FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) *IND at CHI *PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC JAC at MIN *PIT at DEN WAS at NO
*BUF at NYJ *MIA at HOU *SEA at ARI *CIN at BAL (MON)
*UPDATED *CAR at TB *NE at TEN SF at GB *SD at OAK (MON)

Prediction: DAL 24, NYG 31 (Line NYG by 4)

Players to Watch: David Wilson, Martellus Bennett

The Giants swept the Cowboys in 2011, winning 31-14 at home in the final game of the season that sent the Cowboys home for the holidays while the Giants went on to win another Superbowl. The Giants also won 37-34 at Dallas as well. The Cowboys have only won once in the last four trips to New York. This is a big inter-divisional rivalry that usually goes to the Giants if only at the very end of the game.

Dallas Cowboys
Homefield: Cowboys Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYG ----- 10 @PHI -----
2 @SEA ----- 11 CLE -----
3 TB ----- 12 WAS -----
4 CHI ----- 13 PHI -----
5 BYE ----- 14 @CIN -----
6 @BAL ----- 15 PIT -----
7 @CAR ----- 16 NO -----
8 NYG ----- 17 @WAS -----
9 @ATL ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys need no motivation in this game anyway, but getting kicked out of the playoffs would seem like added incentive. Problem is that the Cowboys have been nursing a lot of injuries in the receiver corps. Miles Austin has been battling a bad hamstring for many weeks and is slated to play. This is a big concern for a Cowboys team that paid him big bucks at the start of the 2010 season and not seen the expected return. Last year Austin was out for six games and played poorly when he was there.

Dez Bryant spent the offseason allegedly hitting his mother but otherwise has been a model player in the preseason and may be finally poised to cash in on his potential that never seems to quite show up so far. The summer saw a major battle for the #3 position that will be handled mostly by Kevin Ogletree with some help from Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley. After Laurent Robinson made the #3 spot payoff so well last year, many have looked for his successor without realizing how rare his performance was.

Dallas returns what should be their best backfield in many years with DeMarco Murray looking to improve on his impressive 2011 season while avoiding further injury which was one of his calling cards in college.

Jason Witten lacerated his spleen and missed the end of the preseason but needed no surgery and is a game time decision for this tilt. Hopefully all his owners have someone else to use already.

This is the same offense - though with a new coordinator in Bill Callahan. Opening against the Giants in New York is a very touch start and Dallas always has trouble winning there. The Cowboys historically have started the season good, become great by November and then nosedive for all of December. This season is bound to be different since the Cowboys play six road games in their first nine games and then only have two away venues over their final seven weeks.

This game pits Dallas against one of the weakest defenses of 2011 though they obviously improved as the year progressed towards the Superbowl and they did sweep Dallas anyway.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 6 24 6 4 5 22
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 27 18 29 29 20 10

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tony Romo, DAL IND 0000027031 ***
Romo has three or more TD tosses in four of his last five games, and with DeMarco Murray dinged or out he'll be forced to shoulder more of the offensive load. Indy's pass defense numbers of late have been artificially inflated by them shutting down the likes of Tom Savage, Brian Hoyer and Blake Bortles. Romo is more of the Tom Brady (257 & 2), Eli Manning (359 & 2), Ben Roethlisberger (522 & 6) ilk; expect similar positive results.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joseph Randle, DAL IND 2011100000 **
Don't be surprised if Randle gets the call, either to start if DeMarco Murray sits or to replace Murray after a couple hits to his broken hand (and subsequent fumbles). Indy's a favorable matchup for running backs, so if/when Randle winds up with the workload he has a very good chance of making fantasy noise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL IND 7001100000 *
Dr. Jerry Jones thinks there's still a chance Murray plays despite surgery on a broken hand earlier this week. Dr. Reality Check thinks even if he does his fantasy impact will be limited due to ball security concerns and risk of more damage. Then again, Murray's a free agent after the season so maybe use and dispose is the game plan?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lance Dunbar, DAL IND 1003300000 ***
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL IND 006801000 ***
Vontae Davis is a shutdown corner, but he's also human. Bryant can beat any matchup given enough targets, and he usually is--especially if DeMarco Murray is limited or out of this one. Proceed as per usual with Bryant in your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cole Beasley, DAL IND 003401000 ***
Beasley has been more productive of late than fellow secondary target Terrance Williams, and with Vontae Davis likely shadowing Dez Bryant Tony Romo might throw a little more frequently at his alternate receivers. That puts Beasley at least on the fringe of fantasy relevance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL IND 002400000 ***
Williams played second fiddle to Dez Bryant for a while, but now Cole Beasley is horning in on his action. It's been far too long since Williams posted anything of fantasy relevance to be trusted at this critical juncture.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL IND 005601000 ***
Indy's been a favorable matchup for tight ends, and with Witten coming off his largest target game of the season he's back on Tony Romo's radar. The combination of Vontae Davis on Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray's injury only add to the probability of Witten posting a fantasy helper here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL IND 1144 ***
Bailey has but one multiple field goal effort in his past eight games; fortunately he's salvaged fantasy value with four or more PATs in four of his last five games. The Vegas sharps like this game for lots of points; no reason Bailey can't get his share of the fun.

New York Giants
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 DAL ----- 10 @CIN -----
2 TB ----- 11 BYE -----
3 @CAR ----- 12 GB -----
4 @PHI ----- 13 @WAS -----
5 CLE ----- 14 NO -----
6 @SF ----- 15 @ATL -----
7 WAS ----- 16 @BAL -----
8 @DAL ----- 17 PHI -----
9 PIT ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The Giants come off a Cinderella season where they went from nearly sitting at home in January to winning the Superbowl as 2011's "team you did not see coming". It was only their final win that made then 9-7 and gave them a winning season. Timing is everything though.

Eli Manning once again won a Superbowl MVP and he'll try to keep the team from getting another championship hangover. When they defeated the Patriots in 2008, the next year they missed the playoffs with an 8-8 record. No doubt that has been pointed out by HC Tom Coughlin who still probably could not explain how the Giants went from written off to unbeatable all in one season.

The Giants return Hakeem Nicks who fractured his foot in May but rehabbed and made it into the final preseason game. The expected primary wideout last year gave way to Victor Cruz in most games. Cruz ended with an incredible season of 1536 yards and nine touchdowns. The third wideout in this scheme doesn't really matter and the Giants will start the season with a committee approach using the rookie Rueben Randle, Domenik Hixon and Jerrel Jernigan.

Martellus Bennett finally is out of the shadow of Jason Witten who never got injured to let Bennett in. Ironically his first game as a starter comes at home against the Cowboys. Bennett has always been an interesting, high-potential player so he has a chance to make a far bigger splash as a tight end than we have seen since Jeremy Shockey left.

The backfield is also very promising with Brandon Jacobs gone and the rookie David Wilson turning heads. Ahmad Bradshaw claims to be healthy again (which is smart) after two seasons of chronic feet problems. Instead of a Thunder and Lightning approach when Jacobs was there, Wilson is the same size and sort of runner that Bradshaw is. And probably faster and maybe better. This is a big thing to watch since there will be a timeshare backfield that performance will dictate who gets what. Wilson has been exciting the coaches in the preseason and now gets a chance to open with two home games.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 7 6 3 21 25 10
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 18 7 18 27 13 13

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Eli Manning, NYG @STL 0000025011 ***
It's not a particularly favorable matchup for Eli, as the Rams haven't allowed a touchdown pass in three weeks and haven't served up multiple scoring strikes to a quarterback since Week 7. But with Rashad Jennings hobbled and the Rams stiff against the run, what other options do the Giants have?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Williams, NYG @STL 4003100000 **
Rashad Jennings pulled himself early from last week's matchup, so this week expect all Andre all the time. However, with the Rams sporting a solid run defense there may simply be nowhere for Williams to go.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Odell Beckham, NYG @STL 007901000 **
30 targets, 23 catches, 273 yards, four touchdowns. Those are totals from Beckham's last four games so, yeah, he's hot. He's also Eli Manning's go-to guy and as such a solid fantasy play, even in a matchup that looks to be a bit on the tough side.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, NYG @STL 005600000 ***
Randle has battled some injury issues which have pushed him to the side in the Giants' WR depth conversation, but he's a big target that plays nicely opposite the smaller, speedier Odell Beckham Jr.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Preston Parker, NYG @STL 002300000 ***
Parker hopes to carve out some fantasy value at the bottom of the food chain, but he's too inconsistently productive to warrant a fantasy play here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Larry Donnell, NYG @STL 003300000 ***
Not a particularly favorable matchup for Donnell, as the Rams haven't allowed a Te TD since Week 7. And Donnell has been sharing looks with Daniel Fells and generally avoiding fantasy contributions, making him even less worthy of a fantasy start here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG @STL 2211 ***
Like clockwork, Brown returned to his usual one field goal last week on the heels of his five-trey outburst against the Rams. Which trend you gonna believe, his five-FG game or the six one- or zero-FG games that preceded it (and the one-field goal game that followed it)?

WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) IND at CHI PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC JAC at MIN PIT at DEN WAS at NO
BUF at NYJ MIA at HOU SEA at ARI CIN at BAL (MON)
  CAR at TB NE at TEN SF at GB SD at OAK (MON)

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