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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 6
2010
*CLE at PIT *BAL at NE *SEA at CHI *IND at WAS
*NO at TB KC at HOU *OAK at SF *TEN at JAC
*MIA at GB *DET at NYG NYJ at DEN ARI, BUF
*Updated *SD at STL ATL at PHI *DAL at MIN CAR, CIN

Prediction: CLE 3, PIT 27

Update: Peyton Hillis has been held out of practice on both Wednesday and Thursday to rest his thigh but is expected to play.

Update #2: Hillis was limited on Friday and despite being listed as questionable is still expected to play this week.

Gee, this may get ugly. The Browns were already struggling and may need to start a rookie quarterback and not one that looked great in the preseason. The Steelers at home will not mail it in against a divisional rival but this game could have numerous endings all just as likely to happen as the other. This is also the triumphant return of Ben "come on, baby" Roethlisberger as well. Steelers at full strength versus the Browns with even less skills and ability. Start your Steelers this week.

The Browns lost 14-27 in Pittsburgh last year.

Cleveland Browns (1-4)
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 W 23-20 13 @MIA --
5 ATL L 10-20 14 @BUF --
6 @PIT -- 15 @CIN --
7 @NO -- 16 BAL --
8 Bye - 17 PIT --
9 NE -- - - -
Browns Report | Statistics | Roster
CLEVELAND at PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Colt McCoy - - 120
RB Peyton Hillis 30 20 -
TE Ben Watson - 30 -
WR Mohamed Massaquoi - 10 -
WR Josh Cribs 20 30 -
WR Chansi Stuckey - 20 -
PK Phil Dawson 1 FG - -
Pregame Notes: The Browns shocking win against the Bengals gets even more hard to believe. But lost within their otherwise dismal record is a defense that has been much underrated especially considering that the offense does it no favors here. With two road games against the Steelers and Saints before their bye, the Browns can expect to start yet another losing streak.

QUARTERBACK: Both Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace are nursing high ankle sprains so the rookie Colt McCoy will start. In Pittsburgh. That's like getting sprayed with blood and then tossed into the lion's cage at the zoo during feeding time. McCoy was unimpressive in the offseason and there were even rumors that he might be released. Instead he gets to begin his NFL career in Pittsburgh against a defense that has only allowed two passing scores this year.

The Browns only passed for 122 yards and one score in Pittsburgh last year.

RUNNING BACKS: Peyton Hillis is nursing a quadriceps injury and HC Eric Mangini won't disclose the prognosis. Hillis was held to only 28 yards on 10 carries last week but he added a touchdown on his four catches for 49 yards. That made it five straight games with a touchdown but that will be hard pressed to get this week against a defense that has only allowed two rushing scores and never more than 42 rush yards per any runner.

Jerome Harrison is in the doghouse and has never been productive this year anyway. If Hillis cannot play, certainly Harrison figures in more.

The Browns only gained 47 yards on 16 carries in Pittsburgh last season.

Hillis should not be in your starting lineup this week even if he was healthy, less so with a bad quad.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The addition of McCoy at quarterback and playing in Pittsburgh means none of these wideouts have any attraction this week and in reality they rank among the worst in the league anyway. No fantasy starters here.

TIGHT ENDS: With nothing to judge by, consider even Ben Watson as a risk to start. He's likely the best bet for the Browns but that doesn't mean he produces any significant numbers.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 28 16 28 12 29 26
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 7 2 15 2 10 7
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) CLE -21 -14 -13 -10 -19 -19


Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ATL W 15-9 10 NE --
2 @TEN W 19-11 11 OAK --
3 @TB W 38-13 12 @BUF --
4 BAL L 14-17 13 @BAL --
5 Bye - 14 CIN --
6 CLE -- 15 NYJ --
7 @MIA -- 16 CAR --
8 @NO -- 17 @CLE --
9 @CIN -- - - -
Steelers Report | Statistics | Roster
PITTSBURGH vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger - - 280,2
RB Rashard Mendenhall 100,1 10 -
TE Heath Miller - 40 -
WR Hines Ward - 100,1 -
WR Antwaan Randle El - 20 -
WR Mike Wallace - 100,1 -
PK Jeff Reed 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Tough loss last week but Ben Roethlisberger is back and just in time to get the easiest game of the year. The question this week is how much the Steelers want to roll up the score because the Browns are going to be punchless on offense and provide plenty of chances for fantasy points for the Steelers. There are three straight road games waiting after this game and Roethlisberger needs to get back into playing form immediately.

QUARTERBACK: The Steelers welcome back Ben Roethlisberger and give him a nice 3-1 record to start with. This should be a nice game to get back into shape with because Roethlisberger passed for 417 yards and two scores when the Browns visited last year. The return of Big Ben should keep this game from being a yawner that the Steelers just mail in.

RUNNING BACKS: Rashard Mendenhall has already been a force despite defenses stacking the line against him. He has four touchdowns on the season and twice topped 120 rushing yards. With Roethlisberger back, Mendenhall should see even more running room.

Mendenhall gained 62 yards on 17 carries versus the Browns last year.

The Browns have not allowed any rushing scores yet this year and only once more than 80 rushing yards but this is a nice setup for Mendenhall to help take over a game. Expect a very nice showing here this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: There is great optimism that the return of Roethlisberger can help energize this group that has been mostly lethargic in the first four games. Mike Wallace had one decent game but sandwiched that with 25 yard games and Hines Ward topped 100 yards in the season opener and then only managed 57 yards from the last three games combined. This unit has sorely lacked having Big Ben around.

Ward had a monster game against the Browns in 2009 when he caught eight passes for 159 yards and one score. Santonio Holmes managed 104 yards on five receptions in that game.

At home, Big Ben is back - consider both Ward and Wallace as excellent plays this week who should have very good games.

TIGHT ENDS: Heath Miller has been invisible without Roethlisberger and not only has no score, but he only has ten catches for 120 yards on the season. Miller turned in 80 yards and a score on five catches versus the Browns last year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 30 15 24 29 7 1
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 17 6 26 4 22 18
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) PIT -13 -9 2 -25 15 17

WEEK 6
2010
CLE at PIT BAL at NE SEA at CHI IND at WAS
NO at TB KC at HOU OAK at SF TEN at JAC
MIA at GB DET at NYG NYJ at DEN ARI, BUF
  SD at STL ATL at PHI DAL at MIN CAR, CIN
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