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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 1
2010
MIN at NO ATL at PIT* OAK at TEN* GB at PHI
MIA at BUF CLE at TB* CAR at NYG DAL at WAS
IND at HOU* CIN at NE* SF at SEA BAL at NYJ
*UPDATED DET at CHI DEN at JAC* ARI at STL* SD at KC

Prediction: DAL 23, WAS 13

The Cowboys embark on what they hope is their Superbowl season since they host the event and it would be a lot cheaper to bring family this year. The Redskins are going through another upheaval with a new coach in Mike Shanahan and Donovan McNabb as the starting quarterback. The Cowboys swept the Redskins last season in two low scoring affairs - 7-6 in Dallas and later 17-0 in Washington.

Dallas Cowboys (0-0)
Homefield: Texas Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @WAS -- 10 @NYG --
2 CHI -- 11 DET --
3 @HOU -- 12 NO --
4 Bye - 13 @IND --
5 TEN -- 14 PHI --
6 @MIN -- 15 WAS --
7 NYG -- 16 @ARI --
8 JAC -- 17 @PHI --
9 @GB -- - - -
Cowboys Report | Statistics | Roster
DALLAS at WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo - - 270,1
RB Marion Barber 70,1 20 -
RB Felix Jones 50 20 -
TE Jason Witten - 70,1 -
WR Roy Williams - 30 -
WR Dez Bryant - 40 -
WR Miles Austin - 80 -
PK David Buehler 3 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: A big year is planned but the preseason was a downer for the Cowboy's first team offense that struggled to find the end zone. The team returns all the notable players besides Patrick Crayton and have added Dez Bryant to the fold even though it is mostly hearsay since a high ankle sprain kept Bryant from the preseason games and training camp. This is a big year for the Cowboys because they are hosting the Superbowl in the behemoth new stadium. The downside - Jerry Jones is grabbing more air time. Lots more.

QUARTERBACKS:Tony Romo comes off a career best year with 4483 passing yards and only nine interceptions. The addition of Dez Bryant was made to make defenses account for both sides of the field and relieve the pressure that Miles Austin is getting. One more big time weapon and Romo will have all the viable pass targets he could ever want.

Romo passed for 158 yards and a score when the Skins visited last year and later turned in 286 yards and one touchdown in Washington. The Skins have a decent defense and secondary so expect just another moderate game from Romo

RUNNING BACKS: The Cowboys intend to use a three-pronged attack again this year with Marion Barber as the starting tailback and Felix Jones as second in the rotation. Tashard Choice is the wildcat quarterback and fill-in. Barber has lost weight and looks faster but has injury concerns every year and has fallen from favor. Jones has been getting a more even share of the pie at the end of last season but virtually all of his games of any note have always been at home. This three scores last year - in Dallas. Four games above 90 yards? In Dallas.

The Cowboys combined Jones and Barber for 27 carries for 121 yards and one score in Washington last year. Both had four catches for around 30 yards in that game. Look for more of a repeat of that game last year. The Skins are in transition and it hasn't been going well so far.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Cowboys ranked #1 with 24 touchdowns by wideouts last year and that's in large part to the emergence of Miles Austin (81-1320, 11 TDs). Roy Williams (38-596, 7 TDs) has yet to show he is remotely worth the price tag the Cowboys paid and Dez Bryant was drafted to take Williams place eventually. A high ankle sprain has slowed Bryant's integration into the offense and he spent most of last year suspended from Oklahoma State. Been a while since Bryant played a real game but all eyes will be on him when he does play. If only because we still have never seen him play so far.

The Cowboys also traded off Patrick Crayton to the Chargers which is a sign of how much they like Bryant so far.

Austin had nine receptions for 92 yards in Washington last year. He could reprise that success since the Redskins are still installing an all new defensive scheme but Dez Bryant may put a new slant on it since the Cowboys too want to see what he has got. Austin is always a safe start and Roy Williams really never is. And Bryant? Hold off until we actually see him wearing a helmet and running down the field with the ball in a real game.

TIGHT ENDS: Jason Witten had his second best season when 2009 say him finish with 94 receptions for 1030 yards but only two touchdowns. He caught six passes for 117 yards as the visitor in D.C. last season and the team wants to use him more in the red zone. That makes Witten a good start this week with a better chance to score since the Skins have been weaker against tight ends than other positions.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 10 13 5 10 18 25
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 5 10 15 6 27 28


Washington Redskins (0-0)
Homefield: FedEx Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 DAL -- 10 PHI --
2 HOU -- 11 @TEN --
3 @STL -- 12 MIN --
4 @PHI -- 13 @NYG --
5 GB -- 14 TB --
6 IND -- 15 @DAL --
7 @CHI -- 16 @JAC --
8 @DET -- 17 NYG --
9 Bye - - - -
Redskins Report | Statistics | Roster
WASHINGTON vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb - - 240,1
RB Clinton Portis 70 10 -
TE Chris Cooley - 70,1 -
WR Santana Moss - 50 -
WR Anthony Armstrong - 50 -
WR Joey Galloway - 40 -
PK Graham Gano 2 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: It is a brave new world for the Redskins with a new coaching staff assembled by Mike Shanahan and a new starting quarterback with the same old lackluster wide receivers. The running game is in the capable hands and wobbly legs of Clinton Portis and overall, the team is in phase one of a rebuild and looks more of a mishmash of players. The early returns on the new offense have not been glowing and it will take more than a few months for Shanahan to create a team in his image.

QUARTERBACKS: Donovan McNabb comes over from the Eagles after being replaced by Kevin Kolb. The Eagles did not even care that he would be in the same division and play them twice each year which is more an insult than anything. McNabb has lost DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin and instead gets Santana Moss and - I kid you not - Joey Galloway. McNabb has struggled a bit in the new offense as well. McNabb injured his ankle but is expected to be ready to play this week. One of his downgrades in Philly was his durability.

Jason Campbell never passed for a score on the Cowboys in 2009 and posted 199 pass yards when they visited. Look for one score here and only moderate yardage.

RUNNING BACKS: The Redskins totaled an NFL low 1260 rush yards last year thanks in part to the injuries that decimated the backfield and offensive line. When Shanahan showed up, he elected to keep the status quo by relying on the 29-year old Clinton Portis who is believed to have already lost a step and have been used so much that he's more susceptible to injury than before. To back him up, Larry Johnson adds even more over-the-hill flavor to this backfield.

if the fragile Portis goes down again this year, there is no where else to turn. At least Portis is healthy at the moment since his ankle sprain is better. Look for just moderate yardage here and no score.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Redskins drafted two of the first wideouts taken in 2008 but Malcolm Kelly is on injured reserve and Devin Thomas has not garnered the favor of the new coaching staff and remains buried on the depth chart. Shanahan has retained Santana Moss and added Joey Galloway as the other starter at least to open the season. If that sounds bad - you are right. perhaps the only wideout with any promise is the 27-year old Anthony Armstrong who has mostly played arena football and hasn't actually caught an NFL pass in the regular season yet.

Moss and Galloway offer veteran assistance to install the new offense but neither is the answer for the future. That answer likely does not even belong to the team yet. The Dallas secondary has improved and they were already good against wide receivers. Expect moderate yardage here but likely no scores.

TIGHT ENDS: One of the strengths of the Redskins has long been with the tight ends. Chris Cooley landed on injured reserve last year with a bad ankle but is healthy again and should see significant use in this offense. McNabb has already shown a preference to use him and has a history of throwing to tight ends. Shanahan also has been a heavy user of the position from back in the Shannon Sharpe days. Cooley could have a really big year in this offense and offer McNabb a much needed and reliable outlet.

Look for Cooley to be the most likely to score this week and have decent yardage.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 15 23 25 6 27 30
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 14 6 6 15 4 6

WEEK 1
2010
MIN at NO ATL at PIT OAK at TEN GB at PHI
MIA at BUF CLE at TB CAR at NYG DAL at WAS
IND at HOU CIN at NE SF at SEA BAL at NYJ
  DET at CHI DEN at JAC ARI at STL SD at KC
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