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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
November 8, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
GB at MIN NYJ at NE     Updated

Prediction: CLE 13, ATL 24

Interesting match-up that most won't watch. The Falcons were flying high until the Lions yanked them back to earth and now the Falcons trail the Saints by a game in the NFC South. The Browns are only 2-6 but have played far more competitively than their record suggests. Then again, most teams are not worrying too much when the Browns come to call.

Update: Jerious Norwood sprained his knee last week and has missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday. It appears likely that Norwood will miss this week and I am removing him from the projections and adding to Warrick Dunn who should be asked to carry a bigger load this week.

There are numerous players in this game listed as questionable - Alge Crumpler, Ashley Lelie, Joe Jurevicius, Kellen Winslow and Charlie Frye. Both Crumpler and Winslow missed part of Wednesday's practices but both attended full days on Thursday and all these players are expected to play.

Cleveland Browns (2-6)
1 14-19 NO 10 --- @ATL
2 17-34 @CIN 11 --- PIT
3 14-15 BAL 12 --- CIN
4 24-21 @OAK 13 --- KC
5 12-20 @CAR 14 --- @PIT
6 Open Bye 15 --- @BAL
7 7-17 DEN 16 --- TB
8 20-13 NYJ 17 --- @HOU
9 25-32 @SD - - THU
CLE at ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Charlie Frye 0 0 190,1
RB Reuben Droughns 40 10 0
TE Kellen Winslow 0 60,1 0
WR Joe Jurevicius 0 30 0
WR Braylon Edwards 0 50 0
WR Dennis Northcutt 0 20 0
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Browns tumble to 2-6 with the loss in San Diego in a game that the Chargers were apparently trying to mail in but later just kicked it up a notch and let Tomlinson run wild. The biggest advantage that the Browns have is that opponents are letting them stay in games much longer than the records indicate would happen, but the Browns still lack the offensive punch to do much about it.

Quarterback: Charlie Frye managed a decent 236 yards effort last week with one score but in most games he has remained well below 200 yards and only once has ever scored more than one passing touchdown. The change in offensive coordinators has yet to make any difference.

Running Backs: Rueben Droughns remains little more than a miscast fullback and comes off a 12 carry, 33 yard performance last week in San Diego. Unless the defense is truly at the bottom of run-stopping, this rushing attack goes nowhere each week. The rookie Jerome Harrison has a bit of playing time last week but only gained 13 yards on two carries. That was his first game since week five. As the season continues to destruct, Harrison could see more playing time as the season wears on.

Wide Receivers: Braylon Edwards finally came back to life again when he had a score and 61 yards against the Chargers but the score was with only a minute left to play - no major shift upwards yet. Edwards had not topped 30 yards for three weeks prior to that game. Joe Jurevicius comes off his best game of the year with 76 yards on three catches but 52 came on one catch. This crew only has four touchdowns on the season. Dennis Northcutt is back after missing two weeks with a rib injury but only has his customary one catch in the game.

Tight Ends: Despite the low numbers from all Browns offensive players, Kellen Winslow continues to be the only source of fantasy production from the team and he comes off a career best 11 catches last week that went for 78 yards. If anything good happens for the Browns, it starts with Winslow. It usually ends with him as well.

Match Against the Defense: The Falcons at home have a great rushing defense, so forget about Droughns this week if not pretty much all the remaining games anyway. Minimal yardage here and no score.

Frye faces a secondary that has been much more accommodating to opposing quarterbacks as the season wears on but back in Atlanta after an embarrassing loss, figure on the defense making amends for their bad play last week. Frye can likely get one touchdown here that would favor Winslow from sheer volume of catches. Edwards seems a better play than Jurevicius who gets CB DeAngelo Hall but the passing here should remain only moderate.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 15 32 30 3 11 30
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 18 4 30 12 25 17


Atlanta Falcons (5-3)
1 20-6 @CAR 10 --- CLE
2 14-3 TB 11 --- @BAL
3 3-23 @NO 12 --- NO
4 32-10 ARZ 13 --- @WAS
5 Open Bye 14 --- @TB
6 14-27 NYG 15 --- DAL
7 41-38 PIT 16 --- CAR
8 29-27 @CIN 17 --- @PHI
9 14-30 @DET - MON SAT
ATL vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Michael Vick 80,1 0 150,1
RB Warrick Dunn 90,1 10 0
RB Jerious Norwood 50 0 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 60,1 0
WR Ashley Lelie 0 30 0
WR Michael Jenkins 0 30 0
WR Roddy White 0 20 0
PK Morten Andersen 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Falcons were just skipping along thinking that Michael Vick was a quarterback and that their road win in Cincinnati showed they could play anywhere. At least anywhere other than Detroit who not only beat them, but did so in a complete fashion in all facets of the game. Vick returned to his old ways while the defense sat back and watched Kevin Jones and Roy Williams zoom past. With a road game in Baltimore looming next week, there's no time to lose their focus on this week - they tried that last Sunday with disastrous results.

Quarterback: What to believe? Does two games against the Steelers and Bengals mean that Michael Vick really is a great passer and that his seven scores in those games are proof? Or does last week when Vick only had 163 yards, completed just 17 of 32 passes and had two interceptions and one lost fumble more like the real Vick? Not too hard to decide which of those are more like his entire career so far. What's more interesting too is that the Falcons face the best pass defense in the league (at least statistically) so Vick may have two poor passing games to compare to his monster games of weeks 7 and 8.

Running Backs: Warrick Dunn has not been running nearly as well lately and has only one effort over 60 rushing yards in the last six games - thanks to one long run. But Dunn has scored in three of the last four games and the Falcons are not using Jerious Norwood as much as they possibly should. Norwood has gained 128 yards on just 22 carries over the last three games for an average of 5.8 yards. Dunn has only gained 177 yards on 57 carries in that time for just a 3.1 yard average. No shift to Norwood has been made or claimed, but he is running better than Dunn lately.

Dunn was banged up last week but pending any injury report, I am projecting him to be healthy this week.

Wide Receivers: With the nosedive in passing yards by Vick, the wideouts all came crashing down last week but they had not done much even against the Bengals when Crumpler had a big game. Michael Jenkins remains the best bet here but that has only been for three scores this year - two in the only decent passing games by Vick.

Tight Ends: Although Alge Crumpler fell to only 47 yards on four catches against the Lions, he still scored for the fourth straight game and his role never changes from game to game as the preferred target for Vick.

Match Against the Defense: The Browns are very weak against the run and the Falcons should exploit this for the entire game. That will include Vick and Dunn, but could also draw Norwood into the mix as well. This is the best match-up for Dunn in a long time but he's fallen off so far that it's hard to automatically assume he can take advantage of this. The Falcons will score at least two rushing scores here.

Vick faces a very good secondary made apparently better since opponents just run all over the Browns instead. Look for one passing score in this game to Crumpler since Vick will want to show he can still throw the ball. He just won't need to do it very much.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 2 17 32 6 10 14
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 1 22 11 14 24 31