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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
WR Marques Colston 5-70
TE Jimmy Graham 6-60,1
TE Benjamin Watson 5-60,1
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 3 XP

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 @CAR 0000032021 ***
In his career Brees has played a season's worth (16) of games against the Panthers, averaging 22 fantasy points per game in the process. He's also tossed multiple touchdowns in six straight this year and faces a reeling Carolina D that's allowed multiple TD tosses in six of eight. Enjoy the show.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO @CAR 12012100000 ****
With injuries still halving the number of backs in New Orleans' rotation Ingram should be in line for another heavy workload. That's good news, not only because of last week's standout performance but also because backs who get carries against the Panthers do well; to wit, the nine backs who received double-digit carries against Carolina have produced five touchdowns and three 100-yard games. Enjoy the run, Robinson and Thomas will be back eventually.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Travaris Cadet, NO @CAR 2004200000 ***
Cadet is an intriguing play against a Carolina defense that's given up 6- and 12-catch games to running backs as well as three RB receiving scores this season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Stills, NO @CAR 004601000 **
The Panthers have given up more than enough WR TDs to put every Saints wideout in play here, and with 57 yards or better in three of his last four Stills is a large enough part of the receiver rotation to warrant fantasy consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marques Colston, NO @CAR 006700000 ****
Colston has six touchdowns in his last five meetings with the Panthers, averaging 6-87-1 over that span. He's been the top target in three of four road games, among them a pair of 100-yard efforts. That's about as good as it gets for Colston, who's still just one of a bunch of guys Drew Brees could throw to.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NO @CAR 005700000 ***
Cooks is much more of a homebody than a road warrior; since his 7-77-1 NFL debut in Week 1 he's totaled 10-71 in three games away from the SuperDome. It's a favorable matchup, but if you're looking for ways to parse the Saints receivers history is not on Cooks' side.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, NO @CAR 008901000 ***
Graham has scored in five straight and six of seven against the Panthers, has either a TD or 100 yards in seven straight, and has double-digit fantasy points in each of those tilts. Carolina is traditionally strong against the tight end but allowed Luke Willson to beat them last week and has yet to find an answer for Graham. Oh, and Jimmy looked plenty healthy last week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, NO @CAR 1133 ***
Graham has three straight three-field goal games and faces a Carolina defense that's allowing an average of nine kicker points per game over the past month and a half. He's as good an option as you'll find this week.

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
QB Brandon Weeden 230,1
RB DeMarco Murray 100,1 4-30
WR Dez Bryant 5-70,1
WR Dwayne Harris 4-50,1
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 Tony Romo, DAL ARI 0000028021 ***
The expectation is Romo plays through his back injury here, the same injury that brought his streak of multiple TD games to an end after five. Arizona has served up multiple TD tosses to the last three QBs with at least a year in the NFL, as well as multiple scores and at least 277 yards to all three NFC East QBs they've faced previously. Romo's a risk, sure, but if he's gutting this one out he should be in your fantasy lineup as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL ARI 11014400000 ***
'85 Bears. Brick wall. At this juncture there isn't a matchup you wouldn't start the red-hot Murray against, so even though the Cards haven't let a back top 83 yards on them and they've only surrendered four RB TDs on the year there's really no reason to think Murray can't continue to do what he's been doing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL ARI 006801000 ****
Multiple receivers have either scored or topped 80 yards (or both) in four of the last five against Arizona, so the Cowboys' clear-cut WR2 certainly warrants fantasy attention this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL ARI 005701000 ****
Bryant's two least productive fantasy games were 55 and 63 yards; otherwise he's scored and/or reached triple digits. Knowing the floor is already pretty high, and that Arizona has allowed five 100-yard receivers in the past five games, there's no reason to stray from Bryant's every-week starter status.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL ARI 004500000 ***
It's not a tremendous matchup on paper, and Gavin Escobar looms, so pencil Witten in as a good start--but there's no need to go out of your way to get him into your lineup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL ARI 1133 ***
The Cards aren't a particularly fantasy-friendly team to get your kicks against, though Bailey has hovered around "good" most of the season. At minimum you should get solid production from the position this week.

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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