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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 15 SD at DEN (THU) CIN at PIT NE at MIA SEA at NYG
ARI at TEN GB at DAL NO at STL SF at TB
BUF at JAC HOU at IND NYJ at CAR WAS at ATL
*UPDATED CHI at CLE KC at OAK PHI at MIN BAL at DET (MON)

Prediction: GB 17, DAL 27 (Line: DAL by 7)

Update: Aaron Rodgers is out again but Eddie Lacy is probable to play and returned for limited work on Friday.

This is an important game for two franchises that are watching their seasons slip away after leading their divisions earlier in the year. The Packers barely clipped the visiting Falcons for their first win since week eight. The Cowboys lost in Chicago when apparently the cold removed all signs of a passing game but only for the Cowboys. The Packers are 2-4 on the road and the Cowboys are 5-1 at home.

1 @SF 28-34 10 PHI 13-27
2 WAS 38-20 11 @NYG 13-27
3 @CIN 30-34 12 MIN 26-26
4 BYE WEEK 13 @DET 10-40
5 DET 22-9 14 ATL 22-21
6 @BAL 19-17 15 @DAL -
7 CLE 31-13 16 PIT -
8 @MIN 44-31 17 @CHI -
9 CHI 20-27 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
GB @ DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Flynn 20 250,1
RB Eddie Lacy 80,1 5-40
WR Jarrett Boykin 2-30
WR Jordy Nelson 5-60
TE Andrew Quarless 2-20
PK Mason Crosby 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Winning was great but it almost did not happen in the easiest matchup of the year. Bad sign for a team that has to play in Dallas, in Chicago and against the Steelers with no more margin for error. Aaron Rodgers might as well replace his jersey name with "GLUE" because it all falls apart without him. This would be a major challenge with a healthy Rodgers.

QUARTERBACKS: Aaron Rodgers will be evaluated all week in the hopes that he can play but his collarbone was still a source of pain in making any movement to start the week. That is a bad sign and while Rodgers has not been ruled out, the odds on him playing are getting worse. Matt Flynn will take the start if needed and try to get past his single touchdown hurdle.

I'll update on Friday if there are any changes but assume that Flynn starts. The Packers may end up playing the "game time decision" card just to make Dallas prepare for something that is not going to happen.

RUNNING BACKS: Troublesome too is that Eddie Lacy injured his ankle in the win over the Falcons and was ineffective in the second half though he continued to play. He will be evaluated this week and replaced by James Starks if needed. Facing the #32 defense against running backs should help motivate him to heal and I will assume he can play without any real limitation for now. Lacy has been a scoring machine and a major part of the game plan since Rodgers left.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Two weeks of Matt Flynn and the wideouts have never looked worse. James Jones hasn't scored since week four and with Flynn under center he only managed four catches for 19 yards against the weak secondary of the Falcons. Jones did gain 79 yards on three catches in the first start for Flynn in Detroit. Jordy Nelson gained 85 yards on four catches last week but only landed two receptions for 14 yards in Detroit. Worse yet, Jarrett Boykin is a complete non-factor with only two catches for 23 yards from the last two weeks combined. Flynn may be facing a very bad defense but it will be on the road and nothing so far says that Flynn can take advantage of the secondary using these wide receivers.

TIGHT ENDS: After an entire season of no fantasy relevance, Andrew Quarless finally caught six passes for 66 yards and one score versus the Falcons. It was his first touchdown of the year and nearly doubled his season total for yardage.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: LB Sean Lee has a good chance to play this week and that will help the Cowboys against the run. But the bigger part of this equation is less about how bad the Cowboys are but instead who the Packers are bringing to the party. Dallas ranks badly against the pass but only against top passers and even then mostly on the road. The last three home games have only given up a total of one touchdown pass. The rush defense has been much abused but mostly in road games. A healthy Lacy or even Starks would be a smart start here though with a great chance for a score and decent yardage. But the Cowboys at home are better against the pass and the Packers are not packing a punch anymore.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 11 16 3 23 4 18
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 31 32 20 28 11 2

 

1 NYG 36-31 10 @NO 17-49
2 @KC 16-17 11 BYE WEEK
3 STL 31-7 12 @NYG 24-21
4 @SD 21-30 13 OAK 31-24
5 DEN 48-51 14 @CHI 28-45
6 WAS 31-16 15 GB -
7 @PHI 17-3 16 @WAS -
8 @DET 30-31 17 PHI -
9 MIN 27-23 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DAL vs GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 260,2
RB DeMarco Murray 60,1 3-30
WR Cole Beasley 3-50
WR Dez Bryant 5-100,1
WR Terrance Williams 3-40
TE Jason Witten 3-40
PK Dan Bailey 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys did not merely lose in Chicago, they exposed just how badly the defense plays and that the Cowboys offense cannot handle cold weather even versus a defense that has been decimated by injury this year. It now comes down to winning out and beating the Packers in Dallas, then the reeling Redskins in D.C. and finally hosting the Eagles for what should be all the marbles in the NFC East with the loser staying home in January.

QUARTERBACKS: Tony Romo passed for three scores in Chicago but only threw 20 passes and turned in 104 yards. The rushing game was effective though Romo was not. The difficulty this week is deciding which Romo shows up for this game. At home he has been less prolific in the second half of the season and has gone four games without topping 234 yards. He scores every week but the yardage is not there and the scores are lower in the second half of the year. Plus there is the traditional December collapse for the Cowboys which the Chicago game did not dispute the previous trend.

RUNNING BACKS: DeMarco Murray ran for 146 yards in Chicago on just 18 carries but the score got away from them and he was limited in carries despite it being only the second time this year where he broke 100 rush yards. Murray is running well in recent weeks which has impacted the passing stats. He's also been used as a receiver much more in home games.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This was one of the premier groups in the NFL but the lack of passing success in the last month has really decreased the output here. Dez Bryant started the year out red hot but now is going on seven weeks past his last 100 yard effort. Terrance Williams stepped aside to let Miles Austin play and now neither have any fantasy value. Bryan averaged only 57 yards per game over the last six weeks and scored only twice in that time. Since the Saints and Rob Ryan showed the world how to destroy the offense, the Cowboys aren't even average anymore let alone an elite unit.

TIGHT ENDS: Jason Witten scored in Chicago but that was his only catch in the game. Aside from the Vikings showing up, Witten averaged only 31 yards per game over the last eight weeks.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Packers are marginal across the board on defense and without Rodgers there, no shoot outs happen to promote more yardage and scores. Romo, Murray, Bryan and Witten all merit consideration this week but recent trends say this is not the blowout win it could have been two months ago. Expect moderate numbers from the usual suspects.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 12 21 9 8 15 3
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 23 22 22 22 13 20

WEEK 15 SD at DEN (THU) CIN at PIT NE at MIA SEA at NYG
ARI at TEN GB at DAL NO at STL SF at TB
BUF at JAC HOU at IND NYJ at CAR WAS at ATL
*UPDATED CHI at CLE KC at OAK PHI at MIN BAL at DET (MON)


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