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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
QB Mark Sanchez 170
RB Darren McFadden 50 3-20
RB Alfred Morris 110,1 1-10
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 Dak Prescott, DAL @MIN 20100023011 ***
Fantasy's No. 7 overall quarterback in the last five weeks, Prescott continues to get things done with his legs. His aerial game isn't too shabby, either, but he can be stunted as last week proved. The Vikings have the fifth toughest matchup rating overall, ranking negatively in all major factors used.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ezekiel Elliott, DAL @MIN 9014300000 ***
Minnesota has offered the 10th most yards per game to the position, but only one of 60 carries and 47 offensive touches have resulted in a touchdown from Week 8 on.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cole Beasley, DAL @MIN 006601000 ***
While wide receivers have scored once per game since Week 7 versus the Vikes, the position has been stifled overall. Beasley has an uphill climb when he faces a defense that rates in the bottom nine in receptions per game, yards per contest, points per reception (PPR), matchup rating, and fantasy points allowed per outing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL @MIN 003500000 ***
Minnesota does a great job of taking receivers out of the game plan, and you know which one will draw the attention of Mike Zimmer's group this week. The Vikings have allowed receivers to average a touchdown per game, so there is some hope here for Dez, but we're looking at a bottom-five overall matchup rating.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL @MIN 006500000 ***
Minnesota blanked Eric Ebron two weeks ago, and this still is the 10th most exploitable matchup overall. Witten isn't a big TD guy, so focusing on catches (18th) and yards (8th) per game reveals a midrange matchup for the veteran.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL @MIN 1133 ***
The Vikes have permitted the third most three-point attempts, on average, which is offset by ranking in the bottom 10 of touchdown-capping kick tries. Game flow and field position should dictate Bailey's chances.

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
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Pierre Garcon 7-90,1
TE Vernon Davis 2-20

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 Kirk Cousins, WAS @ARI 0000027021 ***
Arizona remains tough versus quarterbacks, giving up the eighth fewest points per game (19.1) since Week 7. Only one team has allowed fewer yards per game, and the Cards rank as the fourth best D in touchdown efficiency. That said, Cousins is still very playable for gamers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Robert Kelley, WAS @ARI 4002101000 **
Dallas slowed the Kelley hype train last week, but the Cardinals present a decent shot at getting back on track. Running backs have scored six times in the last 98 carries and 102 offensive touches, which ranks second and third, respectively. Arizona ranks as the toughest against allowing combined yardage per game over the last five weeks, though.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Chris Thompson, WAS @ARI 2003200000 ***
This is the stoutest defense of pass-receiving backs in the past five weeks: Only eight catches for 59 yards have been permitted.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jamison Crowder, WAS @ARI 007901000 ***
Crowder has authored six straight games of double-digit PPR points, including scoring TDs in four of those contests. Arizona is must stronger on the outside than in the slot, and receivers like Crowder have averaged the fifth most catches and seventh most yards per game over the last five weeks when facing the Cardinals.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Pierre Garcon, WAS @ARI 006500000 ***
Garcon has quietly put together a fine fantasy season. The veteran faces a Cardinals defense that has allowed the fifth most receptions and seventh most yards per game to receivers since Week 7 -- right up his alley for a WR3 PPR showing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeSean Jackson, WAS @ARI 003400000 ***
D-Jax is an all-or-nothing play most of the time. Arizona has given up a TD ever 14.5 receptions, which is the ninth least efficient rate for receivers. Wideouts have scored the 11th fewest points per play against the Cards since Week 7.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vernon Davis, WAS @ARI 006500000 ***
Davis comes and goes which makes his utility suspect in any fantasy format. The Cardinals have destroyed tight ends over the last five weeks. Arizona is the toughest matchup for catches, yards, touchdown ease, and fantasy points against ... yikes.

Update: Jordan Reed will not play this week, which normally would be a great boost for Davis, but this matchup is stifling.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dustin Hopkins, WAS @ARI 2233 ***
Arizona has granted twice as many extra point attempts as the seven field goal tries afforded to the position over the past five weeks.

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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