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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 11
2012
MIA at BUF (THU) *CLE at DAL *NO at OAK TB at CAR
*ARI at ATL GB at DET NYJ at STL *CHI at SF (MON)
*BAL at PIT *IND at NE PHI at WAS Bye:
*UPDATED CIN at KC JAC at HOU *SD at DEN MIN, NYG, SEA, TEN

Prediction: CLE 13 , DAL 27 (Line: DAL by 7.5)

Players Updated: Miles Austin

Players to Watch: Brandon Weeden, Felix Jones

The 2-7 Browns are better than their record suggest but they are also 0-4 on the road and about to face one of the tougher defenses this year. The 4-5 Cowboys come off their win in Philadelphia but are only 1-2 at home. Dallas is far too desperate to take anyone lightly and need to win games like this big because everyone is getting more scrutiny this season.

Cleveland Browns
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PHI 16-17 10 BYE -----
2 @CIN 27-34 11 @DAL -----
3 BUF 14-24 12 PIT -----
4 @BAL 16-23 13 @OAK -----
5 @NYG 27-41 14 KC -----
6 CIN 34-24 15 WAS -----
7 @IND 13-17 16 @DEN -----
8 SD 7-6 17 @PIT -----
9 BAL 15-25 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Miles Austin 5-80
WR Josh Gordon 3-60,1
WR Andrew Hawkins 3-40

Pregame Notes: The Browns come off their bye already knowing that the season is over and that player evaluations will start to take precedence. Trent Richardson has more than justified his draft pick but Brandon Weeden is still no lock to continue next year in that fine Cleveland tradition that has witnessed eight different quarterbacks over the last ten years.

Weeden was on a nice streak with two scores in three straight games but then his stats fell apart for the last two games with only 176 yards at most and no scores. Of course both were at home and featured Richardson running the ball more. That's not going to be a big option for the offense until the Chiefs game in week 14. Weeden's been more than solid considering what he has to work with but he needs to show up even more in these final games in order to get the ultra-rare "two years starting" badge in Cleveland.

Richardson's scored six times this year and totaled over 100 yards three times including the last two. His first 100 yard effort was in a road game in Cincinnati but his second meeting with the Bengals only produced 54 total yards. Nice to see Richardson catch six passes against the Ravens when the three previous games saw him rarely used as a receiver. Richardson already has 31 receptions on the season.

The Browns wideouts are very hard to forecast because almost all of them are healthy again. Mohamed Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin returned in week nine and joined Josh Gordon and Greg Little. Gordon has been the only hot hand with four touchdowns in three games but he turned back into a pumpkin in the last two weeks with fewer than 50 yards and no score in each. Again - when Richardson can run it really takes the wind out of the passing game but that should not be an issue for the next two weeks at the least.

The Browns face a defense that is top ten against all positions and one of the very best versus wideouts - particularly playing in Dallas. THe Cowboys have only allowed seven passing scores this year and only once more than one to an opponent. Add in that they've held visitors to only one rushing touchdown and this is certain to be a lower scoring game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 29 14 27 25 18 15
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 5 10 10 8 19 27

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Brian Hoyer, CLE NO 0000019012 ***
Not that Hoyer can't keep up in a shootout, but that's not likely to be the Browns' game plan heading into this contest--especially if Josh Gordon remains suspended and Jordan Cameron sits out with his shoulder injury.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE NO 301000000 ***
Crowell capitalized on Ben Tate's injury to turn five touches into 32 yards and a pair of scores. He should have an expanded role this week with Tate out, but he's still the junior partner in the Cleveland backfield and as such a riskier fantasy play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Terrance West, CLE NO 600000000 ***
The best way for the Saints to slow the Browns' ground game will be to get up top quickly and force them to play catch-up--though the Pittsburgh game followed a similar path and yet Cleveland ran the ball 28 times. West wound up being the lead dog in that committee and remains in that role here, with a modicum of fantasy upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andrew Hawkins, CLE NO 007800000 ***
Brian Hoyer is no Matt Ryan, and neither is Hawkins the equal of Julio Jones or Roddy White. But if Devin Hester (5-99) and Harry Douglas (6-69) can put up decent numbers on tertiary targets the last remaining viable option in Cleveland's passing game at least warrants fantasy consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Cameron, CLE NO 00000000 *
Cameron is no lock to suit up this week after dinging his shoulder in the Kickoff Weekend loss to Atlanta. If he plays he's a solid start as the most familiar target in Cleveland's passing game, but you'll have to wait at least until the Friday injury report to get a better read on his availability.
Update: Cameron did not practice all week due to a shoulder injury. He'll be a game time decision against the Saints.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Billy Cundiff, CLE NO 2122 ****
You'd think that you can't match the New Orleans offense with field goals, and yet the Saints have allowed multiple field goal attempts in nine of their last 11 games. Still, this doesn't feel like a great opportunity to trot out Cundiff in your fantasy lineup.

Dallas Cowboys
Homefield: Cowboys Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYG 24-17 10 @PHI 38-23
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 13-19 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DAL vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 290,2
QB Brandon Weeden 230,1
RB DeMarco Murray
WR Dez Bryant 5-90,1
TE Jason Witten 7-60,1
PK Dan Bailey 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys are only 4-5 but since the Giants are losing games and are only 6-4, there is still a chance to win the division though they've lost the first head-to-head tiebreaker with the Giants. The Cowboys are about to start the easiest stretch of their schedule now with five home games and only two road games - both of those against average opponents at best. The Cowboys need a big win here to get back on track.

For all the bad press that Tony Romo attracts, he's been pretty much error-free in three of his last four games that had no turnovers and almost no sacks. When he is bad - sure. He can throw four or more interceptions which he has done twice now. In home games he's been limited to only one touchdown at most but this will be a weaker team showing up and Romo has yet to play in Dallas this season and throw for fewer than 283 yards. His problem has been one of fewer touchdowns with 13 scores so far this year and seven games of just one or no touchdowns.

DeMarco Murray's been out since week six and early reports are that he may miss his fifth game thanks to a foot that is slow to heal. Murray's always been tagged as injury prone and it was the main reason why he fell in the NFL draft. Felix Jones is running rather well lately with 71 yards on 16 carries last week in Philly where he scored on a pass reception. His last two games were both on the road and against decent defenses and he still produced 90+ total yards in each since the Cowboys have stopped using a committee as much and mainly just rely on Jones. This would be a very nice week for Jones at home against one of the weaker rushing defenses of the Browns.

Jason Witten is still a beast with receptions though his 15 catches in the last two weeks only gained 98 combined yards. His last two home games merely posted 18 (NYG) and 13 (CHI) receptions though he's not as likely to be needed as he was in those games.

The best news is that both Dez Bryant and Miles Austin have played well in every home game. Both wideouts have either scored a touchdown or turned in over 100 yards while in Cowboys Stadium. The Browns secondary allows scores to wide receivers but only two players notched 100 yard games against them. Add in the Cowboys likely success running the ball and while both wideouts are decent starts, neither should have a monster game here. LCB Pat Haden will match on Miles Austin and should hold him to lower stats this week but otherwise the usual suspects should see at least good results in this match-up.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 16 21 9 3 21 20
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 23 25 28 3 10 15

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tony Romo, DAL @TEN 0000026012 ****
Will it be an issue that both the Cowboys and Titans wear blue? Because, you know, Tony likes to throw to a different color jersey. Life post-Verner hasn't been as bad as expected for the Tennessee secondary; they locked down Alex Smith, picking him thrice, and catch Romo coming off an INT hat trick of his own. Can't get giddy about Romo's fantasy prospects until he sheds the Vinny Testaverde designer sunglasses.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL @TEN 7014300000 ***
When's the last time the Cowboys ran twice as much as... well, anybody? Probably back when Nate Newton was running dope and Emmitt Smith was darting behind Larry Allen. In any event, Tennessee's run D numbers are inflated because Andy Reid, in his infinite wisdom, opted to run the ball just 11 times in Week 1. Murray carried 22 times all by himself--without injury, mind you--and produced 118 yards and a score. Toss in his increasing roll in the passing game and there are plenty of reasons to like Murray's prospects here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL @TEN 006800000 ***
Donnie Avery racked up 84 yards against the Titans last week. Donnie Avery. Puh-leeze. Dez is twice the receiver Avery is, minimum. Downgrade a bit for the quarterback issues and Bryant is still a must-play this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL @TEN 004600000 ***
The Tennessee secondary is a different animal without Alterraun Verner, but it's worth noting that only once in the final 14 games of last year did a secondary receiver score or top 50 yards against the Titans--and that was the Broncos' juggernaut. That, coupled with Tony Romo's struggles, makes it tough to trust Williams as a viable fantasy play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL @TEN 004401000 ****
Witten was nearly non-existent in the season opener; he'll have a significantly larger role against a defense that allowed KC tight ends to rack up 6-78-1 last week--not to mention 13 tight ends to score or top 50 yards (or both) last year
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL @TEN 2222 ***
The Cowboys didn't give Bailey much opportunity to swing the leg in Week 1; expect an uptick in Week 2 from a defense that allowed multiple field goal attempts in six of eight home games last season.

WEEK 11
2012
MIA at BUF (THU) *CLE at DAL *NO at OAK TB at CAR
*ARI at ATL GB at DET NYJ at STL *CHI at SF (MON)
*BAL at PIT *IND at NE PHI at WAS Bye:
*UPDATED CIN at KC JAC at HOU *SD at DEN MIN, NYG, SEA, TEN

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