FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 9
2012
KC at SD (THU) CAR at WAS *DET at JAC TB at OAK
*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:
*UPDATED *BUF at HOU DEN at CIN *PIT at NYG NE , NYJ, SF, STL

Prediction: DAL 23, ATL 27 (Line: ATL by 4.5)

Players to Watch: Tony Romo, Michael Turner, Jacquizz Rodgers

Players Updated: DeMarco Murray, Felix Jones, Philip Tanner, Dez Bryant, Kevin Ogletree

The 3-4 Cowboys come off yet another tough loss and are only 1-2 in road games. The 7-0 Falcons just put the beat on the Eagles in Philly and are at home where they have never lost and yet never won by more than six points.

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 19-14 16 NO -----
8 NYG 24-29 17 @WAS -----
9 @ATL ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DAL @ ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 10,1 260,1
QB Brandon Weeden 280,1
RB DeMarco Murray
WR Dez Bryant 4-60
TE Jason Witten 6-70,1
PK Dan Bailey 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys dropped another game to the Giants and this time literally by about an inch when Dez Bryant's touchdown was ruled out. The loss sends the Cowboys back below .500 and already looking at very likely missing the playoffs again this year. The final schedule is easier and includes five home stands in the final seven weeks but then again they are only 1-2 at home anyway.

Tony Romo threw a personal best 62 passes for 437 yards against the Giants but only scored once via a pass and again as a runner. He also threw four interceptions and his first three came on each of the opening possessions that let the Giants build a 23-0 lead. Romo passes for good to great yardage every week but now twice has thrown more than three interceptions in a single game. He has only tossed six touchdowns over the last six games played.

DeMarco Murray may be back this week and the coaching staff wants him to return as soon as possible. Felix Jones has been the starter for two games now and only gained 63 yards on 28 carries including just 19 yards on 13 runs last week. Jones is banged up but his lack of production is more indicative of just what kind of runner he is. An injury risk every season, Jones is no lock to return next year.

Fantasy nirvana was accomplished last week when Jason Witten caught a franchise record 18 passes for 167 yards and somehow still did not score. That ties the #3 all-time most receptions in a game. Witten usually ends up with around six catches now that he has shaken off the rust starting in week four when he ended with 13 catches for 112 yards against the Bears. Perhaps notable is that both games were at home though they were also against two of the best defenses yet faced.

With so much passing last week both Dez Bryant (5-110) and Miles Austin (9-133) ended with big stats but Bryant still has just one game where he scored. Austin not only posted four touchdowns this year, three of those were in road efforts. Both wideouts have been more productive in recent games. Kevin Ogletree started his season with two scores and 114 yards on those Giants and now is full circle with no catches last week.

The Falcons are very good versus the pass with only seven touchdowns allowed and only once giving up more than 260 pass yards in the near trap game when the Raiders visited. But they have not faced really any top passing quarterbacks other than Peyton Manning but that was back in week two. Romo could still pass for big yardage but one score is right in line with what both teams usually have. The Falcons are decent against the run as well and the Cowboys come in with either a banged up Felix Jones or DeMarco Murray coming off his injury.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 11 24 9 7 18 28
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 12 22 3 14 2 6

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tony Romo, DAL IND 0000027031 ***
Romo has three or more TD tosses in four of his last five games, and with DeMarco Murray dinged or out he'll be forced to shoulder more of the offensive load. Indy's pass defense numbers of late have been artificially inflated by them shutting down the likes of Tom Savage, Brian Hoyer and Blake Bortles. Romo is more of the Tom Brady (257 & 2), Eli Manning (359 & 2), Ben Roethlisberger (522 & 6) ilk; expect similar positive results.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joseph Randle, DAL IND 2011100000 **
Don't be surprised if Randle gets the call, either to start if DeMarco Murray sits or to replace Murray after a couple hits to his broken hand (and subsequent fumbles). Indy's a favorable matchup for running backs, so if/when Randle winds up with the workload he has a very good chance of making fantasy noise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL IND 7001100000 *
Dr. Jerry Jones thinks there's still a chance Murray plays despite surgery on a broken hand earlier this week. Dr. Reality Check thinks even if he does his fantasy impact will be limited due to ball security concerns and risk of more damage. Then again, Murray's a free agent after the season so maybe use and dispose is the game plan?
Update: Murray practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday, and everything coming out of Dallas points towards him giving it a go on Sunday. But keep in mind it's a similar injury to the one that kept Emmitt Smith and Marshall Faulk out a couple weeks each, plus there's no way it won't affect ball security and pass-catching. Stay glued to the inactive list Sunday morning; hopefully you'll get a definitive answer.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lance Dunbar, DAL IND 1003300000 ***
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL IND 006801000 ***
Vontae Davis is a shutdown corner, but he's also human. Bryant can beat any matchup given enough targets, and he usually is--especially if DeMarco Murray is limited or out of this one. Proceed as per usual with Bryant in your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cole Beasley, DAL IND 003401000 ***
Beasley has been more productive of late than fellow secondary target Terrance Williams, and with Vontae Davis likely shadowing Dez Bryant Tony Romo might throw a little more frequently at his alternate receivers. That puts Beasley at least on the fringe of fantasy relevance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL IND 002400000 ***
Williams played second fiddle to Dez Bryant for a while, but now Cole Beasley is horning in on his action. It's been far too long since Williams posted anything of fantasy relevance to be trusted at this critical juncture.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL IND 005601000 ***
Indy's been a favorable matchup for tight ends, and with Witten coming off his largest target game of the season he's back on Tony Romo's radar. The combination of Vontae Davis on Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray's injury only add to the probability of Witten posting a fantasy helper here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL IND 1144 ***
Bailey has but one multiple field goal effort in his past eight games; fortunately he's salvaged fantasy value with four or more PATs in four of his last five games. The Vegas sharps like this game for lots of points; no reason Bailey can't get his share of the fun.

Atlanta Falcons
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @KC 40-24 10 @NO -----
2 DEN 27-21 11 ARI -----
3 @SD 27-3 12 @TB -----
4 CAR 30-28 13 NO -----
5 @WAS 24-17 14 @CAR -----
6 OAK 23-20 15 NYG -----
7 BYE ----- 16 @DET -----
8 @PHI 30-17 17 TB -----
9 DAL ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ATL vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 10 280,2
RB Jacquizz Rodgers 20 3-20
WR Devin Hester 2-30
WR Julio Jones 5-70
WR Roddy White 6-80,1
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The only undefeated team in the league will no doubt stumble at least once but looking at the schedule it is hard to see where. The Falcons will be favored in every one of the remaining games and thanks to playing in the NFC South get to feast on some of the weaker teams in the league this year. The Falcons were barely winning games before the week seven bye but in that way that they were just not as motivated against weaker opponents and playing down to their level. Coming off the bye refreshed, they mopped up the Eagles in Philly. Atlanta will host the Conference Championship this year.

Matt Ryan is enjoying his best season by a big margin. He's already passed for 17 touchdowns and topped 250 pass yards in almost every game. He's only thrown six interceptions and scores at least twice in each week. With the rushing offense looking even worse than the first of the season, no reason to expect less than stellar results from future games as well. He faces literally no top secondaries the rest of the way.

Michael Turner is fading already. With only one game of more than 80 rushing yards, he already has been mostly mediocre and was even worse in recent weeks with never more than 64 total yards in a game. Sign of the times - Jacquizz Rodgers ran eight times for 60 yards and caught five passes for 20 more yards. Turner only gained 58 yards on 24 runes and is stuck at just one catch per game. Turner is not being phased out per se, but Rodgers is looking like the more productive change of pace guy likely to start filling at least an incrementally bigger role. The rushing offense is the only weakness of the Falcons. A 7-0 team generally has more than just three rushing touchdowns from the running backs after seven games.

Tony Gonzalez started the year red hot but has cooled for at least the last two games where he was held to fewer than 45 yards in each. Gonzo scored four times so far and even posted two efforts of more than 90 yards but both came in road games.

True to form, Julio Jones not only scored in Philly, but he produced his best game yet with 123 yards on five receptions and one score. That makes five touchdowns on the year with at least one in every road venue. And zero at home where he has yet to gain more than 63 yards. Roddy White, true to form, did not score last week and comes off his worst game of the year. But at home he scored four times in three games with never less than 72 yards. No scores on the road and though he does generate moderate to good yardage even away from Atlanta. The duo did the same thing last year until finally just scoring all the time at the end of the year.

Harry Douglas missed last week with ankle and knee injuries and was replaced by Drew Davis who scored in Philly during his two passes. No reason to expect fantasy value out of the fourth best receiving option in Atlanta though.

The Cowboys come in with a very good secondary that only once allowed more than one touchdown. But the Cowboys are also good against the run and that should only encourage Ryan to throw more. I like a defensive score in this game. With Tony Romo showing up, how could you not?

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 3 17 7 4 3 8
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 2 13 4 8 20 31

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matt Ryan, ATL @NO 0000027030 ***
The last time Ryan saw the Saints he put up 448 yards and three TDs--and it's only the second-biggest game New Orleans has allowed to an opposing QB. In fact, four quarterbacks have topped 30 fantasy points against the Saints. Heck, the deposed Jay Cutler threw two TDs against them last week. Ryan has four straight games with multiple scoring strikes and an average of 362 and 2 in his last three trips to the Big Easy; what's not to like?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Steven Jackson, ATL @NO 5001100000 ***
Jackson's numbers have declined in each of his three games as a Falcon, culminating with his 12-52 back in Week 1. And while the Saints have been softer of late against the run, Jackson has been delivering a steady supply of Jackson-like games--especially on the road: 16-50, 17-41, 16-81, 8-22, 13-37, 13-49, 11-46. Those are not the lotto-winning numbers to plug into your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Harry Douglas, ATL @NO 006901000 ***
Douglas delivered 69 yards as a third wheel in the earlier matchup, so he's usable even if Julio Jones plays. And if Jones can't go... well, you saw last week's 10-131 for yourself.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Roddy White, ATL @NO 007801000 ***
White has taken a back seat to Julio Jones, both against the Saints and in general. However, he did score in the earlier meeting with New Orleans this year and has scored in each of the past two games. He's not quite 1A again, but he's a solid secondary option worthy of a fantasy start in a game that projects to fill plenty of fantasy mugs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Devin Hester, ATL @NO 003401000 ***
Hester had 99 yards against the Saints in his Atlanta debut, and 85 and a score last week with Julio Jones out. Tough to bank on Atlanta going four deep at receiver again, but if Jones can't go Hester climbs onto the fantasy radar.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julio Jones, ATL @NO 00000000 *
If Jones is deemed ready he's worth the risk against a Saints secondary that's allowed more WR TDs than all but five other teams; something about the 116 yards he had against New Orleans in the opener, or the 42 targets and 26-516-3 he posted the past three games he played.
Update: Jones didn't practice for a second straight week; last week that meant no game, and while he's listed as questionable Atlanta's top beat writer seems to think it means another week without Julio in the lineup. The plan is for him to test his hip on Saturday, so maybe we'll know a little earlier than game time regarding his availability.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL @NO 1133 ***
Bryant kicked his way to 13 points the last time he faced the Saints, and he's averaged better than 10 points per game over the past six. New Orleans gave up back-to-back-to-back double-digit games to kickers before encountering the feeble Bears last week. With the Vegas line set at a lofty 56 for this one, expect fireworks--and plenty of opportunities for Bryant.

WEEK 9
2012
KC at SD (THU) CAR at WAS *DET at JAC TB at OAK
*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:
*UPDATED *BUF at HOU DEN at CIN *PIT at NYG NE , NYJ, SF, STL

a d v e r t i s e m e n t