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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 @WAS 0000024020 **
The Redskins have given up multiple touchdown passes in four straight, with two of those quarterbacks topping 370 passing yards. Romo was knocked out of the earlier meeting with Washington; if he doesn't finish this time it will be because the Cowboys have already clinched their fate--likely due to a solid fantasy helper from Romo.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL @WAS 601000000 *
Murray dominated the Redskins like no other back in the earlier meeting, with 221 yards from scrimmage. He won't likely see enough touches to match that performance as the Cowboys rest their feature back (and specifically his busted hand) for the playoffs, and he was ineffective with a reduced workload against Indy last week. He's still starter-worthy, but your expectations need to be lowered dramatically.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joseph Randle, DAL @WAS 3002200000 ***
Randle saw his biggest workload last week (13 carries) and did little with it (37 yards). With a tougher matchup this week there's no reason to expect those numbers to trend upwards, even if Randle ends up with a larger share of the touches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL @WAS 004601000 ****
Dez has scored in his last two against the Redskins; he's also scored 10 TDs in his last eight games, a streak that started with a subdued 3-30-1 against Washington. With DeMarco Murray dinged the offensive onus is on the passing game, and in turn Tony Romo leans on Dez. Start him with confidence here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL @WAS 003400000 ***
Williams returned to the end zone--twice--last week as the Dallas passing game picked up the slack left by the injury to DeMarco Murray. However, secondary targets rarely fare well against the Redskins--and when they do it tends to be at the expense of the primary guy. Since it's unlikely that Dez Bryant falters here, don't look for big things for Williams this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL @WAS 005501000 ***
Witten scored in the earlier meeting with Washington, and after watching the Redskins give up 15-115 to Zach Ertz last week---and 4-61-2 to Jared Cook two weeks prior to that, and 4-127-2 to Coby Fleener the week before that--you have to like Witten's chances of another big outing.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL @WAS 1133 ***
Bailey has been counting by ones instead of threes, with just one multiple field goal game in the past two and a half months. On the bright side, he's had at least four PATs in five of the last six games so even though the ceiling isn't high the floor isn't that low.

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 @PIT 0000027021 ***
The Steelers have given up 300-plus passing yards in three straight games and multiple touchdown tosses in eight of the last nine. That stretch includes Dalton's 302 and 2 (with a rushing TD to boot), though in two subsequent games Andy has a total of 263 and 2. The tiebreaker is Dalton's penchant for coming up small in big games, so while there's upside in the matchup you'll likely want to find fantasy help elsewhere.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN @PIT 9001100000 ****
Hill averaged almost six yards a carry in limited work against the Steelers in the earlier matchup; since then he's racked up a pair of 140-yard games--still at a six-yards per carry pace. Hill is on a roll, and while Pittsburgh has been relatively solid against the run they've shown a weakness for bigger backs like Arian Foster, Mark Ingram... and, this week, Hill.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN @PIT 2003200000 ***
Gio has become the complimentary guy, and in a tough matchup he's a far riskier fantasy play than the Bengals' current bell cow, Jeremy Hill.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN @PIT 005801000 *
Green gashed the Steelers for 11-224-1 just three weeks ago. He's banged up coming out of the win over Denver, but all indications are he'll play--and against a secondary that's allowed three 130-plus yard receivers in the past month, all indications are he'll perform well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN @PIT 004500000 ***
It was all AJ Green the last time Cincy faced Pittsburgh, and that's become typical of the Bengals passing game as Sanu hasn't scored since Week 12 or topped 50 yards since Week 9. He's never broken 40 yards against the Steelers; no reason to believe that changes here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN @PIT 005601000 ***
There's hope for Gresham this week against a Steelers defense that's allowed six TE TDs in the past eight games. Gresham has scored in two of the last three, including last week and the earlier matchup with Pittsburgh. At this juncture there's no WR2 to AJ Green, so Gresham could fill that opening.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN @PIT 2222 ***
The Nuge is coming off his best two-game stretch of the season; the Steelers have allowed six field goals in their last two. Almost makes you believe he's a safe bet to improve upon his three point performance in the earlier meeting with Pittsburgh in Week 14. Almost.

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)

a d v e r t i s e m e n t