FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

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
RB Adrian Peterson 150,1 4-20
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 0000031031 ***
Brees connected on 36-for-54 passing for 376 yards, three TDs and an interception the last time out. Since Week 11, stats against the Falcons have amounted to this being an average opponent for quarterbacks to exploit.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO @ATL 5004301000 ***
Ingram put up 20.7 PPR points in the early-season meeting between these teams. The veteran has four TDs in his last five games and should be used in all formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Travaris Cadet, NO @ATL 003301000 ***
Playing Cadet is a big risk. He has limited value in traditional formats and is best used in DFS with PPR scoring.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Ted Ginn, Jr., NO @ATL 004501000 ***
Ginn is a weekly flex flier, and the last time he played Tampa illustrates his risky ways. The veteran landed only one ball for five yards. Play him only if you are struggling to find a clearer path to points.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Thomas, NO @ATL 006700000 ***
Thomas had a fine day in Week 3 against Atlanta, hauling in seven balls on 11 targets. He went for 71 yards and a score. The Falcons have given up only two TDs on the last 61 receiver catches entering Week 17.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Willie Snead IV, NO @ATL 005600000 ***
Snead faces a midrange matchup has has little fantasy utility without assuming a sizeable degree of risk. Atlanta is the 19th best PPR matchup for Week 17.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, NO @ATL 005501000 ***
Fleener enjoyed one of his best fantasy games of the year versus Atlanta in Week 3, logging seven catches for 109 yards and a score. The Falcons have given up the 10th highest average of fantasy points in the last five weeks.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Wil Lutz, NO @ATL 1133 ***
Atlanta has allowed the second fewest fantasy points, which correlates to providing the second fewest three-point kicks since Week 11.

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
vs Rush Catch Pass
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 @PHI 0000020011 *
Prescott probably will be pulled at some point with nothing on the line for the No. 1-seeded Cowboys. Chancing just how much he plays is a risky choice to make.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, DAL @PHI 701000000 ***
McFadden is a reasonable play in the upcoming week with Dallas likely to rest Ezekiel Elliott most if not all of the game. DMC faces a Philly defense that has allowed 130.6 offensive yards and the third most receptions (6.0) per game to RBs since Week 11.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ezekiel Elliott, DAL @PHI 4001100000 *
Elliott barely saw the ball in the second half last week and may have an extremely small role in this one, if any at all.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL @PHI 004600000 *
Dez went for 113 and a TD on four catches in Week 8's matchup. The Eagles rate as the second easiest to exploit this go-around, but just how much Bryant will play is cause for concern.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cole Beasley, DAL @PHI 005500000 **
The matchup is great -- the second best for PPR receivers, in fact -- but not only has Beasley been alarmingly quiet lately, he didn't fare well (4-53-0) in the first meeting. The Cowboys may choose to rest many key players, too.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL @PHI 002300000 ***
Williams could have a larger role this week, and while the matchup is great, starting him to find out isn't the wisest move.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL @PHI 002301000 *
Witten probably won't play much in this one. Dallas has nothing on the line as a fixed No. 1 seed. The Eagles continue to be one of the worst matchups for the position, but there's a reasonable chance Witten can find the end zone. Play him without better options.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL @PHI 3311 ***
The Eagles have granted the 10th largest average of extra points (2.6) and fifth most field goal tries per game (2.6). More than 92 percent of all kicks faced have scored since Week 11.

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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