Fantasy Forecast: Week Three

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Welcome to week three of the NFL Regular Season. Before each game RavensGab will take a look at the various Ravens players poised to make a significant fantasy impact, and provide the strengths and weaknesses associated with each based on current trends and matchups.

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens

September 27, 2009, 1:05 pm Baltimore, Maryland

Weather Forecast: Partly Cloudy with Intermittent Rain Showers, Breezy, 75 Deg.

Joe Flacco, QB (Week 2: 190 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT)

I predicted a less explosive day for Bazooka Joe last week against against the Chargers. It seemed logical that Joe would have a rougher time throwing against a much stronger defense. Although he had an admirable showing, he came in close to where I thought he would. About the 200 yard range with 1-2 TD’s and an INT.

This weekend however, I’d expect more of the week one Joe and not the week two Joe. The Browns may be coming into Baltimore desperate and in need of a win, but that doesn’t change the fact that their defense is punchless, and mired by inner turmoil. I don’t see the front seven of the Browns getting penetration against an increasingly nasty Ravens O-Line.

The bottom line is that the Browns are one of the NFL’s worst teams. Couple that with the Ravens’ usual dominance when playing on their home field, and this has the potential to get real ugly real fast.

Prediction: 300 yds, 3 TD, INT

Ray Rice, RB (Week 2: 82 yds, 0 TD)

Ray sort of disappeared last weekend against the chargers. Maybe he was just lost in Willis McGahee’s shadow, but for one reason or another, he couldn’t get his game out in front of him like he did against the Chiefs. I thought for sure he’d be putting up another 100+ yard game, but then again, that’s the harm in predicting the future. You’re either right, or unequivocally wrong. I’m not as high on Rice this week as I was in week one, but I will say that against a pretty awful Browns squad, he should have a decent showing.

Prediction: 90+ yds, 1 TD

Willis McGahee, RB (Week 2: 89 yds, 2 TD)

Willis broke out last week against the San Diego Chargers. He was all over the field, cutting up the defense for big gains and 2 TDs. Obviously he didn’t rush for a 100+ game, but the numbers belie the fact that he absolutely dominated against San Diego. This week against the Browns, one would have to expect the same level of production, if not more so. Cam Cameron is well known for playing the hot hand, and likes to stick with the back who is getting the job done. Right now that’s WilliS McGahee.

Prediction: 90+ yds, 1 TD

Le’Ron McClain, RB (Week 2: 12 yds, 0 TD)

Through the first two weeks of the season, soul train McClain has been blocking the way for Ray Rice and Willis McGahee. On top of that, included with his lack of yardage opportunities, he’s not even being used as the goal line back any longer. That job is going squarely to willis McGahee.

The Browns are a bad team, however, once again his fantasy in value is hindered greatly by the unknown nature of Cameron’s offensive strategy.

Prediction: 20 yds, 0 TD

Todd Heap, TE (Week 2: 9 yds, 1 TD)

Much like Ray Rice, Todd Heap seemed to have disappeared against the Chargers last Sunday. I don’t know if it was because the Chargers were accounting for him, or if simply just couldnt get the job done, but he all but vanished on the field. Unlike Ray Rice though, Todd showed up just in time to make a game changing play with his nine yard catch and run for a touchdown.

I would imagine that playing the Browns this weekend will have Heap putting up much better figures, similar to the game against the Chiefs,

Prediction: 65 yds, 1 TD

L.J. Smith, TE (Week 2: Inactive)

For the third consecutive week, L.J. Smith is looking to get his career back on track after being consistently sidelined by injury. It’s looking as if L.J. will play this weekend, but even if he does, look for him as a primary blocking Tight End, used sparingly and in two TE Sets.

Prediction: 20 yds, 0 TD.

Derrick Mason, WR (Week 2: 46 yds, 0 TD)

San Diego did a good job of keeping Derrick Mason boxed out last Sunday, limiting him to only 4 yards on 3 receptions. The difference between last year’s Ravens and this year’s Ravens is that when Derrick is shutdown, there are other options at Bazooka Joe’s disposal. He no longer has to force it in to allow the Ravens to win. That change in philosophy from the young quarterback may lead to a drop in Mason’s overall fantasy value as the season wears on.

Prediction: 70 yds, 0 TD

Mark Clayton, WR (Week 2: 20 yds, 0 TD)

Much like Derrick Mason, the Chargers did a good job of shutting down Mark Clayton. He was boxed out for most of the game and wasn’t able to make any significant contributions. Obviously, because of this, his fantasy value was due to suffer a setback. Against the Browns, look for him to have a more solid impact on the game.

Prediction: 60 yrds, 1 TD

Kelly Washington, WR (Week 2: 58 yds, 1 TD)

What happens when you box out the Ravens first two wideouts in a pass often offense scheme? You leave the third wideout unaccounted for. Kelly Washington took advantage of the mismatch he received all game and made the Chargers pay for a couple of nice receptions and a TD. He’s shaping up to be a nice change of pace vertical target for Flacco, and could easily see increased yards and a touchdown or two against the Browns.

Prediction: 60 yrds, 1 TD

Steven Hauschka, K (Week 2: 1/1, LG: 33 yds )

Hauschka had a much better showing in week two against the Chargers. He converted all of his PATs and even managed a 33 yard kick early in the game. The good weather in San Diego assuredly played in his favor, and it remains to see how the kid kicks in the cool rainy Baltimore stadium on Sunday.

Prediction: 4 PATs, 2 FG (35/25 yds)

Defense

It’s the Browns. They have an unstable QB situation, a weak offensive line, and no real running threat with the absence of Jamal Lewis. Yes this is a rivalry game, yes its a divisional game. There’s blood in the water and the Ravens are hungry. It could spell shutout if the conditions are right.

Prediction: MUST START

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