fantasy football     JOIN THE HUDDLE    


Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
October 4, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
On Bye
MIA at NE WAS at NYG DAL at PHI   updated

Prediction: CLE 13, CAR 31

The Browns finally get a win thanks to the Raiders but that took a big comeback in the second half against what is commonly considered the worst team in the NFL. The Panthers have now won two games and while neither were dominating victories, the Panthers look to be back on track.

Update: I am not changing the projections, but Joe Jurevicious (ribs), Reuben Droughns (shoulder) and Kellen Winslow (knee) are all listed as questionable this week though only Winslow did not practice. All three are expected to play and are nursing the same injuries that they had last week when all three payed against Oakland. They are safe to start this week.

Cleveland Browns (1-3)
1 14-19 NO 10 --- @ATL
2 17-34 @CIN 11 --- PIT
3 14-15 BAL 12 --- CIN
4 24-21 @OAK 13 --- KC
5 --- @CAR 14 --- @PIT
6 Open Bye 15 --- @BAL
7 --- DEN 16 --- TB
8 --- NYJ 17 --- @HOU
9 --- @SD - - THU
CLE at CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Charlie Frye 20 0 220,1
RB Reuben Droughns 40 10 0
TE Kellen Winslow 0 60,1 0
WR Joe Jurevicius 0 40 0
WR Braylon Edwards 0 80 0
WR Dennis Northcutt 0 30 0
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: A win is a win, even if it came against the Raiders and almost didn't happen. The Browns are still struggling to put together a cohesive offensive outside of the Oakland game but credit the team with never giving up and losing close games to quality opponents of NO and BAL. Unfortunately for the Browns, this cannot be a trap game for the Panthers since they need continue winning to catch up in the NFC South.

Quarterback: Charlie Frye has been a fantasy football gem so far even if his team rarely wins and his numbers do not appear very flashy at first glance. Frye ran for a score in each of the first three games and last week was held out of the endzone but connected for three passing scores against Oakland with only 192 passing yards and two interceptions. Frye has thrown two picks in all but one game this year and loses a fumble every other game. He's coming along but the progress is not rapid. Getting Jurevicius back should help and as long as he can run in scores, his fantasy value will remain surprisingly good. That probably won't happen this week though.

Running Backs: Reuben Droughns missed the Baltimore game due to his shoulder injury but played last Sunday against the Raiders and had 100 yards on 25 carries just like a real running back. This came after previous efforts of just 27 and 32 rushing yards. Droughns also lost a fumble last week that was returned for a touchdown. Jerome Harrison only has a few carries each week so far with little production to show for it. Last week had some decent production because the Raiders dropped back after taking a 21-3 lead which allowed Droughns more running room. That's not going to happen this week in Carolina.

Wide Receivers: Braylon Edwards had a nice six catch, 75 yard game against the Raiders but the most encouraging feature of that game was the return of Joe Jurevicius who had three catches on five passes for 22 yards and one score. Jurevicius had three of the five passes thrown inside the ten yard line and should continue to be an endzone target with his height advantage. With Dennis Northcutt moved back to the slot, Jurevicius will start showing up in the box scores more from here on out.

Tight Ends: In a season where the tight ends are not doing as much, Kellen Winslow has been one of the few notables on fantasy teams. He has scored in both of the last two games and has a total of 228 yards to rank second for NFL tight ends. His role could be reduced slightly with Jurevicius back but more interesting is his pattern of performing much better at home than on the road. At home he has 15 catches for 155 yards while on the road he's only managed seven receptions for 73 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Panthers defense has been decent enough against the run this year though early games gave up a lot of yardage because of volume of carries, not the rushing average allowed. With Droughns turning back into a pumpkin this week look for another minimal rushing effort this week.

Frye goes against a secondary that can be beaten but usually due to the long pass. That should favor a good game here from Edwards on the deep route and Frye will throw for a score in this game. Total yardage could depend on game situation but the Panthers cannot afford to take the risk of allowing trash time yards and scores. This defense held Crumpler to just 27 yards but the Falcons were running well that week. More relevant is that Alex Smith had 72 yards for the Bucs in week three. Edwards and Winslow should share most of the yardage in this game while Jurevicius comes into play for third downs and potentially endzone catches.

Carolina Panthers (2-2)
1 6-20 ATL 10 --- TB
2 13-16 @MIN 11 --- STL
3 26-24 @TB 12 --- @WAS
4 21-18 NO 13 --- @PHI
5 --- CLE 14 --- NYG
6 --- @BAL 15 --- PIT
7 --- @CIN 16 --- @ATL
8 --- DAL 17 --- @NO
9 Open Bye - - MON
CAR vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme 0 0 230,2
RB DeShaun Foster 80,1 20 0
RB DeAngelo Williams 60,1 10 0
TE Kris Mangum 0 10 0
WR Steve Smith 0 110,1 0
WR Drew Carter 0 20 0
WR Keyshawn Johnson 0 50,1 0
PK John Kasay 1 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Panthers come off two straight wins but each was by three points or less and TB and NO may not be considered the cream of the NFL crop. Then again, the Browns hardly qualify either. Steve Smith is back in gear and evidently has brought the team along with him. The only thing missing now is a big defensive effort that has yet to be seen from the Panthers yet this year.

Quarterback: After two lackluster weeks to open the season, Jake Delhomme is back on track with three touchdowns in the last two games though he only had 169 yards against the Saints last Sunday. The rushing game came to life and that depressed the passing numbers with only a season low 29 passes attempted. That could easily happen again this week.

Running Backs: DeShaun Foster comes off his first non-Atlanta match-up with over 100 rushing yards since 2004. Foster ran for 105 yards and a score against the Saints thanks to a 43-yard run in the fourth quarter. That was his first score on the season and more typically he is hanging around the 60 yards he would have had without that one run. DeAngelo Williams looked better with eight carries for 62 yards which included runs of 31 and 27 yards. The duo continues to be mixed with Foster the primary so far.

Wide Receivers: After just two games played. Steve Smith has efforts of 112 and 87 yards with one touchdown. He has 17 catches over the last two games and looks every bit as dangerous as he was last year. This return has not impacted Keyshawn Johnson though as he too has one score and games of 97 and 63 yards during that stretch. Drew Carter continues to be good for only one catch per game but last week it was a touchdown.

Tight Ends: Another week passes without a catch from this position.

Match Against the Defense: The Browns defense has been gashed for big rushing yardage in both road games this year and if Lamont Jordan can look good, then Foster/Williams should come up stellar this week. Expect a nice total rushing yard game here that will be split between the two and with at least one rushing score.

Delhomme goes against a secondary that has allowed at least one passing score each week and normally well over 200 yards in each game. That could end up about where Delhomme will be this week unless the Browns can somehow slow down the rushing attack and force the Panthers to throw - which they probably do not want to do anyway with a healthy Steve Smith. Look for the Panthers to gain a much needed big win in this game because week six is in Baltimore. This needs to be a big showing with all the pieces of the offense finally coming together.