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 ARI 0000028021 ***
The expectation is Romo plays through his back injury here, the same injury that brought his streak of multiple TD games to an end after five. Arizona has served up multiple TD tosses to the last three QBs with at least a year in the NFL, as well as multiple scores and at least 277 yards to all three NFC East QBs they've faced previously. Romo's a risk, sure, but if he's gutting this one out he should be in your fantasy lineup as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL ARI 11014400000 ***
'85 Bears. Brick wall. At this juncture there isn't a matchup you wouldn't start the red-hot Murray against, so even though the Cards haven't let a back top 83 yards on them and they've only surrendered four RB TDs on the year there's really no reason to think Murray can't continue to do what he's been doing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL ARI 006801000 ****
Multiple receivers have either scored or topped 80 yards (or both) in four of the last five against Arizona, so the Cowboys' clear-cut WR2 certainly warrants fantasy attention this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL ARI 005701000 ****
Bryant's two least productive fantasy games were 55 and 63 yards; otherwise he's scored and/or reached triple digits. Knowing the floor is already pretty high, and that Arizona has allowed five 100-yard receivers in the past five games, there's no reason to stray from Bryant's every-week starter status.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL ARI 004500000 ***
It's not a tremendous matchup on paper, and Gavin Escobar looms, so pencil Witten in as a good start--but there's no need to go out of your way to get him into your lineup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL ARI 1133 ***
The Cards aren't a particularly fantasy-friendly team to get your kicks against, though Bailey has hovered around "good" most of the season. At minimum you should get solid production from the position this week.

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 IND 0000026020 ***
The shutout in Philly is looking more and more like the exception rather than the rule after Eli and the Giants hopped back in the saddle with 248 and 3 in Dallas in Week 7. Considering the once-vaunted Indy D just gave up 522 and six to Ben Roethlisberger, it wouldn't be out of line to expect Eli to come up with half those numbers this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Williams, NYG IND 600000000 ***
Doesn't look like Rashad Jennings will be back so it's still Andre's show. Unfortunately Andre hasn't been particularly impressive with additional carries; after scoring the first two times his workload ticked into double digits he's laid a pair of road eggs at a shade over three yards per carry. At least he's back home this week, but keep your expectations low against a Colts defense that has shut out Giovani Bernard and Le'Veon Bell in back-to-back weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, NYG IND 006801000 **
Randle remains the most targeted Giants receiver, and while Indy's overall passing game stats are impressive they did just allow 5-83-2 to similarly sized Martavis Bryant last week so Randle's at least worth a look-see here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Odell Beckham, NYG IND 004500000 ***
Beckham has three TDs in as many games since making his NFL debut. With an extra week to acclimate to the offense--and give Ben McAdoo an opportunity to figure out how to take advantage of his skills--there's no reason to think his role reduces. It's not a favorable matchup on paper, but the Steelers showed last week Indy's secondary isn't infallible so Beckham remains in play fantasy-wise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Larry Donnell, NYG IND 007801000 ***
Indy's allowed five TE TDs and five games of 70-plus yards to the position already this year; so long as Daniel Fells doesn't keep swiping Larry's scores he's a solid bordering on spectacular fantasy play.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG IND 2222 ***
Brown has been in double digits the past two home games, but an Indy D that hasn't allowed a kicker to top 10 points since Week 2 likely holds him in check this week.

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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