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David Dorey
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WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

Prediction: CLE 3, PIT 20 (Line: OFF)

Players to Watch: Emmanuel Sanders

This is a replay of week 12 when the Browns won 20-14 in Cleveland. But the 5-10 Browns are only 1-6 on the road and the 7-8 Steelers need this win to avoid a losing season. Both teams are having a bad year though it is nothing new for the Browns who have already won one more game than last year. It was no worse than the last five seasons. The Steelers have not had a losing season in ten years and that was four years before Mike Tomlin took over. This is all new to the current Steelers. This will be a cold game with a chance of snow.

Cleveland Browns
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PHI 16-17 10 BYE -----
2 @CIN 27-34 11 @DAL 20-23
3 BUF 14-24 12 PIT 20-14
4 @BAL 16-23 13 @OAK 20-17
5 @NYG 27-41 14 KC 30-7
6 CIN 34-24 15 WAS 21-38
7 @IND 13-17 16 @DEN 12-34
8 SD 7-6 17 @PIT -----
9 BAL 15-25 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Rod Streater 4-30

Pregame Notes: The year may have not been a major step forward, but at least the Browns are ending with more points scored than any other time in the last five years. The defense has been instrumental in keeping the team in games and keeping overall scoring lower. This is a team moving in the right direction but they are not breaking any speed records getting to where they want to be.

Brandon Weeden will likely not play this week because of his shoulder injury that kept him out last week. But he has thrown for a respectable 3385 yards and 14 touchdowns with 17 interceptions. Nothing awe-inspiring but considering Colt McCoy led them last year with 1576 yards and six touchdowns... Weeden wasn't all that bad.

The Browns have a storied history of crappy quarterbacks with recent inclusions of Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, Colt McCoy and Charlie Frye over the last seven years. This week McCoy is not a lock to play because of his shoulder and may end up letting practice squad player Thaddeus Lewis take the start. And yes, things can always get worse.

Trent Richardson injured his ankle last week but it is not as serious as first feared when he was in a walking boot. He's questionable for the final game and I will assume he plays a limited role and update if needed. He's a risk this week and may end up with Montario Hardesty helping out or even taking the start. I'll project for Richardson but playing in Pittsburgh is going to be tough anyway. Richardson ran for 85 yards on 29 carries and scored once in the first meeting. He even added 27 yards on four catches. He was on a four game scoring streak until last week.

Mohamed Massaquoi was placed on injured reserve because of his knee. Greg Little scored last week for only the third time all year and was held to one catch for six yards against the Steelers in week 12. Josh Gordon went for 60 yards on four receptions in that game. Weeden only passed for 158 yards and one score in that game. On the road, there is no Browns player worthy of a start this week aside from potentially Richardson who will not have a great game in Pittsburgh even if he is completely healthy.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 27 20 22 24 16 13
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 1 2 6 7 17 25

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Baker Mayfield, CLE @DEN 0000030011 ***
The Broncos have gone in different directions with the strength of their defense over the last six or so weeks. The run D has stiffened, and the pass defense has struggled mightily in the last five games. No team has yielded more passing yards per game (357), but only one in 19 completions has scored a TD (sixth-lowest frequency). Mayfield should produce respectable stats for owners able or required to field two quarterbacks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Nick Chubb, CLE @DEN 8013400000 ***
Chubb has scored in five straight games and six of the last seven. He has only one game with more than 85 yards in that time on the ground, but his aerial work has helped offset the limited rushing gains. Denver has been night and day better against RBs since giving up 200-yard rushers in consecutive games. Since Week 6, no RB has scored on the ground, and only once it has come through the air. That includes several quality rushing attacks (ARI, KC, HOU, LAC, PIT, CIN, SF). This one could go either way, but Chubb deserves the benefit of the doubt at this stage.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Callaway, CLE @DEN 003601000 ***
Callaway is far to erratic to trust with anything of consequence at stake. The rookie saw only one target and caught it for zero yards against a fantastic matchup last week, and he has only one game with more than three catches since Week 8. The matchup with Denver is prime for success, but can you trust him?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarvis Landry, CLE @DEN 005700000 ***
After a fairly quiet stretch, Landry has reemerged as a fantasy asset in recent weeks, landing a 6-103-0 line in Week 13 and scoring his first TD since Week 7 against the Panthers in Week 14. This time around, Denver is the target. Their secondary has regressed enough to make Landry a sure bet for double figures. The top scorer for each opponent this year has been no worse than 13.6 PPR points, and Denver has faced several horrendous passing offenses.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Breshad Perriman, CLE @DEN 002300000 ***
Perriman is not a fantasy thing, especially for owners in the playoffs. He has five targets in his last three games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE David Njoku, CLE @DEN 004500000 ***
No team has allowed more yardage to tight ends than Denver this year, and Njoku faces a defense that has permitted the third-most catches per game in the last five weeks. Erratic play is a concern, but he is a quality play for gamers willing to take the chance.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Joseph, CLE @DEN 2222 ***
No writeup available

Pittsburgh Steelers
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DEN 19-31 10 KC 16-13
2 NYJ 27-10 11 BAL 10-13
3 @OAK 31-34 12 @CLE 14-20
4 BYE ----- 13 @BAL 23-20
5 PHI 16-14 14 SD 24-34
6 @TEN 23-26 15 @DAL 24-27
7 @CIN 24-17 16 CIN 10-13
8 WAS 27-12 17 CLE -----
9 @NYG 24-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 250,1
RB Stevan Ridley 80,1
WR Antonio Brown 5-50
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 3-30

Pregame Notes: No other way to paint the year other than a colossal disappointment for a team that went 12-4 for the last two seasons.This year the offense was supposed to be better and more pass-oriented. It succeeded in not being a run-oriented offense. The best of any runner is Jonathan Dwyer and his 571 rushing yards. While Roethlisberger has improved slightly with touchdowns - 23 over the 21 from last year - he also missed three games and only has 3131 passing yards on the year. Roethlisberger did not play in the first meeting with the Browns this year and Charlie Batch was the starter for that loss.

Roethlisberger has openly questioned the play calling by OC Todd Haley though they claim to have made up now. This has never been a good scoring team and have not managed more than 27 points for 11 weeks now.

The rushing effort has rarely been reliable or productive this year with four running backs often taking carries in each week and even in the first meeting, Dwyer led with only nine runs for 19 yards. Rashard Mendenhall carried four times for six yards and Isaac Redman went seven yards on his two runs. Chris Rainey carried for five runs and gained 17 yards plus the one rushing score. It has been largely that sort of mess all year. Dwyer is the best of the bunch but it doesn't mean much with mo more than 50 yards for the last five weeks.

More bad news - Heath Miller blew his ACL and will miss this final week and get the surgery. He'll be a big 30-year old tight end trying to rehab his knee which means he's likely to be less effective in 2013 and beyond.

Mike Wallace will also possibly miss this week with a strained hip that kept him out of practices. Mike Wallace was held to only one catch for nine yards - with Batch throwing the ball. Antonio Brown was unable to play in that game and Emmanuel Sanders was tops with his 79 yards on five catches. Brown has been on a roll lately with three straight games of catching a touchdown pass.

This is a cold game, maybe snowing. The Browns are using a banged up quarterback or a practice squad player so this all favors the Steelers even without Miller or Wallace. But the overall score is likely to remain low and the only plays here are Roethlisberger, Dwyer and Brown assuming Haden doesn't switch sides and slam-dance with him for the entire game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 14 23 17 5 15 27
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 22 26 28 2 6 12

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT NE 20100032021 ***
Big Ben (ribs) is expected to play through injury as the Patriots come to town. The last time they met, Roethlisberger went for 281-2-1 in Week 15 of 2017. New England has given up seven passing TDs in the last four games and 242.5 (15th), on average, since Week 9. Ryan Tannehill went for 26.6 points last week, which was the most since Week 7. Roethlisberger is a strong QB1 for most scenarios.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jaylen Samuels, PIT NE 4008600000 ***
Samuels is a fringe play in deep leagues or, better yet, DFS contests. There is a chance James Conner returns from his ankle injury, but the matchup isn't great either way. The Pats have allowed four touchdowns on the ground in the last four contests (2 to Brandon Bolden). Kenyan Drake is credited with the 55-yard TD on the game-winning lateral last week, so this is really a much worse opponent to face than the recent data would indicate.

Update: Conner is questionable and unlikely to play after just one practice session, which was limited, after suffering the ankle sprain nearly three weeks ago.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Brown, PIT NE 0071201000 ***
New England has granted 15 TDs to wideouts in 13 games this year, and five of them have come in the last five weeks over 50 receptions. The overall matchup trends negative, though. Brown was basically eliminated from the game plan last year (2-24-0) and suffered an injury that kept him out until the playoffs. He didn't score in the two matchups in 2016.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT NE 004701000 ***
The second-year receiver has scored four times in his last five games and has a trio of 100-plus-yard games in that window. He was good for a healthy 6-114-0 line against the Pats in Week 15 last year and should be considered a strong play in any fantasy environment.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vance McDonald, PIT NE 003400000 ***
McDonald has only 11 grabs in his last three games and hasn't topped 40 yards in a month. He has just one TD in that four-game stretch and none in the last three weeks. The Patriots gave up big plays to the tight end last year vs. the Steelers, but Jesse James was the man. Over the course of 2018, New England has been neutral against tight ends.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chris Boswell, PIT NE 2233 **
No writeup available

WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

a d v e r t i s e m e n t