enough to spawn confidence. Even the owner has chimed in that a new quarterback will yet again be in the plans and the reality is that Weeden probably makes a great backup.

Where there is contentment is with running back. Trent Richardson has scored ten times this year and while his yardage may not be gaudy yet, it is more on the team around him than his own effort. Richardson has been an effective receiver out of the backfield and a bull at the goal line. What's even better is that he's getting 20+ carries in almost every game since midseason. The only time he shares the ball is when the Browns get a big lead. Then Montario Hardesty comes in for ten runs. But that only happens when the Chiefs visit.

It is also apparent that the supplemental draft pick of Josh Gordon is going to stick and the big price they paid for such a risky move was actually warranted. Gordon has only five touchdowns on the season and only once broke the 100 yard mark but he is by far the best receiver on the team and the only one that offers any sense of consistency and production.

This is the final home game for the Browns and that often prompts a better effort than those cold road games looming in Denver and Pittsburgh. Not enough to take down the Redskins most likely but this could be a surprising game and the Redskins pass defense is still one of the worst in the NFL.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 27 18 25 24 15 10
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 30 8 31 32 23 2

WEEK 15
2012
CIN at PHI (THU) *GB at CHI *MIN at STL *SF at NE
CAR at SD IND at HOU *NYG at ATL TB at NO
DEN at BAL *JAC at MIA *PIT at DAL *WAS at CLE
*Updated *DET at ARI KC at OAK *SEA at BUF *NYJ at TEN (MON)

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