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 @MIN 20100023011 ***
Fantasy's No. 7 overall quarterback in the last five weeks, Prescott continues to get things done with his legs. His aerial game isn't too shabby, either, but he can be stunted as last week proved. The Vikings have the fifth toughest matchup rating overall, ranking negatively in all major factors used.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ezekiel Elliott, DAL @MIN 9014300000 ***
Minnesota has offered the 10th most yards per game to the position, but only one of 60 carries and 47 offensive touches have resulted in a touchdown from Week 8 on.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cole Beasley, DAL @MIN 006601000 ***
While wide receivers have scored once per game since Week 7 versus the Vikes, the position has been stifled overall. Beasley has an uphill climb when he faces a defense that rates in the bottom nine in receptions per game, yards per contest, points per reception (PPR), matchup rating, and fantasy points allowed per outing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL @MIN 003500000 ***
Minnesota does a great job of taking receivers out of the game plan, and you know which one will draw the attention of Mike Zimmer's group this week. The Vikings have allowed receivers to average a touchdown per game, so there is some hope here for Dez, but we're looking at a bottom-five overall matchup rating.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL @MIN 006500000 ***
Minnesota blanked Eric Ebron two weeks ago, and this still is the 10th most exploitable matchup overall. Witten isn't a big TD guy, so focusing on catches (18th) and yards (8th) per game reveals a midrange matchup for the veteran.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL @MIN 1133 ***
The Vikes have permitted the third most three-point attempts, on average, which is offset by ranking in the bottom 10 of touchdown-capping kick tries. Game flow and field position should dictate Bailey's chances.

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 @SEA 20100024011 ***
Seattle has has given up two rushing touchdowns in its last five games. Overall, this is a neutral matchup for quarterbacks. The position has thrown a touchdown every 20.2 completions, while Seattle has logged an interception a game over that five-week window.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR @SEA 6001100000 ***
Seattle has given up the 12th highest average of offensive yards per game and a matching 12th in fantasy points (PPR) to running backs over the last five weeks. J-Stew is a weak RB2 or acceptable flex choice.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Devin Funchess, CAR @SEA 002401000 ***
The attention paid to Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen should clear Funchess for a decent shot at finding the end zone. Seattle has permitted one touchdown per contest to receivers over the last five games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR @SEA 004500000 ***
This is arguably the weakest Seattle's secondary has played in several seasons, and Earl Thomas' status remains up in the air. Wideouts have scored once per game over the last five weeks, and Seattle has surrendered the 16th most fantasy points, on average, over this time.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Ted Ginn, Jr., CAR @SEA 004500000 ***
Seattle has not allowed many big plays to receivers since Week 7, and Ginn is a hit-or-miss player because of his deep-threat nature. Keep him in reserve, unless you want to make a wild gamble.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR @SEA 005600000 ***
Seattle gives up a lot of catches -- the sixth most per game since Week 7 -- but really doesn't struggle vs. TEs otherwise. In fact, only one team has done a better job in this time at holding the position out of the end zone.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR @SEA 2222 ***
Four teams have allowed fewer fantasy points on a per-game basis over the last five weeks. The Seahawks have allowed the third fewest combined kicking opportunities in this time frame.

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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