Game Predictions & Player Projections - CLE vs. WAS

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: CLE 20, WAS 24 (Line: WAS by 9.5, O/U = 45.5)

The 0-3 Browns are in familiar territory and hit the road for the third time in four games. The 1-2 Redskins still haven't won a home game but are improving each week. This is the best matchup for the Redskins this year and a chance - if only this week - to appease the hometown fans.

Cleveland Browns

1 @PHI 10-29 10 @BAL ---
2 BAL 20-25 11 PIT ---
3 @MIA 24-30 12 NYG ---
4 @WAS --- 13 BYE ---
5 NE --- 14 CIN ---
6 @TEN --- 15 @BUF ---
7 @CIN --- 16 SD ---
8 NYJ --- 17 @PIT ---
9 DAL ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
CLE @ WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Cody Kessler 240,1
RB Isaiah Crowell 80,1 2-10
RB Duke Johnson Jr. 30 4-30
WR Kenny Britt 5-60
WR Sammie Coates 4-60

Pregame Notes: The Browns are now losing kickers since Patrick Murray injured his knee in last Friday's walk-through and landed on injured reserve. Cody Parkey was quickly signed to replace him. The Browns offense is slowly improving though with different players each week since injuries have already hit the offense hard. The schedule doesn't get any better either since the only home game between now and Week 8 is hosting the Patriots. The Browns will win a game, eventually, but for now they are still trying to have the current set of starters all get on the same page. This is the first time a quarterback has made it to the next week.

QUARTERBACK : Cody Kessler gets the starting nod for two straight weeks but his 244 yards and no scores in Miami were no difference maker and he's starting mainly because there is nothing better on the roster or in free agency. To his credit, he hooked up with Terrelle Pryor in impressive fashion and even rekindled Gary Barnidge's role as the last resort receiver.

RUNNING BACK : Isaiah Crowell followed up his debut against the Eagles when he scored and gained 62 yards on 12 runs with an impressive showing of 133 yards and a score on 18 carries versus the visiting Ravens. Last week he was limited to 79 rush yards on 15 carries while the Browns spend more time passing the ball. He is averaging 6.1 yards per carry and adds an entirely new dimension to the offense. Duke Johnson even managed 69 yards on ten carries but only gained 12 yards on his five receptions. Johnson looked quick and elusive but was only used three times as a runner in each of the first two weeks. His role as a receiver has been marginal as well making him a very low end fantasy start and only in reception point leagues.

WIDE RECEIVER : With Corey Coleman out, Andrew Hawkins was promoted but still only caught two short passes. Ricardo Louis accounted for 40 yards on three catches but last week was all about Terrelle Pryor and his breakout game. The ex-quarterback became the first Brown in 39 years to throw a pass (3 of 5 for 25 yards), rush the ball (4-21, TD) and catch a pass (8-144). He was even sacked once. Pryor won't surprise anyone from now on but he is bringing a new weapon to an offense that is in dire need of any difference makers. It would be unusual for the Browns to continue to use him in so many ways only because "gimmicks" never last long. But he was a fantasy gem last week and the Browns are certain to keep trying it until it doesn't work anymore.

TIGHT END : Cody Kessler relied on Gary Barnidge for the second highest targets (6) and last year's surprise start ended with a season best five catches for 66 yards. A lack of other weapons and a rookie quarterback is just the recipe for Barnidge to resume his productive ways of 2015.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Redskins left cornerback Bashaud Breeland suffered a high ankle sprain last week and likely won't play this week. His natural match would be on Terrelle Pryor (though they moved him around last week). CB Josh Norman would be wasted on Andrew Hawkins though. With Coleman out and Josh Gordon not yet back, Pryor is the only wideout of any consequence and that begs for Norman even if he doesn't typically move around.

The Redskins have been very weak against running backs and given up six rushing scores in only three games. That bodes well for Crowell who should score at least once and turn in moderate to good yardage. Barnidge faces a defense that has not allowed a tight end to score but has not faced any decent receiving tight ends so far.

Crowell, Barnidge and even Pryor should be considered. The Redskins have allowed at least one opposing wideout to break 100 yards in every game this year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 31 11 22 29 29 12
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 21 28 30 12 24 9

Washington Redskins

1 PIT 16-38 10 MIN ---
2 DAL 23-27 11 GB ---
3 @NYG 29-27 12 @DAL ---
4 CLE --- 13 @ARI ---
5 @BAL --- 14 @PHI ---
6 PHI --- 15 CAR ---
7 @DET --- 16 @CHI ---
8 @CIN --- 17 NYG ---
9 BYE ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
WAS vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Kirk Cousins 300,2
RB Chris Thompson 20 3-20
WR Jamison Crowder 5-50
WR Terrelle Pryor Sr. 20 6-80
TE Jordan Reed 7-90,1
PK Dustin Hopkins 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: This is as good as any game will get this year. Every other home game will be against one of the top teams in the league and the Skins are not good enough on defense to weather the storm by even an average offense. The passing yardage is high but the scoring is not and there is minimal rushing support as expected. Even Jordan Reed has disappointed. Whatever the Skins can accomplish this week could be a high water mark for the year.

QUARTERBACK : Kirk Cousins is throwing for nearly 300 yards in every game but tossed just three touchdowns in total against three interceptions. The yardage is there and Cousins is spreading his passes around but the Skins are not getting the scores. Last week was an improvement with two passing touchdowns versus the Giants and it was the first time without any turnovers. But Cousins has not met expectations this year.

RUNNING BACK : Matt Jones plods along and he did turn in 65 yards on 13 runs last week for a season best. He has just one score though and offers nearly no production as a receiver. Chris Thompson offers minimal help as well with only a few carries per week and never more than three catches. Thompson was catching up to eight passes per game last year but has not been used in that capacity so far.

WIDE RECEIVER : DeSean Jackson comes off his second good game of the year when he caught five passes for 96 yards and a score in the win over the Giants. He is still sporting a 17 yard average and remains the deep threat in this offense. Jamison Crowder doesn't turn in big games but he has not ended with a bad one yet. He's topped out at just 78 yards but scored in each of the last two games for two of the three scoring passes thrown this year. Pierre Garcon has become just a mediocre part of the rotation. Josh Doctson had the one long catch in Week 2 but was inactive for last Sunday's game.

TIGHT END : Jordan Reed has not been terrible. But he has yet to gain more than 70 yards in any game and still hasn't scored. His yardage and catches prop up his fantasy value but the lack ot touchdowns means he has not been a difference maker this year.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Cousins has passed for 300 yards or so every week and the Browns are allowing the exact same with at least two scores for every opposing quarterback. Expect a good game from Cousins and one that should see Reed finally get back to the endzone. Joe Haden should match on DeSean Jackson but the cornerback is dealing with a strained groin that made him inactive last week and they will move Jackson around if needed since he is the only big threat on the outside.

This home game should provide a rushing score as well which most likely ends up with Matt Jones. But the backfield is marginal at best and even this matchup cannot be relied on for more than moderate yardage.

Jackson and Reed are must starts every week anyway. Jones and Cousins both offer upside though with the risk of a very average set of stats.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 17 27 9 7 1 15
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 24 19 29 25 23 20

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