FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 9 CIN at MIA (THU) KC at BUF PIT at NE CHI at GB (MON)
ATL at CAR MIN at DAL SD at WAS On Bye:
BAL at CLE NO at NYJ TB at SEA ARI, DEN, DET
*UPDATED IND at HOU PHI at OAK TEN at STL JAC, NYG, SF

Prediction: BAL 20, CLE 16 (Line: BAL by 3)

Players of Interest: Jason Campbell

The 3-4 Ravens are on a two game losing streak though their last three losses were by three points or less. The Ravens are 1-3 on the road. The 3-5 Browns are on a three game losing streak but are 2-2 at home. This is the Cleveland version of the matchup. The Ravens already won 14-6 at home in week two. No matter what, this is going to end up a low scoring game.

1 @DEN 27-49 10 CIN -
2 CLE 14-6 11 @CHI -
3 HOU 30-9 12 NYJ -
4 @BUF 20-23 13 PIT -
5 @MIA 26-23 14 MIN -
6 GB 17-19 15 @DET -
7 @PIT 16-19 16 NE -
8 BYE WEEK 17 @CIN -
9 @CLE - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL @ CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 240,1
RB Bernard Pierce 30,1
RB Ray Rice 40 5-30
WR Marlon Brown 4-50,1
WR Steve Smith 5-70,1
WR Torrey Smith 5-70
PK Justin Tucker 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens continue to struggle to post offensive points when facing even average defenses but they are coming off their bye and had plenty of time to prepare for this game. The Ravens are already two and a half games behind the Bengals who are looking better with every week. A game like this is a must win for a franchise that is quickly fading from contention.

QUARTERBACKS: Joe Flacco's season fits in as a very average one so far. Not exactly one that leads to a Super Bowl but then again they got hot late last year. But so far Flacco is only averaging around one touchdown per game and all eight of his interceptions this year were in road games. Flacco passed for 211 yards and one score against the Browns earlier this year which was even fewer yards than he usually gains.

RUNNING BACKS: Ray Rice continues to disappoint with only one game over 15 carries and only once rushing for more than 45 yards. Take away his one freakish good game in Miami in week five, and Rice has only gained 168 yards on 59 carries over five games. His role as a receiver has been marginal as well with never more than 35 yards in any game. He's scored in just two games so far and is averaging just 2.8 yards per carry. Bernard Pierce cuts into the work as well but only for a half dozen carries per week with an ever worse rushing average in most games.

Rice only ran for 36 yards on 13 carries against the Browns earlier this year and added just nine yards on three catches.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Torrey Smith is the clear #1 and the only player now with any real fantasy value from this unit. But even he is only marginally effective with just one touchdown on the year and his string of 85+ yard games is over and he left the Packers matchup with just one catch. Marlon Brown scored in three of the first four games but has since gone cold and is never more than a marginal start. Jacoby Jones is back but only serves to further divide up the meager catches and yards.

Brown scored on his four catches for 45 yards against the Browns last time. Smith gained 85 yards on seven receptions.

TIGHT ENDS: Dallas Clark caught a score in each of the last two games though versus the Steelers he had just three receptions for nine yards. Clark's value will take an obvious hit if Dennis Pitta returns from hip surgery. That currently is expected in mid-November at the earliest.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This second matchup against the Browns is not likely to produce more than the first one that was at home. That makes Flacco a very marginal fantasy start and even Ray Rice isn't attractive with just 45 yards in the home meeting with the Browns. This offense has gone cold and carries more risk than reward. Smith is the only player with any consistent value as a WR2.

WHAT TO WATCH: Any sign of life would be notable for a team that has been scoring less as the season progresses. At least the Ravens are coming off their bye.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 23 21 13 17 8 18
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 15 28 7 20 13 9

 

1 MIA 10-23 10 BYE WEEK
2 @BAL 6-14 11 @CIN -
3 @MIN 31-27 12 PIT -
4 CIN 17-6 13 JAC -
5 BUF 37-24 14 @NE -
6 DET 17-31 15 CHI -
7 @GB 13-31 16 @NYJ -
8 @KC 17-23 17 @PIT -
9 BAL - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Ben Tate 30
WR Josh Gordon 5-90
TE Jordan Cameron 7-80,1
PK Billy Cundiff 3 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: Since the radar blip called Brian Hoyer disappeared, so have the Browns chance to win a game. The switch to Jason Campbell in Kansas City seemed to result in a better effort but by this point you have to wonder just how motivated teams are to play at a high level against the Browns. An undefeated team playing at home? Hard to imagine they were only six points better. The worst offensive output this year came in the first meeting with the Ravens. There is only a bye waiting on the other side but the Ravens on the road coming off their bye is likely to take the Browns very seriously.

QUARTERBACKS: HC Rob Chudzinski named Jason Campbell as the starter this week after an impressive 293 yards and two scores in Kansas City. Campbell is hardly a top talent that the Browns have been hiding until now. He's been a a journeyman quarterback on his fourth team that won't end up any better than Brandon Weeden. But the Browns need to look like they are not tanking the season and this is how they can do that.

Brandon Weeden threw for only 227 yards and no scores in the last meeting with the Ravens.

RUNNING BACKS: All told there has been only one rushing touchdown and the rushing stats are anemic at best and divided up anyway. Willis McGahee is running slo-mo Matrix style and has been limited to around ten carries each week for maybe 30 yards or so. Chris Ogbonnaya offered some marginal production but that he now disappeared. Now Foswhitt Whittaker shows up and takes a few carries and catches as well. He caught a touchdown last week on his two receptions for 22 yards. There is not enough work here for one person to excel and now it gets split into three parts. I will project for McGahee but the backfield is still changing even if it remains well outside of fantasy consideration.

Trent Richardson's final game for the Browns was gaining 58 yards on 18 runs in Baltimore.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Browns just lost Travis Benjamin for the rest of the year with a torn ACL. The only player here that matters is Josh Gordon who typically has a good game even if it comes at the end of the fourth quarter. He scored three of the four touchdowns by a Cleveland wideout and already topped 100 yards three times while no other receiver gains over 50 yards more than once all year. Interesting is that Gordon was not present for the first matchup with the Ravens but again - he is so clearly the only wideout to cover that his production is pretty amazing.

TIGHT ENDS: Jordan Cameron is still productive. He caught seven passes for 55 yards and a score in Green Bay and last week turned four receptions into 81 yards in Kansas City. He remains the second most targeted receiver behind Gordon and that does not change with Campbell as the starter.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Ravens have allowed a passing score in every road game but only the one for all but Peyton Manning who clearly does not play here. They have only allowed one rushing touchdown all year. The only players worth consideration as always are Gordon and Cameron.

WHAT TO WATCH: Campbell gets the start and he'll face a motivated and rested Ravens team. It will be notable if he can continue to connect with Gordon and Cameron.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 20 26 26 2 27 20
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 14 1 20 19 31 12

WEEK 9 CIN at MIA (THU) KC at BUF PIT at NE CHI at GB (MON)
ATL at CAR MIN at DAL SD at WAS On Bye:
BAL at CLE NO at NYJ TB at SEA ARI, DEN, DET
*UPDATED IND at HOU PHI at OAK TEN at STL JAC, NYG, SF


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