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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

Prediction: NO 27, DAL 31 (Line: DAL by 3)

Players to Watch: Drew Brees, Tony Romo, the guy running the scoreboard

The 6-8 Saints come off their dominating win over the Buccaneers and now bring their 2-5 road record to Dallas. The 8-6 Cowboys are now in a three-way tie for the NFC East and have won their last three games. Unlike every other recent year, they have not folded in the month of December if only thanks to a schedule that gave them mostly home games to end the year. This is the sort of matchup that week 16 fantasy championships love.

New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 WAS 32-40 10 ATL 31-27
2 @CAR 27-35 11 @OAK 38-17
3 KC 24-27 12 SF 21-31
4 @GB 27-28 13 @ATL 13-23
5 SD 31-24 14 @NYG 27-52
6 BYE ----- 15 TB 41-0
7 @TB 35-28 16 @DAL -----
8 @DEN 14-34 17 CAR -----
9 PHI 28-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NO @ DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 310,2
RB Mark Ingram 50,1
TE Coby Fleener 2-20

Pregame Notes: It is a perfect sign of how the NFL goes this year. The Saints were crushed 27-52 by the Giants and the next week they turnaround and shut down the Buccaneers 41-0 while the Giants are beaten 34-0 by the Falcons. While each week is a new world, at least Drew Brees has remained an elite quarterback who stumbled in scoring for two weeks and then picked right back up last week with 307 yards and four scores.

Brees has been less effective on the road this year but only marginally and his string of sub-300 yard games has been replaced with a three game streak of high yardage efforts. What will be interesting this week is how many scores he can throw for since the Cowboys have only allowed one quarterback to throw for more than two and that was the Washington loss that was unlike any other game.

The only change in the running effort was that Pierre Thomas has been used much less while Mark Ingram has enjoyed a six week stretch where he has offered at least marginal value and last week was a season best 90 yards on 14 runs and one score. Darren Sproles has been light on yardage pretty much all year but at least scored three times in the last two weeks.

Jimmy Graham continues to offer only moderate yardage each week with no more than 69 yards in each of the last four games and not scoring since week 11. He has been playing through a wrist injury but is number of targets have been down as well. Despite the high passing yardage, there have been almost no standout performances by any receivers for the last month. Marques Colston has not produced more than 75 yards for the last nine games and Lance Moore usually ends up with even lower yardage and fewer scores. Colston has just one touchdown in the last five weeks.

The Cowboys are at home and are chasing a playoff bid so this should end up as a shoot out. Graham has a great shot at a bigger game this week against the Cowboy's banged up linebacker corps. Lance Moore draws Brandon Carr which should limit him this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 1 3 7 2 24 21
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 9 15 18 22 23 22

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Drew Brees, NO ATL 0000032040 ***
Shake off the quiet week from Brees and keep him in starting lineups. Atlanta is the third easiest matchup for quarterbacks, giving up seven touchdowns and picking off only one ball. Brees is a sound choice for the honors as this week's top fake QB.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO ATL 6003200000 ***
It hasn't been a pretty start to the season for Ingram. The Falcons have been terrible against running backs so far, as in the second worst team. This D will be busy trying to keep Drew Brees in check. There's bit of wishful thinking and hopefulness here, and maybe Ingram can get it together in your lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NO ATL 0071101000 ***
Drew Brees' top target faces a Falcons team that has given up 12 catches, 144 yards and 1.5 TDs per game so far this season to receivers, ranking in the upper half of the league with regard to toughness of defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Thomas, NO ATL 005601000 ***
Thomas is emerging as the clear WR3 here and a passable fantasy option in a pinch. DFS play, or a flex in PPR setups for owners looking to fill a void.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Willie Snead IV, NO ATL 003500000 *
Atlanta hasn't given up a lot of catches (24) or yards (288) to the position, but one out of every eight catches has gone for a touchdown. Snead is a fine PPR play in all formats and benefits from the double-teams on Brandin Cooks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, NO ATL 004301000 **
Time to give up? Not so fast, impatient one. The Falcons pose a wonderful matchup -- in fact, only the Lions have been worse -- for the position. He's an ideal DFS play with high upside and a low price tag. Traditional games owe it to their preseason-believing-in-Fleener selves to trot him out there once more.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Wil Lutz, NO ATL 2144 ***
A good example of more XPAs than FGAs that quell the fantasy potential.

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 20-19
6 @BAL 29-31 15 PIT 27-24
7 @CAR 19-14 16 NO -----
8 NYG 24-29 17 @WAS -----
9 @ATL 13-19 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DAL vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 310,3
RB Darren McFadden 60 3-30
RB Alfred Morris 100,1
WR Dez Bryant 5-70,1
TE Jason Witten 5-60,1
PK Dan Bailey 1 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys annual December Meltdown™ has not materialized though perhaps that was because it happened in October this year and the schedule ends up with five of seven final games at home. The Cowboys must win out to get a shot at the playoffs and even if they get past the Saints, the Redskins in Washington are looming in the season finale which will probably be for the division. There is a decent chance that the Cowboys win here and lose next week and they are out yet again.

Tony Romo continues to throw for over 300 yards in every home game and now facing one of the worst secondaries should only continue. More importantly he has thrown only three interceptions over the last seven games and has been good for multiple scores in home games.

DeMarco Murray scored in each of the last three games but has not broken the century mark since the season opener and even lost a fumble at the goal line last week. But he's consistent with four receptions per week and solid yardage in home games. Facing the worst defense against running backs should give him one more chance to break the 100 yard barrier this year.

Jason Witten finally scored last week for only the second time all year but he also ended with only 43 yards against the Steelers. He does tend to have better games when at home and with Dez Bryant banged up will continue to see at least a little more action. Witten generally comes into bigger play as the opposing secondaries are weaker and he's always better at home.

Dez Bryant played with his splinted finger and managed one touchdown on his four catches for 59 yards which makes it six straight games with at least one touchdown. Miles Austin still did not do too much more last week and has only one touchdown in the last seven weeks.

This is the week to start the normal Cowboy fantasy plays. The Saints are the visitors with the worst ranked defense against quarterbacks and running backs. With any luck, this will all turn into a big shootout.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 10 24 3 8 10 24
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 31 31 30 25 21 17

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Dak Prescott, DAL CHI 0000024010 ***
The good: He scored a TD (rushing) in Week 2 and once again didn't turn over the ball. The bad: He's not moving the ball down the field enough or taking the necessary, smart chances to lead to fantasy teams.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ezekiel Elliott, DAL CHI 10012100000 ***
Two fumbles in Week 2 didn't help his fantasy total, but the rookie is churning along as good as can be expected because of the quarterback situation. This should be another strong fantasy effort from Zeke. Chicago has allowed averages of 102.5 rushing yards, four receptions, and one touchdown per contest.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL CHI 006901000 ***
Hey, look at that ... we had a Dez sighting in Week 2! Proof that you must start your studs. Jordan Matthews caught six of nine targets for 71 yards in Week 2, following up DeAndre Hopkins' 5-54-1 stat line in the opener. ... reasonably realistic expectations for No. 88.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cole Beasley, DAL CHI 006700000 ***
This matchup isn't ideal on paper. Chicago has allowed only 24 catches, 297 yards and a pair of touchdowns in two games. Beasley is playing too well right now to ignore, and fantasy owners in PPR leagues must include him as no worse than a flex.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL CHI 005600000 ***
Houston's tight ends did no damage, as expected, to Chicago in the opener. Trey Burton, replacing Philly starter Zach Ertz, managed five catches, 49 yards and a TD on seven targets. Witten is in for a quality outing for PPR owners, and with any extra luck, he'll lumber into the end zone.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL CHI 3322 ***
Dak Prescott moves the ball well but struggles to produce touchdowns. That has been a good thing for Bailey's fantasy owners.

WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

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