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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
QB Robert Griffin III 20 150,1
RB Alfred Morris 100,1
WR Pierre Garcon 6-80,1
WR Leonard Hankerson 4-50
WR Santana Moss 2-30
WR Andre Roberts 3-40
TE Logan Paulsen 2-20
PK Kai Forbath 1 FG 3 XP

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 Robert Griffin III, WAS PHI 30000026021 ***
If there were any team Jay Gruden were forced to play RG3 against, the Eagles might be the best possible option. In four career meetings RG3 has thrown multiple TDs four times, a total of 10 touchdowns against four INTs, averaging 272 yards per game with another 40 rushing yards per game to boot. You'd take those numbers from RG3, right? He wasn't that far off last week against the Giants with 236 & 1 plus 46 rushing, and with Philly as the second-most fantasy friendly defense against quarterbacks an uptick is to be expected. RG3 is playing for somebody's job, be it in DC or elsewhere, and the Eagles are a perfect foil for him to make some noise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Morris, WAS PHI 8001100000 ***
The Redskins have gotten away from running Morris 20 times a game, perhaps because they've dropped the last three games by an average of 18 points per game. He carried 23 times for 77 yards in the earlier meeting with Philly and you have to think the game plan calls for heavy doses of Alf. As an added bonus, any read options carry the threat of an RG3 run, which in the past has opened lanes for Morris. Think of those previous game numbers as a baseline, with room to move upwards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeSean Jackson, WAS PHI 005901000 **
You think DJax is motivated? Now even his own coach is talking smack about him. He put up 117 and a touch on the Eagles in the earlier meeting, and with RG3 throwing deep he should get a few extra chances to put the torch to his former squad. Revenge is a dish best served in the fantasy bowl.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Pierre Garcon, WAS PHI 005701000 **
Garcon seems to be more of a Colt McCoy favorite than an RG3 favorite, though after seeing what Garcon did to the Eagles back in Week 3 (11-138-1) maybe he'll reconsider. It's a risk, as Garcon has been a bit player most of the season, but there's some upside if RG3 is willing to reacquaint himself with Pierre.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Reed, WAS PHI 005500000 ***
Philly has allowed only one TE TD on the year, but two tight ends have topped 100 yards and another two--including Niles Paul back in Week 3, before Reed was back from injury--topped 65 yards. He'd be more of a yardage play than a TD play, but there's some upside to Reed this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, WAS PHI 2111 ***
Blame RG3: With other quarterbacks Forbath is averaging better than seven points per game; in games in which RG3 took the bulk of the snaps, he's averaging 4.6. He tallied 10 for the Kirk Cousins-led Redskins against Philly earlier this year, but don't get your hopes up for the rematch.

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
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Miles Austin 6-70,1
WR Josh Gordon 6-80,1
WR Andrew Hawkins 3-50,1
TE Jordan Cameron 2-20
PK Garrett Hartley 1 FG 4 XP

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

  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.

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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