FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 4
2012
CLE at BAL (THU) *MIN at DET *OAK at DEN *TEN at HOU
CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

Prediction: CHI 13, DAL 20 (Line: DAL by 3.5)

Players to Watch: Jay Cutler

Players Updated: Matt Forte, Michael Bush

Here is an interesting game. The 2-1 Bears have two big wins at home against weak opponents and then got beat big on the road in Green Bay. None of these necessarily define the Bears so far but this week should be the final piece. The Cowboys are 2-1 with only a loss in Seattle but last week against the Buccaneers was a win played in slow motion at about half speed. The defense continues to do their job for the Cowboys but the offense has flopped twice now since the opener in New York. Cowboys at home and Bears on the road should be a win for the home team. But expecting any fireworks and big points is looking optimistic.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 41-21 10 HOU -----
2 @GB 10-23 11 @SF -----
3 STL 23-6 12 MIN -----
4 @DAL ----- 13 SEA -----
5 @JAC ----- 14 @MIN -----
6 BYE ----- 15 GB -----
7 DET ----- 16 @ARI -----
8 CAR ----- 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI @ DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 20 180,1
WR Alshon Jeffery 3-40
PK Connor Barth 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Since opening against the Colts, this is no offensive machine. The absence of Matt Forte is certainly telling and he may even start practicing this week but chances are still best that he will miss this game. Originally, his prognosis was four to six weeks so getting to even limited practice after two weeks would be a very favorable sign. This is a Monday night game too so no place to turn if you want to hold out hope for Forte.

Jay Cutler is going to be the key to this entire game. He has struggled in the last two games with never more than 183 passing yards and just one score. He was intercepted four times in Green Bay and once by the visiting Rams. Worse yet, Cutler has been sacked 11 times this season and bashed far more times than that. The offensive line continues to be a major issue here and facing the Cowboys in Dallas is not going to do anything to improve the blocking. As Jay goes, so go the Bears.

Michael Bush took over for Forte and scored once but only gained 55 yards on 18 runs versus the Rams. Kahlil Bell was also allowed ten runs for a whopping 20 yards last week so Bush is not getting the full load. He merely replaces Forte and then Bell comes up as the new Bush. On the road that is not likely to produce much fantasy value unless they throw the ball more to Bush who only had two catches last week.

Alshon Jeffrey has been fairly solid for a rookie in his first three games though his lone road trip resulted in just one catch in Green Bay. Brandon Marshall also flopped in that road game with two reception but has been a big plus as long as the Bears are at home and facing weaker teams. The two starting wideouts are all that really matter here with Earl Bennett and Devin Hester rarely accounting for more than a catch or two. That is going to be a problem this week since the Cowboys have yet to allow any passing touchdown to a wide receiver or even more than 58 yards.

The Cowboys offense has been enigmatic but the defense has remained very good. That's enough to make all the Bears offensive weapons get a downgrade on Monday.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 30 11 21 32 14 1
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 1 15 1 16 7 16

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Brian Hoyer, CHI @DAL 0000023011 ***
There is no reason to chance it with Hoyer in Week 3. Dallas hosts Chicago on Sunday night and is the 12th easiest matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Langford, CHI @DAL 5012100000 **
The offense may fall squarely on his shoulders without Jay Cutler under center. The likely added volume is nice, but stacked boxes can negate the effectiveness. Langford faces the 12th most difficult matchup for running backs and may struggle if Brandon Hoyer cannot exploit the secondary. Tread with caution, and avoid him in DFS.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, CHI @DAL 004501000 ***
Royal should see an uptick in looks with Brian Hoyer at quarterback and Dallas' weak fantasy WR defense paying mind to Alshon Jeffery. That said, playing Royal is a tough pill to swallow for traditional leaguers. PPR only, and only if you must.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI @DAL 004600000 ***
Dallas may look to double Jeffery all day long and force Brian Hoyer to take the checkdowns to backs and tight ends. The 'Boys have given up 24 catches for 316 yards and a trio of TDs to receivers this season. Jeffery is a starter but with much lower expectations.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kevin White, CHI @DAL 004300000 ***
White is basically a late-season rookie at this point in his young NFL journey. Now a quarterback change comes into play, and it's really difficult to put much stock in White at this time. The matchup is respectable, so there's that going for him, but White isn't an quality start in any situation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Miller, CHI @DAL 004400000 ***
Miller has been been non-existent through two games (7-47-0). That could change against the fourth easiest matchup for fantasy tight ends. Only Cleveland has given up more catches to the position. Brian Hoyer doesn't have the downfield game of Jay Cutler, something that bodes well for Miller.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, CHI @DAL 1122 ***
Brian Hoyer can do some decent things on offense, so maybe Barth gets ample chances. However, it's not worth chancing.

Dallas Cowboys
Homefield: Cowboys Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYG 24-17 10 @PHI -----
2 @SEA 7-27 11 CLE -----
3 TB 16-10 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 CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 270,1
QB Mark Sanchez 210,1
RB Darren McFadden 80,1 4-40
RB Alfred Morris 70
WR Dez Bryant 6-60
TE Jason Witten 3-30
PK Dan Bailey 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys are 2-1 but no one is that happy at team headquarters. The defense has been good to great each week but the offense has recently played like this is December and the annual slide to .500 has begun. Penalties and dropped passes like the Cowboys just kind of lost interest after the Giants win. I almost never happens this early in the year. It almost always does happen in December.

Last week against the visiting Buccaneers, Tony Romo only managed to throw for 283 yards, one interception and two lost fumbles. The Bucs. Visiting no less. He has been good for 250+ yards in every game but has just one touchdown over the last two weeks. This is almost the same scenario as the Bears except they beat the Colts and the Cowboys beat the reigning Superbowl champs. Since then - same same.

Even more perplexing was how DeMarco Murray only gained 38 yards on 18 carries. He opened with his first 100 yard rushing effort in a road game ever. Since then, never more than 44 rush yards in a game. And Murray was always at his best at home in the past.

Top of the list of "what is wrong with you guys" is Jason Witten who claims he is no longer hampered by his lacerated spleen and yet he only had two catches for eight yards versus the Buccaneers and that included several outright drops. Three weeks of Witten so far has netted just 76 yards and no scores.

Miles Austin is the lone receiver meeting expectations each week and he has two scores and 243 yards on the year compared to no scores and 164 yards by Dez Bryant. Kevin Ogletree continues to be more productive than Bryant.

With only a bye waiting on the other side, the Cowboys need this home win and yet will be facing a very formidable defense which has allowed only three offensive touchdowns this year. Chances are this will be more of a repeat of last week for the Cowboys only against a better defense. The Cowboys have a brutal five game stretch after their bye and losing this game puts the season at risk.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 20 22 6 29 30 25
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 2 5 11 17 10 27

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Dak Prescott, DAL CHI 0000024010 ***
The good: He scored a TD (rushing) in Week 2 and once again didn't turn over the ball. The bad: He's not moving the ball down the field enough or taking the necessary, smart chances to lead to fantasy teams.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ezekiel Elliott, DAL CHI 10012100000 ***
Two fumbles in Week 2 didn't help his fantasy total, but the rookie is churning along as good as can be expected because of the quarterback situation. This should be another strong fantasy effort from Zeke. Chicago has allowed averages of 102.5 rushing yards, four receptions, and one touchdown per contest.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL CHI 006901000 ***
Hey, look at that ... we had a Dez sighting in Week 2! Proof that you must start your studs. Jordan Matthews caught six of nine targets for 71 yards in Week 2, following up DeAndre Hopkins' 5-54-1 stat line in the opener. ... reasonably realistic expectations for No. 88.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cole Beasley, DAL CHI 006700000 ***
This matchup isn't ideal on paper. Chicago has allowed only 24 catches, 297 yards and a pair of touchdowns in two games. Beasley is playing too well right now to ignore, and fantasy owners in PPR leagues must include him as no worse than a flex.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL CHI 005600000 ***
Houston's tight ends did no damage, as expected, to Chicago in the opener. Trey Burton, replacing Philly starter Zach Ertz, managed five catches, 49 yards and a TD on seven targets. Witten is in for a quality outing for PPR owners, and with any extra luck, he'll lumber into the end zone.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL CHI 3322 ***
Dak Prescott moves the ball well but struggles to produce touchdowns. That has been a good thing for Bailey's fantasy owners.

WEEK 4
2012
CLE at BAL (THU) *MIN at DET *OAK at DEN *TEN at HOU
CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

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