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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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Game Predictions Summary

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WEEK 3
2010
BUF at NE DAL at HOU* CIN at CAR* SD at SEA*
ATL at NO SF at KC PHI at JAC* IND at DEN*
DET at MIN* TEN at NYG WAS at STL* NYJ at MIA
*updated CLE at BAL* PIT at TB* OAK at ARI* GB at CHI

Prediction: CLE 0, BAL 24

Update: Jerome Harrison has not practiced this week because of a thigh strain but he has not been counted out. Starting him in Baltimore is no treat and banged up won't amount to much if he can even play. I am lowering his stats and he may end up not playing. Jake Delhomme also is out again this week is and not close to returning to practice. Mason has missed some practice this week but had limited work on Thursday with a sore knee. He's expected to play this week.

Update #2 - Jerome Harrison has not practiced and is being removed from the projections.

The Browns are 0-2 but have lost both games by a total of only three points - such is the way of the Browns sadly. The Ravens are 1-1 after falling to the Bengals and this divisional game means the Ravens have to win it and winning it big doesn't hurt playoff tiebreakers. But the Ravens have not scored more than 10 points in a game so far. The Browns have 14 points in both of theirs. But this is a home opener for the Ravens and against perhaps their weakest opponent.

The Ravens swept the Browns last season, winning 34-3 in Baltimore and later 16-0 in Cleveland.

Cleveland Browns (0-2)
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB L 14-17 10 NYJ --
2 KC L 14-16 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 BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Seneca Wallace - - 130
RB Peyton Hillis 30 20 -
RB Jerome Harrison 20 10 -
TE Ben Watson - 20 -
WR Mohamed Massaquoi - 30 -
WR Josh Cribs - 20 -
WR Chansi Stuckey - 10 -
PK Phil Dawson don't see it
Pregame Notes: The Browns attempt to retool with new quarterbacks has been more successful even if it hasn't resulted in a win yet. But the team could not have come any closer to a victory and the defense is undeniably better than it was last season. The team still lacks the cohesion with these new players and the oncoming stretch of games are going to be brutal. They may not be favored in a game until the Panthers arrive in week 12 and even then that may be the only time.

QUARTERBACK: Jake Delhomme missed last week with his ankle injury and Seneca Wallace produced almost exactly the same stats - around 230 yards and one touchdown. But those came against two secondaries that are going to prove softer than the Ravens at home.

The Browns never passed for more than 126 yards against the Ravens last year and never scored. I will assume that Wallace gets the start again this week and update if needed. Regardless, there is no reason to start any Browns quarterback player this week.

RUNNING BACKS: It doesn't matter this week but the Browns went from an even split between Peyton Hillis and Jerome Harrison to a much heavier use of Harrison in the Chiefs game. Still the total rushing yardage is minimal and outside of the scores that Hillis had each week there has been really no reason to start either back. Now Hillis is the short-yardage, goal line back and Harrison is more the yardage back but that could change in a month of so when they are not facing one of the best defenses in the league.

Harrison rushed for 52 yards on 16 carries in Baltimore last season. These Ravens are not going to be that kind.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Josh Cribs finally showed up as more than a special teams ace when he caught a 65-yard bomb and scored only his third receiving touchdown ever after five years of playing. His 65 yards on one catch was not only a career best, but it was almost double his previous best gain. Mohamed Massaquoi is the only wideout here with any upside but that is so razor thin that he doesn't even merit covering a bye week.

If you have any Cleveland wideouts, drop them now and pick up another kicker. You'd get more points from them.

TIGHT ENDS: Evan Moore had the big first week with three catches for 87 yards but he left last week with a concussion and will likely miss this week. Ben Watson filled in and had a respectable four catches for 62 yards but that's too hard to rely on and his stats will not be consistent in the best case.

Again - drop 'em if you got 'em.

 

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 23 15 20 9 32 22
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 1 2 3 3 32 24


Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYJ W 10-9 10 @ATL --
2 @CIN L 10-15 11 @CAR --
3 CLE -- 12 TB --
4 @PIT -- 13 PIT --
5 DEN -- 14 @HOU --
6 @NE -- 15 NO --
7 BUF -- 16 @CLE --
8 Bye - 17 CIN --
9 MIA --   - -
Ravens Report | Statistics | Roster
BALTIMORE va CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco - - 260,2
RB Ray Rice 100,1 20 -
TE Todd Heap - 20 -
WR Anquan Boldin - 90,1 -
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh - 40 -
WR Derrick Mason - 50,1 -
PK Billy Cundiff 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Ravens have been showing a dominating defense and yet for all the offensive juice brought on this team cannot score more than one touchdown per week. Starting with two road games against very good defenses means a 1-1 record is not bad at all but the season is not going to get any easier with a trip to Pittsburgh waiting on the other side. This is going to be a tough year with a slate of very good teams and precious few easy matchups - like this week.

QUARTERBACK: HC John Harbaugh had to come out and publicly support Joe Flacco in light of his four interceptions last week and tremendous difficulty scoring touchdowns this year. But there is nothing wrong with Flacco and his play will show improvement once he gets off the road and stops facing playoff caliber defenses.

Flacco passed for 342 yards and one score when the Browns visited last year. Hard to say if he or Rice wants a big game more but consider a safe bet for two scores and good yardage that could end up as a big game depending on how the offense gets called after half time when the Browns have already raised the white flag.

RUNNING BACKS: Ray Rice has started with predictably lower output this year thanks to a brutal schedule but last week in Cincinnati he was much better with 87 yards on 16 carries and 30 yards on four receptions. Willis McGahee came in and stole a short touchdown from him in the opener but has no value beyond the occasional goal line plunge. Rice injured his ankle at the end of the game but is expected to be fine for this week.

Rice gained 48 yards on 11 carries and scored once on the visiting Browns last season. McGahee ran seven times and gained 67 yards and two touchdowns. I like Rice to have a much better and much needed big game. He won't have it next week in Pittsburgh to be sure. If you are waiting for a week to use Rice in a contest where you only get to use him once, take a gander at the schedule. This may be the week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The addition of T.J. Houshmandzadeh has been a nonevent so far since he failed to even have one catch on his six targets last week. Derrick Mason scored in Cincy but Anquan Boldin fell to only 35 yards on five receptions. Boldin is starting to understand the difference between playing wideout in the NFC West versus being a #1 receiver playing in the AFC North.

Mason caught five passes for 118 yards and one score versus the visiting Browns last year. Consider this a nice opportunity for both Mason and Boldin to have decent stats if not Houshmandzadeh as well. They may end up canceling out each other for big yardage but the two passing scores should favor the wideouts who need the work.

TIGHT ENDS: Todd Heap was able to play last week despite nursing a sore shoulder but he only turned in four receptions for 35 yards. That's more along the lines of what Heap will do in most weeks than the 72 yards on six catches he had in New York. In fact, Heap recorded four receptions for 41 yards against the Browns last year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 27 26 24 17 28 30
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 10 7 10 12 25 23

WEEK 3
2010
BUF at NE DAL at HOU CIN at CAR SD at SEA
ATL at NO SF at KC PHI at JAC IND at DEN
DET at MIN TEN at NYG WAS at STL NYJ at MIA
  CLE at BAL PIT at TB OAK at ARI GB at CHI
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