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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 14
2012
DEN at OAK (THU) *CHI at MIN MIA at SF SD at PIT
*ARI at SEA *DAL at CIN *NO at NYG *STL at BUF
*ATL at CAR *DET at GB NYJ at JAC *TEN at IND
*Updated BAL at WAS KC at CLE PHI at TB HOU at NE (MON)

Prediction: DAL 17, CIN Line: 27 (CIN by 3)

Players Updated: Jermaine Gresham, Mike Nugent

Players to Watch: Dez Bryant, A.J. Green

The Cowboys mounted a comeback to beat the woeful Eagles last week and at 6-6 still have a chance for a wildcard. The Bengals are 7-5 and are 4-2 at home with a four game winning streak. The best thing about this game is that is should feature points but it is a coin flip game depending on which Cowboys show up.

Dallas Cowboys
Homefield: Cowboys Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYG 24-17 10 @PHI 38-23
2 @SEA 7-27 11 CLE 23-20
3 TB 16-10 12 WAS 31-38
4 CHI 18-34 13 PHI 38-33
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 @ CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 10 250,1
QB Mark Sanchez 190,1
RB Darren McFadden 60 5-30
RB Alfred Morris 70,1
WR Dez Bryant 6-70,1
TE Jason Witten 7-80
PK Dan Bailey 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys come off a win in December which alone is reason to be excited. And yet the traditional December slide almost started with the Eagles visiting sans all important starters and still took a big lead in the first half. The Cowboys defense has been culprit in recent losses and the loss of linebackers have undermined the entire effort. The remaining schedule will not guarantee any winning season with road trips to Cincy and Washington and hosting the Steelers and Saints. Chances are the Cowboys are in store for some offseason upheaval unless they can reverse years of crumbling every December.

Tony Romo did reverse his trend of throwing just one touchdown per game with three scores against both the Redskins and Eagles. Five of his last six games featured over 300 passing yards and his turnovers are way down. The offense is posting points but too often cannot keep up with what the defense has been giving away.

DeMarco Murray returned last week after missing six games and he was handled with kid gloves. Murray ran a season high 23 times for 83 yards and one score and while he looked a little rusty, he ran far better than Felix Jones had as his replacement. Murray adds an important weapon in the arsenal. He's just unreliable with an injury history stretching back into his college days. He's probably not going to be replaced next year but a reality is that he may never play a full season. He's just too injury-prone and slow to heal.

Felix Jones fell back into his support role with Murray playing and only ran seven times against the Eagles. He's no longer a fantasy option until Murray is injured again.

Miles Austin is still banged up with a hip and hamstring injury but still plays and has not suffered any setbacks. He caught a touchdown last week but has been a nonfactor otherwise with fewer than 60 yards in every game for the last month. Even with his score on Sunday, he ended with just two receptions for 46 yards in a home game.

This recent stretch of softer defenses have been wonderful for Dez Bryant who is on a four game stretch of games with at least one score and 85+ yards. His last two games posted two scores in each and he's truly taken a step up if only at home and against softer secondaries. This week will be a great challenge against a Top 5 secondary against wideouts. This last month, Bryant has been the main weapon every week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 11 25 5 14 12 24
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 7 24 5 23 19 20

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Dak Prescott, DAL @MIN 20100023011 ***
Fantasy's No. 7 overall quarterback in the last five weeks, Prescott continues to get things done with his legs. His aerial game isn't too shabby, either, but he can be stunted as last week proved. The Vikings have the fifth toughest matchup rating overall, ranking negatively in all major factors used.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ezekiel Elliott, DAL @MIN 9014300000 ***
Minnesota has offered the 10th most yards per game to the position, but only one of 60 carries and 47 offensive touches have resulted in a touchdown from Week 8 on.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cole Beasley, DAL @MIN 006601000 ***
While wide receivers have scored once per game since Week 7 versus the Vikes, the position has been stifled overall. Beasley has an uphill climb when he faces a defense that rates in the bottom nine in receptions per game, yards per contest, points per reception (PPR), matchup rating, and fantasy points allowed per outing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL @MIN 003500000 ***
Minnesota does a great job of taking receivers out of the game plan, and you know which one will draw the attention of Mike Zimmer's group this week. The Vikings have allowed receivers to average a touchdown per game, so there is some hope here for Dez, but we're looking at a bottom-five overall matchup rating.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL @MIN 006500000 ***
Minnesota blanked Eric Ebron two weeks ago, and this still is the 10th most exploitable matchup overall. Witten isn't a big TD guy, so focusing on catches (18th) and yards (8th) per game reveals a midrange matchup for the veteran.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL @MIN 1133 ***
The Vikes have permitted the third most three-point attempts, on average, which is offset by ranking in the bottom 10 of touchdown-capping kick tries. Game flow and field position should dictate Bailey's chances.

Cincinnati Bengals
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BAL 13-44 10 NYG 31-13
2 CLE 34-27 11 @KC 28-6
3 @WAS 38-31 12 OAK 34-10
4 @JAC 27-10 13 @SD 20-13
5 MIA 13-17 14 DAL -----
6 @CLE 24-34 15 @PHI -----
7 PIT 17-24 16 @PIT -----
8 BYE ----- 17 BAL -----
9 DEN 23-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 240,1
RB Cedric Peerman
WR A.J. Green 7-90
WR Brandon LaFell 1-10
PK Mike Nugent

Pregame Notes: Granted, the four game winning streak included beating up on the bad part of the AFC West but while A.J. Green gets all the attention, the reality is that the Bengals defense has not allowed over 13 points in any of the last four outings. The offense is getting big returns on the rushing effort lately but that may be over for now with an injury to Cedric Peerman.

Andy Dalton scores multiple times in each of the last four games though his yardage has been pedestrian. He has not thrown for 300 yards since back in week three and most recent games have produced around just 200 yards in them. Slice off a huge chunk of that for Green every week and there is not much left to go around. Dalton is consistent scoring though and added a rushing touchdown in two of the last three games.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis was a bust for most of this year and then along came the papery defenses of the Chargers, Raiders and Chiefs. That made everything better with over 100 yards these last three weeks and that is a major departure from the roughly 60 yards he typically produced. He was helped by Cedric Peerman who has been an electric change of pace back until last week when he suffered what is speculated to be a high ankle sprain. He may not be out long but he will be out this week at the least. The Bengals rushing effort has been so stellar thanks to the ineptitude of the AFC West that it will be a disappointment to see BGE become a pumpkin again.

Jermaine Gresham isn't much for yardage in most games but did score in three of the last four and has been a low-end starter value the entire year.

Mohamed Sanu is on injured reserve now after scoring four times in three games. He's been replaced by the rookie Marvin Jones who used his opportunity to only catch two passes for 20 yards last week. Andrew Hawkins was back after a two week absence and caught five passes for 47 yards. There is no fantasy play among these receivers other than A.J. Green who was on a nine game scoring streak but has failed to reach the endzone in the last two weeks. He still never did worse than 85 yards in either and has been good for double-digit fantasy points in every game this year.

The Cowboys secondary has been weaker in recent games and in the end, you will start Green regardless of the matchup. Nothing really to be afraid of here anyway.

I like a defensive score in this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 10 24 3 15 18 17
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 9 14 14 14 21 27

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andy Dalton, CIN PHI 0000025011 ***
Dalton simply doesn't have enough weapons to warrant a fantasy start. Philadelphia has allowed only one 300-yard passer on the season, and this is a neutral matchup if you remove Aaron Rodgers' destruction against them in Week 12.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN PHI 7013300000 ***
Philadelphia has given up only two touchdowns on the last 102 attempts faced. This is the fifth worst matchup for a running back looking to find the end zone based on data over the last five weeks. Hill will need to defy the odds -- or least get a good shot from short range -- to find paydirt.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rex Burkhead, CIN PHI 2002200000 ***
Replacing Gio Bernard, Burkhead managed seven offensive touches last week. There is little reason to trust him in any lineup, especially against fantasy's fourth worst matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tyler Boyd, CIN PHI 005601000 ***
The rookie has been thrust into a larger role with A.J. Green on the mend. Philly represents the third best potential for points, which has led to the fourth most on a per-game basis (44.0 for teams in PPR). Wide receivers have scored at the fifth most frequent rate against this defense since Week 7.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, CIN PHI 004400000 ***
Over the last five weeks, receivers have tallied averages of 13 receptions, 210.2 yards and a score every 8.1 grabs -- all top-12 numbers for the position. LaFell is a decent flex play in Week 13.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Tyler Eifert, CIN PHI 005700000 ***
The Eagles have given up the second fewest catches and third fewest yards per game since Week 7, but allowing a TD every eight catches translates to this being the fifth worst at keeping the position out of the end zone.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN PHI 2222 ***
The seventh most field goal attempts allowed plus the 13th highest average of XPAs translates to Philly allowing the seventh most fantasy points per game to the position.

WEEK 14
2012
DEN at OAK (THU) *CHI at MIN MIA at SF SD at PIT
*ARI at SEA *DAL at CIN *NO at NYG *STL at BUF
*ATL at CAR *DET at GB NYJ at JAC *TEN at IND
*Updated BAL at WAS KC at CLE PHI at TB HOU at NE (MON)

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