FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3 KC at PHI (THU) CHI at PIT HOU at BAL SD at TEN
BUF at NYJ GB at CIN NYG at CAR STL at DAL
ARI at NO CLE at MIN IND at SF TB at NE
*UPDATED ATL at MIA DET at WAS JAC at SEA OAK at DEN (MON)

Prediction: CLE 10, MIN 31 (Line: MIN by 5.5)

Players of Interest: Josh Gordon, Bobby Rainey, Chris Ogbonnaya

Update: Whew. In-season trades of this magnitude just never happen. Until now. Trent Richardson was sent to the Colts in exchange for their 2014 first round pick after the Browns new HC Rub Chudzinski decided that the 1.03 pick in 2012 wasn't a proper fit and that the Browns are totally throwing the entire season and all fantasy value into the trashcan. Willis McGahee is being brought in so that they can lose an aging player to another knee injury within a month or two. For this week, not that it matters, Bobby Rainey and Chris Ogbonnaya will combine for a committee backfield. And Brian Hoyer is named as the starting quarterback with Brandon Weeden nursing an injured thumb.

Update #2: They intend on using Willis McGahee this week but he is not a recommended start. I hope that is obvious.

The Browns once again start out 0-2 and another road game is not going to help. The Vikings are also 0-2 but get their home opener this week. While Vikings games are always hard to call outside of Adrian Peterson, playing in their first home game against a bad road team like the Browns should lock down that first win.

1 MIA 10-23 10 BYE WEEK
2 @BAL 6-14 11 @CIN -
3 @MIN - 12 PIT -
4 CIN - 13 JAC -
5 BUF - 14 @NE -
6 DET - 15 CHI -
7 @GB - 16 @NYJ -
8 @KC - 17 @PIT -
9 BAL - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CLE @ MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Brian Hoyer 190
WR Miles Austin 5-80
WR Josh Gordon 4-50
WR Marlon Moore 2-20
TE Jordan Cameron 5-60
PK Garrett Hartley 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Yet another slow start to the season is underway but at least they are installing yet another new offense and defense while integrating new players. There has already been some success made - a better Brandon Weeden and Jordan Cameron hitting the afterburners right out of the gate. But once again this will be a work in progress and though they are getting Josh Gordon back from suspension, they are also likely losing Weeden for the week. One step forward and one step backwards is sort of progress in Cleveland though.

QUARTERBACKS: Brandon Weeden sprained the thumb on his throwing hand and x-rays were negative. But a MRI is planned and early expectations are that he'll miss at least this week. That would likely leave Jason Campbell as the starter though even that is not certain as Brian Hoyer could be in the mix as well. Hopefully your fantasy fortunes do not rely on who is under center in Cleveland or I would assume you too are 0-2.

RUNNING BACKS: Trent Richardson still has every single carry for the Browns so far and he was increased last week to 18 runs to gain 58 yards. He also added in five catches for 21 yards for a mediocre showing. Losing Weeden is not likely to spawn more rushing attempts but at least Richardson doubles as a receiver which should come into play.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Josh Gordon returns just in time to high-five Weeden as he goes to the training room. Gordon now has zero room for error facing a one-year suspension with the next infraction which is impressive given that he only has played one year. Once Weeden is back, the pair should start to connect immediately and provide a deep strike that will actually open up the middle for Jordan Cameron and lessen the defensive goal of stopping Trent Richardson. So far no Brown wideout has managed to gain over 50 yards this year or score. There wasn't any fantasy value here when they had Weeden.

TIGHT ENDS: Unlike Jared Cook, Jordan Cameron had a big game in the season opener and then still posted 95 yards on five catches in Baltimore. He is the primary receiver but his stock is likely to take a dip without Weeden being under center. Fortunately the play calling will always include Cameron.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: If this was at home and Weeden was healthy, there could be some decent fantasy points. The Vikes have allowed at least 160 total yards to each of the primary running backs they have so far faced (Matt Forte, Reggie Bush). No reason to bench Martin this week and Cameron is still a decent play assuming a need to throw and the fact that the Vikes are averaging about 320 pass yards allowed with at least two scores. That is likely to reduce if Jason Campbell ends up starting. You can use Josh Gordon but realize the risk if Weeden is sidelined.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Josh Gordon and how he impacts the offense but it could be misleading this week if Weeden does not play.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 29 30 31 7 26 24
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 24 32 12 24 23 31

 

1 @DET 24-34 10 WAS -
2 @CHI 30-31 11 @SEA -
3 CLE - 12 @GB -
4 PIT - 13 CHI -
5 BYE WEEK 14 @BAL -
6 CAR - 15 PHI -
7 @NYG - 16 @CIN -
8 GB - 17 DET -
9 @DAL - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIN vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Christian Ponder 200,1
RB Adrian Peterson 110,2 2-20
RB Ben Tate 60 1-10
WR Greg Jennings 3-40
TE Kyle Rudolph 3-30
PK Blair Walsh 1 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Vikings nearly pulled off the upset in Chicago where losing by one point is kind of a win. The next three games are all at home and this week is likely the softest matchup on the entire schedule. The offense has been no worse than average so far and had moments of very nice play. But the defense is the culprit in the losses with over 30 points allowed to both the Lions and Bears. This week is sure to lower that average.

QUARTERBACKS: Entering a make or break year, Christian Ponder has been at least slightly more productive so far though he remains as inconsistent as he has ever been. Such is life when your biggest role is to successfully hand off to Adrian Peterson. Ponder has remained around 230 yards and one score in his games so far but has been unable to secure a win so far. That should change this week and it may not have much to do with Ponder.

RUNNING BACKS: Finally Adrian Peterson gets to play at home though he already has 193 rushing yards on the season and has scored three times. This week should easily be his best game of the young year and may end up to be the best one even 14 weeks from now. Peterson lost a fumble last week and that only serves to make him run harder.

WIDE RECEIVERS: There still has not been a touchdown thrown to a wideout this season though at least Greg Jennings (5-84) started getting some attention in Chicago last week. That opening game fluke by Jerome Simpson (7-140) was followed up by a two catch game versus the Bears. Cordarrelle Patterson returned a kick 105-yards for a score but has been rarely on the field with the offense. Whatever passing ends up with the wideouts goes almost entirely to Jennings or Simpson.

TIGHT ENDS: At least Ponder renewed his chemistry with Kyle Rudolph when he tossed him a touchdown last week. Granted, there were only three catches for 42 yards attached like last year but at least Rudolph can still be a bye week filler with a shot at a touchdown.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Browns defense is actually decent but that has been in two home games against marginal offenses by the Ravens and Dolphins. There won't be a great need to throw this week so Ponder and Jennings are likely to only post average numbers (and that is average for them, not the real world). As always, Peterson is the only strong play but Jennings has WR3 appeal on the premise that he could catch a long pass. Chances are he'll just face Joe Haden all day though.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: At home for the first time, is reasonable to expect that Peterson and the defense will be the reason why the Vikes win this week and that will be about all they need.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 26 14 23 22 11 2
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 8 17 21 2 15 23

WEEK 3 KC at PHI (THU) CHI at PIT HOU at BAL SD at TEN
BUF at NYJ GB at CIN NYG at CAR STL at DAL
ARI at NO CLE at MIN IND at SF TB at NE
*UPDATED ATL at MIA DET at WAS JAC at SEA OAK at DEN (MON)


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