FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3 KC at PHI (THU) CHI at PIT HOU at BAL SD at TEN
BUF at NYJ GB at CIN NYG at CAR STL at DAL
ARI at NO CLE at MIN IND at SF TB at NE
*UPDATED ATL at MIA DET at WAS JAC at SEA OAK at DEN (MON)

Prediction: STL 23, DAL 27 (Line: DAL by 3.5)

Players of Interest: Jared Cook, DeMarco Murray

The Rams are 1-1 and just lost by one score in Atlanta. A second road game doesn't help but these Rams are definitely better than 2012. The Cowboys fall to 1-1 with their loss in Kansas City but return home. The Rams will make a game of this to be sure but the Cowboys cannot afford a second loss this early in the year.

1 ARI 27-24 10 @IND -
2 @ATL 24-31 11 BYE WEEK
3 @DAL - 12 CHI -
4 SF - 13 @SF -
5 JAC - 14 @ARI -
6 @HOU - 15 NO -
7 @CAR - 16 TB -
8 SEA - 17 @SEA -
9 TEN - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
STL @ DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 330,2
WR Tavon Austin 20 6-50,1
WR Kenny Britt 4-40
WR Chris Givens 5-80
WR Austin Pettis 6-80
TE Jared Cook 6-70,1
PK Greg Zuerlein 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Rams passing game has much improved with the offseason additions and can now stay in any game. The rushing effort remains pedestrian at best but the offense has not looked as good passing since... well.. since way back when the Rams and passing went hand-in-hand. The lack of balance that the ground game is creating doesn't help the team but it does wonders for the fantasy value of the passing game.

QUARTERBACKS: Safe to say that Sam Bradford has never had a 325 yard passing average along with no fewer than two scores. He has yet to be sacked and threw only one interception in each game. Bradford is still trying to mesh with all his new weapons and got Tavon Austin going last week while letting Jared Cook explode in the season opener. This is an offense that is on the way up at least in passing and Bradford appears to be a lock for a career season already.

RUNNING BACKS: Isaiah Pead came off suspension but only ran the ball once and caught two passes. He may figure in more later but early on doesn't appear to be a factor. Then again, Daryl RIchardson has been taking a big chunk of the workload with marginal results. Last week in Atlanta he only managed 35 yards on ten carries But Richardson is adding five catches per game and totaling decent yardage even if he never scores.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Week one saw the wideouts with minimal impact as the tight end Jared Cook exploded. But Cook was quiet in week two and Bradford found success throwing to Austin Pettis (8-78, TD), Chris Givens (5-105) and Tavon Austin (6-47, 2 TD). Now that he has four different players who have had success, the offense can become even more productive without relying on any one player too much. Bradford still looks for Austin first, but both Pettis and Givens figure in prominently.

TIGHT ENDS: Just another early season "gotcha". Jared Cook opened with seven catches for 141 yards and two scores against the Cardinals but then flopped with only one catch for ten yards in Atlanta though he was thrown six passes. He should see more work this week and the success of the wideouts last week is a big help for Cook who cannot command too much attention by the defense without making them pay elsewhere/

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Rams are not a great rushing team and the Cowboys still have not allowed anyone to run for more than 55 yards including Jamal Charles. But Richardson doubles as a receiver which matches up nicely to the eight catches by Charles against the Dallas. Figure Richardson for a borderline RB2 play at best. The Cowboys secondary is still installing the new Cover-2 scheme and through two games have had numerous breakdowns and errors that have burned them. Expect a good game here by Bradford and decent WR3 starts for both Austin and Givens. Cook should bounce back this week.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Jared Cook now has two very different games and needs to show just how much of a factor he is going to be ongoing with a decent showing this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 7 24 8 3 3 23
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 28 16 25 18 12 11

 

1 NYG 36-31 10 @NO -
2 @KC 16-17 11 BYE WEEK
3 STL - 12 @NYG -
4 @SD - 13 OAK -
5 DEN - 14 @CHI -
6 WAS - 15 GB -
7 @PHI - 16 @WAS -
8 @DET - 17 PHI -
9 MIN - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DAL vs STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 320,2
RB DeMarco Murray 80,1 5-50
WR Dez Bryant 8-110,2
TE Jason Witten 6-70
PK Dan Bailey 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Dropping the loss in Kansas City by one point hurts what was an otherwise good defensive effort but the rushing attack remains missing here and while Tony Romo ignored Dez Bryant in week one, he ended up ignoring everyone else in week two. With a road trip to the surprising Chargers and then hosting the Broncos up next, this week needs to be a win or the Cowboys could end up chasing .500 all season.

QUARTERBACKS: it is not that Tony Romo has been bad. He has passed for 260+ yards each week with at least one score and only one turnover per game. But he has been unable to make the difference at the end when he needs to carry the team to victory. Romo is sure to produce a decent stat line this week but that needs to come with a "W" as well.

RUNNING BACKS: After week one, the Cowboys said they wanted to work on the rushing game more and get a more balanced offense. Then DeMarco Murray only gained 25 yards on 12 runs versus the Chiefs though he has caught at least five passes over the last two weeks. His role as a receiver has been a bigger help even though he gets nearly every carry for the Cowboys. Lance Dunbar is back as the primary backup while Joseph Randle was inactive this past week. Bottom line here is that the Cowboys want Murray to run better and he hasn't been up to the task yet.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Week one had Miles Austin (10-72) and Jason Witten as the primary targets while Dez Bryant was inexplicably ignored. Then in Kansas City when the Chiefs elected to give Bryant single coverage with Brandon Flowers, Romo threw him 13 passes for nine receptions and 141 yards with one score. No other receiver totaled more than 31 yards. That imbalance made Bryant happy enough but cannot continue. Bryant also had his back bother him after the game but he is expected to be fine this week and his foot did not suffer any setback from his previous sprain.

TIGHT ENDS: Jason Witten opened the season red hot with two touchdowns and eight catches for 70 yards. But in Kansas City he was held to only three catches for 12 yards while getting eight targets. The passes were thrown, they just did not connect. Witten is a safe bet for a bounce back this week.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Rams have been very good against the run with no one topping 60 rushing yards though the Cardinals have no runner and the Falcons lost Steven Jackson early. In a home game, Murray is still worthy of a RB2 start but he'll need more of those receptions to produce a decent yardage total. Romo faces a secondary that has already surrendered over 320 yards in both games with two scores for each. Both Larry Fitzgerald and Julio Jones had monster games on them so expect another fine Bryant outing with at least a little left over for the rest.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: DeMarco Murray needs to get better blocking to be sure, but he also needs to make something happen in the running game by himself and that is not happening. To prevent a committee approach including Dunbar, Murray has to show up with better stats this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 17 19 15 8 1 1
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 25 21 30 10 14 25

WEEK 3 KC at PHI (THU) CHI at PIT HOU at BAL SD at TEN
BUF at NYJ GB at CIN NYG at CAR STL at DAL
ARI at NO CLE at MIN IND at SF TB at NE
*UPDATED ATL at MIA DET at WAS JAC at SEA OAK at DEN (MON)


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