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 PHI 0000027030 ***
Romo has six 300-yard games in his last 11 against Philly and has seven TDs in two games since returning from his back injury. The Eagles have given up multiple TD tosses in every game except one this year, and this one isn't shaping up to be an exception to that trend.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL PHI 12014300000 ****
Even if Murray doesn't get to triple-digit yardage--and there's no reason he shouldn't--he can pad his number with a score against a Philly D that's allowed RB TDs in five straight games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL PHI 0071102000 ***
Bryant's last four against the Eagles have resulted in 394 yards and four TDs. Coming off back-to-back two-TD efforts, he's a money play against a Philly D that's allowed nine WR TDs and five 100-yard efforts in their past five games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL PHI 002300000 ***
In theory Williams should be a good start against a Philly D that's allowed nine WR TDs and five 100-yard efforts in just the past five games. However, he's playing with a busted finger and ceding looks to Cole Beasley, so there's a ceiling to his upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL PHI 005501000 ***
Witten roasted Philly for 12-135 the last time they visited Dallas--and 6-108 the visit before. He's scored in two straight, three of four and four of six and is a solid fantasy play against an Eagles D that's allowed two 100-yard games to TEs in the past three weeks.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL PHI 2244 ***
Bailey's been a consistent mid-tier point producer--never fewer than five in any game this season, a solid average of eight per game this year--and the upside of a points cornucopia with Philly on Thanksgiving makes him that much more enticing.

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 @JAC 0000027021 ***
Hard to tell if the Jaguars are a decent pass D or their numbers are kept down because teams don't want to run up the score on them. The Giants may not have such a luxury, and Eli tends to put up good fantasy numbers regardless of foe so he's at least a serviceable fantasy start here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rashad Jennings, NYG @JAC 8014300000 ****
Jennings lost some red zone touches--and ultimately a touchdown--to Andre Williams last week. However, he still put together 120 yards from scrimmage and is a solid bet to continue that success against a Jacksonville D that's allowed two 100-yard rushers and four RB TDs in the past three games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Williams, NYG @JAC 300000000 ***
Williams did next to nothing when Rashad Jennings was out, then swiped a touchdown once Jennings was back in the mix. Hard to figure, and you certainly can't count on Williams as the Giants' backfield is definitely Jennings' gig.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Odell Beckham, NYG @JAC 0081002000 ****
After watching Beckham last week you get the feeling there's nothing he can't do. So he could certainly follow in the footsteps of TY Hilton (122 & 1 against Jacksonville last week) or Dez Bryant (158 & 2 against the Jags).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, NYG @JAC 006700000 ***
The Giants passing game has become Odell Beckham Jr.'s world, and Randle and others are just living in it. Jacksonville has allowed multiple fantasy helpers to WRs just once in the past seven games, so with Beckham taking his cut off the top it's tough to trust Randle for help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Larry Donnell, NYG @JAC 002200000 ***
The Jags have allowed only one TE TD in the past six games, and with Donnell sharing looks with Daniel Fells and Adrien Robinson it's tough to bank on him for a fantasy contribution here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG @JAC 2233 ***
The Jags could open the door for Brown, having already served up six double-digit points games this season. But would Brown know what to do? He's been between three and six points each of his past five games, no reason to think there's a big leap in store here.

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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