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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 4
2010
NYJ at BUF* CIN at CLE* IND at JAC* CHI at NYG
SEA at STL* BAL at PIT* HOU at OAK* NE at MIA*
CAR at NO* DEN at TEN* WAS at PHI DAL, KC
*updated DET at GB* SF at ATL ARI at SD* MIN, TB

Prediction: CIN 20, CLE 19

Update: Cedric Benson was held out on Wednesday but is back to full practiced and will play without limitation this week. Jordan Shipley has also been limited this week but will play against the Browns. Josh Cribs was limited in a few practices because of his ankle but is expected to play.

The Bengals won their second in a row but there's still a sense that the offense can do much more and that the defense has saved the day so far. The Browns drop to 0-3 with a decent defense and even less signs of an offense. The Browns are due for a win soon and at home against a divisional rival would be the best place but it will take another team to so overlook them that they allow the Browns to win a trap game.

The Bengals swept the Browns last season, winning 23-20 in Cleveland and later 16-7 at home.

Cincinnati Bengals (2-1)
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NE L 24-38 10 @IND --
2 BAL W 15-10 11 BUF --
3 @CAR W 20-7 12 @NYJ --
4 @CLE -- 13 NO --
5 TB -- 14 @PIT --
6 Bye - 15 CLE --
7 @ATL -- 16 SD --
8 MIA -- 17 @BAL --
9 PIT -- - - -
Bengals Report | Statistics | Roster
CINCINNATI at CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer - - 190,2
RB Cedric Benson 70 - -
TE Jermaine Gresham - 30 -
WR Chad Ochocinco - 50,1 -
WR Terrell Owens - 50,1 -
WR Jordan Shipley - 40 -
PK Mike Nugent 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: There is an excellent chance that the Bengals make it to their week six bye with a 4-1 record. Once that "feel good" moment passes, the schedule will be getting very tough in nearly all of the remaining 11 games so think about selling high on some players in their bye week. It may be as good as the Bengals get if their offense doesn't shift into a higher gear soon.

QUARTERBACK: That new passing offense with Terrell Owens and Jordan Shipley added looked impressive in week one when Carson Palmer passed for 345 yards and two scores in New England but since then - not so much. Palmer has only passed for one more touchdown and had no more than 195 passing yards during winning efforts. He went to Carolina last week and only managed 195 yards and one score with two interceptions. He needs to incorporate the two new receivers and post some points during this opening stretch of the season because once the bye week is over, it'll be tougher defenses nearly every week.

Palmer passed for 230 yards and two scores in Cleveland last year. The Browns just gave up 262 yards and three scores to Joe Flacco though in their only home game, they limited Matt Cassel to just 176 yards and no scores.

RUNNING BACKS: Despite statements made by the coaching staff that they are going to use Cedric Benson less and increase Bernard Scott's playing time, it hasn't happened yet. Benson comes off a season high 27 carries for 81 yards and a score in Carolina while Scott only had two runs. Benson has scored three times this year but but he has only gained 3.1 yards per carry on his 65 runs so far. Benson is not running with as much success as he did in 2009 though he still ranks as a decent play in most weeks.

Benson injured his leg late in the Carolina game but is not expected to be affected by it this week. He rushed for 74 yards on 18 carries in Cleveland last season. That matches up with what the Browns have allowed and no runner has scored on them yet.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The receiving stats here have now gone for two weeks without any scores, and no player turning in more than 57 yards. Terrell Owens is producing Buffalo-esque numbers and has yet to score or even produce more than the average tight end. Chad Ochocinco opened with a bang in New England and since has been right around 40 yards on four catches each week .Jordan Shipley has posted around those same 40 yards. Palmer continues to target both Owens and Ochocinco for over 20 passes per game but the passing has just been off the mark.

Ochocinco only had three catches for 24 yards in Cleveland last season but two went for touchdowns. The Browns have been more weak against the pass and just allowed Anquan Boldin a monster game. The jury is still out on this offense but I'll spend two touchdowns and hope for moderate yardage here. This week may literally be about as easy as it is going to get for the Bengals.

TIGHT ENDS: The rookie Jermaine Gresham is still too inconsistent for fantasy purposes but he ended up as the lead receiver in Carolina with 59 yards on four catches. He has one of the three passing scores for the Bengals. Worth watching for now but there are too many mouths to feed in this passing attack.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 21 19 15 23 3 21
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 15 8 21 5 20 16
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) CIN -6 -11 6 -18 17 -5


Cleveland Browns (0-3)
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB L 14-17 10 NYJ --
2 KC L 14-16 11 @JAC --
3 @BAL L 17-24 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 vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Seneca Wallace - - 200,1
RB Peyton Hillis 70,1 30 -
TE Ben Watson - 50 -
WR Mohamed Massaquoi - 20 -
WR Josh Cribbs - 60,1 -
WR Chansi Stuckey - 30 -
PK Phil Dawson 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Browns slide to 0-3 but at least they have yet to lose a game by more than one touchdown and the defense has been surprisingly good this season preventing any rushing scores and waiting for a good old trap game to come along for their first win. The Browns continue to be stuck at "not quite good enough" and there is a general lack of personnel to do much about that this season.

QUARTERBACK: Seneca Wallace had his second start and once again passed for one touchdown but only rolling up 181 yards in Baltimore in a game that the Ravens seemed to be mailing in. Wallace has been nearly error free with just one interception in two starts but he has precious little to work with for receivers.

The Bengals secondary is very good outside of playing Tom Brady and has only allowed one passing score in the last two weeks. The Browns have passed for one touchdown in each game so I'll keep that up but where it goes has no reliability.

RUNNING BACKS: Peyton Hillis is expected to continue to be the primary back in this offense even when Jerome Harrison returns from his thigh injury that kept him out last week. Hillis has scored in every game this year and had 22 carries for 144 yards and a score in Baltimore along with seven catches for 36 yards. That all smacked of a trap game that the Ravens still were able to avoid. But he has been more productive than Harrison and a lock for all goal line carries.

I will project for just Hillis unless Harrison returns and shows up in box scores with relevant stats.

Harrison rushed for 121 yards on 29 carries against the visiting Bengals last year. Don't expect as big a game from Hillis this week since the Bengals will see him coming and they are not in a position to let a winnable game like this get away.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This unit was led by Mohamed Massaquoi but you cannot really say that any longer since his last two games only produced one catch for nine yards. Josh Cribbs has been the more productive player for two weeks with a score and 60 to 70 yards per week. But Cribbs sprained his ankle last Sunday and he almost missed the game with fluid in his ankle. I will expect him to play this week but he may be limited - practice will be key.

Hard to deviate from the trend of the last two weeks - no receiver here has much appeal and my award of a score to Cribbs is mostly to just put it somewhere.

TIGHT ENDS: Evan Moore remains out with a concussion and Ben Watson has stepped up in these last two weeks with 62 yards against the Chiefs and 47 yards and a score on five receptions in Baltimore. Watson could be worthy of fantasy depth with another decent game or two.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 26 7 28 10 32 27
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 6 15 8 14 4 23
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) CLE -20 8 -20 4 -28 -4

WEEK 4
2010
NYJ at BUF CIN at CLE IND at JAC CHI at NYG
SEA at STL BAL at PIT HOU at OAK NE at MIA
CAR at NO DEN at TEN WAS at PHI DAL, KC
  DET at GB SF at ATL ARI at SD MIN, TB
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