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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 7
2010
PHI at TEN* STL at TB BUF at BAL MIN at GB*
CIN at ATL SF at CAR* ARI at SEA* NYG at DAL*
CLE at NO* WAS at CHI* OAK at DEN* DET, HOU
*Updated PIT at MIA JAC at KC* NE at SD* IND, NYJ

Prediction: CLE 10, NO 27

Update: The Browns appear likely to be without Mohamed Massaquoi and Josh Cribbs this week which really sinks any chance they had in the game. I have removed them from the projections. Both Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas have not practiced.

Update #2: Josh Cribbs has passed his concussion tests and now is likely to play. I am not adding him back into the projections as his stats won't be worthy of a fantasy start.

The Browns struggle along with their 1-5 record and are 0-2 in road games. The Saints are 4-2 and about to play what should be their easiest matchup of the season.

Cleveland Browns (1-5)
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 L 10-28 15 @CIN --
7 @NO -- 16 BAL --
8 Bye - 17 PIT --
9 NE -- - - -
Browns Report | Statistics | Roster
CLEVELAND at NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Colt McCoy 20 - 180,1
RB Peyton Hillis 40 40 -
TE Ben Watson - 50,1 -
TE Evan Moore - 60 -
WR Mohamed Massaquoi - 20 -
WR Josh Cribs 10 20 -
WR Chansi Stuckey - 30 -
PK Phil Dawson 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The switch to Colt McCoy did not result in a win but then again making a rookie start his career on the road in Pittsburgh is less than kind. The results were largely the same and the Browns have yet another tough road game this week before finally reaching their bye week. When anyone guesses the worst team in the league, the Browns are always in that conversation.

QUARTERBACK: HC Eric Mangini says that he'll likely go with Colt McCoy again this week as the starter. McCoy was pretty impressive playing in a very tough venue and completing 23 of 33 for 281 yards and one score with two interceptions. He was also sacked five times but all of that is a big success for a rookie in Pittsburgh.

This week he faces a secondary that has only allowed six scores in six weeks and only one team had more than 230 passing yards against the Saints. Played in New Orleans is not going to help. But McCoy should score once - Jimmy Clausen did - along with "we're hopelessly behind" yardage.

RUNNING BACKS: Peyton Hillis was nursing his sore quad muscle last week but was able to play with no apparent limitation. He gained 41 yards on 12 runs and added 49 more yards on six catches. 90 total yards on the Steelers in Pittsburgh was a big surprise. Mike Bell got his first action as a Brown and only ran twice for three yards. Bell is much less of a change of pace to Hillis than Jerome Harrison was and is less likely to horn in on Hillis' action.

The Saints have allowed decent games to several running backs but for Hillis to matter this week, he'll need the Browns to fall behind quickly and put the defense into the prevent mode. Hillis comes off his first game of the year without a touchdown which is partially a function of a rookie quarterback changing the defense. He should be good for at least moderate yardage because he'll catch the ball almost as much as run with it.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The bad news about Colt McCoy is that he threw 11 times to his wideouts in Pittsburgh and produced only six catches for 59 yards from the bunch. With decent corner play in New Orleans, he'll likely under-use the position again and this may be the least talented set of receivers in the league anyway. Josh Cribbs appears likely to play this week despite the nasty head-to-head shot he took from the Steelers.

No reason to look here for a fantasy starter.

TIGHT ENDS: McCoy spent most of last week looking for his two tight ends who split up 14 targets. Ben Watson had 88 yards on six catches with one score and Evan Moore turned in 84 yards on four receptions. No doubt that sort of focus comes into play again this week with the Saints weak against every receiving tight end that they have faced. That includes three with 76 yards or more against the Saints. It is all a risk with a rookie quarterback, but the tight ends are once again the best bet.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 26 20 30 2 29 26
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 6 23 1 26 1 16
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) CLE -20 3 -29 24 -28 -10


New Orleans Saints (4-2)
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIN W 14-9 10 Bye -
2 @SF W 25-22 11 SEA --
3 ATL L 24-27 12 @DAL --
4 CAR W 16-14 13 @CIN --
5 @ARI L 20-30 14 STL --
6 @TB W 31-6 15 @BAL --
7 CLE -- 16 @ATL --
8 PIT -- 17 TB --
9 @CAR -- - - -
Saints Report | Statistics | Roster
NEW ORLEANS vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees - - 270,3
RB Chris Ivory 80 10 -
TE Jeremy Shockey - 30 -
WR Marques Colston - 60,1 -
WR Lance Moore - 50,1 -
WR Devery Henderson - 30 -
WR Robert Meachem - 70,1 -
PK Garrett Hartley 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Saints finally won a convincing game when they mopped up in Tampa Bay. This came on the heels of a loss in Arizona of near supernatural measure. There could be a tendency to look past the lowly Browns with the Steelers coming next week but hopefully the Saints have turned a small corner last week when everything was working again. Getting a big game from Chris Ivory really helped to open up the offense.

QUARTERBACK: Drew Brees continues his streak of scoring in every game this year and he currently has 12 scores against only six interceptions. Aside from the 365 yards he had against the Falcons, he has been consistently around the 250 to 270 yard mark each week with multiple scores more often than not. He remains an elite quarterback even if he is not #1 in any category.

The Browns have allowed scores to nearly every opponent and four times given up two or more touchdowns in a game to the opposing quarterback. The Browns have been excellent against allowing rushing scores so Brees will have to post the points.

RUNNING BACKS: Pierre Thomas has admitted that he has a high ankle sprain and his expected recovery is likely no earlier than next week if not perhaps as late as when they are off bye in week 11. It all depends on how quickly he mends. Reggie Bush also remains out with his recovery from his broken fibula. He may be back by next week.

The good news is that maybe the Saints do not need him so much anymore. Chris Ivory has been a decent runner in his brief work and then last Sunday gained 158 yards on 15 carries in Tampa Bay. That naturally opened up the passing game better and showed that Ivory not only can fill-in for Pierre Thomas, but he may deserve some work even when Thomas returns. A nice game this week will help his case. The Saints gave Julius Jones nine runs in his first action and he gained 32 yards. Ladell Betts only had six carries but scored only the second rushing touchdown by a Saint this season.

The Browns are weaker against the run in yardage but not touchdowns as only once has a runner scored. That fits well into the Saints tendency to pass for scores anyway. This is a nice spot to start Ivory again and he should end up with at least moderate numbers. If he really is as good as he was last week, he could have a big game here. I am not going to project for the other runners though they will still have some role.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Devery Henderson was blanked last week for the first time this year and Robert Meachem caught a score for the second week in a row. He had games of 57 and 71 yards in those road trips and may be stepping up at mid-season just as he did in 2009 when he recorded nine touchdowns. Lance Moore also scored in Tampa Bay though he had just two catches for 57 yards and only a single catch for eight yards the previous week. Amazingly, Marques Colston still has not scored this season and seems stuck around 60 yards in most games.

The Browns have allowed nine scores to the opposing wideouts and several big performances as well but the Saints will always spread the ball around. That makes any receiver here both a risk and an upside play. I am giving Colston a score since he is overdue and the Browns are always more likely to give away a touchdown to the #1 wideout.

TIGHT ENDS: Jeremy Shockey had scored in two of three games but last week was back to 21 yards on two receptions. He's always a risk to do little and only has the two scores on the season with minimal yardage every week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 8 14 8 12 14 25
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 23 8 27 10 17 24
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) NO 15 -6 19 -2 3 -1

WEEK 7
2010
PHI at TEN STL at TB BUF at BAL MIN at GB
CIN at ATL SF at CAR ARI at SEA NYG at DAL
CLE at NO WAS at CHI OAK at DEN DET, HOU
  PIT at MIA JAC at KC NE at SD IND, NYJ
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