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
QB Brandon Weeden 280,1
RB Darren McFadden 50,1 4-30
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 Brandon Weeden, DAL NE 0000025011 ***
Weeden has flirted with the fringe of fantasy relevancy but has been limited by just 26 attempts in each of his first two starts. Every QB to face New England this season has had to throw at least 30 times to keep up, even the run-first Bills, and the increase in volume should push Weeden onto the fantasy radar this week.
RB Joseph Randle, DAL NE 7011100000 ***
Randle remains the lead dog in the Cowboys' backfield committee, but unless Dallas compensates for the loss of Lance Dunbar by increasing Randle's role he's looking at a mid-tier fantasy effort at best.
RB Darren McFadden, DAL NE 3005400000 ***
McFadden continues to lurk, shaving touches off other backs without garnering fantasy value of his own. If he steps into Lance Dunbar's pass catching role that could change, but he hasn't been targeted for two games so that's a wish at best. Keep him on your fantasy bench until his role evolves into something with some fantasy reliability to it.
WR Cole Beasley, DAL NE 006700000 ***
Beasley should see an uptick as he kind of fills the void left by the injury to pass-catching back Lance Dunbar. His 6-62 last week falls right in the Patriots wheelhouse, as they've allowed seven different receivers to top 55 yards this season but only one went beyond 70. There's PPR help here, but the ceiling is low.
WR Terrance Williams, DAL NE 006500000 ***
The Patriots have allowed seven different wideouts to top 55 yards this season but only Antonio Brown to top 70. Williams isn't in that class, nor will he be that heavily targeted, so you have an idea of where his fantasy upside falls.
TE Jason Witten, DAL NE 006601000 ***
The Patriots have allowed TE TDs in each of the past two games, and Heath Miller posted a solid 8-84 in the season opener. It all adds up to yet another rock-solid outing for Witten this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL NE 2222 ***
Not an overwhelmingly favorable matchup for Bailey, as you don't match the Patriots' prolific offense by settling for field goals. But he should still get you enough to remain in typical fantasy lineups.

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 WAS 0000028030 ***
250-plus yards is a given, but the success of the ground game has cut into Matt's touchdown total. Facing a very good Washington run D should help shift some of the offensive emphasis back to Ryan--enough for him to be his usual quality fantasy play this week.
RB Devonta Freeman, ATL WAS 7015500000 ***
Freeman very nearly scored more fantasy points last week than the Redskins have allowed to running backs this season. And while Washington hasn't exactly been shutting down studs they have been extremely difficult to run on. Freeman's punched his every-week starter card; just don't bank on another multiple touchdown effort.
RB Tevin Coleman, ATL WAS 00000000 *
Coleman may return from his rib injury this week, but he'll have to carve out a role after watching Davonte Freeman blow up in his absence. Best let him do that before trusting him with a fantasy lineup spot.
WR Julio Jones, ATL WAS 0081002000 ***
Jones is a must-play regardless of foe, and the fact that Washington's secondary is fantasy favorable only contributes that much more to his prospects.
WR Leonard Hankerson, ATL WAS 006801000 ***
Hank wore the big-boy pants in Atlanta's receiver rotation last week, but it wasn't a fluke. He's been north of 75 yards and scored in two of the past three games and is poised to unleash the same on his former club. Worth noting the Redskins are allowing an average of 216 yards and 2 TDs to opposing wide receivers over the past fortnight, so even after Julio gets his there's enough for Hankerson to be a fantasy factor again.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL WAS 1144 ***
The only downer kicking for the red hot Atlanta offense is that Bryant is counting by ones instead of threes: 15 PATs already this season, but only two field goal attempts the past three weeks. And in the big picture, that's not much of a problem at all.

*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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