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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 12
November 24, 2004
Season Ticket
Thu 12:30 Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
IND at DET CLE at CIN* BAL at NE NYJ at ARZ* OAK at DEN*
Thu 4:05 TB at CAR JAX at MIN* NO at ATL Mon 9 PM
CHI at DAL SD at KC PHI at NYG BUF at SEA* STL at GB*
*updated TEN at HOU* WAS at PIT* MIA at SF Times ET
  Cleveland Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia 0 0 170,1
RB William Green 60 10 0
RB Lee Suggs 30 10 0
TE Steve Heiden 0 10,1 0
WR Dennis Northcutt 0 50 0
WR Antonio Bryant 0 50 0
PK Phil Dawson 1 FG 1 XP -
  Cincinnati Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 0 0 180,1
RB Rudi Johnson 90,1 20 0
TE Kelly/Stewart/Schobel 0 20 0
WR Houshmandzadeh 0 30 0
WR Kelly Washington 0 30 0
WR Chad Johnson 0 70,1 0
PK Shayne Graham 3 FG 2 XP -

CLE (3-7) vs CIN (4-6)

Game Prediction: CLE 10, CIN 23

This is a rematch from week six when the Browns won 34-17 and it also marks the exact point when it all became unraveled for Cleveland who has not won a game since that week. The Bengals have won three of their five games since the last matchup.

Update: Jeff Garcia has not improved enough from his shoulder sprain to likely play this weekend. He has not been formally ruled out yet but by all accounts Kelly Holcomb will be the starter.

Lee Suggs is questionable with a toe injury but is expected to play even though he was held out of practice. I am lowering his numbers and he is not a safe starter this week. Andre Davis remains questionable with a toe injury as well and I am not including him in the projections.

Carson Palmer had back spasms this week and was held out of practice but is expected to play.

Pre-Game Notes - CLE

Butch Davis is currently not enjoying each post game interview that somehow managed to ask "when you are going to get fired" in new and creative ways. The Browns have lost their last four games and now Garcia is banged up and they lost their best lineman last week.

So, Butch, if you were going to move to another part of the country for any reason in the offseason, where do you think that might be?

Quarterback: Jeff Garcia suffered a slightly strained right rotator cuff in his shoulder last week and may not play against the Bengals this time. More will be known on Wednesday but I'll update later as news is known. Garcia has not thrown for more than 146 yards in any of the last three games and other than the one magic game against the Bengals in week six, he has never thrown more than one score in any game. Kelly Holcomb came into the game last week to replace Garcia and looked just as bad, throwing four of 10 for only 32 yards.

Garcia had 310 yards and four scores in week six in Cincinnati and it just looks more freakish every passing week. Bet the Bengals remember that as well.

Running Backs: Not only did William Green run for 115 yards against the Bengals in week six, it was also the only 100 yard rushing game by a Brown this entire season. Lee Suggs and Green are not swapping the role of lead runner each week and now that the Browns have lost RT Ryan Tucker, the rushing game will be even worse. So will the pass blocking for that matter.

Wide Receivers: Antonio Bryant has played four games for the Browns and has a season high of only 43 yards. Andre Davis has been a nonfactor thanks to injury and Dennis Northcutt led all receivers last week with only 40 yards receiving. With Garcia less effective thanks to injury and now on the run from a bad offensive line, it will get worse before it gets much better.

The wideouts had a great time when they last faced the Browns but now Davis is hurt, Morgan is a Cowboy and no one catches wobbly passes from Garcia who is running for his life.

Tight Ends: Remember when you were so happy to draft Winslow?...chuckle... man, that still slays me.

Match Against the Defense: While previous games often offer great insight into what the next matchup will be like, that is not the case here in spite of it only being six weeks ago.

The Browns ran very well the last meeting but with more offensive line woes and now two players to share the rock, don't expect much more than moderate games from either Suggs or Green this time around.

The passing game is very much up in the air with Garcia hurt and it was not looking good when he was healthy. As enticing as the Bengals secondary seems to be, they've been far better against the pass lately and have really only been bad against the run. But that means splitting carries between Green and Suggs with a poor offensive line. The Browns wheels are wobbling and there is nothing more the Bengals would love than to knock them off.

Pre-Game Notes - CIN

Cincinnati had their annual trash game in the loss to the Browns in week six but have played much better since that week. While the Browns are starting to show signs of strain, the Bengals are just getting madder each week and this is a great game to let off some steam.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer had one of his worst games of the year when he last faced the Browns, throwing for only 148 yards and one score with one interception. He's improving almost every week since then and comes off a two touchdown effort against the Steelers. He still struggles to rise about around 210 yards passing in any game.

Running Backs: Following the general theme, Rudi Johnson had one of his worst games of the year when he last faced the Browns in week six when he only gained 57 yards on 16 carries with no scores. In the five games since then he has scored three times and had three games over 95 yards rushing. Johnson has never ran well against the Browns in three efforts though he could get the volume this week to help him notch a better effort.

Wide Receivers: Palmer found both Chad Johnson (5-80) and Kelley Washington (3-47) for touchdowns last week and after a slow start to the season, he's connecting better with Johnson in particular. In the last five games since Johnson only had 37 yards against the Browns, he's had at least five catches in every game, scored twice and never had less than 67 yards in any game.

Tight Ends: No rhyme, no reason, no fantasy points.

Match Against the Defense: The Browns were dominant against the Bengals in their last game but this week is a nice setup for some payback by Cincinnati. The Browns offense is looking much worse now than six weeks ago which will play into field position and possession time.

Rudi Johnson has never ran well against the Browns for yardage but did score twice in one game last year. Expect Johnson to gain some moderate yardage but it's not likely he will roll up major fantasy points unless he gets a couple of short touchdowns. The Browns have been much worse against the run lately, but mainly because their offense has fallen apart and teams run to control the game and clock.

Other than one game against the Eagles, the Brown's secondary has been very good and never allowed more than one passing touchdown in any game. During this three game span as the Browns start to self-destruct, no quarterback has thrown for more than 142 yards because he has not needed to score big to win.

CLE CIN 2004 Averages CIN CLE
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
182
204
Pass yards
206
214
1.1
1.4
Pass TDs
0.9
0.8
1.0
1.3
Interceptions
1.3
1.0
17
7
Rush yards
1
10
0.2
0.1
Rush TDs
0.1
0.2
---
---
RB's
---
---
93
132
Rush yards
93
107
0.3
0.5
Rush TDs
0.5
0.9
26
44
Receive yards
22
25
0.1
0.5
Receive TD's
0.2
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
122
130
Receive yards
161
154
0.5
0.6
Receive TD's
0.4
0.4
---
---
TE's
---
---
34
31
Receive yards
23
35
0.4
0.2
Receive TD's
0.2
0.4
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.7
1.2
Field Goals
1.9
1.7
1.8
2.2
Extra Points
1.8
2.1
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.5
0.5
Fumbles
1.3
1.2
1.0
1.3
Interceptions
1.2
1.0
0.2
0.3
Touchdowns
0.3
0.3
2.0
2.2
Sacks
2.5
2.5
0.0
0.1
Safeties
0.0
0
Browns(3-7)
Score Opp.
20-3 BAL
12-19 @DAL
10-27 @NYG
17-13 WAS
23-34 @PIT
34-17 CIN
31-34 PHI
Week 8 bye
13-27 @BAL
10-24 PIT
7-10 NYJ
Week 12 @CIN
Week 13 NE
Week 14 @BUF
Week 15 SD
Week 16 @MIA
Week 17 @HOU
Bengals (4-6)
Score Opp.
24-31 @NYJ
16-13 MIA
9-23 BAL
17-28 @PIT
Week 5 bye
17-34 @CLE
23-10 DEN
20-27 @TEN
26-3 DAL
17-10 @WAS
14-19 PIT
Week 12 CLE
Week 13 @BAL
Week 14 @NE
Week 15 BUF
Week 16 NYG
Week 17 @PHI