FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 7 SEA at ARI (THU) CIN at DET HOU at KC STL at CAR
BUF at MIA DAL at PHI SD at JAC TB at ATL
CHI at WAS DEN at IND SF at TEN MIN at NYG (MON)
*UPDATED BAL at PIT CLE at GB NE at NYJ On Bye: NO, OAK

Prediction: DAL 30, PHI 27 (Line: PHI by 2.5)

Players of Interest: Joseph Randle

This is the battle of the NFL East since both teams are 3-3 and the Redskins and Giants still remain in the divisional land fill. The Cowboys are 0-2 on the road where their prolific offense takes a few steps back. The Eagles are 0-2 because they cannot win at home just like last year when they were just 2-6 there. This is a coin flip because both teams are inconsistent and playing each other is often different than the rest of their games anyway.

The Cowboys swept the Eagles last year, winning 38-23 in Philadelphia and later 38-33 at home.

1 NYG 36-31 10 @NO -
2 @KC 16-17 11 BYE WEEK
3 STL 31-7 12 @NYG -
4 @SD 21-30 13 OAK -
5 DEN 48-51 14 @CHI -
6 WAS 31-16 15 GB -
7 @PHI - 16 @WAS -
8 @DET - 17 PHI -
9 MIN - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DAL @ PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 320,3
QB Brandon Weeden 250,2
RB Joseph Randle 30 3-20
WR Dez Bryant 7-100,2
WR Terrance Williams 6-80,1
TE Jason Witten 5-60
PK Dan Bailey 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The near win over the Broncos did not deflate the Cowboys who came back to dominate the Redskins in a more important divisional game. The problem this week is that the road has not been kind and the Cowboys offense takes a step down whenever they board a plane. But this may be the most important game of the year since the only way either team gets into the playoffs is probably as a division winner and not a wildcard. Missing DeMarco Murray could be a major problem but the Eagles are weakest against the pass anyway.

QUARTERBACKS: Tony Romo comes off his worst game of the year (170 yards, TD) which was after his career best and Cowboys record against the Broncos. The rushing offense has been little help other than against the Rams anyway and Romo is the one that has to win... or lose... games for the team. His 14 touchdowns go against only three interceptions despite how costly the one was at the end of the Broncos tilt.

Romo passed for 209 yards and two scores in Philadelphia last year.

RUNNING BACKS: DeMarco Murray made it five games before getting injured this season and his sprained MCL will keep him out for at least one to three more weeks. Lance Dunbar is out with a hamstring issue so the rookie Joseph Randle becomes the starter this week by default. His only work all year was last week when he ran for 17 yards on 11 carries and scored once. He added 15 yards on two catches but his only positive this week is that the Cowboys have to use him. That is if they use the running back position much. No doubt most fantasy team owners who drafted Randle for just this reason have usually already doled him back onto the waiver wire.

Randle has not been that impressive and his ability to pick up the blitz doesn't cause much comfort either.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Last week the passing stats were down because the Cowboys finally won a game handily and received a lot of special teams help. Dez Bryant was on a four game scoring streak that resets but two of his best three efforts came in road games his season. Terrance Williams only had a couple of catches but scored again and remains the flanker on most plays. Miles Austin was back after a two game absence but did not catch any of his four targets. Even Cole Beasley is turning in three or four catches per week. This is where the Cowboys will win or lose against the worse secondary in the NFL.

Bryant caught three passes for 87 yards and a score in Philly last season.

TIGHT ENDS: Jason Witten is much less relied on this season with the exception of the two shootouts against the Giants and Broncos when he scored in both along with very healthy catches and yardage. The emergence of Terrance Williams is likely cutting into Witten's totals at least a little.

Witten turned in eight catches for 47 yards against the Eagles last season.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Eagles are one of the worst defenses against the pass and have already allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks along with four games that exceeded 320 yards each. Only the Chiefs managed to face them and not throw for multiple touchdowns. The Eagles are about average against running backs and there's no chance that Randle will be mistakened for Jamaal Charles. The pass will be the way the offense moves - no runner topped 10 yards on them. No tight end has scored on them either though they have faced a lackluster set other than Antonio Gates who racked up eight catches for 124 yards in Philly. The great part of facing the Eagles is that no one has allowed more fantasy points to wide receivers. Not only were 13 touchdowns given up, those were spread among six different wide receiver and everyone of them scored at least twice. No reason to bench any element of the Cowboys passing game and even Randle could make for a desperation RB play hoping he catches a few passes or scores a touchdown.

WHAT TO WATCH: Randle is worth watching to see if he can play better than he's practiced so far. Murray is hardly guaranteed to remain healthy when he returns.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 7 23 6 8 13 4
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 28 15 32 15 23 24

 

1 @WAS 33-27 10 @GB -
2 SD 30-33 11 WAS -
3 KC 16-26 12 BYE WEEK
4 @DEN 20-52 13 ARI -
5 @NYG 36-21 14 DET -
6 @TB 31-20 15 @MIN -
7 DAL - 16 CHI -
8 NYG - 17 @DAL -
9 @OAK - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PHI vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Nick Foles 330,3
RB LeSean McCoy 80 5-60,1
WR Riley Cooper 4-50
TE Brent Celek 2-20
TE Zach Ertz 4-50,1

Pregame Notes: Not unlike DeMarco Murray, Michael Vick only made it five games before getting his annual <hamstring> injury. The Eagles come off two road wins but everyone has beaten both the Giants and Buccaneers this year. The Giants are up for their rematch next week so a win here could see the Eagles looking good by their week 12 bye when Vick can again get healthy from whatever is ailing him then. The offense has been improving in recent weeks but that happened against winless teams. This will be a better measure of where the Eagles stand.

QUARTERBACKS: Michael Vick is still bothered by his hamstring and is not likely to play this week though they have not ruled him out officially. Nick Foles took the full start last week and ended up with 296 passing yards and three touchdowns along with a rushing score as well. Foles has been a capable player when called on and already threw six touchdowns this year without any interceptions. The offense loses the rush yards of Vick but you could argue the passing may even improve.

RUNNING BACKS: LeSean McCoy is enjoying a great season and while he only scored three touchdowns, his total yardage has been prolific. He leads the league with 630 rushing yards and adds 241 more on 15 receptions. That is a pace for 1680 rushing yards and 642 receiving yards. He's a lock for high yardage and adds a score every other week. And he did not score last week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Riley Cooper turned in a freakish 120 yards and one score in Tampa Bay after only totaling 91 yards over the previous five weeks. DeSean Jackson is the key to the passing game and he leads all NFL wideouts with 589 yards along with five touchdowns. Jason Avant may have the occasional week with moderate stats. This unit is all about Jackson who comes off a two touchdown game versus the Buccaneers who surprisingly and erroneously did not have Darrelle Revis on him for every play.

TIGHT ENDS: While the tight ends have only scored twice this year and never amount to much yardage, the shift is starting to include more of Zach Ertz and less Brent Celek. That may not take full form until 2014 but at least Ertz is already seeing an accelerated role after just six weeks.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This is a good week to start for Foles who faces the worst secondary in the NFL against quarterbacks. The Cowboys have already allowed Eli Manning, Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers to pass for over 400 yards and at least three scores each. And De Marcus Ware is out for at least a week or two and with that the Cowboys best pass rusher. The secondary has been hurt by tight ends but the Eagles do not make extensive use of theirs so far. The Cowboys on the road are a meal ticket for Foles, Jackson and McCoy. Others may join in but are less consistent and too risky for consideration.

WHAT TO WATCH: It would be good to see someone besides DeSean Jackson step up in the passing game. Riley was able to last week but that still smacks of a fluke. It won't get much easier here.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 2 9 9 20 6 24
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 32 28 19 31 20 4

WEEK 7 SEA at ARI (THU) CIN at DET HOU at KC STL at CAR
BUF at MIA DAL at PHI SD at JAC TB at ATL
CHI at WAS DEN at IND SF at TEN MIN at NYG (MON)
*UPDATED BAL at PIT CLE at GB NE at NYJ On Bye: NO, OAK


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