FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 6
2012
PIT at TEN (THU) *DET at PHI *MIN at WAS *STL at MIA
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
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 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 DeMarco Murray 40 6-50
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.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 17 22 7 14 29 28
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 8 17 19 10 20 6

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tony Romo, DAL WAS 0000028020 ***
Much to like here, both historically--Romo has multiple touchdowns in four of his last five against the Redskins--and recently, as the Redskins have allowed multiple touchdowns in five straight while Romo has thrown multiple scoring strikes in five consecutive as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL WAS 12012100000 *****
The Redskins haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher since Week 1 and have surrendered only one RB rushing score all season... but c'mon, Murray just broke a Jim Brown record so this season must be magical. Triple-digit yardage is all but a given, and a TD more likely than those Redskins stats might lead you to believe.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL WAS 0061101000 ***
The Redskins aren't really shutting down opposing passing games, so expect Bryant to get his--which at home has meant 100 yards or a touchdown in his last three at Jones Majal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL WAS 005701000 ****
Washington has surrendered touchdowns to multiple receivers in each of the past two games, so even if Dez gets his and DeMarco Murray gets his there should be enough left over for Williams to carve out some fantasy assistance this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL WAS 005500000 ****
Witten's fantasy value is being usurped by Gavin Escobar, who has scored three of the Cowboys' last four TE TDs. It's not a compelling enough matchup to make Witten anything other than a fringe fantasy helper at best.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL WAS 2244 ***
Bailey has been solid, but just one double-digit points effort in the past month leaves him a bit shy of spectacular. Plan accordingly.

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 Jacoby Jones 2-20
WR Torrey Smith 5-100,1
TE Owen Daniels 6-80,1
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.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 14 7 14 16 11 5
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 5 10 2 15 10 29

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL @CIN 0000027020 ****
Flacco threw for 345 and one in the earlier meeting. Now he rolls in with multiple TD tosses in two straight and three of four, facing a Cincy D that's allowed multiple touchdowns in three straight. What's not to like?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @CIN 4006501000 ***
Forsett racked up 84 combo yards and a TD in the season opener against Cincy; he remains a solid fantasy bet against a Bengals defense that's allowed RB TDs in four straight.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL @CIN 301000000 ***
Working in Pierce's favor is that the Ravens inexplicably prefer him to Lorenzo Taliaferro, and that other sluggish backs such as Shonn Greene and Stevan Ridley have found the end zone against Cincy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL @CIN 0051001000 ****
Steve has hit triple digits three of the past four times he's faced the Bengals, including 118 and 1 in the season opener against Cincy. While Torrey Smith has seen an uptick in production of late, Steve remains the go-to receiver and top fantasy bet in this passing game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL @CIN 004800000 ****
Torrey produced 3-50 in half the targets of Steve Smith back in the season opener against Cincy. His role in the Baltimore offense has expanded of late, so expect an improvement on those numbers this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Crockett Gillmore, BAL @CIN 003300000 **
Update: With Owen Daniels out, Gillmore gets the call as the Ravens' tight end. He's more of a blocker, though the team has thrown to him more frequently of late. Tough to bank on him for production right out of the gate, however.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL @CIN 00000000 *****
Daniels scored last week and is seeing plenty of targets in an offense he's intimately familiar with. That should serve him well in an extremely favorable matchup against a defense that's served up four TE TDs and let five different TEs top 50 yards in just the past three games.
Update: Daniels surprised everyone by having a knee procedure on Friday. He'll miss this week's game, leaving third-stringer Crockett Gilmore as the Ravens' tight end.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @CIN 1133 ****
Cincy has surrendered almost 14 kicker points per game over the past month, while Tucker is averaging double-digit points per game for the season and has multiple field goals in every road game. He's a rock-solid fantasy kicking option again this week.

WEEK 6
2012
PIT at TEN (THU) *DET at PHI *MIN at WAS *STL at MIA
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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