FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 7
2012
SEA at SF (THU) *DAL at CAR *NYJ at NE DET at CHI (MON)
*ARI at MIN *GB at STL *PIT at CIN Bye:
BAL at HOU *JAC at OAK TEN at BUF ATL, DEN, KC,
*UPDATED *CLE at IND *NO at TB *WAS at NYG MIA, PHI, SD

Prediction: DAL 20, CAR 13 (Line: DAL by 1)

Players Updated: Dez Bryant

Players to Watch: Felix Jones

The 2-3 Cowboys were clipped by the Ravens in a game they almost had and now take their 1-2 road record to face the 1-4 Panthers who have only beaten the Saints. Neither team can afford a loss in this game but the Cowboys in particular would be crushed after nearly beating the Ravens and falling into the NFC East cellar.

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 29-31 15 PIT -----
7 @CAR ----- 16 NO -----
8 NYG ----- 17 @WAS -----
9 @ATL ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DAL @ CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 280,2
QB Mark Sanchez 230,1
RB Darren McFadden 100,1 3-20,1
RB Alfred Morris 80,1
WR Dez Bryant 7-80,1
TE Jason Witten 6-80,1
PK Dan Bailey 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys got their offense back to scoring against the Ravens but were doomed by special teams, bad clock management and just the general bad mojo that usually keeps them down. Tony Romo had a solid effort with 261 yards and two scores with just one interception - quite a step down from the five he threw against the Bears in week four. Coming off their bye week with a loss hurts but at least the NFC East doesn't have any powerhouse team in it again this year.

DeMarco Murray was running strong finally but then was lost for at least the next week and maybe more with ligament damage to his foot. That means Felix Jones gets to be the free agent darling this week since his three carries from the first four games combined persuaded most owners to part ways. Jones looked better than usual against the Ravens when he gained 92 yards and a score on 18 runs though in fairness the Ravens defense was already missing players and continued to lose them. Then again the Panthers this week have an even worse rushing defense.

Jason Witten finally looks healthy and completely back on track with 13 catches against Chicago and then six receptions for 88 yards in Baltimore when Romo peppered him with five passes in the fourth quarter trying for the comeback. Witten caught the tough passes and picked up yardage after the catch.

Dez Bryant stepped up his game yet again with a career best 13 catches in Baltimore for 95 yards and two touchdowns though of course he dropped the final two point conversion that could have tied the game. Those were his first scores on the year and the third straight game with six or more catches. Romo is forcing the issue by throwing to Bryant while cutting back on Miles Austin more each week. Austin is still the receiver leader with three touchdowns but comes off a season worst two catches for 31 yards. He had not been worse than 57 yards in any game previous while scoring in three of the four. Kevin Ogletree was blanked last week, completing the decline from his week one career best effort.

The Panthers have been decent against the pass and most team just try to run against them since they are among the weakest in the NFL versus the rush. Every opponent has thrown at least one score and often high yardage but only Matt Ryan had a big game as a quarterback against this defense and that was a road game for the Panthers. The loss of Murray comes at a terrible time for his owners looking to finally cash in but will make Felix Jones finally become a factor this year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 16 18 7 12 26 30
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 17 31 6 17 32 14

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Dak Prescott, DAL CHI 0000024010 ***
The good: He scored a TD (rushing) in Week 2 and once again didn't turn over the ball. The bad: He's not moving the ball down the field enough or taking the necessary, smart chances to lead to fantasy teams.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ezekiel Elliott, DAL CHI 10012100000 ***
Two fumbles in Week 2 didn't help his fantasy total, but the rookie is churning along as good as can be expected because of the quarterback situation. This should be another strong fantasy effort from Zeke. Chicago has allowed averages of 102.5 rushing yards, four receptions, and one touchdown per contest.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL CHI 006901000 ***
Hey, look at that ... we had a Dez sighting in Week 2! Proof that you must start your studs. Jordan Matthews caught six of nine targets for 71 yards in Week 2, following up DeAndre Hopkins' 5-54-1 stat line in the opener. ... reasonably realistic expectations for No. 88.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cole Beasley, DAL CHI 006700000 ***
This matchup isn't ideal on paper. Chicago has allowed only 24 catches, 297 yards and a pair of touchdowns in two games. Beasley is playing too well right now to ignore, and fantasy owners in PPR leagues must include him as no worse than a flex.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL CHI 005600000 ***
Houston's tight ends did no damage, as expected, to Chicago in the opener. Trey Burton, replacing Philly starter Zach Ertz, managed five catches, 49 yards and a TD on seven targets. Witten is in for a quality outing for PPR owners, and with any extra luck, he'll lumber into the end zone.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL CHI 3322 ***
Dak Prescott moves the ball well but struggles to produce touchdowns. That has been a good thing for Bailey's fantasy owners.

Carolina Panthers
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 10-16 10 DEN -----
2 NO 35-27 11 TB -----
3 NYG 7-36 12 @PHI -----
4 @ATL 28-30 13 @KC -----
5 SEA 12-16 14 ATL -----
6 BYE ----- 15 @SD -----
7 DAL ----- 16 OAK -----
8 @CHI ----- 17 @NO -----
9 @WAS ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 50,1 190
RB Jonathan Stewart 30 2-20
TE Greg Olsen 6-80

Pregame Notes: The Panthers come off their bye thankful for the New Orleans Saints keeping them from being 0-5. The Panthers are no longer inspiring teams to prepare to beat them as evidenced by the two and four point losses to the Falcons and Giants respectively. They still won. The biggest problem here is once again the Offensive Rookie of the Year returns to display almost none of the passing acumen that served them so well as a rookie. Sam Bradford is still trying to return to form two seasons later. Newton is different in that he has three rushing touchdowns to help prevent his fantasy value from being a complete nosedive but has only thrown four touchdowns this season and his last two home games did not produce any passing touchdowns.

Steve Smith started the year with back-to-back 100+ yard games (TB and NO) but since declined each week and only produced 40 yards on four catches in the latest game. He still has not scored. Brandon Lafell started the season looking like he had taken the next step but it was just a function of playing the Bucs and Saints. Lafell only caught four passes for 71 yards over the last three games. Hopefully the game in week nine against the Redskins will allow the Panthers to once again find their passing offense.

Greg Olsen did the opposite of the other wideouts. He had nearly nothing in the first two weeks and then posted games if 6-89 and 7-98 against the Giants and Falcons. He finally synched up with the rest of the receivers with only two catches for 37 yards against the Seahawks.

The running game is no different from last year. DeAngelo Williams has the best stats with two touchdowns and never more than 73 total yards in any game. Jonathan Stewart has been less effective with each game he plays and only scored back in week two. He has no real fantasy value in any capacity currently. The loss of center Ryan Kalil will definitely hurt the Panthers who were already struggling.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 12 26 28 20 32 9
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 4 14 1 10 11 28

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Cam Newton, CAR MIN 40100025011 ***
Cam posted 21.2 fantasy points against Denver's stout D in Week 1 and 29.8 last week (SF). The Vikings have given up 23.5 fantasy points per game in two contests, which is the 11th easiest matchup. No Jonathan Stewart could mean more attention on Cam, so think of him more as Clark Kent than Superman this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Fozzy Whittaker, CAR MIN 6003200000 **
Whittaker could benefit from Minnesota's tough ground defense -- hear us out. They gave up two touchdowns through the air to running back DeMarco Murray in the opening week. No J-Stew will give Whittaker ample chances to produce fantasy points in your flex spot.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Cameron Artis-Payne, CAR MIN 200000000 **
CAP is going to be active with Jonathan Stewart on the mend, so he'll have a role. It's probably not that much of one, and a terrible matchup to boot. The Vikings have given up 98 total rushing yards to RBs in two games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR MIN 005801000 ***
Benjamin could ascend into the upper tier of fantasy receivers for 2016 with a strong performance against a nearly impervious defense. Minnesota has given up only one touchdown to the position, which came from Jordy Nelson in Week 2. Benjamin's size alone makes him a promising fantasy play in this otherwise formidable matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Ted Ginn, Jr., CAR MIN 002300000 ***
Ginn is always a home run threat and a risky fantasy start. Minnesota has permitted receivers to score only once this year on 28 grabs, ranking in the 10 toughest matchups for the position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Devin Funchess, CAR MIN 002300000 ***
A TD saved his Week 2 value and gives some hope as the Vikings prepare to stop Kelvin Benjamin. Minnesota has been a strong opposition for receivers through two games, allowing only 31.8 fantasy points per game to the position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR MIN 007800000 ***
Not an ideal matchup for the veteran tight end ... keep him in your lineup, and avoid him in DFS. The Vikes have locked down the position to only nine catches for 98 yards and no TDs. Temper your expectations with Olsen and hope a mismatch can be exploited by that attention cast on a pair of towering receivers.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR MIN 1133 ***
This one could go either way -- start Gano, because Minnesota could stall several Panthers drives. Don't be surprised if Gano is seldom used, though.

WEEK 7
2012
SEA at SF (THU) *DAL at CAR *NYJ at NE DET at CHI (MON)
*ARI at MIN *GB at STL *PIT at CIN Bye:
BAL at HOU *JAC at OAK TEN at BUF ATL, DEN, KC,
*UPDATED *CLE at IND *NO at TB *WAS at NYG MIA, PHI, SD

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