Game Predictions & Player Projections - BAL vs CLE

Game Predictions & Player Projections - BAL vs CLE

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Game Predictions & Player Projections - BAL vs CLE

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Prediction: BAL 24, CLE 23 (Line: BAL by 2)

UPDATE: Jordan Cameron is questionable to play and only had limited practices this week. He will be a game time decision at best and won’t be completely healthy if he does play. I am lowering his projections slightly – he is a risk to use this week. Bernard Pierce showed up on the injury report on Thursday with a thigh strain but was back to a full practices on Friday and is expected to play.

The 1-1 Ravens come off their win over the Steelers but are on the road for the first time. The 1-1 Browns are home again this week and last beat the Saints in one of the bigger upsets of week two. Some how the Browns are playing far better than expected.

The Browns won 24-18 when the Ravens visited last year.

Baltimore Ravens

1 CIN 16-23 10 TEN —–
2 PIT 26-6 11 BYE —–
3 @CLE —– 12 @NO —–
4 CAR —– 13 SD —–
5 @IND —– 14 @MIA —–
6 @TB —– 15 JAC —–
7 ATL —– 16 @HOU —–
8 @CIN —– 17 CLE —–
9 @PIT —–  
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL @ CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 10 240,2
RB Justin Forsett 50 4-20
RB Trent Richardson 70,1 2-20
RB Terrance West 80,1 2-10
WR Steve Smith 6-60
WR Mike Wallace 6-70,1
TE Dennis Pitta 6-70,1
PK Justin Tucker 1 FG 3 XP

The Ravens beat the Steelers last week in a game closer than the score suggested since the Steelers kept finding a way to avoid scoring. The Ray Rice dilemma still simmers in the media but the team has moved on and it was the Steelers who looked more distracted than the Ravens. The looming schedule is brutal and this game is no longer as easy as it seemed a few weeks ago.

QUARTERBACK : After rolling up 345 yards in the loss to the Bengals, Joe Flacco was back to only 166 passing yards versus the Steelers. He’s only thrown one interception against three scores but all have been in home games. Flacco passed for 250 yards and two scores in Cleveland last year.

RUNNING BACK : Bernard Pierce ran 22 times for 96 yards last week while Justin Forsett settled down to 56 yards on eight runs but four catches for 16 yards. Pierce has just one catch over two games and that limits his value along with sharing with Forsett about ten times per game. Forsett continues to get three or four catches per week.

All combined, the Ravens only rushed for 30 yards on 18 carries in Cleveland last season.

WIDE RECEIVER : The addition of Steve Smith has given Flacco a needed element in the passing game and a reliable set of hands on third down. He is averaging over 90 yards per game and scored once. But this has come at the expense of Torrey Smith who so far has no fantasy value with a high game of only three catches for 50 yards and no scores. When Flacco passes, it has mostly been either Smith or a tight end.

Torrey Smith led receivers with 78 yards on five catches versus the Browns last season.

TIGHT END : This is how the NFL works. Dennis Pitta opened the year with 10 catches for 83 yards but then was held to only 30 yards on three receptions by the Steelers. But (5-28) caught both passing touchdowns in that game. There is no reason to swap Pitta for Daniels. It’s just that Pitta has his own touchdown hawk now.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Browns had allowed one or two passing scores per opponent and Ben Roethlisberger threw for 365 yards against them. They are also allowing over five yards per carry and yielded three touchdowns to running backs. Pierce is a good start here even in a road game. Steve Smith remains a WR3 with consistent yardage and Pitta should have some revenge here against a team that gave up 10-118-2 to Jimmy Graham. The Browns surprised the Saints last week but they are not playing as well as 2013 anyway and thought they had the game in hand. Joe Haden should match on Smith and that will depress his stats a little.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 16 17 18 4 12 18
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 22 29 19 28 20 6

Cleveland Browns

1 @PIT 27-30 10 @CIN —–
2 NO 26-24 11 HOU —–
3 BAL —– 12 @ATL —–
4 BYE —– 13 @BUF —–
5 @TEN —– 14 IND —–
6 PIT —– 15 CIN —–
7 @JAC —– 16 @CAR —–
8 OAK —– 17 @BAL —–
9 TB —–  
News | Statistics | Roster
CLE vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Austin Davis 210,1
QB Josh McCown 220,1
RB Isaiah Crowell 50
WR Brian Hartline 5-50
WR Andrew Hawkins 7-80

The Browns are 1-1 and come off that nice upset over the Saints. The defense has quietly been the difference maker along with an offense that still has not committed a single turnover. Overall the offense has been just good enough to win and rely on the defense to keep them in the game. And this without Josh Gordon, Ben Tate or … you know. Johnny.

QUARTERBACK : In fantasy terms, Brian Hoyer is just another quarterback who throws around 200 yards per week with one touchdown and never more. But he’s only been sacked four times so far and thrown zero interceptions. Hoyer marched the Browns down the field on an improbable last minute drive to beat the Saints.

Jason Campbell passed for 262 yards and three scores on the Steelers last year.

RUNNING BACK : Ben Tate is expected to miss one more week with a sprained knee but in his place the Browns have been rushing very well. Terrance West gained 68 yards on 19 runs versus the Saints with one touchdown and 22 more yards on two catches. Isaiah Crowell did not score two more touchdown but he ran 11 times for 54 yards. This is already a far better rushing attack than in 2013 and that is with Ben Tate on the sideline.

The Browns never rushed for more than 58 yards on the Ravens last year and never scored.

WIDE RECEIVER : Miles Austin scored last week but only gained 44 yards on six catches. There is just not enough passing to merit any fantasy consideration here. Once Gordon eventually returns that will change, but aside from an occasional touchdown there is little happening here. Andrew Hawkins is averaging seven catches for around 80 yards so far and offers a little help in reception point leagues.

TIGHT END : Jordan Cameron was inactive last week with a AC joint in his shoulder acting up. The hope is that Cameron will make it back for this divisional matchup. I’ll project for him as healthy and later adjust based on what happens in practice. When he is out, Gary Barnridge becomes the primary tight end but offers no fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: What changes the Ravens a bit is that this will be their first road game. They held PIT and CIN to just one offensive touchdown in total and around 70 rush yards for each. But that was at home. Hoyer is a marginal play regardless of matchup but Hawkins will offer his normal possession production. The Ravens are allowing around four yards per carry so far and that was at home. West is still a good play this week and Crowell is a low-end flex play. Cameron can be used if he proves healthy though the Ravens were tough against the position allowing only about 45 yards per game to the position.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 30 11 8 18 16 6
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 2 6 22 8 29 8

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