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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 Brandon Weeden 220,1
RB DeMarco Murray 70,1 3-20
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 Tony Romo, DAL IND 0000027031 ***
Romo has three or more TD tosses in four of his last five games, and with DeMarco Murray dinged or out he'll be forced to shoulder more of the offensive load. Indy's pass defense numbers of late have been artificially inflated by them shutting down the likes of Tom Savage, Brian Hoyer and Blake Bortles. Romo is more of the Tom Brady (257 & 2), Eli Manning (359 & 2), Ben Roethlisberger (522 & 6) ilk; expect similar positive results.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joseph Randle, DAL IND 2011100000 **
Don't be surprised if Randle gets the call, either to start if DeMarco Murray sits or to replace Murray after a couple hits to his broken hand (and subsequent fumbles). Indy's a favorable matchup for running backs, so if/when Randle winds up with the workload he has a very good chance of making fantasy noise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL IND 7001100000 *
Dr. Jerry Jones thinks there's still a chance Murray plays despite surgery on a broken hand earlier this week. Dr. Reality Check thinks even if he does his fantasy impact will be limited due to ball security concerns and risk of more damage. Then again, Murray's a free agent after the season so maybe use and dispose is the game plan?
Update: Murray practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday, and everything coming out of Dallas points towards him giving it a go on Sunday. But keep in mind it's a similar injury to the one that kept Emmitt Smith and Marshall Faulk out a couple weeks each, plus there's no way it won't affect ball security and pass-catching. Stay glued to the inactive list Sunday morning; hopefully you'll get a definitive answer.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lance Dunbar, DAL IND 1003300000 ***
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL IND 006801000 ***
Vontae Davis is a shutdown corner, but he's also human. Bryant can beat any matchup given enough targets, and he usually is--especially if DeMarco Murray is limited or out of this one. Proceed as per usual with Bryant in your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cole Beasley, DAL IND 003401000 ***
Beasley has been more productive of late than fellow secondary target Terrance Williams, and with Vontae Davis likely shadowing Dez Bryant Tony Romo might throw a little more frequently at his alternate receivers. That puts Beasley at least on the fringe of fantasy relevance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL IND 002400000 ***
Williams played second fiddle to Dez Bryant for a while, but now Cole Beasley is horning in on his action. It's been far too long since Williams posted anything of fantasy relevance to be trusted at this critical juncture.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL IND 005601000 ***
Indy's been a favorable matchup for tight ends, and with Witten coming off his largest target game of the season he's back on Tony Romo's radar. The combination of Vontae Davis on Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray's injury only add to the probability of Witten posting a fantasy helper here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL IND 1144 ***
Bailey has but one multiple field goal effort in his past eight games; fortunately he's salvaged fantasy value with four or more PATs in four of his last five games. The Vegas sharps like this game for lots of points; no reason Bailey can't get his share of the fun.

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 Greg Little 3-40
TE Jermaine Gresham 5-50,1
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 DEN 0000023021 ***
No guarantee that attempting to keep up with Peyton Manning translates into helpful fantasy stats; didn't work for Derek Carr, Shaun Hill, Alex Smith or Philip Rivers over the past six weeks. Dalton's been too unreliable a fantasy contributor of late to not be lumped in with that mediocre grouping, especially given his penchant for coming up small in big games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN DEN 5004200000 ***
Tre Mason is the only back to find fantasy success against the Broncos. Not that the Bengals won't try with Hill, but his big games have come against bottom-feeding run defenses (New Orleans, Cleveland, and Jacksonville all rank in the top 10 in fantasy points allowed to RBs). Dial your expectations back accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN DEN 3003200000 ***
It's official: Gio's a complementary back. And with feature backs having enough trouble carving out fantasy value against the Broncos, no reason to reach for a secondary guy for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN DEN 005601000 **
It's not impossible for Green to carve out fantasy value against the Broncos, especially given the volume of targets he's bound to see. But it won't be easy, so keep your expectations in check.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN DEN 003300000 ***
Complementary targets have found the end zone against Denver while primary targets posted bigger yardage--as recently as Week 14, when Sammy Watkins did the heavy lifting with 127 yards while Chris Hogan found the end zone. However, multiple receivers have posted fantasy helpers on the Broncos only four times in 14 games, so Sanu's chances of warranting a spot in your lineup are slim.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN DEN 004301000 ****
Update: Looks like Gresham will play this week, though he's been little if any fantasy help this season and doesn't look like he'll change that fact this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN DEN 1122 ***
Since serving up 16 points to Greg Zuerlein and the Rams in Week 11 the Broncos have allowed a total of 17 kicker points in four games. The Nuge broke a two-game field goal drought with three against the Browns last week, but the overriding trend here is opposing kickers falling short against Denver. Plan accordingly.

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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