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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 8
2011
* ARI at BAL * DET at DEN * MIN at CAR * SD at KC (mon)
* CIN at SEA IND at TEN * NE at PIT Bye Week
* CLE at SF * JAC at HOU * NO at STL ATL, CHI, GB
* Updated DAL at PHI * MIA at NYG WAS at BUF NYJ, OAK, TB

Prediction: CLE 13, SF 27

Players to Watch: Braylon Edwards, Vernon Davis

Update: Braylon Edwards is listed as questionable to play and was limited in practices this week. He remains a game time decision and is not a safe play.

The Browns come off their thrilling 6-3 win over the Seahawks but at 3-3 remain at the bottom of the AFC North and are only 1-1 on the road. The 49ers come off their bye with a 5-1 record and a new found swagger. The 49ers are far too new to winning to take anyone lightly.

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 6-3 16 @BAL -
8 @SF - 17 PIT -
9 @HOU -      
Browns Report | Statistics | Roster
CLEVELAND at SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Colt McCoy 10 - 210,1
RB Peyton Hillis 30 20 -
RB Montario Hardesty 20 20 -
TE Evan Moore - 40,1 -
WR Josh Cribbs - 30 -
WR Brian Robiskie - 10 -
WR Greg Little - 60 -
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Browns come off one of the smallest wins in NFL history but that was a credit to the defense and the Seahawks losing their running back in pregame warm ups. The easy part of the schedule is not over and the Browns trudge through six road games in the next nine weeks including a brutal three game stretch right when fantasy playoffs are on. Consider the prospects of playing @PIT, @ARI and then @BAL. Get rid of your Browns now while you still can.

QUARTERBACK: Colt McCoy comes off his first game without a touchdown pass but he has been near robotic in turning in around 210 yards and one score in nearly every game. That dovetails nicely into what the 49ers normally allow and may even prove high side. The 49ers have been improving each week and that will prevent any big game here by McCoy who will be without his primary wide receiver of Mohamed Massaquoi anyway.

RUNNING BACKS: This will not be pretty. Peyton Hillis has not played because of his hamstring but HC Pat Shumur says he is day-to-day and is optimistic he will suit up and play. But last week Montario Hardesty gained 95 yards on 33 carries which is only a 3.0 yard average but that is top drawer stuff in Cleveland this year. Shumur said that Hardesty has won more playing time even when Hillis returns. For now I will assume both play and adjust if needed.

Now throw that duo on the road against the #1 defense against running backs. The Browns have only scored a rushing touchdown in one game (IND of course) and the 49ers have not allowed any. This is a good week to bench your Browns.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Mohamed Massaquoi suffered another concussion and should end up missing at least this game. He will be replaced by Josh Cribbs and Greg Little will remain on the other side. Little only managed to gain 31 yards on five catches against the Seahawks after two six-catch games with around 60 yards in each. There have only been three touchdowns to this position by the Browns and two of those went to Massaquoi.

There is precious little fantasy value here from a crew that has only once had more than 57 yards in a game. The 49ers secondary has only allowed one touchdown to the position in the last four games - no fantasy value here.

TIGHT ENDS: Ben Watson suffered a concussion last week and that allowed Evan Moore to have one of his better games with four catches for 35 yards. I am crediting the one passing score to Moore but there is not a lot of confidence there. Alex Smith just scored in week six and he rarely gets more than one pass. Still minimal fantasy value here even if Watson does not play.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 22 30 30 5 24 23
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 21 1 21 18 4 5


San Francisco 49ers
Homefield: Monster Park
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SEA 33-17 10 NYG -
2 DAL 24-27 11 ARI -
3 @CIN 13-8 12 @BAL -
4 @PHI 24-23 13 STL -
5 TB 48-3 14 @ARI -
6 @DET 25-19 15 PIT -
7 Bye - 16 @SEA -
8 CLE - 17 @STL -
9 @WAS -      
49ers Report | Statistics | Roster
SAN FRANCISCO vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith - - 190,1
RB Frank Gore 120,1 20 -
RB Kendall Hunter 30 - -
TE Vernon Davis - 70,1 -
WR Braylon Edwards - 30 -
WR Michael Crabtree - 40 -
PK David Akers 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The 49ers are suddenly looking like one of the teams to beat in the NFC and their 5-1 record came within a field goal of being unbeaten, Granted - not all of the opponents have been top shelf but the last four games were all wins and three came on the road. The 49ers had a slow start on their offense but now tout one of the best rushing attacks in the league and Alex Smith has surprised as of late. These 49ers are not just NFC West good - they are NFL good.

I like a defensive score here.

QUARTERBACK: The installation of the new offense under HC Jim Harbaugh has progressed well enough to secure a good record and make Alex Smith once again look like a serviceable NFL quarterback - something he has to prove annually in San Francisco. Smith was reportedly being managed in the first weeks of the season but then allowed to use the full playbook in week four when he passed for 291 yards and two scores in the win over the Eagles.

He had three scores and 170 yards the next week when the Buccaneers showed up to be slaughtered and the last game had the 49ers knocking off the previously unbeaten Lions. But Smith only notched 125 yards and one score in that game while Frank Gore tore them up.

Smith has only eight touchdowns so far but six over the last three games and he has only thrown two interceptions this season.

The Browns rank highly against the pass but have played CIN in the opener, IND, MIA and OAK to help keep stats low. The 49ers are going to win this with their running game anyway so expect just a moderate showing from Smith this week.

RUNNING BACKS: Like Smith, Frank Gore had a slow start in those first three weeks but has been phenomenal since, gaining over 120 rushing yards and a score in each of the last three games that includes road trips to Detroit and Philly. He has been limited to only about two catches per game but has really turned up the volume on his rushing totals.

The Browns have only had two road games and the Colts do not count. In Oakland, they allowed Darren McFadden to run for 91 yards and score on 20 carries. Gore has been on a streak and comes off his bye - expect a nice game here.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Braylon Edwards had knee surgery and has been looking to return this week. That will become apparent in the practices and I will update according to what he is or isn't able to do. His presence is needed with the loss of Josh Morgan to a broken leg. Michael Crabtree still has not scored yet but has been more productive in these three weeks and even topped out in Detroit with 15 targets for 9 catches and 77 yards.

CB Joe Haden is back for the Browns and would match up on Ted Ginn or Braylon Edwards if he plays but they could move him over to Crabtree or even Vernon Davis. Safest bet this week is to avoid the 49ers receivers.

TIGHT ENDS: Unfortunately, Vernon Davis remains an enigma this year. He seemed to be getting it back with 114 yards on eight catches in week three and scores in the next two games but then had only two catches for eight yards in Detroit. He has been under 50 yards in all but one game.

This should be the week for Davis. The Browns have already allowed five touchdowns to the position and yet have not faced any tight ends as good as Davis. Expect a very good game from him and one score unless Delanie Walker steals another one. This is the weakness of the Browns defense and the strength of the 49ers passing offense.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 27 11 32 3 6 2
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 4 12 1 28 22 14

WEEK 8
2011
ARI at BAL DET at DEN MIN at CAR SD at KC (mon)
CIN at SEA IND at TEN NE at PIT Bye Week
CLE at SF JAC at HOU NO at STL ATL, CHI, GB
  DAL at PHI MIA at NYG WAS at BUF NYJ, OAK, TB

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