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 Brandon Weeden 240,1
RB Darren McFadden 100,1 6-40
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 Brandon Weeden, DAL @NO 0000021010 ***
Weeden's didn't throw downfield last week, relying on his underneath targets. The Saints might be more susceptible down the field, but if they blitz the Cowboys' stellar o-line they'll also be ripe for picking apart underneath via tight ends and backs--where Weeden did his damage last week. Either way he should compile a serviceable fantasy line, with the upside of 300-plus yards and multiple TDs like Carson Palmer and Cam Newton dropped on New Orleans earlier this year.
RB Joseph Randle, DAL @NO 6012200000 ***
With a bad o-line and similar skill set, Doug Martin took the Saints for 21-78 a couple weeks back. Randle should see more daylight, and he showed early in last week's win he knows what to do when given a seam.
RB Lance Dunbar, DAL @NO 1008500000 ***
Dunbar should be a favored target for Brandon Weeden again this week, with enough volume to warrant a starting gig in PPR and most performance-based scoring systems as well.
RB Darren McFadden, DAL @NO 3003200000 ***
Holding the junior share of carries, McFadden has limited opportunity to help your fantasy team.
WR Cole Beasley, DAL @NO 005400000 ***
The Cowboys' slot receiver is a little more in Brandon Weeden's sweet spot, but don't expect much more than his typical 4-49--which he's posted twice in three games this year.
WR Terrance Williams, DAL @NO 002300000 ***
Weeden went Williams' way just twice last week, drawing a penalty on the first and watching Williams drop a fourth-down game-ender on the second. While opponents have had success going down the field on the New Orleans' secondary Weeden hasn't demonstrated a willingness to do so just yet. Best keep Williams on the back burner until that changes.
TE Jason Witten, DAL @NO 008601000 ***
The Saints gave up 4-82-1 to Darren Fells in the season opener and 8-134-2 to Greg Olsen last week. Witten has to be licking his lips at what he'll be able to do with his typical dose of eight targets.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL @NO 2222 ***
The Saints are serving up plenty of kicker points, so much so that even with Brandon Weeden at the helm Bailey should do more than his share of fantasy damage.

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
QB Matt Schaub 190,2
RB Justin Forsett 20
WR Chris Givens 2-40
TE Dennis Pitta 3-20,1
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 @PIT 0000030021 ***
Flacco has been a high-volume passer the past two weeks, and given the state of the Baltimore ground game--and the way Pittsburgh's run D is playing--he'd better ice up the shoulder for Thursday. He went for 303 and 2 on his last visit to the Steel City, and he'll have another 40-plus attempts to approach those numbers here.
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @PIT 3004200000 ***
Forsett has yet to live up to expectations this season, and he has a lousy track record against the Steelers as well. It'll get worse before it gets better, as Pittsburgh has given up just 167 RB rushing yards through three games. The absolute upside is something like Dion Lewis delivered in Week 1 when he tallied 120 yards from scrimmage--similar to the 105 Forsett notched in last year's trip to Pittsburgh.
WR Steve Smith, BAL @PIT 0081101000 ***
Smith did little in two meetings with the Steelers last season, catching 11 balls for 107 yards. But he's on a roll as the only functioning member of Baltimore's passing game, plus he's facing a Pittsburgh defense that's allowed three straight receivers to top 95 yards. He'll get the volume, and in Stop #4 of his retirement tour he'll make things happen as well.
WR Kamar Aiken, BAL @PIT 004600000 ***
The only Ravens receiver besides Steve Smith to catch more than two passes in a game this season, Aiken vanished last week and can't be banked on for fantasy help.
WR Marlon Brown, BAL @PIT 002300000 ***
Brown, like every Raven not named Steve Smith, is an afterthought in the passing game. No reason to like his chances against a Pittsburgh defense that's allowed only one secondary target to top 40 yards this season.
TE Maxx Williams, BAL @PIT 005401000 *
Some intrigue to the rookie this week as he'll combine an uptick in opportunities with a Steelers' defense that couldn't hold Vernon Davis down in Week 2 and has given up TE TDs to Baltimore in three of the past four meetings.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @PIT 1122 ***
Thursday night and division game both suggest field goal fest, and Tucker is more than capable of playing that game.

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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