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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 16
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Friday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday
Monday
*Updated

Prediction: OAK 23, CLE 20

Update: Justin Fargas new mains unlikely to play this week because of his sprained knee and Zach Miller is no lock to play though he has not be counted out yet. He has been given medical clearance to play after his concussion but is still considered questionable and is a risk to reply on.

This would have been a hard game to call before last week. Now it is almost impossible. The Raiders beat the Broncos - in Denver no less - thanks to JaMarcus Russell's final drive in the game. The Browns come off a big win in Kansas City. The only apparent limiting factor to this game is that the Raiders have never scored more than 27 points in any game.

This game also features - or maybe it doesn't - the two runners from last week that had been written off by both their own teams and fantasy owners before exploding last week.

Oakland Raiders (5-9)
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 SD 20-24 +9.5 43
2 @KC 13-10 +4 41
3 DEN 3-23 +1.5 35.5
4 @HOU 6-29 +9.5 41
5 @NYG 7-44 +16.5 40.5
6 PHI 13-9 +14 40.5
7 NYJ 0-38 +6 34
8 @SD 16-24 +16 41.5
9 BYE - - -
10 KC 10-16 -1 37
11 CIN 20-17 +9 36
12 @DAL 7-24 +13.5 40.5
13 @PIT 27-24 +14.5 37
14 WAS 13-34 +1 37.5
15 @DEN 20-19 +13.5 37
16 @CLE - +3.5 37
17 BAL - - -
OAK at CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Charlie Frye     200,1
RB Darren McFadden 60 30  
RB Michael Bush 60,1 10  
TE Zach Miller   50,1  
WR Louis Murphy   30  
WR Johnnie Lee Higgins   20  
WR Chaz Schilens   40  
PK S. Janikowski 3 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: In the grand scheme of things, last week's win doesn't change much but it was perhaps the greatest moment of for Oakland fans in a year with precious few positive ones. And yet the surreal drive by Jamarcus Russell that won the game hasn't resulted in him getting any more starts and really it only worsens the franchise's draft slot. Then again, this is not a team that needs to burn yet another early first round pick on a bust player.

Quarterback: HC Tom Cable has already announced that Charlie Frye returns to being the starter this week assuming that his mild concussion does not hold him out. JaMarcus Russell replaced him on the final Raiders' possession last week and with five completions, he drove the field and tossed the game winning touchdown. But one series against an entire season of flops is hardly enough to compensate. Russell received the game ball last week. He should probably treasure that moment.

The Raiders will go with Frye this week but he only started last week and was 9 of 17 for 68 yards in the game with one interception. The Raiders are going to go as run heavy as they can and that makes all Oakland quarterbacks as poor fantasy choices.

The Browns are plenty bad at stopping both the run and pass but no reason to expect the Raiders to change.

Running Backs: Justin Fargas sprained his knee last week and was replaced by Michael Bush who had fallen from all favor with the head coach and had only four carries in the previous two games combined. But with the opportunity, Bush rushed for 133 yards and a score in Denver on 18 carries. Darren McFadden tacked on 74 yards on 12 runs for his season best game as well. If Fargas is healthy this week he will resume his role as starter and send Bush back to obscurity. I will assume that Fargas sits this one out and update as warranted.

The Browns are horrible against running backs though slightly better when at home. Only two runners have topped 100 rushing yards there though many tacked on receiving yards and the Browns have surrendered 19 total touchdowns to the position. Expect at least a decent game here that could grow big.

Wide Receivers: Chaz Schilens caught the game winning score last week but he only had five catches for 37 yards in the game and that led all wideouts since Louis Murphy only managed 21 yards on two receptions and Johnnie Lee Higgins had just one catch for 12 yards. I like a passing score to a wideout this week but which player would catch it is a coin toss. The entire unit only has seven touchdowns on the season and Murphy leads the team with three.

As attractive as the Browns secondary may seem, no wideout here is a safe play.

Tight Ends: Zach Miller has maintained his value to the team as the primary receiver and led all receivers with 46 yards on seven catches last week. He has not been less than 43 yards for the past month but only has two scores on the season. Tight ends have been the weakness of the Browns secondary so Miller stands a decent shot at the passing score this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 32 27 32 18 26 29
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 26 30 9 28 29 24


Cleveland Browns (3-11)
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 MIN 20-34 +3.5 40
2 @DEN 6-27 +3 37
3 @BAL 3-34 +13 38.5
4 CIN 20-23 +5.5 38
5 @BUF 6-3 +6 40
6 @PIT 14-27 +14 38
7 GB 3-31 +9.5 41.5
8 @CHI 6-30 +11.5 39.5
9 BYE - - -
10 BAL 0-16 +11 39
11 @DET 37-38 +3.5 37.5
12 @CIN 7-16 +12 39.5
13 SD 23-30 +13.5 42.5
14 PIT 13-6 +10 34
15 @KC 41-34 +1 39
16 OAK - -3.5 37
17 JAC - - -
CLE vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Derek Anderson     160
RB Jerome Harrison 90,1 20  
WR M. Massaquoi   30  
WR Josh Cribs 50,1 20  
WR Chansi Stuckey   40  
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: It is a safe bet on Sunday morning that no one in Cleveland woke up expecting to see the #3 rushing performance of all time. And no one would have expected that to come from Jerome Harrison. With only three wins on the year, the Browns have not been hiding a secret weapon for any strategic reason. The last two games are home stands against losing record teams. Imagine the Browns ending on a three game winning streak.

Quarterback: The Browns scored 41 points last week but that came from rushing and two special teams scores. Brady Quinn only passed for 66 yards and two interceptions. He has only scored in three of his eight starts this year though he had four and three touchdowns when he was passing well. Quinn has since landed on injured reserve because of an injury to his left foot. That installs Derek Anderson back as the starter for the final two games.

The Raiders on the road have allowed the opposing quarterback to score in every game though never more than twice and while the yardage has been high lately, the Raiders have faced many of the best passing teams - hardly akin to the Browns.

Anderson may throw for one score but no more and even that is tough to rely on.

Running Backs: Jerome Harrison shocked the fantasy world when he rushed for 286 yards and three scores on 34 carries in the third best performance of all time and nearly 50 yards better than Jim Brown's previous franchise record. The Browns had relied in Chris Jennings as the primary back the previous week with decent results against the Steelers. There had been talk about using Josh Cribbs as a running back. But Harrison only had nine touches for 19 yards the previous week compared to 73 and a score on 20 runs by Jennings. Cribbs had 87 yards on eight runs that week as well. Harrison truly came from nowhere to accomplish what he did. He had no rushing scores in any other game this year. Now he has three.

Assumedly setting NFL and team records buys Harrison a week as the starter but with HC Eric Mangini there is no guarantee and will always be risk.

The Raiders rushing defense is their main weakness and no doubt where the Browns will focus their energy. But they have only allowed a high of 110 rushing yards to a runner in an away game and as recently as last week held Knowshon Moreno to only 42 yards on 19 carries. Harrison deserves a fantasy start this week but he's no lock for a big game.

Wide Receivers: No changes here. If anything good is going to happen, it will be through Mohamed Massaquoi but even he has only one catch in four of the last six games. The entire unit only has four touchdowns on the season. No reason to expect anything good this week versus a decent Raiders secondary.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 31 30 30 30 30 23
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 16 28 16 3 30 23

The Huddle
WEEK 16
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Friday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday
Monday
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