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 WAS 0000028020 ***
Much to like here, both historically--Romo has multiple touchdowns in four of his last five against the Redskins--and recently, as the Redskins have allowed multiple touchdowns in five straight while Romo has thrown multiple scoring strikes in five consecutive as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL WAS 12012100000 *****
The Redskins haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher since Week 1 and have surrendered only one RB rushing score all season... but c'mon, Murray just broke a Jim Brown record so this season must be magical. Triple-digit yardage is all but a given, and a TD more likely than those Redskins stats might lead you to believe.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL WAS 0061101000 ***
The Redskins aren't really shutting down opposing passing games, so expect Bryant to get his--which at home has meant 100 yards or a touchdown in his last three at Jones Majal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL WAS 005701000 ****
Washington has surrendered touchdowns to multiple receivers in each of the past two games, so even if Dez gets his and DeMarco Murray gets his there should be enough left over for Williams to carve out some fantasy assistance this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL WAS 005500000 ****
Witten's fantasy value is being usurped by Gavin Escobar, who has scored three of the Cowboys' last four TE TDs. It's not a compelling enough matchup to make Witten anything other than a fringe fantasy helper at best.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL WAS 2244 ***
Bailey has been solid, but just one double-digit points effort in the past month leaves him a bit shy of spectacular. Plan accordingly.

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 DET 0000027011 ***
It's been a month since Ryan tossed multiple scores, and this date with a Detroit defense that begrudgingly gave Drew Brees two TDs last week but has otherwise kept the vaunted Saints in check doesn't project to do him any favors.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Steven Jackson, ATL DET 4011100000 *
Jackson is barely startable in a favorable matchup; against a Detroit defense that hasn't allowed a rushing score since Week 4 or a 100-yard rusher all season, there's nothing to like at all.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Antone Smith, ATL DET 2003300000 ***
Still a lottery ticket of a fantasy helper, and last week he failed to cash out. Limited touches and a tough defense make that the more likely outcome again this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Devonta Freeman, ATL DET 2003200000 **
Freeman's share of the workload is increasing, but against a tough D like Detroit's it'll take more than a share to make some fantasy noise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Roddy White, ATL DET 005701000 **
Detroit gave up multiple 100-yard receivers last week, while White posted his first triple-digit yardage outing of the season. While he's still WR2 to Julio Jones, he's a strong WR2 and a viable fantasy option this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julio Jones, ATL DET 006700000 ****
Jones remains an every-week fantasy starter, even against a tough defense like Detroit's; just dial back the expectations a bit.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Harry Douglas, ATL DET 005600000 **
Douglas is an iffy play injury wise and a lousy play otherwise against a Detroit defense that isn't allowing much to opposing receivers let alone secondary targets.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL DET 1122 ****
Bryant hasn't scored double-digit points since Week 1, and a date with the top defense in the league isn't likely to help matters.

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

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