FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

Prediction: TB 16, DAL 34 (Line: DAL by 7)

Players to Watch: Dallas Clark

Both teams come off losses - the Cowboys in Seattle reversed all progress while the Buccaneers barely lost in New York after leading most of the game. We know the Buccaneers are better than 2011 but the Cowboys are no worse and usually plays much better at home against average teams. Plus this is the home opener.

The Cowboys won 31-15 at Tampa Bay last year in week 15.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CAR 16-10 10 SD -----
2 @NYG 34-41 11 @CAR -----
3 @DAL ----- 12 ATL -----
4 WAS ----- 13 @DEN -----
5 BYE ----- 14 PHI -----
6 KC ----- 15 @NO -----
7 NO ----- 16 STL -----
8 @MIN ----- 17 @ATL -----
9 @OAK ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Doug Martin 60 2-10
WR Vincent Jackson 5-70
WR Louis Murphy 2-30
TE Brandon Myers 6-60

Pregame Notes: Only two weeks in and with just a 1-1 record but the Buccaneers have to be pretty happy about where they are at. The defense intercepted Eli Manning three times and scored on one return last Sunday. They lost CB Eric Wright which hurt at the end but overall there are plenty of reasons to expect a far better season than 2011.

Josh Freeman was just a game manager in the opener but passed for 243 yards and two scores in New York and finally made good use of Vincent Jackson who ended with four catches of 19+ yards and a total of 128 yards and one score on five receptions. That makes two straight weeks that Jackson was thrown ten targets and both were double any other receiver. Freeman continues to work on his chemistry with Jackson and already has encouraging results.

Mike Williams has scored in both games though he has yet to catch more than three passes in either game. No other receivers here have any fantasy value much less NFL value. Dallas Clark got a little hype in camp but has 33 yards in each of the first two games. Williams and Jackson both have plenty of room to grow and Williams still needs a breakout game this year. That will be easier if Jackson gets more defensive scrutiny from turning in big games.

Doug Martin was less effective against the Giants but recorded his first rushing touchdown and his 20 carries for 66 yards helped control the ball. Bothersome was that he did not get any receptions in the game despite the passing at the end.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 27 17 18 32 12 9
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 4 19 6 25 11 12

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Josh McCown, TB GB 0000025021 ***
Green Bay's defense is nothing special unless they've got you down by a couple touchdowns and force you to be one-dimensional. On the road they've been less dominant, which should allow the Bucs to remain multifaceted and keep McCown from playing the role of sitting duck in the pocket. He had some success against Green Bay last year as a bear, but his upside feels like two TDs and something in the mid-200s; you'll want more during championship week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Doug Martin, TB GB 400000000 ***
We've seen flashes of the Martin of old--not enough to dust him off for a fantasy start, but enough to plant a seed in the backs of minds heading into next year. Splitting touches with Charles Sims takes a bite out of his fantasy potential as well; consider him a placeholder for now.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Charles Sims, TB GB 1003300000 ***
Sims could see extended work as a pass-catcher if the Packers do in fact get out to a big lead and force the Bucs to throw, so there's some fantasy value here for PPR leaguers. Aside from that... not much.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Evans, TB GB 005802000 ***
Big-bodied receivers--Julio Jones (259 & 1), Brandon LaFell (2 TDs), Jordan Matthews (107 &1), Brandon Marshall (112 & 1), and more--have success against the Packers' secondary. And Evans is plenty big-bodied--not to mention heavily targeted and a red-zone monster. Have to love his opportunity here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Vincent Jackson, TB GB 005900000 ***
Green Bay has noticeable difficulty handling larger receivers--like Jackson, for example, who has 239 yards and four touchdowns in two career meetings with the Packers. That trend has continued this season through the likes of Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Kelvin Benjamin and even Jordan Matthews and Brandon LaFell. So while VJax still plays second fiddle to Mike Evans (another big WR), he should have ample opportunity to build a fantasy portfolio of his own this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, TB GB 1122 ***
Murray's next game with double-digit points will be his first. No reason to expect it to happen this week.

Dallas Cowboys
Homefield: Cowboys Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYG 24-17 10 @PHI -----
2 @SEA 7-27 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
DAL vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 320,3
QB Brandon Weeden 10 260,1
RB DeMarco Murray 110,1 2-20
RB Ryan Williams 30 3-20
WR Dez Bryant 5-90,1
TE Jason Witten 6-70,1
PK Dan Bailey 2 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: As it so often is, the Cowboys are a tale of two teams. The first one looked like a contender as they crushed the Superbowl champs in their stadium. Then they played in Seattle where it appeared the 11 days off from the opener were spent at a Gentlemen's Club wondering when Dez Bryant was going to show up. And they are still waiting for him to show up.

Tony Romo went from deadly to just average when he only ended with 251 yards and one score in Seattle. He was out of synch and plagued to receiver drops including Jason Witten who normally never drops a pass. The Cowboys rushing attack was great in New York but then only produced 44 yards on 12 runs against a very good Seattle defense. Game situation meant DeMarco Murray just never had enough carries to get into any groove.

Oddly enough, Miles Austin has been the only receiver with fantasy reward in both weeks and he has been good for 60+ yards and a score both times. Dez Bryant has disappeared again and almost always when the Cowboys need him the most. Kevin Ogletree went from week one start to only having one catch for 26 yards. Guess which week is going to be more like the others?

Back at Dallas for the home opener should go well against a Buccaneers team that may have improved to average but on the road will struggle more. In the up and down nature of the Cowboys, all signs point to this week being a good one.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 8 23 4 22 32 27
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 28 3 32 21 22 7

  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?
Update: Murray practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday, and everything coming out of Dallas points towards him giving it a go on Sunday. But keep in mind it's a similar injury to the one that kept Emmitt Smith and Marshall Faulk out a couple weeks each, plus there's no way it won't affect ball security and pass-catching. Stay glued to the inactive list Sunday morning; hopefully you'll get a definitive answer.
  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.

WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

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