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 Dak Prescott, DAL SEA 20000023011 ***
Ezekiel Elliott's return should take some heat off of Prescott. The versatile passer is always a threat with his feet, but there isn't enough meat on this bone for a fantasy bonanza in Week 16. Seattle has allowed the 20th-most fantasy points, on average, since Week 10.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ezekiel Elliott, DAL SEA 11021200000 ***
Zeke returns to the starting lineup and is an obvious play for every gamer who had been stashing him. Seattle was obliterated by Todd Gurley last week, and while he represented four of the six RB touchdowns against them in the past five games, this is still a good matchup. Elliott could be slightly rusty, though reports suggest he is leaner and ready to go.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL SEA 005801000 ***
More like the Legion of Gloom ... Seattle's decimated secondary has been hammered by wideouts of late, permitting 13 receptions (8th) for 173.4 yards (5th) and a touchdown every 10.8 catches (11th) since Week 10.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL SEA 004400000 ***
Williams has a fine matchup against a sinking Seattle defense, yet he doesn't do enough with his looks to matter in fantasy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cole Beasley, DAL SEA 002300000 ***
Beasley's target count is too low to warrant fantasy inclusion.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL SEA 002200000 ***
The veteran iron man has six catches in his last three games, although two were touchdowns. He his target numbers were slightly better when Ezekiel Elliott was on the field, but Seattle should negative any gains in that area. This is the second-worst matchup of Week 16.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL SEA 1133 ***
In the past five games, Seattle has faced 10 field goals, and all of them hit their mark. Thirteen of the 14 PATs were true to help create the No. 8 matchup to exploit in Week 16.

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 @ARI 0000020011 ***
Sans two rushing TDs by quarterbacks, this is the fifth-worst matchup of the week. Quarterbacks have averaged just 193 yards (30th) since Week 10. Manning is coming off of a monster performance that should be viewed as an aberration. One of every 16 passes faced by the Cardinals has gone for a TD, which ranks 22nd.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Wayne Gallman, NYG @ARI 4006400000 ***
Gallman has been explosive in his limited work the last two games, logging 4.9 yards per carry on his 20 totes. He also has added 80 receiving yards on 13 grabs. The rook hasn't scored in limited action since Week 4. Arizona boasts the third-best defense of limiting rushing yardage and 10th-strongest at stopping overall yardage gains. The matchup is merely average for everything else.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Orleans Darkwa, NYG @ARI 300000000 ***
Darkwa's stat line of nine carries for seven yards and a touchdown last week -- while amusing -- won't cut it. He has taken a back seat in the rotation with Wayne Gallman, whose versatility offers far more to the offense and fantasy gamers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shane Vereen, NYG @ARI 1003200000 ***
Averaging only three grabs a game since Week 10, without a touchdown, there is no place for Vereen in a conventional lineup this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sterling Shepard, NYG @ARI 004400000 ***
Shepard was nothing short of impressive last weekend and now faces the fourth-best defense of his position. The Cardinals have smothered receivers across the board in the past five weeks, giving up only 108.2 yards (31st) on 10 catches (26th) per game. WRs have scored three times over those five contests.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Roger Lewis, NYG @ARI 003300000 ***
Arizona has dominated receivers and shouldn't have any trouble holding the great Roger Lewis in check.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Evan Engram, NYG @ARI 005601000 ***
Just one of the last 17 catches by tight ends has scored on Arizona, and this matchup is among the five worst in both scoring formats. Engram's projection is optimistic, but he has the track record and athleticism to make something happen.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Aldrick Rosas, NYG @ARI 2211 ***
Arizona is a neutral matchup against the position. One field goal and another extra point attempt missed, while only 40.9 percent of all kicks against the Cards were worth three points.

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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