Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:

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
  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 Matt Cassel 10 230,1
QB Tony Romo 10,1 260,1
RB Darren McFadden 50,1 4-30
RB Robert Turbin 10
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.

Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 11 24 9 7 18 28
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 12 22 3 14 2 6

QB Tony Romo, DAL @MIA 0000025011 *
Romo returns to face a Dolphins defense that's given up 270-plus yards and three TDs in each of its two games in South Beach. Ideally you'd wait a week and give him time to reacclimate, but the Cowboys don't have time to waste. That means Romo should hit the ground running, with a fantasy helper right out of the gate.
RB Darren McFadden, DAL @MIA 9015300000 ***
McFadden has taken the reins in Dallas, just in time to exploit a Miami defense that's allowed 150-plus combo yards and at least one RB TD to each of the last four backfields they've faced, and similar stats in each of their two home games.

Update: McFadden showed up in a familiar place--the injury report; he's listed as questionable with a groin injury and was limited in practice Thursday and Friday. Proceed with caution.
WR Dez Bryant, DAL @MIA 005801000 *
Dez is back, and he has Tony Romo feeding him. Regardless of matchup you need to celebrate this reunion by getting Bryant into your fantasy lineup.
WR Terrance Williams, DAL @MIA 003400000 **
Williams' fantasy value evaporated when Tony Romo went down. Now Romo's back, so Williams' fantasy upside should return as well--though slowly enough that he's a fringe fantasy option at best this week.
TE Jason Witten, DAL @MIA 006600000 **
No one is happier to see Tony Romo back under center than Witten, whose only two touchdowns this season came from Romo back in Week 1. The Dolphins have struggled to stop tight ends--four games of 60-plusy yards and three TE TDs prior to last week when the Eagles dropped 202 yards of tight end production on them--so Witten should be returning to fantasy relevance here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL @MIA 3322 ***
Bailey has multiple field goals in eight of nine this season, including the last six. With Tony Romo back under center the Dallas offense should be on the uptick, making Bailey a strong fantasy option this week.

Atlanta Falcons
Homefield: Georgia Dome
  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
WR Leonard Hankerson 2-30
WR Devin Hester 2-30
WR Julio Jones 5-70
WR Roddy White 6-80,1
TE Tony Moeaki 2-20
TE Jacob Tamme 2-20
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?

Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 3 17 7 4 3 8
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 2 13 4 8 20 31

QB Matt Ryan, ATL IND 0000030020 ***
Indy's served up multiple TD tosses in four of five and six of eight, as well as at least 248 passing yards in every game since Week 1. Ryan has been rock solid at home, with at least 250 yards in all four at the Georgia Dome and multiple touchdowns in three of the four; no reason to shy away from him here.
RB Devonta Freeman, ATL IND 8016500000 ***
Freeman's streak of six straight games with triple-digit combo yardage came to a halt pre-bye, but he still scored (ending a two-game touchdown drought). Facing an Indy defense that is giving up 136 combo yards per game to opposing backfields and an average of better than one RB TD per game provides plenty of opportunity for him to extend and/or rekindle his fantasy flame.
WR Julio Jones, ATL IND 0091101000 ***
Even a healthy Vontae Davis wouldn't be enough to keep Julio from being a great fantasy play this week.
WR Leonard Hankerson, ATL IND 004600000 **
Hankerson might return this week, in time to take advantage of an Indy secondary that has struggled mightily against secondary receivers. We'll revisit his status later in the week.
WR Justin Hardy, ATL IND 002300000 ***
If Leonard Hankerson can't make it back this week Hardy would be in position to capitalize on a favorable matchup with a Colts defense that has allowed plenty of fantasy production to secondary targets.
TE Jacob Tamme, ATL IND 006601000 **
Lots of ways things goes right for Tamme this week. He's seen 22 targets the past two weeks, catching 16 balls for 164 yards and a touchdown, so you know he's heavily involved. He faces an Indy defense that's given up TE TDs in four straight, at least 79 yards in each of those four games and an average of 93 yards per game to the position. Unlikely that Indianapolis has a defensive answer for Tamme, so plug him into your TE, WR/TE or flex spot with confidence.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL IND 1133 ***
Indy's been more prone to giving up PATs than FGs of late, but the Falcons need to quit turning the ball over in the red zone to give Bryant opportunity to swing the leg.

*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:

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