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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 7
2011
ATL at DET HOU at TEN * SD at NYJ BAL at JAC (mon)
CHI at TB * IND at NO * SEA at CLE Bye Week
DEN at MIA * KC at OAK * STL at DAL BUF, CIN, NE
*UPDATED GB at MIN * PIT at ARI WAS at CAR NYG, PHI, SF

Prediction: SEA 20, CLE 16

Players to Watch: Doug Baldwin, Greg Little, Montario Hardesty

Update: Montario Hardesty was pulled out of practice after dropping yet another pass and while he is going to start this week, the third down duties are going to go to Chris Ogbonnaya so I am adjusting Hardesty's projections. Shut down CB Joe Haden finally had some limited work on Friday and is questionable but even if he does play he will not be 100% over his MCL injury. That bodes better for the Seattle wideouts.

The Seahawks are only 2-3 but losses in SF and PIT were expected and the Falcons barely beat them. The last win was in New York against the Giants that said these team cannot be merely overlooked. The Browns are also 2-3 with their close victories over the winless Colts and Dolphins. This is a close matchup but one that the Seahawks can pull the upset.

Seattle Seahawks
Homefield: Qwest Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @SF 17-33 10 BAL -
2 @PIT 0-24 11 @STL -
3 ARI 13-10 12 WAS -
4 ATL 28-30 13 PHI -
5 @NYG 36-25 14 STL -
6 Bye - 15 @CHI -
7 @CLE - 16 SF -
8 CIN - 17 @ARI -
9 @DAL -      
Seahawks Report | Statistics | Roster
SEATTLE at CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Charlie Whitehurst - - 190,1
RB Marshawn Lynch 70,1 30 -
WR Sidney Rice - 50 -
WR Doug Baldwin - 50,1 -
WR Ben Obamanu - 40 -
PK Steven Hauschka 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The bye week brings the Seahawks to this game rested and better prepared but they are already down three games to the 49ers for the division title. Add in games against the NFC East and at Chicago and it is going to be very hard to make up ground on the 49ers. This may be the last chance the Seahawks have for a road win this year.

QUARTERBACK: Tarvaris Jackson suffered a high-grade pectoral strain that was being considered for potential surgery. Until there are practice reports and further word from the team, the assumption is that Charlie Whitehurst gets the start this week. Whitehurst had some success in New York when he completed 11 of 19 for 149 yards and one score. But mostly he just takes a bad situation and makes it much harder to predict.

The Browns rank well against the pass but that was rolled up against four starters (Bruce Gradkowski, Kerry Collins, Jason Campbell and Chad Henne) who are no longer starting for their team. The only team that started the same quarterback was the Titans and Matt Hasselbeck. And yet all but one had a passing score and Hasselbeck turned in three.

Whitehurst may be the fifth quarterback to start against the Browns and then stop playing - pretty weird. Keep expectations low but Whitehurst may get that one score..

RUNNING BACKS: The Seahawks rushing effort has been lackluster but at least Marshawn Lynch has scored in each of the last two games and even ran for 98 yards in New York on 12 rushes thanks in part to a 47-yard scamper that ended at the one-yard line. Take away that one game and mostly that one run and there is nothing new with Lynch who has gained fewer than 35 yards in three of his games. To his credit Lynch has been getting three catches per game instead of his traditional one.

The Browns have faced some bad teams and yet still allowed success to running backs. I like the chance that Lynch gets moderate yardage and may even score since he has the last two weeks and the Browns defense is nothing special.

WIDE RECEIVERS: There actually is some reason for optimism here. Sidney Rice fell to only 38 yards in the last game but had 109 and 79 yards in the two previous matchups and scored against the Falcons. But undrafted rookie Doug Baldwin is a smaller speedster from Stanford who impressed in training camp and made the team. Now he has broken into the starting lineup with 5-84 and 8-136 in the last two games and a touchdown in New York. With Rice commanding more of the defensive attention, Baldwin is stepping up and taking advantage of the opportunity.

The Browns will be without Joe Haden this week and that helps the passing effort. With Whitehurst under center it makes predicting who and what much less reliable. I am going to credit Baldwin with the score since he had the one touchdown thrown by Whitehurst in the last game. But consider these wide outs as risky plays this week because of the change at quarterback.

TIGHT ENDS: Few yards, no touchdowns and no fantasy value. Shame too because this is the big weakness of the Browns defense.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 13 31 8 32 32 21
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 7 18 4 28 30 14


Cleveland Browns
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN 17-27 10 STL -
2 @IND 27-19 11 JAC -
3 MIA 17-16 12 @CIN -
4 TEN 13-31 13 BAL -
5 Bye - 14 @PIT -
6 @OAK 17-24 15 @ARI -
7 SEA - 16 @BAL -
8 @SF - 17 PIT -
9 @HOU -      
Browns Report | Statistics | Roster
CLEVELAND vs SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Colt McCoy - - 260,1
RB Montario Hardesty 60 20 -
TE Ben Watson - 40 -
WR Mohamed Massaquoi - 40 -
WR Brian Robiskie - 20 -
WR Greg Little - 80,1 -
PK Phil Dawson 3 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Browns never traded away Peyton Hillis and so remains the same team which means an offense that has marginal rushing at best and that relies on 17 points to be enough to win games. The emergence of Greg Little is a plus on a team that has so little going on at wide receiver. But aside from beating two winless teams, the Browns have not been within seven points of all other opponents.

QUARTERBACK: Colt McCoy has been usually right around 210 yards every week and has either one or two scores. He has been more of a game manager and unable to compete with defenses to rally and make up a deficit. He has eight touchdowns against only four interceptions but again - that came against a very easy schedule.

The Seahawks have only allowed six scores this year and three of those went to Eli Manning last week. Otherwise all others had just one score on them and the yardage has tended to be good because the Seahawks are very good against the run. McCoy will post good yardage this week with at least one score and a chance for two.

RUNNING BACKS: Peyton Hillis remains with the team but his hamstring is expected to keep him out this week and as such it falls to Montario Hardesty. While that boosts his stock this week, realize that he has not yet scored or had more than 67 rushing yards when the Fins visited and Hillis was out previously. Hardesty will throw in a few catches to help but this week goes against one of the best rushing defenses in the league.

No runner has topped 70 yards against the Seahawks who have faced Frank Gore (22-59), Rashard Mendenhall (19-66), Michael Turner (26-70) and Ahmad Bradshaw (17-58). A big game here is very unlikely but again - he catches the ball well and will salvage his fantasy value via total yardage.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Greg Little took his first start last week and not only gained 72 yards on six catches, he came within inches of scoring a touchdown and he had a team high 12 targets. That is team high of any receiver for the entire year. The Browns are working on getting Little into the equation and he is responding. Mohamed Massaquoi has long stagnated around 40 or so yards per game and the touchdowns to this unit have been sparse. Little is the one relied on to making this a better offense and so far he's headed in the right direction.

The Seahawks are only about average against the position but this unit is one of the worst. Little is worth a start this week because he is coming on well and at home runs a very good shot at his first touchdown if it does not end up with a tight end.

TIGHT ENDS: This unit was productive and yet split the workload between Ben Watson and Evan Moore. Neither player usually exceeded around 30 yards but both had scored twice. Now Alex Smith shows up with a touchdown last week. A three-headed tight end attack is something to stay away from. There will be points but not a lot and never in the same place twice. Watson is the only one with any decent yardage and he has been much better at home.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 20 28 29 3 24 23
Preventing Fantasy Points SEA 17 5 20 16 25 31

WEEK 7
2011
ATL at DET HOU at TEN SD at NYJ BAL at JAC (mon)
CHI at TB IND at NO SEA at CLE Bye Week
DEN at MIA KC at OAK STL at DAL BUF, CIN, NE
  GB at MIN PIT at ARI WAS at CAR NYG, PHI, SF

a d v e r t i s e m e n t