Fantasy Fix: Flacco fixing for big numbers vs. Browns?

Fantasy Fix: Flacco fixing for big numbers vs. Browns?
September 14, 2013, 2:15 pm
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Yahoo!'s Kay Adams like Marlon Brown in Week 2

Our weekly look at the Ravens' matchup from a fantasy football perspective. Obviously, Baltimore has lots to prove against Cleveland after the opening game debacle in Denver. Less obvious, the Browns have a sturdy defense they pair with playmaking running back Trent Richardson. The loser falls to 0-2 in the AFC North. As for the possible fantasy winners and losers in this contest...

The receivers

Torrey Smith - Because the ex-Terp is a threat to score from anywhere on the field, it's always nice having him in your fantasy lineup. However, this matchup against Browns corner Joe Haden screams limited targets. Haden blanketed another burner last week in Miami's Mike Wallace, which led to Ryan Tannehill funneling passes elsewhere. Because of his scoring potential, Smith remains a start in three-receiver leagues, but he's outside the top-20 rankings this week.

Marlon Brown - In a month we've gone from "Marlon, who?" to discussing the undrafted rookie as a viable starter in three-receiver leagues. The start designation is due in part to Brown's 6-foot-4 size and opening game touchdown. In addition, because of how poorly Cleveland's non-Joe Haden defensive backs handled Miami's other receivers last week; Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson combined for 16 receptions, 191 yards, and a touchdown.

Dallas Clark - No point in attempting to top this take from Rotoworld's Evan Silva on Clark, fellow tight end Ed Dickson and fellow old guy Brandon Stokley:

"Game watchers know TEs Dallas Clark and Ed Dickson had atrocious openers, despite 100 total yards between them, most of which came in throw-happy comeback mode. Back at home versus a struggling Browns team, it's safe to expect less catch-up passing. Flacco dropped back to pass an unruly 66 times against the Broncos. Clark, Dickson, and 37-year-old slot guy Brandon Stokley are not advisable Week 2 fantasy plays."

Yeah, what he said.

The runners

Ray Rice - Even though Cleveland bottled up Miami's running game last week, Rice is obviously a no-brainer start. In 10 career games against the Browns, he is averaging 111.3 yards from scrimmage with five total touchdowns.

Bernard Pierce - His fantasy value all comes down to Rice missing time because of injuries. Pierce rushed nine times for 22 yards last week. Should he ever become the lead back, we're talking about top 10-15 upside.

The passer

Joe Flacco - I won't make any inciting "Flacco isn't NFL elite" crack, but in the fantasy world, that remains the case. Don't expect that to change this week against the Browns sneaky-good defense even though Flacco has thrown 12 touchdown passes and five interceptions in 10 career games versus Cleveland. Right now he's dealing with limited resources at tight end and inexperience at second wide out. Tack on the Haden covering Torrey Smith factor and the Ravens' QB is middle-of-the-pack QB2 this week.

The defense and the kicker

Crazy to say after being ravaged by Peyton Manning in the opener, but the Ravens remain a viable if not must-start this week. Cleveland QB Brandon Weeden threw three interceptions last week and remains without suspended wide receiver Josh Gordon. In two games against Baltimore last season, Weeden finished with three interceptions and zero touchdown passes. Kicker Justin Tucker is a weekly start in all formats.

On the other side...Anyone thinking tight end Jordan Cameron's stellar opening game was a fluke, don't do that. The 6-foot-5 target caught nine passes for 108 yards and one touchdown against Miami. For those fans that put last Thursday's loss at Denver out their memories, Baltimore allowed two scores and gobs of yards to another athletic tight end in Julius Thomas. Even if the Ravens romp, Cameron deserves another start. Garbage points count.