Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

Prediction: DAL 13, BAL 24 (Line: BAL by 3.5)

Players to Watch: Joe Flacco

The Cowboys come off their bye with a 2-2 record that satisfies no one and start an even more brutal stretch of the schedule for the next five games.

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 18-34 13 PHI -----
5 BYE ----- 14 @CIN -----
6 @BAL ----- 15 PIT -----
7 @CAR ----- 16 NO -----
8 NYG ----- 17 @WAS -----
9 @ATL ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DAL @ BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 300,1
QB Mark Sanchez 10 220,1
RB Darren McFadden 100,1 6-40
RB Alfred Morris 80,1 2-10
WR Dez Bryant 5-80
TE Jason Witten 6-70
PK Dan Bailey 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: Take away the season opener (and by now you really should) and the Dallas defense has been good until when it breaks late in the game. And the Dallas offense has just remained bad from kickoff to the final gun. The rushing effort has disappeared behind faulty blocking and Tony Romo has struggled since that first New York game.

In the last three games he has only thrown for two touchdowns and has seven interceptions and two lost fumbles. His five interception night against the Bears equaled a career worst. The problem was hardly all Romo. He was knocked around constantly, no one respects the run anymore and his receivers drop passes frequently.

Dez Bryant ran the wrong route and gave away an interception returned for a touchdown. The passing yardage is not that bad - always over 250 and he averages 287 per week. But the scoring just not there. Bryant did finally have a 100 yard game but it is only the second of his career and the first one was back in week 10 of 2010. Bryant has no touchdowns this year. Miles Austin leads the team with three scores and has remained consistent with around 60 yards or more. In Dallas, Austin is about as good as it gets.

Jason Witten was terrible in his first three games dropping passes and never scoring. He was the focus of Romo against the Bears and caught 13 passes for 112 yards and one touchdown. It was a vintage Witten game but was just one of four. With a stretch of four road games in the next five weeks, Witten will be relied on heavily against some very good defenses that are going to be able to cover Austin or let Bryant run the wrong route.

DeMarco Murray is a sign how bad the offensive line is in Dallas. The last three games have only produced 44 rushing yards or less though they finally used him as a receiver with seven catches for 57 yards versus the Bears. Murray has only one score on the season and 14 plays with negative gains. That's one in every four or five runs never reaching the offensive line.

Dallas needed the bye week to regroup but the first game out is a road trip to Baltimore. That's not likely to be any help at all.

The Ravens have allowed three passers to exceed 320 yards but have only given up two passing touchdowns this year. Dallas does not fare well against "bend but do not break" defenses because that allows the Cowboys to do the breaking which so far they have been pretty good at doing. The Ravens have allowed four rushing scores but DeMarco Murray has been getting worse each week.

Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 17 22 7 14 29 28
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 8 17 19 10 20 6

QB Dak Prescott, DAL @SF 20100026010 ***
Hey, look at that! Prescott finally threw a touchdown pass. He is clearly becoming more comfortable with the pacing of the game and goes through his progressions surprisingly well. It doesn't hurt that he has some wheels, when needed. The Cowboys have to travel this week, and San Fran offers a midrange matchup stats-wise by permitting 22.8 points per game.
RB Ezekiel Elliott, DAL @SF 10011100000 ***
Elliott might touch the ball 35 times this week. The 'Boys may be without Dez Bryant (knee) and are thin at wide receiver. The 49ers represent a midrange matchup for fantasy backs by allowing 21 points per game in PPR scoring.
WR Cole Beasley, DAL @SF 007700000 ***
Beasley is a wonderful PPR weapon but will see stronger coverage if Dez Bryant cannot play. Watch how Bryant's week unfolds. Beasley is a WR3 or flex against San Francisco's pass defense (35-471-4).

Update: Bryant is unlikely to go, which amplifies Beasley's defensive attention and offensive involvement. The field becomes that much smaller without Dez, so Beasley's increased role may be offset. He's a fringe play in PPR only.
WR Terrance Williams, DAL @SF 005500000 ***
Williams doesn't play a large enough role in the passing game, with or without Dez, to be played as anything better than a wild flex. San Fran has given up four TDs on 35 catches, but is technically a poor matchup overall.

Update: Bryant is not expected to go, which gives Williams the slightest of boosts. He's a Hail Mary fantasy play this week.
TE Jason Witten, DAL @SF 006600000 ***
Dez Bryant has a hairline fracture in his knee and is listed as day-to-day. It is hard to imagine he plays, but even if he goes, Witten will have to pick up the slack. San Francisco has allowed the fifth most points to tight ends thus far.

Update: Witten may see even more targets with Dez not expected to play. Start the veteran tight end with confidence.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL @SF 1133 ***
No team has been more generous to kickers than the Niners. Bailey benefits from a rookie quarterback being on the road.

Baltimore Ravens
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN 44-13 10 OAK -----
2 @PHI 23-24 11 @PIT -----
3 NE 31-30 12 @SD -----
4 CLE 23-16 13 PIT -----
5 @KC 9-6 14 @WAS -----
6 DAL ----- 15 DEN -----
7 @HOU ----- 16 NYG -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @CIN -----
9 @CLE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 240,2
RB Justin Forsett 20
WR Mike Wallace 5-80,1
TE Dennis Pitta 3-20,1
TE Benjamin Watson 1-10
PK Justin Tucker 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Pretty rare when you win despite never scoring any touchdowns but the Ravens made it three in a row thanks to an even worse offense by the Chiefs that smacked of a trap game the Ravens barely escaped from. Back at home this week against the Cowboys should help get the motivation up.

Like every season, Joe Flacco flirts with fantasy relevance and just when you think you can rely on him, he lays an egg. After two games of over 350 passing yards and at least two scores in each, Flacco only threw for 187 yards in Kansas City and had no touchdowns. On the year, he has seven touchdowns against four interceptions. He is generally good, occasionally great and not above a flop every now and then. It all totals to a mostly mediocre fantasy starter.

Ray Rice is the lone consistent player on this team. He produces around 100 total yards in almost every game if not rushes for that much and scored in two of the three home match-ups. Last week was a rare time he only had one catch. In most weeks he has at least five and up to eight. Rice also doesn't share the ball more than a time or two each week. There were good reasons why Rice was drafted #1 or #2 in almost every league. Those reasons still exist if not are even stronger.

The Dennis Pitta show has been placed on hiatus apparently. After opening the season with three efforts over five receptions each and totaling two scores, he has turned into yet another pumpkin. After being blanked by the Browns, Pitta only handed in 22 yards on three catches versus the Chiefs. He's only getting a few targets in games now and one more week of this means that mini-spree of catches is over for good.

The positive about Torrey Smith this year is that at least he has a big game when at home. Both efforts came in the wake of his brother's death but the defense was not being kind when it allowed him to post 127 yards and then 97 yards over the last two home stands. His three scores all came in those two games. Anquan Boldin is the one receiver who has surprisingly been the most effective over the last two weeks with 131 yards and 82 yards though he has not scored since the season opener.

The Cowboys rushing defense has been very good other than when on the road against a top back like this game. No quarterback has thrown for more than 275 yards on them and most remain well under 220 yards with only one score each. This is not likely to be a monster passing game for Flacco who rarely has them anyway.

Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 14 7 14 16 11 5
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 5 10 2 15 10 29

QB Joe Flacco, BAL OAK 0000028020 ***
Oakland is the third easiest matchup for quarterbacks this season as one of two teams to give up 1,000-plus yards. Flacco is getting into the swing of things and should be a midrange QB1 this week.
RB Justin Forsett, BAL OAK 6003200000 ***
The Raiders have given up an offensive touchdown per game to the position, ranking as the eighth softest matchup for PPR backs. Starting Forsett is a gamble, even against a weak opponent.
RB Terrance West, BAL OAK 5002200000 ***
West has no fantasy value without finding the end zone, and that's one of the few areas against running backs in which the Raiders have been strong, giving up only two scores in three games on the ground.
WR Mike Wallace, BAL OAK 005901000 ***
Only the Bills have allowed more PPR WR points than the Raiders, which is driven by tons of yardage but only two scores. The Raiders have been more well-rounded in their suckiness: 43 receptions, 664 yards, 5 TDs allowed.
WR Steve Smith Sr., BAL OAK 007700000 ***
Smith caught eight balls last week and is slowly coming around after last year's devastating injury. The Raiders have been terrible against wide receivers, and Joe Flacco may need to chuck it to keep pace with Derek Carr's offense.
WR Breshad Perriman, BAL OAK 002200000 ***
Maybe this is the week Perriman's speed leads to a big one? Oakland has stunk against receivers, giving up the second most plays of 40-plus to receivers.
TE Dennis Pitta, BAL OAK 007801000 ***
Tight ends have done OK vs. Oakland, accounting for 245 yards but only one score. Pitta is a fringe fantasy play with some upside.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL OAK 2222 ***
Tucker's accuracy and leg strength make him a sound fantasy play every week. Oakland has given up five field goals on seven attempts in three games.

BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

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