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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
December 27, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
ATL at PHI DET at DAL NE at TEN STL at MIN Sunday Nite
BUF at BAL OAK at NYJ updated GB at CHI

Prediction: CLE 13, HOU 20

Final game in a bad season for both teams but the Texans come off a win over the Colts while the Browns have lost their last three. This game favors the Texans thanks to the home venue but it's anyone's game in the battle between division cellar dwellers.

Update: Owen Daniels looks like a game time decision this week because of a sprained shoulder. I have lowered his projections and there is a chance that he will not play.

Cleveland Browns (4-11)
1 14-19 NO 10 17-13 @ATL
2 17-34 @CIN 11 20-24 PIT
3 14-15 BAL 12 0-30 CIN
4 24-21 @OAK 13 31-28 KC
5 12-20 @CAR 14 7-27 @PIT
6 Open Bye 15 17-27 @BAL
7 7-17 DEN 16 7-22 TB
8 20-13 NYJ 17 --- @HOU
9 25-32 @SD - - THU
CLE at HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Ken Dorsey 0 0 180,1
RB Reuben Droughns 60 10 0
TE Kellen Winslow 0 30 0
WR Joe Jurevicius 0 60,1 0
WR Braylon Edwards 0 50 0
WR Dennis Northcutt 0 20 0
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Browns made some progress this year with defense but mostly thanks to an offense that never pushed many opponents to score. Charlie Frye and the passing game may be getting a makeover and the addition of Joe Jurevicius had significantly less success then he enjoyed with the Seahawks in 2005. Still some gains were made with Kellen Winslow finally playing and Braylon Edwards showing why he was the first wideout drafted in 2005.

Quarterback: Derek Anderson placed very well for three games and had scored at least once against the Chiefs, Steelers and Ravens but then could not manage more than 123 yards against the visiting Buccaneers last week? It was that sort of weirdness in the league last Sunday. Anderson has been generally encouraging and could make next summer more interesting if training camp becomes an open competition between him and Frye. But a sprained shoulder has Anderson out this week and Ken Dorsey gets to take the final start for the Browns this year.

Running Backs: If there is one certainty going into the offseason, it has to be that Rueben Droughns is not the answer at tailback. Granted - the Browns attempt at upgrading their offensive line only resulted in a bigger IR list, but Droughns has only scored four times this year and only twice managed to top 100 rushing yards. IN most weeks he remained below 50. The early draft slot for Cleveland this year will at least consider a tailback if there is one there worthy of the pick.

Wide Receivers: The addition of Joe Jurevicius was no major addition to the passing game but he's been generally adequate this year. Braylon Edwards surprised everyone by played from week one after a knee injury ended his rookie season and he scored six times this season including three times in the last four weeks since Anderson has targeted him to the exclusion of all others. This is not a bad passing attack per se, just not a good one yet.

Tight Ends: Kellen Winslow rewarded the Browns for waiting around two years for him to play when he started the year out as one of the top tight ends in the league. By week ten, Winslow had three scores and 561 yards. But he has not scored since week eight and Anderson has almost entirely ignored him in preference for the wideouts. Now with Dorsey it's even less reliable.

Match Against the Defense: No doubt that the Texans are going to be feeling good after taking down the Colts last week and the Browns have to be dis-spirited after the thumping by the Buccaneers last week. There is nothing particularly special about the Texans defense to be sure other than they have played well against tight ends this year. Expect just an average game here by Droughns which means no score and just moderate rushing yardage.

Dorsey faces one of the weakest secondaries and should see some success. The scoring could go as high as two scores but one seems much more likely with the change in quarter back. The yardage gains should favor Jurevicius this week with the same match-up that Harrison has last Sunday.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 16 32 25 3 29 17
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 27 24 20 3 22 23


Houston Texans (5-10)
1 10-24 PHI 10 13-10 @JAX
2 24-43 @IND 11 21-24 BUF
3 15-31 WAS 12 11-26 @NYJ
4 17-15 MIA 13 23-14 @OAK
5 Open Bye 14 20-26 TEN
6 6-34 @DAL 15 7-40 @NE
7 27-7 JAX 16 27-24 IND
8 22-28 @TEN 17 --- CLE
9 10-14 @NYG - - -
HOU vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB David Carr 0 0 160,1
RB Ron Dayne 110,1 0 0
TE Owen Daniels 0 10 0
WR Andre Johnson 0 80,1 0
WR Eric Moulds 0 40 0
WR Kevin Walter 0 10 0
PK Kris Brown 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: Definitely a swinging pendulum for the Texans. Win in Oakland then lose to the visiting Titans. Get decimated by the Patriots and then beat the Colts. The rushing game with Ron Dayne has been working well for the last three weeks while the passing game has been nothing short of abysmal almost every week this year. Final game at home and Kubiak wants to end on a strong note in this one.

Quarterback: The Texans could have parted ways with David Carr last February but instead opted to extend his contract so that he could throw 11 touchdowns this year against 12 interceptions and seven lost fumbles. Carr has only scored in two of the last nine games and has not been above 165 yards for the last month. There is very reasonable speculation that the Texans will dump Carr in the offseason - after looking good for the first month, this passing game now makes Michael Vick look like Dan Marino.

Running Backs: Perhaps the Texans have settled, finally, on Ron Dayne as the starter. For the last four games he has ran for at least 87 yards in each and scored a total of five times including twice against the Colts when he had a season high 153 rushing yards - his only game over 100 yards. And if you think that Dayne will be the started for 16 games next year, you just have not been paying attention.

The Texans gave Chris Taylor eight carries last week and he gained 24 yards. He is certainly faster than Dayne (so likely are you) and it is just a sign that nothing is going to be certain in this backfield until a superstar emerges - if that ever happens.

Wide Receivers: Eric Moulds joined the team in the offseason and finally Andre Johnson had a decent complement. But after scoring in week one, Moulds has never seen the end zone since and remains under 50 yards in most games. Andre Johnson looked like he was having a banner year when he had four scores and four 100 yard games by mid-season but since then he's only scored once and his yardage has plummeted along with the perception that Carr is an NFL quality quarterback. Johnson is talented - no question. But this passing offense fell apart and even he cannot save it.

Tight Ends: Owen Daniels was the surprise rookie starter here and sent many fantasy teams scurrying to the waiver wire when he had scored five times in the first eight games. But he has done very little since mid-season along with the rest of the passing offense.

Match Against the Defense: The Browns rush defense is their weak link and no doubt Kubiak wants to end the year with Ron Dayne turning in a good game. Expect one score and good yardage in this game.

Carr needs a good game desperately here but nothing in the last two months says he is capable. The high side here should be one score and only moderate yardage but this could be the chance that Johnson has to finally score again.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 21 23 27 13 30 31
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 17 22 24 17 23 31