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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

Prediction: CLE 3, PIT 20 (Line: OFF)

Players to Watch: Emmanuel Sanders

This is a replay of week 12 when the Browns won 20-14 in Cleveland. But the 5-10 Browns are only 1-6 on the road and the 7-8 Steelers need this win to avoid a losing season. Both teams are having a bad year though it is nothing new for the Browns who have already won one more game than last year. It was no worse than the last five seasons. The Steelers have not had a losing season in ten years and that was four years before Mike Tomlin took over. This is all new to the current Steelers. This will be a cold game with a chance of snow.

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 21-38
7 @IND 13-17 16 @DEN 12-34
8 SD 7-6 17 @PIT -----
9 BAL 15-25 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CLE @ PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Robert Griffin III 50 240,2
WR Andrew Hawkins 3-40
WR Terrelle Pryor Sr. 10,1 150

Pregame Notes: The year may have not been a major step forward, but at least the Browns are ending with more points scored than any other time in the last five years. The defense has been instrumental in keeping the team in games and keeping overall scoring lower. This is a team moving in the right direction but they are not breaking any speed records getting to where they want to be.

Brandon Weeden will likely not play this week because of his shoulder injury that kept him out last week. But he has thrown for a respectable 3385 yards and 14 touchdowns with 17 interceptions. Nothing awe-inspiring but considering Colt McCoy led them last year with 1576 yards and six touchdowns... Weeden wasn't all that bad.

The Browns have a storied history of crappy quarterbacks with recent inclusions of Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, Colt McCoy and Charlie Frye over the last seven years. This week McCoy is not a lock to play because of his shoulder and may end up letting practice squad player Thaddeus Lewis take the start. And yes, things can always get worse.

Trent Richardson injured his ankle last week but it is not as serious as first feared when he was in a walking boot. He's questionable for the final game and I will assume he plays a limited role and update if needed. He's a risk this week and may end up with Montario Hardesty helping out or even taking the start. I'll project for Richardson but playing in Pittsburgh is going to be tough anyway. Richardson ran for 85 yards on 29 carries and scored once in the first meeting. He even added 27 yards on four catches. He was on a four game scoring streak until last week.

Mohamed Massaquoi was placed on injured reserve because of his knee. Greg Little scored last week for only the third time all year and was held to one catch for six yards against the Steelers in week 12. Josh Gordon went for 60 yards on four receptions in that game. Weeden only passed for 158 yards and one score in that game. On the road, there is no Browns player worthy of a start this week aside from potentially Richardson who will not have a great game in Pittsburgh even if he is completely healthy.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 27 20 22 24 16 13
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 1 2 6 7 17 25

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Cody Kessler, CLE @MIA 0000018002 *
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound rookie is Cleveland's third starter in as many weeks. Chemistry will be an issue with the receiving corps -- there's only so much changing a team can do at this position. Starting Kessler in fantasy may lead to drinking unhealthy amounts of his namesake whiskey.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE @MIA 7011100000 ***
Miami doesn't know how to stop running backs, so there is a positive in Cleveland's offense after all. The Dolphins have yielded the 10th most fantasy points to RBs, including four touchdown runs in two games. Crowell showed some wheels in Week 2. There's hope. Crowell is a low-end RB2 or capable flex.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Duke Johnson Jr., CLE @MIA 2003300000 ***
Involved in only 46 percent of Cleveland's plays, Johnson's role is limited to that of a pass-catcher and third-down option. Miami has given up only eight catches for 28 yards. Play him only if you must, but there's an outside chance he's a strong PPR play if quarterback Cody Kessler plays the dink-and-dunk game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrelle Pryor Sr., CLE @MIA 003400000 *
Pryor is a home run weapon but offers little more than that for gamers despite seeing the most snaps among all Cleveland receivers. The matchup is sweet enough to take a high-risk flier, though.

Update: Even with Corey Coleman (hand) out of action, Pryor shouldn't be consider anything more than the wildest of DFS gambles.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andrew Hawkins, CLE @MIA 003300000 ***
Hawkins is a PPR weapon who may see more work with Corey Coleman injured. Avoid the slot receiver in any normal league formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Gary Barnidge, CLE @MIA 004500000 *
The Dolphins have given up the eighth most fantasy points to tight ends in two games of play. Barnidge could be the safety blanket for rookie QB Cody Kessler in the passer's first start.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, CLE @MIA 1111 ***
A rookie third-string quarterback leading the offense ... no thanks.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DEN 19-31 10 KC 16-13
2 NYJ 27-10 11 BAL 10-13
3 @OAK 31-34 12 @CLE 14-20
4 BYE ----- 13 @BAL 23-20
5 PHI 16-14 14 SD 24-34
6 @TEN 23-26 15 @DAL 24-27
7 @CIN 24-17 16 CIN 10-13
8 WAS 27-12 17 CLE -----
9 @NYG 24-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 250,1
RB DeAngelo Williams 60 1-10
WR Antonio Brown 5-50
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 3-30

Pregame Notes: No other way to paint the year other than a colossal disappointment for a team that went 12-4 for the last two seasons.This year the offense was supposed to be better and more pass-oriented. It succeeded in not being a run-oriented offense. The best of any runner is Jonathan Dwyer and his 571 rushing yards. While Roethlisberger has improved slightly with touchdowns - 23 over the 21 from last year - he also missed three games and only has 3131 passing yards on the year. Roethlisberger did not play in the first meeting with the Browns this year and Charlie Batch was the starter for that loss.

Roethlisberger has openly questioned the play calling by OC Todd Haley though they claim to have made up now. This has never been a good scoring team and have not managed more than 27 points for 11 weeks now.

The rushing effort has rarely been reliable or productive this year with four running backs often taking carries in each week and even in the first meeting, Dwyer led with only nine runs for 19 yards. Rashard Mendenhall carried four times for six yards and Isaac Redman went seven yards on his two runs. Chris Rainey carried for five runs and gained 17 yards plus the one rushing score. It has been largely that sort of mess all year. Dwyer is the best of the bunch but it doesn't mean much with mo more than 50 yards for the last five weeks.

More bad news - Heath Miller blew his ACL and will miss this final week and get the surgery. He'll be a big 30-year old tight end trying to rehab his knee which means he's likely to be less effective in 2013 and beyond.

Mike Wallace will also possibly miss this week with a strained hip that kept him out of practices. Mike Wallace was held to only one catch for nine yards - with Batch throwing the ball. Antonio Brown was unable to play in that game and Emmanuel Sanders was tops with his 79 yards on five catches. Brown has been on a roll lately with three straight games of catching a touchdown pass.

This is a cold game, maybe snowing. The Browns are using a banged up quarterback or a practice squad player so this all favors the Steelers even without Miller or Wallace. But the overall score is likely to remain low and the only plays here are Roethlisberger, Dwyer and Brown assuming Haden doesn't switch sides and slam-dance with him for the entire game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 14 23 17 5 15 27
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 22 26 28 2 6 12

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT @PHI 0000026011 ***
Cleveland and Chicago have been No. 1-ranked Philadelphia's opponents ... hardly a real ranking it would appear. The Steelers have the weaponry to take advantage of this system. Trust Big Ben once again, but maybe slightly less that usual in the event this defense is not a product of weak matchups.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeAngelo Williams, PIT @PHI 8015400000 ***
The Eagles have given up 137 rushing, 62 receiving yards and two ground TDs. DAW is a fine play to continue his strong contributions in what should be his final start without Le'Veon Bell.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Brown, PIT @PHI 0061001000 ***
AB was shut down by his standards last week, which our projections accurately reflected if we may toot our own horn. The stud receiver will get back on track this week. The matchup doesn't agree on paper, but neither did Brown's history versus Cincy last week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammie Coates, PIT @PHI 003700000 ***
Coates has been doing exactly what he does best -- big plays, averaging 38.5 yards per catch on just four grabs. He's an all-or-nothing type and has a place only in non-PPR leagues as a risky flex or a DFS wildcard. Philly has given up the fourth most plays of 40-plus to wideouts.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eli Rogers, PIT @PHI 004500000 **
Following a nice Week 1 debut, which was inflated by a deflected touchdown grab, Rogers disappeared in the sequel. He's back for another shot at it against this presumably fake pass defense. Don't chance it unless you have no other viable selections.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jesse James, PIT @PHI 003300000 ***
James scored in Week 1 and is a nice safety outlet for Ben Roethlisberger. Philly has been dominant against the position by holding Zach Miller and Gary Barnidge to six total catches for 42 yards. James is a wild gamble.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chris Boswell, PIT @PHI 2222 ***
Safe but unspectacular production should come from Boswell's accurate leg against the No. 27 PK defense.

WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

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