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Other Week 11 Game Recaps

Week 11 Game Recap: Cleveland Browns 20, Dallas Cowboys 23

Cleveland Browns

QB Brandon Weeden, Pass: 20 - 35 - 210 - 2 TD / 0 INT

Weeden had an up-and-down performance against Dallas. His big plays were more of a result of the offensive line giving him tons of time and his receivers making outstanding catches than Weeden's isolated play. Greg Little, Josh Gordon, Ben Watson, and Trent Richardson all made great catches on inaccurate throws to bolster Weeden's final statistical line. Of Weeden's 210 passing yards, 177 came in the first half when Cleveland controlled the game and built a 13-0 lead. In the second half, Weeden's misses became paramount to the Browns failing to close out a road win. Weeden held the ball too long on critical sacks, one on the edge of field goal range and the other a lost fumble in their own territory. In addition to two near interceptions in the second half, Weeden missed Jordan Cameron on Cleveland's fourth-and-goal fade route by throwing the routine throw out of bounds. The Browns' offense remains centered around the run game, but Greg Little and Josh Gordon flashed that playmaking potential in this game that could present a productive trio heading into 2013.

RB Trent Richardson, Rush: 28 - 95 - 0, Rec: 6 - 49 - 0 (8 targets)

With another high volume game, Richardson continues to be one of the few weekly bell cow backs in the league. He runs with power and balance, yet is efficient between the tackles with his effort. He rarely goes down to the first defender and is a tough matchup for any defender in the open field. Richardson collected 10 total touches in the first quarter alone and 19 touches in the first half as the Browns gained a 13-0 advantage. His best chance for a touchdown came on multiple rushing attempts in the red zone, including once going over the top at the goal line. He was turned away by the Dallas defense. Richardson was, as always, impressive between the tackles despite the lack of consistent push by the line. Outside of Dallas' goal line stand, Richardson's lone blemish came on a third down outside run where Gerald Sensabaugh met him a yard short of the first down. It was a rare occasion where a defender made a clean tackle on Richardson and stopped him dead in his tracks. Richardson also fumbled on the play, which was recovered by Cleveland. One of the biggest benefits of Richardson in fantasy is his involvement in the passing game. He collected six receptions and displayed his soft hands to make high throws from Weeden seem routine. This was Richardson's sixth game with four or more receptions in ten outings this season and the rookie is on pace for nearly 60 catches on the year. In a landscape of few dominant lead running backs, Richardson remains a high RB1 with his volume locked in each week. Even without a touchdown, his total yardage has a very high floor.

RB Montario Hardesty, Rush: 4 - 23 - 0

After 10-15 straight touches for Trent Richardson, Hardesty got in the game in the mid-second quarter. He had better blocking on his back-to-back carries than Richardson experienced early in the game, leading to 13 yards. Hardesty looked fresh and plowed for yards after contact on his limited action against Dallas. Outside of a Richardson injury, it is tough to see Hardesty carving out a regular role from a fantasy perspective.

RB Chris Ogbonnaya, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0

As the third running back in the Browns' rotation, Ogbonnaya received a situational carry for a first down in the red zone. He lined up at fullback and benefited from a quick dive play as Dallas' attention was on Trent Richardson.

WR Josh Gordon, Rec: 5 - 53 - 0 (7 targets)

Gordon was the leading receiver this week and while the stat line does not show much of an impact, his plays were timely against Dallas. He made a nice catch on Weeden pass that was clearly behind him early in the game. Gordon also has shown improvement with his route running since early in the season. He got wide open against zone coverage late in the fourth quarter when the Browns trailed 17-13 for a big gain. This was a tough passing matchup for Cleveland and Gordon's opportunities were limited as they held a lead for a majority of game. Gordon flashed that same ability as in previous games this season, but the scoring opportunities were not there this week.

WR Greg Little, Rec: 3 - 53 - 0 (4 targets)

Little, like teammate Josh Gordon, made plays on the ball against Dallas that bailed out Brandon Weeden on poor throws. He extended for high passes as well as ones that were behind him. The emergence of Gordon as really hurt Little's chances for a breakout as he has moved to the no.2 role in the passing game. In fact, Trent Richardson may be the no.2 passing option on a weekly basis. Little made all the plays that were available to him this week, which is a positive sign for the second-year receiver who has struggled with drops in his first two seasons.

WR Josh Cooper, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (2 targets)

While Cooper has limited opportunities on a weekly basis, he typically makes the most of them. That was not the case this week against Dallas. On his lone catchable target, Cooper cleanly catches an out route, but lazily runs out of bounds just short of the first down marker. That third down mistake leads to a punt around midfield and stalled an otherwise promising Cleveland drive.

WR Mohamed Massaquoi (2 targets)

Massaquoi was on the field mainly in obvious passing situations and did not have much chance on either of his targets. One was a well-covered out route and another was a low throw by Weeden that was far from routine. With the continued progress of Gordon and Little in Cleveland, it is hard to expect anything more than sporadic targets any given week for Massaquoi.

WR Josh Cribbs (1 targets)

In addition to his usual work on special teams, Cribbs had a single uncatchable swing pass target on offense.

TE Ben Watson, Rec: 4 - 47 - 2 (8 targets)

Watson was the target of some of the biggest plays of the Browns' passing game, but also the most potential interceptions. Watson staked Cleveland to an early lead with his tough, full-extension touchdown catch. After hauling in the red zone reception, Watson took a shot in the end zone. He hung for the first of his two scores on the day. His second score came on a beautiful throw-and-catch post route, which shredded the Dallas secondary late in the game. Watson was the main target that had would-be interceptions written all over them. Weeden missed Watson on two occasions, both of which would have been backbreaking turnovers. Considering that Jordan Cameron played a much smaller role this week, Watson is an intriguing fill-in for teams with injury issues at tight end in the coming weeks.

TE Alex Smith, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets)

As the third tight end, Smith hauled in a short outlet reception late in the fourth quarter.

TE Jordan Cameron (2 targets)

Both of Cameron's targets were poorly thrown by Weeden. Cameron was split out on both occasions near the goal line. The second target came on fourth-and-goal where Weeden through the ball out of bounds. Cameron had no chance to get his feet in-bounds even if he hauled in an impressive contested catch. Cameron is an intriguing flyer at tight end, but needs Ben Watson out of the picture and a more defined role for expanded fantasy relevance.

Dallas Cowboys

QB Tony Romo, Pass: 35 - 50 - 313 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 10 - 0

It took a forgettable first half for the Dallas offense, especially Romo, but came alive to finish with a productive fantasy day and the overtime win. Romo was sacked seven times and flushed from the pocket numerous other times, which delayed taking advantage of the Joe Haden-less Cleveland secondary. Romo yelled at his offensive line and Felix Jones throughout the game. After just 85 total yards in the first half, the lowest for Dallas in five years, the Dallas passing game came alive to open the third quarter. Romo focused on shorter routes to take advantage of the poor Cleveland coverage which was masked by pressure early in the game. In the third quarter alone, Romo was 9-for-9 for 98 yards after just 10 completions and 74 yards in the entire first half. Romo missed deep targets more than once, including an underthrow to Dez Bryant on a likely touchdown and Miles Austin in overtime. Romo had with a decent fantasy day on volume alone. He had a whopping 50 attempts, going just 4-for-14 on third downs. The offensive line is the main reason for concern with Romo as his three main weapons (Bryant, Austin, Witten) are all healthy and a matchup problem for any secondary in the league.

RB Felix Jones, Rush: 14 - 43 - 1, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (3 targets)

The former first round pick set a career-high with his fourth touchdown in 2012. He also scored for the third time in the past six weeks, quite a tear for the typically red zone-challenged running back. Jones found little room against Cleveland's front seven on the interior with his sole big play coming on a 12-yard outside tote. Tony Romo confronted Jones on more than one occasion about his suspect pass blocking, one of which led to a sack. Four of his 14 carries on the day came in short yardage and backed up at their own goal line, affecting his yards-per-carry. Outside of his well-blocked goal line touchdown, it was another reminder that Demarco Murray is by far the Dallas back to own in fantasy. Murray's role as the clear lead back should be secure when healthy to return to the lineup.

RB Lance Dunbar, Rush: 5 - 10 - 0, Rec: 2 - 6 - 0 (3 targets)

Dunbar had seven total touches as the second running back this week. He was the back of choice in overtime for two important runs to improve field goal position. During regulation, he gained what was blocked and was generally unimpressive. He did not flash much in this game to keep a prominent role when Demarco Murray returns from injury.

RB Lawrence Vickers, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (1 targets)

In one of the big moments of this game, Vickers came through in the passing game. On fourth-and-one, Vickers made a great stretching catch in the flat to convert and keep the drive moving. Dallas was down 13-10 at the time and in danger of losing momentum on the edge of field goal range.

WR Dez Bryant, Rec: 12 - 145 - 1 (15 targets)

It was a career day for the polarizing receiver. Without Joe Haden, the Cleveland secondary was no match for the Dallas receivers, especially Bryant, who had his way with favorable matchups. Without consistent pressure on Tony Romo, Bryant could have had a much bigger day. That said, his 145 yards were by far a career-high, his 12 receptions were second-most, and he scored his fourth touchdown in the past six weeks. He was mainly targeted on short throws as the Dallas offensive line rarely allowed time for deep routes and Bryant could take advantage of his physicality after the catch. Bryant drew three penalties on defensive backs in addition to his stat line and even showed some rare chemistry with Romo on a beautiful double move for a big gain. Bryant was rather quiet in the first half, as was the entire Dallas offense, until the third quarter when they shifted to shorter throws to compensate for the offensive line issues with protection. Romo missed Bryant on a deep route against single coverage with a short throw -- that was likely a touchdown on a well-thrown pass. Bryant scored in the fourth to take the lead on a gorgeous Romo pass into the end zone, again beating single coverage. Bryant's lone missed opportunity came in overtime when he failed to haul in a third down slant route on the edge of field goal range. This was an example of the type of games Bryant owners and supporters have been expecting. He dominated the targets, took advantage of single coverage, and did not make any mental mistakes during the game. With the Redskins and the disinterested Eagles both coming to Dallas in the next two weeks and hosting New Orleans in Week 16, Bryant could be in line for more big games as the season heads down the stretch.

WR Miles Austin, Rec: 6 - 58 - 0 (12 targets)

With Dez Bryant getting a ton of work, there was not a ton of opportunities left for Austin on the other side. Outside of a slant that a defensive back knocked the ball out of Austin's hands, the Dallas receiver made the most of his chances. Romo did miss Austin on a deep route in overtime. Most of Austin's work came on short-to-intermediate routes and came on contested catches. He made a noteworthy play at in overtime, Dallas' third third down conversion of the game up until that point, with a great effort after the catch to get to the first down marker. His final grab, scooping up a low throw on a slant, secured a reasonable field goal attempt that ultimately won the game. While 12 PPR points may be considered a mild disappointment against a depleted secondary when Romo attempts 50 passes, it was a good floor of production.

WR Dwayne Harris, Rec: 3 - 20 - 0 (3 targets)

Harris was targeted on five different occasions and made positive plays on all five. He collected three hitch routes and two defensive pass interference calls in his very productive day. Harris' upside is capped with Bryant, Austin, and Witten all healthy on a weekly basis.

WR Kevin Ogletree, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (3 targets)

Ogletree was involved in the game more than his one reception in the box score would indicate. Romo and Ogletree did not get on the same page on his first two targets, both in high leverage situations; the first coming on third down, the second coming on a deep end zone target. Late in the game, Ogletree drew two penalties, once on a defensive pass interference call down the field and another when he was hit hard by two separate Cleveland defenders. Dwayne Harris made more of his opportunities in this game as a third receiver, but Ogletree's were far more difficult connections to make down the field.

WR Cole Beasley, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (1 targets)

Beasley's lone involvement on offense came on a short slant on second-and-long. His catch positioned Dallas into a more reasonable third down situation.

TE Jason Witten, Rec: 7 - 51 - 0 (8 targets)

This was a typical Witten game. He caught seven of his eight targets and was the safety net for Romo on short hitch and out routes. There were no high leverage targets near the goal line or with much chance for additional yards. This was Witten's seventh straight game with six or more receptions. He is a very high floor weekly option at tight end, especially in PPR formats.