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 @NYG 0000027020 ***
Romo has multiple touchdowns in seven straight meetings with the Giants, with at least 250 yards in each game as well. That run includes a 279 and 3 from earlier this year, and there's little reason to think he'll fall much shy of those benchmarks in the rematch.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL @NYG 10014200000 ****
After a brief hiccup Murray got back in the 100-yard swing of things the last time Dallas took the field. After taking the Giants for 128 and 1 in the earlier meeting, Murray should have little difficulty slapping another hundo on a New York defense that's allowed three 100-yard games (and a 95-yarder) in the past five outings.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL @NYG 0071001000 ***
Bryant hasn't scored against the Giants since 2011, but he has three 100-yard games in the past four meetings including 151 earlier this year. He's an every week fantasy starter, and this week is no different.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL @NYG 003500000 ***
The last time both Williams and Dez Bryant were fantasy relevant in the same game was a month ago--when the Cowboys hosted the Giants and Williams scored while Bryant topped 150 yards. Bryant is obviously the better option, but Williams definitely is in play this week as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL @NYG 004501000 ***
A fortuitous confluence: the Giants have allowed six TE TDs in the past five games, and the Cowboys have rediscovered Witten's role in their offense, with three touchdowns and three games north of 60 yards in the past five outings. It adds up to another quality opportunity for Witten to ring the fantasy bell.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL @NYG 2233 ***
Bailey has single field goals in four straight; maybe his offense has been too good. He should get some PATs again this week, probably enough to keep him fantasy relevant.

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 @NO 0000022011 ***
Flacco has found plenty of success against the NFC South this season, a total of 891 yards and 10 TDs in three games. While he's tended to be worse on the road, no need to shy away from him in New Orleans as the Ravens try to play keep-up with Drew Brees.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @NO 6014400000 ****
The Saints have surrendered 296 RB rushing yards in two games against AFC North foes this year, plus another 74 receiving. That touches on both elements that Forsett brings to the fantasy table, and on the heels of 20-112-2 against Tennessee the last time Baltimore took the field he's a solid fantasy play again this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL @NO 200000000 ***
Pierce battles with Lorenzo Taliaferro for relevancy in the Baltimore backfield, and against New Orleans there might just be enough left over for a second back to generate fantasy help. However, Taliaferro is the more likely back to be fantasy relevant, so keep Pierce on your bench.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL @NO 200000000 ***
The Ravens continue to waffle between Taliaferro and Bernard Pierce as the change-of-pace guy to Justin Forsett. Pierce won the battle last week, if you can call 31 yards on 8 carries "winning". Taliaferro has more fantasy upside as a bull of a goal line back, so if you're picking between the two he's the more palatable option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL @NO 004601000 ****
Not that Torrey can't be fantasy relevant, but he's a little less consistent than Steve Smith and as such is a shade riskier as a fantasy play. Plus, the Saints have tended to allow one WR per week to post decent fantasy numbers so reaching down the Baltimore receiver depth chart isn't the shrewdest move.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL @NO 004500000 ***
The Saints have allowed the opposing WR1 to be fantasy relevant in six of their last seven, and Steve is still Baltimore's WR1 so he gets the fantasy nod this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL @NO 005600000 ***
The Saints gave up their first TE TDs since Week 1 last week, making this a tough matchup for Daniels to get fantasy traction in.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @NO 3322 ***
The last three kickers to visit the SuperDome have tallied at least nine points, and three of Tucker's four double-digit efforts have come on the road. In theory, it's a solid opportunity for Tucker to get his kicks 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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