FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

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

Prediction: CLE 10, PIT 27 (Line: PIT by 7)

Update: Emmanuel Sanders is a game time decision because of his knee so I am lowering his projections and he may not play.

This is a replay of week 12 when the Steelers won 27-11 in Cleveland. The 4-11 Browns are on a six game losing streak and have a 1-6 road record. The 7-8 Steelers are still in the hunt for the #2 wildcard but would need to win here and there be losses for the Dolphins, Ravens and Chargers so it is just not going to happen.

1 MIA 10-23 10 BYE WEEK
2 @BAL 6-14 11 @CIN 20-41
3 @MIN 31-27 12 PIT 11-27
4 CIN 17-6 13 JAC 28-32
5 BUF 37-24 14 @NE 26-27
6 DET 17-31 15 CHI 31-38
7 @GB 13-31 16 @NYJ 13-24
8 @KC 17-23 17 @PIT -
9 BAL 24-18 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Miles Austin 1-20
WR Josh Gordon 7-110,1
TE Gary Barnidge 1-10

Pregame Notes: The Browns have two first round picks next year and seven in the first four rounds so there will be plenty of turnover happening on this roster that was never really fixed at any point this week.

Jason Campbell will take the final start but he only threw ten scores over seven starts. He's really only had Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron this year as weapons and even Cameron is more "off again" than he was "on". Back in week 12, Campbell and Weeden combined for 333 yards and one touchdown. The new regime already gave up on Weeden this year and Campbell is just a place holder.

The Browns shocked the NFL when they let Trent Richardson go to the Colts but hard to argue it was a bad move now. Richardson has never caught on with the Colts despite every chance to do so. Willis Mcgahee was never going to be an adequate replacement and the backfield for the Browns churned through six different running backs. Edwin Baker is the current flavor of the month after being signed from the Texans practice squad. He'll be the starter this week and the maybe never again. The Browns used three different runners against the Steelers last time but they only gained a combined 54 yards on 14 carries with no scores.

Jordan Cameron missed last week because of a concussion and may not play here. Cameron started the year on a very strong note but then only managed one decent game after midseason. He caught just three passes for 32 when the Steelers visited anyway.

The Browns wind down with Josh Gordon as a superstar and really nothing else. Davone Bess scored in just one game and his last 11 games never exceeded 30 yards. Greg Little was marginally better but over half of his games only produced less than 20 yards. But Gordon missed his first two games and he still enters this final game with 1564 yards and nine touchdowns. That was seven efforts over 100 yards and two over 200 yards. Versus the Steelers the last time, Gordon had a career high 14 catches for 237 yards and one touchdown.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Steelers defense is nothing like past year and is only average on a good day. But the Browns are on the road and with Cameron out and Baker in, the offense is literally about one player - Josh Gordon. He's a must start and none of the other players merit any consideration.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 18 30 12 3 28 8
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 11 15 12 15 22 11

 

1 TEN 9-16 10 BUF 23-10
2 @CIN 10-20 11 DET 37-27
3 CHI 23-40 12 @CLE 27-11
4 @MIN 27-34 13 @BAL 20-22
5 BYE WEEK 14 MIA 28-34
6 @NYJ 19-6 15 CIN 30-20
7 BAL 19-16 16 @GB 38-31
8 @OAK 18-21 17 CLE -
9 @NE 31-55 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 240,2
RB Le'Veon Bell 70,1 4-30
WR Antonio Brown 5-80,1
WR Lance Moore 2-20
TE Heath Miller 3-20
PK Shaun Suisham 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Steelers have a chance at a wild card but the likelihood is pretty remote. A win here does get the Steelers to .500 though and avoids a losing season. The offseason will be used to work on the defense more than the offense and to acquire better linemen and return the many injured players that left this year. The Steelers offensive line problems started the season out on a bad note for much of the first half of the year.

In fantasy terms, the Steelers are still is good shape with Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders holding down the passing game. Heath Miller missed the first two weeks of the season but he never measured up to last year. He's been marginal at best and scored only once this year. Even Matt Spaeth just caught the only tight end touchdown in the last nine weeks.

Back in Cleveland, Roethlisberger passed for 217 yards and two scores split between Antonio Brown (6-92) and Emmanuel Sanders (6-52). Brown has been on a hot streak since midseason with six scores in the last eight games and he topped 100 yards four times since week eight. Sanders also increased his production sharply in the last six weeks with four touchdowns though his yardage is rarely much.

Jerricho Cotchery scored eight times including a three touchdown effort in New England. He's only managed single catches in the last two games and while he scored seven times over a six week period, the only time he failed to score was when he suddenly had no catches against the Browns. Marcus Wheaton was the rookie who was supposed to challenge for the slot role but broke a finger early in the year and now just did the exact same thing again. He's a nonfactor who has to try to restart an NFL career in 2014.

The Steelers have relied heavily on rookie runner Le'Veon Bell. He scored seven times and just last week turned in his first 100 yard game while playing in Green Bay. Bell rushed for 80 yards on 23 carries in Cleveland.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Browns already gave up multiple touchdowns to each of the last seven road teams faced though yardage tended to remain on the lower side. Back at home there's no reason to assume anything less than what happened in Cleveland and if anything it should be better since they want to leave the season on a high note. Brown and Bell are must starts with Roethlisberger and Sanders as moderate plays.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 16 28 2 29 12 26
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 15 21 10 18 19 21

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


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