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 Brandon Weeden 10 240,2
RB DeMarco Murray
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 Tony Romo, DAL NYG 0000025020 ****
Since getting knocked out of the front end of the 2010 Giants-Cowboys series Romo has owned Big Blue, averaging 311 yards and two-plus TDs in six subsequent meetings. Even with the Cowboys' newfound commitment to the ground game Romo has multiple TD tosses in four straight; no reason to think his dominance doesn't continue here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL NYG 12015300000 *****
Since taking over as the Cowboys' feature back Murray has tallied at least 125 yards from scrimmage in each subsequent meeting with the Giants. That suggests his streak of 100-yard rushing games should be safe. What Murray has yet to do is find the end zone against the Giants, but a New York defense that's allowed four RB TDs in the past three games--not to mention Murray's six scores in as many games this year--should bring that particular streak to a halt.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL NYG 006701000 ****
Dez hasn't scored on the Giants since the front end of the 2011 series, though he's reached triple-digit yardage twice against them since then. A score is no lock here against a New York secondary that hasn't allowed a WR1 to score since Megatron in the season opener, but Bryant is heavily targeted enough to more than compensate with yardage.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL NYG 005701000 ****
Secondary receivers have done minimal yardage damage to the Giants, though the two most recent WR TDs they've surrendered have gone to alternate targets. If the New York focus is too intense on Dez, Williams is more than capable of making them pay.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL NYG 005600000 ***
Deuces are wild: Witten scored twice in each end of last season's series with the Giants, the Cowboys scored two TE TDs last week and the Giants surrendered two tight end touchdowns in their loss to Philly. That's more than enough to warrant Witten being in your fantasy lineup this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL NYG 1144 ****
Bailey has at least eight points in five straight games, averaging better than 10 points per contest over that span. No reason to think a home date with the Giants sends him into a slump.

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 Chris Ogbonnaya 4-20
RB Jonathan Stewart 30 2-20
RB DeAngelo Williams 50
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 @GB 50100024022 ***
Cam without the running is merely ordinary. But take a decent passing outing and tack on a top running back's stats and now he's Superman again. Green Bay has already allowed a couple rushing scores on the year and 49 rushing yards to Ryan Tannehill last week, suggesting Cam's combo platter is set for big things again this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR @GB 5001000000 ***
Update: Stewart is listed as probable, so he'll evidently drag his oft-injured carcass around for as many snaps as his brittle legs will hold him. He's been unreliable in the past, tough to bank on him here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darrin Reaves, CAR @GB 00000000 ***
Reaves has been utterly ordinary thus far, and nothing suggests he'll bust out against Green Bay this week. Plus, Cam is back to swiping scores so the fantasy potential of all Carolina RBs takes a hit.
Update: With Jonathan Stewart expected to play, Reaves goes on the way-back burner.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR @GB 005701000 **
Benjamin's an every-week fantasy starter and the most likely of any Carolina wideout to accumulate helpful fantasy numbers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jerricho Cotchery, CAR @GB 004600000 ***
10 targets last week suggests Cotchery might be in line for a larger share of Carolina's passing game pie; however, all Cotchery could do with those 10 targets was 58 yards and no scores. So... as you were.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jason Avant, CAR @GB 002300000 ***
Avant is the only Carolina wideout besides Kelvin Benjamin to find the end zone this year, and against a Green Bay defense that's allowed multiple WRs to score in two of the past three games that suggests he has an opportunity here. Still, it's a pretty slim opportunity.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR @GB 005501000 ***
The Pack have yet to allow a TE TD, but Olsen is such an integral part of the Carolina passing attack he can bust any trend. He's scored in four of six and is an every-week starter in TE-mandatory formats.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR @GB 2233 ***
Green Bay hasn't allowed multiple field goals--or an opposing kicker to top six points--since the season opener. Those are tough odds for Gano to buck.

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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