Game Predictions & Player Projections - ARI vs. CLE

Game Predictions & Player Projections - ARI vs. CLE


Game Predictions & Player Projections - ARI vs. CLE

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Prediction: ARI 27, CLE 10 (Line: ARI by 6)

UPDATE: Josh McCown is questionable but may play this week. HC Mike Pettine said he might end up playing both quarterbacks so there is no safe play here let alone one that makes sense for a fantasy team. Andrew Hawkins has been held out because of his concussion. John Brown missed all practices other than a limited Friday and is questionable to play. He could suit up and this is his ongoing hamstring issues. But I am lowering his projections because of his risk.

The 5-2 Cardinals come off a short week having just beaten the Ravens on Monday night and they are 2-1 on the road. The 2-5 Browns are just 1-2 at home and may be relying on Johnny Manziel this week. The Cardinals are never as productive away from Arizona but they should be at least this good.

Arizona Cardinals

1 NO 31-19 10 @SEA ——
2 @CHI 48-23 11 CIN ——
3 SF 47-7 12 @SF ——
4 STL 22-24 13 @STL ——
5 @DET 42-17 14 MIN ——
6 @PIT 13-25 15 @PHI ——
7 BAL 26-18 16 GB ——
8 @CLE —— 17 SEA ——
9 BYE ——  
News | Statistics | Roster
ARI @ CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 290,2
RB Andre Ellington 30 3-20
RB Chris Johnson 120,1 1-10
WR John Brown 4-50
WR Larry Fitzgerald 7-100,1
WR Michael Floyd 5-60,1
TE Jermaine Gresham 2-20
PK Chandler Catanzaro 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals only have this game before their bye and already own a two game lead in the NFC West. Aside from the fluky loss in Pittsburgh, the Cardinals are hitting on all cylinders and presenting a very balanced offense. Even more advantageous, the passing effort doesn’t revolve around just one primary wideout though Larry Fitzgerald is having a revival of sorts. John Brown already is a deadly weapon and now Michael Floyd is starting to return to his previous form. Notable as well – two of the three highest scoring games came on the road.

QUARTERBACK : Carson Palmer has yet to turn in a bad game. He’s thrown 16 touchdowns against five interceptions and topped 300 yards four times though three came at home. Though he occasionally relies on a running back for receptions, the bulk of his passing always goes through the three wide receivers and at least one of them catches a score in every game.

RUNNING BACK : Chris Johnson comes off his best game of the year – 122 yards and one a score on 18 runs – though that was greatly aided by the 62 yards he gained on one play when the Ravens thought he was already down. It is a bit concerning that all three of his touchdowns this year came in home games and he is much less productive away from Arizona. But he ran for 103 yards on 11 carries in Detroit so he can break long runs to make up fantasy points. Johnson’s stats are limited since he rarely catches the ball.

Andre Ellington and David Johnson both mix in though not enough to merit any fantasy consideration. But both had scored twice on the year and have the occasional long play.

WIDE RECEIVER : This is the #1 unit in the NFL. Larry Fitzgerald turned in an uncharacteristic 39 yards and no score in the win over the Ravens but otherwise has been solid in every game and scored six times already. Fitzgerald generally will have the most targets. John Brown scored three times so far and has only topped 75 yards in one game but he is consistent with 60 to 70 yards each week. He supplies the deep speed that stretches the defense. Brown is playing with injuries to both hamstrings but that has yet to noticeably slow him down.

Michael Floyd was quiet this season while playing with the effects of a gruesome injury to his fingers but he scored in each of the last two games and totaled over 50 yards in three of the last four weeks. He’s asserting a bigger role and only serves to make the passing offense even more deadly though that has impacted the amount of production from Fitzgerald and Brown.

TIGHT END : No fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This is a strong start for Chris Johnson versus the #32 defense against running backs. The Browns have allowed every opposing primary runner to top 90 yards against them and most score at least once if not twice. Joe Haden was out last week with a concussion so his status is not certain for Week 8. He’d match on Michael Floyd anyway and he’s been the least productive wideout for the Cards. The Browns secondary is only average and the Broncos posted 100 yard games from both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders there anyway. Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown are all must starts.

Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 8 3 1 24 7 4
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 14 32 14 12 23 31

Cleveland Browns

1 @NYJ 10-31 10 @PIT ——
2 TEN 28-14 11 BYE ——
3 OAK 20-27 12 BAL ——
4 @SD 27-30 13 CIN ——
5 @BAL 33-30 14 SF ——
6 DEN 23-26 15 @SEA ——
7 @STL 6-24 16 @KC ——
8 ARI —— 17 PIT ——
9 @CIN ——  
News | Statistics | Roster
CLE vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh McCown 100
RB Isaiah Crowell 30 2-10
RB Duke Johnson 20 7-60
WR Brian Hartline 3-20
TE Gary Barnidge 3-30
PK Travis Coons 1 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Browns brutal schedule continues with the Cardinals up this week and then heading to Cincinnati in Week 9. The problem for the offense this week is that only two players on the offense have been productive this season. Travis Benjamin who matches on CB Patrick Peterson and Gary Barnidge facing the #1 defense against tight ends. Throw in the chance for Johnny Manziel to start and this looks like one of the uglier home games of the year.

QUARTERBACK : Josh McCown injured his shoulder and is considered day-to-day. He is not going to practice on Wednesday and his status won’t be determined until later in the week. I will assume that he cannot play and update as needed. McCown is much more productive than Johnny Manziel though primarily with just the two receivers mentioned above. McCown has turned in three games with over 300 yards but all came against below average secondaries.

RUNNING BACK : The Browns rushing offense gets a little worse almost every week. All combined they have only one rushing touchdown this year and Isaiah Crowell’s 72 yards in that Week 2 game is the tops for the season. Crowell’s stats have declined weekly and he only ran for nine yards on eight carries in the loss to the Rams. The only positive development is that Duke Johnson is getting more work as the receiving back and comes off a seven-catch, 73 yard effort last week. The Browns insist on mixing in three or more running backs every week so the fantasy value here is limited to a risky play of Johnson in a reception points league.

WIDE RECEIVER : This unit is all about Travis Benjamin who not only scored all four touchdowns caught by a wideout this season, but he has yet to score since Week 3. Benjamin has been solid in almost every game though he was held to only 47 yards on four catches by the Rams last week. Andrew Hawkins suffered a concussion in that game and may not clear protocol in time for this matchup. He’s rarely worth more than 30 yards per week anyway. Brian Hartline is the other starter and yet he has only five catches for 34 from the last four games combined. It either happens with Benjamin here or it does not happen at all.

TIGHT END : Gary Barnidge freakishly good season continues with his third 100 yard effort during the loss to the Rams. He leads the Browns with five touchdowns and has yet to turn in a bad game for the last five weeks. That may change with tougher opposing defenses on the horizon.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: As mentioned, this game could be ugly. The only strengths of the offense are the best strengths of the defense. Add in the specter of Manziel playing and there are no recommended starts this week. Each player carries more risk of a bad game than any upside of even an average showing. Manziel only threw two scores this year and both went to Benjamin who is covered by Patrick Peterson. The only bad games by Barnidge came when Manziel was playing. Duke Johnson is a desperation play hoping for plenty of dump-offs in a reception league which could happen.

Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 10 26 20 3 16 21
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 9 8 16 1 20 3

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