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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

Prediction: DAL 23, WAS 24 (Line: WAS by 3)

Players to Watch: Tony Romo, Pierre Garcon, Alfred Morris

This is the late game on Sunday and it has enough intrigue to make it worth watching. The announcers get another chance at prime time to slobber over Robert Griffin III and this game decides several things. If the Cowboys win, they take the NFC East title which says more about how bad the East is this year than how good the Cowboys are. If they lose, they are out plain and simple. The Redskins can win the NFC East with a victory here but a loss could still result in a wildcard if both the Bears (@DET) and the Vikings (@GB) both lose. Since this is the final late game, both teams know exactly what the case will be before playing.

This is a replay of week 12 when the Redskins won 38-31 in Dallas.

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 31-34
8 NYG 24-29 17 @WAS -----
9 @ATL 13-19 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DAL @ WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 320,2
RB DeMarco Murray 50 4-30
WR Dez Bryant 6-100,1
TE Jason Witten 8-70,1
PK Dan Bailey 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys are 3-1 in December which is opposite their typical results in previous years. The normal December slide was overcome in part because of a scheduling quirk that allowed them five home games in the last six weeks and both the Eagles and Steelers having fallen on hard times. The offense is scoring well and just last week Tony Romo could have had a legendary game when he brought the team back from 14 points down to overtime but once again the defense lost it for them. The loss of linebackers and safeties have been the bane of the defense.

Romo has been playing in top form lately but then again - almost all home games. Romo threw 12 touchdowns over the last four home games. He's only thrown five touchdowns over the last four road games. At home he had seven straight games over 300 yards. On the road, he had only one in the last six away venues. Romo passed for a season high 441 yards and three scores when the Skins visited in week 12.

DeMarco Murray missed six games this year and hasn't topped 100 rush yards since the season opener. He has been more involved as a receiver with four catches in each of the last four games. In week 12, Felix Jones was the starter but only ran for 14 yards on six carries and added 47 yards and one score as a receiver.

Jason Witten has already set the NFL record for tight end receptions this year and logged nine catches for 74 yards in the last meeting with the Skins.

Dez Bryant is on a seven game scoring streak and recorded eight receptions for 145 yards and two scores against the Skins this year. Miles Austin was held to no catches while Dwayne Harris (4-71) and Cole Beasley (7-68).

The Cowboys are 4-3 away from home but have a history of late season chokes. But that doesn't mean there won't be nice fantasy points along the way. This will move to the air sooner than later and the weather is not supposed to be bad other than a bit cold.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 7 24 3 9 11 24
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 29 11 30 31 19 1

  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 DeMarco Murray, DAL IND 7013200000 *
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?
  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.

Washington Redskins
Homefield: FedEx Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NO 40-32 10 BYE -----
2 @STL 28-31 11 PHI 31-6
3 CIN 31-38 12 @DAL 38-31
4 @TB 24-22 13 NYG 17-16
5 ATL 17-24 14 BAL 31-28
6 MIN 38-26 15 @CLE 38-21
7 @NYG 23-27 16 @PHI 27-20
8 @PIT 12-27 17 DAL -----
9 CAR 13-21 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
WAS vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Robert Griffin III 50 240,2
RB Alfred Morris 110,1 1-10
WR Pierre Garcon 7-90,1
WR Santana Moss 4-40,1
TE Logan Paulsen 2-20
PK Kai Forbath 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Redskins are on a six game winning streak since leaving their bye - a big change from being 3-6 and just an afterthought. A win there and the Skins are the title holders of the NFC East and RG3 will have already cemented his name in Skins lore. The change has been interesting since the Skins were consistently not good enough in the early games and now have been winning all the close ones. Encouraging too is that they are winning with less rushing from Griffin and more success passing to the wide receivers.

Griffin had his best fantasy game of the year when he threw for 304 yards and four scores in Dallas. That mostly happened with a wild 28 point second quarter that included two passing scores over 58 yards each and the Cowboys lost a fumble and an interception that led to Redskin scores.

Alfred Morris also ran for 113 yards on 24 carries in that game with one touchdown. He has been good for either a touchdown or 100+ rushing yards in every game since if not both. Morris completely stepped up starting with the game in Dallas and has scored five times over these last five games.

That game was also when Pierre Garcon came roaring back and proceeded to score in the next two games as well as in Dallas where he had 86 yards on four catches. Santana Moss scored once as well on his 42 yards on four receptions. Aldrick Robinson scored on a 68 yard catch that week. That game was all about the second quarter when it all fell apart for the Cowboys who battled back and came up short while holding the Skins to 10 points in the second half compared to 28 for Dallas.

The weakness of the Cowboys defense is more up the middle so Morris should see success this week and be relied on to control the game. Griffin only threw four scores over the last three games that he has played since the Dallas meeting. This game should end up close throughout and hopefully becomes a shootout later on.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 2 15 10 26 12 10
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 12 21 20 24 26 22

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Robert Griffin III, WAS PHI 30000026021 ***
If there were any team Jay Gruden were forced to play RG3 against, the Eagles might be the best possible option. In four career meetings RG3 has thrown multiple TDs four times, a total of 10 touchdowns against four INTs, averaging 272 yards per game with another 40 rushing yards per game to boot. You'd take those numbers from RG3, right? He wasn't that far off last week against the Giants with 236 & 1 plus 46 rushing, and with Philly as the second-most fantasy friendly defense against quarterbacks an uptick is to be expected. RG3 is playing for somebody's job, be it in DC or elsewhere, and the Eagles are a perfect foil for him to make some noise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Morris, WAS PHI 8001100000 ***
The Redskins have gotten away from running Morris 20 times a game, perhaps because they've dropped the last three games by an average of 18 points per game. He carried 23 times for 77 yards in the earlier meeting with Philly and you have to think the game plan calls for heavy doses of Alf. As an added bonus, any read options carry the threat of an RG3 run, which in the past has opened lanes for Morris. Think of those previous game numbers as a baseline, with room to move upwards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeSean Jackson, WAS PHI 005901000 **
You think DJax is motivated? Now even his own coach is talking smack about him. He put up 117 and a touch on the Eagles in the earlier meeting, and with RG3 throwing deep he should get a few extra chances to put the torch to his former squad. Revenge is a dish best served in the fantasy bowl.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Pierre Garcon, WAS PHI 005701000 **
Garcon seems to be more of a Colt McCoy favorite than an RG3 favorite, though after seeing what Garcon did to the Eagles back in Week 3 (11-138-1) maybe he'll reconsider. It's a risk, as Garcon has been a bit player most of the season, but there's some upside if RG3 is willing to reacquaint himself with Pierre.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Reed, WAS PHI 005500000 ***
Philly has allowed only one TE TD on the year, but two tight ends have topped 100 yards and another two--including Niles Paul back in Week 3, before Reed was back from injury--topped 65 yards. He'd be more of a yardage play than a TD play, but there's some upside to Reed this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, WAS PHI 2111 ***
Blame RG3: With other quarterbacks Forbath is averaging better than seven points per game; in games in which RG3 took the bulk of the snaps, he's averaging 4.6. He tallied 10 for the Kirk Cousins-led Redskins against Philly earlier this year, but don't get your hopes up for the rematch.

WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

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