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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Sortable Player Projections
Game Predictions Summary

Projections by Team
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WEEK 1
2010
MIN at NO ATL at PIT* OAK at TEN* GB at PHI
MIA at BUF CLE at TB* CAR at NYG DAL at WAS
IND at HOU* CIN at NE* SF at SEA BAL at NYJ
*UPDATED DET at CHI DEN at JAC* ARI at STL* SD at KC

Prediction: CLE 13, TB 17

Update: Josh Freeman was held out of practice on Wednesday but returned on Thursday. His thumb should not be a factor and he is expected to start this week.

The Browns come off their 5-11 season that included a 2-6 road record and the Buccaneers sputtered to a 3-13 season with only a 1-7 home record. These remain two of the weakest teams in the league and yet thanks to fantasy football there is a definite place for both teams in the league. This game is a coin toss because both teams are so good at losing.

Cleveland Browns (0-0)
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB -- 10 NYJ --
2 KC -- 11 @JAC --
3 @BAL -- 12 CAR --
4 CIN -- 13 @MIA --
5 ATL -- 14 @BUF --
6 @PIT -- 15 @CIN --
7 @NO -- 16 BAL --
8 Bye - 17 PIT --
9 NE -- - - -
Browns Report | Statistics | Roster
CLEVELAND at TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme - - 170,1
RB Jerome Harrison 70 30 -
TE Ben Watson - 10 -
WR Mohamed Massaquoi - 60,1 -
WR Josh Cribs - 20 -
WR Chansi Stuckey - 40 -
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Browns continue to try to improve their team but adding Jake Delhomme? Their attempt to upgrade the backfield fell apart when 2.27 pick Montario Hardesty was lost for the season. There's minimal fantasy value on this team and little reason to expect an upgrade this year. The Browns do try to improve in fairness, it's just what they try doesn't usually work.

QUARTERBACKS: The Browns idea of upgrading at quarterback is dumping their former first round bust and opting for the declining skills of Jake Delhomme who now doesn't have anything remotely close to Steve Smith for a target. Seneca Wallace came over from Seattle and proved why he was a career backup and the Browns drafted Colt McCoy who has looked so bad that the Browns had to remind the media that there were never any plans for him in 2010 and that he's likely a career backup type like Wallace.

All in all - still need a quarterback here.

The Bucs are about average against the pass but better at home and these are just the Browns who sported the #32 ranking for quarterbacks last year.

RUNNING BACKS: Losing Montario Hardesty meant that Jerome Harrison gets to take the primary back job and try to rekindle those magic three games that ended 2009. Jerome Harrison never had less than 33 carries in each or below 127 rush yards. He scored five times and had a career best 286 yards and three scores in Kansas City. This offensive line is not nearly that good against a quality defense and Harrison has no chance of 33 carries every week. But he's the last man standing and best bet for the Browns.

The Bucs are better at home but we should get a decent sense of what to expect from Harrison this year. Expect a decent game here and see if Harrison can find that magic again.

WIDE RECEIVERS: No team had fewer touchdowns by wide receivers than the Browns who only managed five for 2009. Mohamed Massaquoi led the team with only 34 receptions for 624 yards and three scores. No other wideout had more than 198 yards on the season. And yes, I am serious. The combination of Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson did nothing to help the fortunes of these wideouts but in fairness, there is only Massaquoi who is overmatched, Josh Cribs who is a special teams ace but not much of a receiver and Chansi Stuckey who should thanks his lucky stars he ended up in Cleveland where he can actually be a starter since it wouldn't happen any where else.

Delhomme will be an upgrade, but he cannot make these wideouts any more talented than they are (or rather aren't). Only Massaquoi has any fantasy value and that is only in the biggest of leagues.

TIGHT ENDS: Ben Watson is the starter but the same team that originally had Kellen Winslow needed no time at all to cease using the position in the passing game. No tight end had more than 12 catches on the year for the Browns.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 32 28 29 28 28 24
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 17 26 24 23 26 20


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CLE -- 10 CAR --
2 @CAR -- 11 @SF --
3 PIT -- 12 @BAL --
4 Bye - 13 ATL --
5 @CIN -- 14 @WAS --
6 NO -- 15 DET --
7 STL -- 16 SEA --
8 @ARI -- 17 @NO --
9 @ATL -- - - -
Buccaneers Report | Statistics | Roster
TAMPA BAY vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh Freeman 20 - 190,1
RB Carnell Williams 70,1 10 -
TE Kellen Winslow Jr. - 60,1 -
WR Mike Williams - 70 -
WR Sammie Stroughter - 30 -
PK Conner Barth 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers fell on hard times in 2009 but there is at least some optimism that the team is headed in the right direction. Josh Freeman has promise and the rookie Mike Williams already is considered the best on the team without having played in the regular season. The Bucs also get a much lighter schedule this year though the opening weeks are tough once this matchup is done.

QUARTERBACKS: Josh Freeman took over midway through his rookie season and ended with a very respectable 1855 yards and ten scores though he also added 18 interceptions. The Kansas State star throw for scores in six of nine games played and had a 321 yard effort in Carolina last year. That was with a bad set of receivers that has been upgraded for 2010.

Freeman also fractured his right thumb in the preseason but expects to play in week one with no limitation or even a soft cast. Look for a moderate showing here at most against a team the Bucs can win without any sort of a shootout (as if that is possible).

RUNNING BACKS: The Buccaneers have opted to continue to use Carnell Williams as the starting tailback even though he has not reached a 4.0 yard rushing average anytime in the last four years. Williams had 211 runs last year and gained 823 yards as the primary runner. Over half of his games he failed to crack 50 yards but the Bucs are sticking with him. Earnest Graham will help out as a blocking back and there is some optimism - more guarded than we want to believe - that Kareem Huggins can figure into the equation after an impressive preseason. For now - WIlliams is the primary and no other runner has any relevance but Huggins is worth at least keeping an eye on since the Bucs will enjoy a much lighter schedule this year/

The Browns were very bad against the run last year and the Bucs at home will exploit that to the extent that Williams is able. If you plan on ever starting Williams this season, this game is probably as good as it is going to get.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Bucs tried to upgrade the wideouts by drafting Arrelious Benn (2.07) and Mike Williams (4.03) and of course it has been Williams that has impressed. Enough so that he now has the starting split end job while Benn remains deeper on the depth charts. Sammie Stroughter will play the flanker after the team released Michael Clayton. Maurice Stovall will figure in as the #3 wideout but Williams holds all the promise so far. Even though he is a rookie, he has been very polished and impressive and is worth a start this week.

TIGHT ENDS: Kellen Winslow Jr. had yet another knee surgery in the offseason and missed almost the entire summer recovering but he is expected to be ready in week one and no less than gimpy than we have come to expect. This is a good way to open the year - against the 30th ranked defense against tight ends. Play Winslow if you have him. He had his second best season of his career when he moved to Tampa Bay in 2009 and gets a more experienced Freeman this year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 24 30 31 9 32 15
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 24 28 7 30 28 22

WEEK 1
2010
MIN at NO ATL at PIT OAK at TEN GB at PHI
MIA at BUF CLE at TB CAR at NYG DAL at WAS
IND at HOU CIN at NE SF at SEA BAL at NYJ
  DET at CHI DEN at JAC ARI at STL SD at KC
 
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