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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
*updated

Prediction: BUF 14, CLE 20

Update: Joe Jurevicius has been unable to practice this week because of his knee and was limited to one catch in the Jets game last week. I am removing him from the projections though he has not been declared out and may play. A very big concern is that Cleveland is forecasted for snow before and during the game with sub-freezing temperatures and winds up to 22 miles per hour. Both teams have experience playing in cold games but this should be bad conditions that has to affect the passing game at least partially and possibly dramatically. I am slightly lowering some projections from concerns about the weather and changing the score.

This match-up actually has some implications that both teams are well aware of. This is sort of a playoff game of sorts since both teams are in strong contention for the final wildcard spot in the AFC and a win by the Bills drags the Browns down to the same record. A win by the Browns keeps them one game ahead of the Titans and realistically kills any playoff hopes for the Bills. The Browns are 5-1 at home this year though while the Bills are only 3-3 on the road.

Buffalo Bills (7-6)
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
AstroTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DEN 14-15 +3.5 37
2 @PIT 3-26 +10 37.5
3 @NE 7-38 +16.5 41
4 NYJ 17-14 +3 37.5
5 DAL 24-25 +10 42
6 BYE - - -
7 BAL 19-14 +3 35
8 @NYJ 13-3 +3 37
9 CIN 33-21 +1 43.5
10 @MIA 13-10 -3 41
11 NE 10-56 +15.5 46.5
12 @JAC 14-36 +7.5 36
13 @WAS 17-16 +5.5 37
14 MIA 38-17 -7.5 36.5
15 @CLE   +5.5 45
16 NYG 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 @PHI 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
BUF at CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Edwards     190,1
RB Marshawn Lynch 80,1    
RB Fred Jackson 60 20  
TE Robert Royal   20  
WR Lee Evans   70,1  
WR Josh Reed   40  
WR Roscoe Parrish   40  
PK Rian Lindell   2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Bills have caught fire this year and are 6-2 over their last eight games. The home finale' against the Giants is followed by a trip to Philly, so even a win here doesn't mean the Bills necessarily make the playoffs. But the foundation for next year is certainly being laid with Marshawn Lynch and Trent Edwards and the defense is only a couple of players away from being formidable.

Quarterback: Trent Edwards will certainly remember last week since he threw for four scores against the Dolphins. He only completed 11 of 23 passes for 165 yards but in one game he quadrupled his career touchdown mark since his five previous starts only produced one score. He also remains under 175 passing yards in almost every game since there is no receiver of note on this team other than Lee Evans. Playing the Browns this week should help him stay on the scoring track.

Running Backs: The good news for all Marshawn Lynch owners is that he returned from a three game absence and ran for 107 yards on 23 carries on Sunday. The bad news is that Fred Jackson gained 115 yards on 15 runs and the coaching staff is loving this new committee backfield. Expect both players to split carries from here on out until one is injured or clearly outplays the other. That should happen eventually, but for the rest of the season, Lynch owners are going to get shorted.

Wide Receivers: While Lee Evans only had two catches last week, he gained 79 yards and both went for touchdowns. That ended a four game scoring drought for Evans who had been averaging only around 45 yards per game over the last month. Telling too is that Edwards threw for four touchdowns and yet Evans was the only wideout with any scores or more than 30 yards in the game. That now gives Evans three games with any decent production this year and the first time he has caught a touchdown from Edwards.

Tight Ends: Robert Royal had the other two scores last week on his three catches for 46 yards and with another score back in week nine, he is actually the leading scorer among receivers while Edwards is the starter. Unfortunately, he only averages around 20 yards per week and has no reliable fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: The Bills backfield may be split now, but facing the Browns should continue to make that palatable to Lynch owners. Expect a decent rushing game here but likely no touchdowns from the ground game since the Browns have only allowed three rushing scores this year.

Edwards goes against a secondary that ranks among the worst in the league and despite having little more than Lee Evans, he should manage to post at least moderate numbers in this game. It's hard to dismiss the four previous weeks that Edwards did not throw a score in, but the Browns secondary is about as soft as it gets in the NFL and he should have at least one score if not two.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 30 22 25 21 23 12
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 32 12 32 31 32 10

 

Cleveland Browns (8-5)
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 PIT 7-34 +4.5 37
2 CIN 51-45 +7 41.5
3 @OAK 24-26 +3 40.5
4 BAL 27-13 +4 40
5 @NE 17-34 +15.5 48
6 MIA 41-31 -4 45
7 BYE - - -
8 @STL 27-20 -3 43.5
9 SEA 33-30 -1 47
10 @PIT 28-31 +9.5 47.5
11 @BAL 33-30 -2.5 43.5
12 HOU 27-17 -3.5 51
13 @ARI 21-27 +1 51.5
14 @NYJ 24-18 -3.5 47.5
15 BUF   -5.5 45
16 @CIN 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 SF 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
CLE vs BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Derek Anderson     210,1
RB Jamal Lewis 90,1 20  
TE Kellen Winslow   70  
WR Braylon Edwards   80,1  
WR Joe Jurevicius 40
WR Josh Cribbs   20  
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Browns remain in strong contention for the remaining wildcard and there should be little standing in their way to a 10-6 record at worst. The two remaining home games are against BUF and SF and the road trip sandwiched between then is in Cincinnati which should prove the bigger challenge. What's most beneficial for the Browns as the weather starts to get colder and windier is that Jamal Lewis has been running better thanks in no small part to an offensive line that finally has come together and not been decimated by injuries as in years past. The Browns are like the 2006 Saints - they have far more offense than anyone imagined, still have no defense and we all know they will not go far in the playoffs.

Quarterback: Derek Anderson continues his impressive run this year with scores in all but one game and multiple touchdowns in ten of thirteen games. Unlike many quarterbacks, his best games typically come at home and this week is only his second time in Cleveland in the last six weeks. The only time that Anderson has failed to throw for at least two scores is against the top secondaries in the league - SEA, PIT and BAL before they lost everyone.

Running Backs: While some may consider it a rejuvenation of his career, whatever the reason is, Jamal Lewis has been a big surprise for the second half of the season. Granted, he has scored seven rushing touchdowns since week nine, but almost all were one yard affairs thanks to Winslow constantly going down at the goal line but he has been running better without question. Much of this is the vastly improved play of the offensive line that has allowed only three sacks over the last six games as an example. What is perhaps most surprising of all is that Lewis has scored in each of the last two games via a catch. He never has more than three receptions for marginal yardage but now the bruiser is a receiver as well.

Wide Receivers: Say hello to the Pro Bowl, Mr. Edwards. With an amazing 13 touchdowns on the season, Braylon Edwards has been formally announced as one of the elite wideouts in the NFL and has scored in nine of 14 games this year including three times with two or three scores in a game. His yardage has waned in the last several games with only one 100 yard effort since week eight but he is a scoring machine. No other Cleveland wideout has scored since week five. Edwards has nine touchdowns since then.

Tight Ends: Kellen Winslow has been rather quiet for the last two weeks but for a good reason. He has been on the road where he rarely has more than 50 yards per game. At home this year, he has never had less than 83 yards per week and topped 100 yards in each of his last two games in Cleveland.

Match Against the Defense: The Bills rushing defense is an Achilles heel here, particularly in road games and Lewis has been running well as of late. Look for a solid effort here with at least one rushing score against the team that has given up seven touchdowns to running backs over just the last four games.

Anderson faces a secondary that has played much better this year but that still struggles against the better passing attacks. Six quarterbacks have already had 290+ passing yards against them this year so Anderson should have no trouble with at least a moderate showing here with two scores and a chance at a nice game if Lewis is somehow contained. Have to love Winslow back at home this week and love Edwards no matter where he is playing.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 5 9 10 5 6 19
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 25 25 25 16 20 3

The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
*updated

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