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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
WR Josh Gordon, CLE @PIT 0071101000 ***
The Steelers have allowed wide receiver touchdowns in six straight, though of late those scores have been going to secondary targets. Gordon's 14-237-1 on 17 targets in the earlier meeting gives evidence that there really isn't a secondary target in Cleveland, so plan on Josh doing all the heavy lifting once again this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nate Burleson, CLE @PIT 004500000 ***
Burleson might be the most trustworthy secondary target on the Detroit roster, but even he's been laying eggs of late. WR2s have had success against the Vikings, in part because of emerging shutdown corner Xavier Rhodes' success against WR1s. However, unless Calvin Johnson sits this one out due to injury it's too tough to identify which--if any--Lions wingmen will step up and contribute.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Miles Austin, CLE @PIT 001200000 **
After Dez Bryant takes his bite, and Jason Witten takes his, Austin has to fight Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams for table scraps. Table scraps do not tend to equal fantasy success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Gary Barnidge, CLE @PIT 001100000 ***
Barnidge will get the Browns' TE looks if Jordan Cameron can't go. Not much fantasy value to be had.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Billy Cundiff, CLE @PIT 1122 ***
Cundiff hasn't seen double-digits since Week 5, managed just three points in the earlier meeting with the Steelers, and now heads to the notoriously hard to kick in Heinz Field. That's not exactly a ringing fantasy endorsement.

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
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL PHI 8012100000 ***
Murray has triple-digit combo yardage in five straight, six touchdowns in the past four games, and has pretty much hoisted this offense on his back; last week, he even got more than 20 carries! With Tony Romo iffy, the offensive onus will once again be on Murray, who missed the earlier game with the Eagles. The way he's playing right now, it would be silly to bet against him.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL PHI 0081101000 **
Bryant didn't score in the earlier meeting with Philly, though he did rack up 110 yards. He's scored in five of eight since, including each of the last four, and should enjoy this matchup with an Eagles defense that's given up more fantasy points to wideouts than any other.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL PHI 003501000 **
Williams scored in the earlier meeting with Philly and was the Cowboys' most targeted secondary receiver last week so he's the most likely to take advantage of an Eagles defense that has allowed at least one secondary target to score or top 50 yards (or both) in all seven non-blizzard games since Philly and Dallas met back in Week 7.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL PHI 003300000 ***
Witten did little last week and wasn't a factor in the earlier game with Philly--no surprise, given that the Eagles have allowed the fewest fantasy points to the tight end position. Witten may also be adjusting to a new quarterback, so there are plenty of reasons to be skittish about his fantasy prospects this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL PHI 2233 ****
Bailey has averaged almost four points per game more at home, a cool 10 points per game this year with nothing lower than a seven. His five spot in Philly is a bit disconcerting, but Bailey's home track record suggests he's a solid bet here.

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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