Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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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
  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
RB Matt Forte 40 4-30
RB Jacquizz Rodgers 40 5-40
WR Alshon Jeffery 3-40
TE Martellus Bennett 6-70,1
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG 1 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.

Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 30 11 21 32 14 1
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 1 15 1 16 7 16

QB Jay Cutler, CHI @KC 0000024011 ***
Cutler returned from injury last week and wasn't too bad. Now he'll face a KC defense that struggled early on but benefitted mightily from the return of cornerback Sean Smith last week. Smith's presence, coupled with a banged-up Bears' receiving corps and the potential carnage when the Chiefs' pass rush meets Chicago's iffy-at-best offensive line, suggest you keep your expectations for Smokin' Jay in check.
RB Matt Forte, CHI @KC 6015500000 ***
Forte's been productive despite his team's struggles, with a 74-yard trip to Seattle the only blemish on his report card thus far. KC hasn't seen a back get Forte's volume of touches yet this season, but the past two weeks Green Bay (33 RB touches, 155 yards) and Cincinnati (23 touches, 129 yards, 4 TDs) have carved out productive games against the Chiefs so they can be had. Forte will get every opportunity to take his bite.
WR Josh Bellamy, CHI @KC 003400000 ***
Update: No Eddie Royal, probably no Alshon Jeffery... you could use the "somebody's gotta catch the passes" theory, but with Sean Smith back for the Chiefs they aren't nearly the pushover they appear to be on paper.
WR Marquess Wilson, CHI @KC 003300000 ***
Update: With Eddie Royal and Alshon Jeffery combining for one limited practice this week, prepare for Wilson to be the Bears' go-to receiver this week. Even though he'll have priority amongst Chicago wideouts, it's tough to bank on him for fantasy stats.
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI @KC 007601000 ***
It's not nearly as cushy a matchup for Bennett as last week, but he's still a high-volume target--especially if Alshon Jeffery and/or Eddie Royal are still hobbled--and an every-week fantasy contributor.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, CHI @KC 2222 ***
The Chiefs have been more inclined to give up touchdowns instead of field goals, but they've faced some pretty good offenses of late. The Bears are more inclined to settle fir field goals, with Gould booting three treys in all three games in which he's been given attempts. Expect him to settle again here, but for fantasy purposes settling isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Dallas Cowboys
Homefield: Cowboys Stadium
  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 Matt Cassel 260,2
QB Tony Romo 270,1
QB Brandon Weeden 10 230
RB Darren McFadden 80,1 4-40
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.

Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 20 22 6 29 30 25
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 2 5 11 17 10 27

QB Brandon Weeden, DAL NE 0000025011 ***
Weeden has flirted with the fringe of fantasy relevancy but has been limited by just 26 attempts in each of his first two starts. Every QB to face New England this season has had to throw at least 30 times to keep up, even the run-first Bills, and the increase in volume should push Weeden onto the fantasy radar this week.
RB Joseph Randle, DAL NE 7011100000 ***
Randle remains the lead dog in the Cowboys' backfield committee, but unless Dallas compensates for the loss of Lance Dunbar by increasing Randle's role he's looking at a mid-tier fantasy effort at best.
RB Darren McFadden, DAL NE 3005400000 ***
McFadden continues to lurk, shaving touches off other backs without garnering fantasy value of his own. If he steps into Lance Dunbar's pass catching role that could change, but he hasn't been targeted for two games so that's a wish at best. Keep him on your fantasy bench until his role evolves into something with some fantasy reliability to it.
WR Cole Beasley, DAL NE 006700000 ***
Beasley should see an uptick as he kind of fills the void left by the injury to pass-catching back Lance Dunbar. His 6-62 last week falls right in the Patriots wheelhouse, as they've allowed seven different receivers to top 55 yards this season but only one went beyond 70. There's PPR help here, but the ceiling is low.
WR Terrance Williams, DAL NE 006500000 ***
The Patriots have allowed seven different wideouts to top 55 yards this season but only Antonio Brown to top 70. Williams isn't in that class, nor will he be that heavily targeted, so you have an idea of where his fantasy upside falls.
TE Jason Witten, DAL NE 006601000 ***
The Patriots have allowed TE TDs in each of the past two games, and Heath Miller posted a solid 8-84 in the season opener. It all adds up to yet another rock-solid outing for Witten this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL NE 2222 ***
Not an overwhelmingly favorable matchup for Bailey, as you don't match the Patriots' prolific offense by settling for field goals. But he should still get you enough to remain in typical fantasy lineups.

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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