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
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 Tony Romo, DAL CAR 0000025012 ***
Romo is reasonably matchup proof, but you do need to dial back expectations against a Carolina defense that's allowed an average of 227 passing yards and one TD in four road games.
RB Darren McFadden, DAL CAR 6017600000 ***
Since displacing Joseph Randle McFadden has three 100-yard games but only one TD. The Panthers have allowed only one 100-yard rusher all season, but it came on the road--plus they've allowed RB rushing scores in three straight road games. If the Cowboys are going to keep giving McFadden 20-plus carries behind that line, and so long as he stays healthy, he's a weekly must-start regardless of matchup.
WR Terrance Williams, DAL CAR 005701000 ***
Tony Romo's return floats all boats, but Carolina has allowed only one team to have multiple wideouts top 55 yards in the same game so you likely can find better fantasy options than Cowboys secondary receivers.
WR Dez Bryant, DAL CAR 005500000 **
Carolina's secondary has been stout--only six WR TDs all year--but they're not infallible. And Dez is... well, Dez. He's matchup-proof, though temper your expectations accordingly.
WR Cole Beasley, DAL CAR 003200000 ***
Beasley has seen just four targets since Tony Romo's return, and this matchup is far too stiff for lightly targeted tertiary receivers to warrant fantasy attention.
TE Jason Witten, DAL CAR 005500000 ***
Cowboys tight ends have done virtually nothing of fantasy note since the season opener, and in recent weeks the Panthers have kept the likes of Jordan Reed and Delanie Walker in check. You should be able to find a more palatable option this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL CAR 2222 ***
Bailey's been ordinary this season, with or without Tony Romo at the helm. A stout Carolina defense won't make things any easier.

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 Matt Schaub, BAL @CLE 0000018012 ***
You'd like to think it's an opportunity for Schaub coming off the bench to face a Browns defense that's surrendered multiple passing scores in three straight. However, Schaub's supporting cast has been gutted--plus he's the backup for a reason.
RB Javorius Allen, BAL @CLE 9005400000 *
Allen is still looking for his first NFL touchdown, and only once in his pro career has he touched the ball more than 10 times in a game. But with Justin Forsett done for the season the Ravens will give the ball to Buck--a lot, since Baltimore also lost quarterback Joe Flacco for the season and will dust off Matt Schaub this week. And he'll face a familiar foe, a Browns defense he racked up 58 yards on eight carries against earlier this season. Now he'll load up on touches in a Cleveland venue that has welcomed opposing running backs with open arms, surrendering at least 157 yards from scrimmage in all four dates at the Dawg Pound.
WR Kamar Aiken, BAL @CLE 003301000 *
Aiken was Baltimore's go-to guy sans Steve Smith in the earlier meeting with Cleveland, and he produced 4-78 on nine targets. It'll be Matt Schaub on the other end this time, which isn't likely to help Aiken's numbers.
WR Chris Givens, BAL @CLE 003500000 *
Givens is running as Baltimore's wingman, which in many cases would be a positive against a defense that's allowed multiple fantasy helpers from wideouts in three straight, four of five and seven of 10 overall. But with Baltimore going to the bullpen for Matt Schaub all bets are off with regards to passing game production this week.
TE Crockett Gillmore, BAL @CLE 006500000 *
Gillmore has scored in two of the past three and topped 100 yards in the game he couldn't reach the end zone. Now he'll face a Cleveland defense that's given up five TE TDs in the past two weeks. Plenty of upside here, as Matt Schaub has demonstrated in the past he knows where to find his tight end.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @CLE 2111 ***
With Baltimore's offense gutted by injury it could be tough for the Ravens to move the ball--with obvious repercussions for Tucker.

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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