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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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Game Predictions Summary

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WEEK 16
2010
CAR at PIT BAL at CLE TEN at KC *IND at OAK
*DAL at ARI DET at MIA SEA at TB NYG at GB
*NE at BUF *NYJ at CHI *MIN at PHI *SD at CIN
*UPDATED *SF at STL *WAS at JAC *HOU at DEN NO at ATL

Prediction: DAL 31, ARI 13

Update: Marion Barber is expected to be given playing time and all three running backs will be used.

The Cowboys raise the Garrett record to 4-2 with their win over the Redskins and head to Arizona where the Cardinals are only 3-4 at home and have won only one of their last nine games.

Dallas Cowboys (5-9)
Homefield: Cowboys Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @WAS L 7-13 10 @NYG W 33-20
2 CHI L 20-27 11 DET W 35-19
3 @HOU W 27-13 12 NO L 27-30
4 Bye - 13 @IND W 38-35
5 TEN L 27-34 14 PHI L 27-30
6 @MIN L 21-24 15 WAS W 33-30
7 NYG L 35-41 16 @ARI --
8 JAC L 17-35 17 @PHI --
9 @GB L 7-45 - - -
Cowboys Report | Statistics | Roster
DALLAS at ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna - - 240,1
RB Felix Jones 40,1 50 -
RB Marion Barber 30 - -
RB Tashard Choice 60,1 10 -
TE Jason Witten - 50,1 -
WR Roy Williams - 30 -
WR Sam Hurd - 30 -
WR Miles Austin - 50 -
PK David Buehler 1 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: This week should be a win and then the final week in Philly may end it with a whimper but at least the Cowboys can point to a positive direction they have followed under interim head coach Jason Garrett. The defense continues to be the weak link but at least the offense has come to life and if nothing else, the Cowboy games have generated a lot of fantasy points all around every week. The biggest thing to watch the last two weeks is how well the team plays and if that is enough to merit Garrett dropping interim from his title.

I like a defensive score in this game.

QUARTERBACK: The Cowboys finally placed Tony Romo on injured reserve and there will be no trying out Steven McGee with Jon Kitna playing so well. He has thrown for 15 touchdowns over nine games and averaged 250 yards per game. He has not had as much success as Romo in using the wide receivers but did bring Dez Bryant to life until he was injured.

The Cardinals have only allowed six passing touchdowns over the seven home games mostly because the rushing defense has been among the worst in the league. Expect moderate pass yardage here with at least one touchdown. Even Drew Brees only had two touchdowns in Arizona and all others had one or none.

RUNNING BACKS: Felix Jones was held out of walk through practice on Tuesday because of a bruised shin but I will assume he is good to go for Sunday and update as needed. He's been good for at least 80 total yards for the last six weeks and recently had his first rushing touchdown of the year. Tashard Choice has scored in three of the last four games and been used as an equal to Jones. Marion Barber remains out with no expectation that he will return.

The Cardinals are ranked 31st against running backs and have allowed eight rushing touchdowns over just the last five home games. Seven runners have already turned in 100+ rushing yard efforts against them. This is as good as it will get for the Dallas rushing effort and both Tashard Choice and Felix Jones (providing he is healthy) have a great chance for a rushing touchdown and significant yardage.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Dez Bryant is on IR and Roy Williams missed last week with a strained groin but did attend the practice on Tuesday. Sam Hurd took his place in week 15 and had four catches for 35 yards while Miles Austin settled for only 38 yards on three catches but with one score. I will assume that a limited Williams returns this week but Kitna has never connected that well with any wide receiver other than Dez Bryant. Since he left - no one else takes his place. Not even Austin.

The Cardinals have been generally good against wide receivers in Arizona where only four touchdowns were allowed. No reason here to expect more than just marginal yardage.

TIGHT ENDS: Jason Witten has become the safety net for Kitna and has seven touchdowns on the season which includes four scores over the last three weeks. Witten is the only Cowboy receiver left that carries almost no risk and has every week reliability.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 7 22 9 3 12 6
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 8 31 15 16 32 29
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) DAL 1 9 6 13 20 23


Arizona Cardinals (4-10)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @STL W 17-13 10 SEA L 18-36
2 @ATL L 7-41 11 @KC L 13-31
3 OAK W 24-23 12 SF L 6-27
4 @SD L 10-41 13 STL L 6-19
5 NO W 30-20 14 DEN W 43-13
6 Bye - 15 @CAR L 12-19
7 @SEA L 10-22 16 DAL -
8 TB L 35-38 17 @SF -
9 @MIN L 24-27 - - -
Cardinals Report | Statistics | Roster
ARIZONA vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB John Skelton - - 230,1
RB Tim Hightower 60 10 -
WR Larry Fitzgerald - 130,1 -
WR Steve Breaston - 60 -
PK Jay Feely 2 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals wind down their season that started with a promising 3-2 record but then has only been 1-8 since the bye week. What's even worse is that there still is no sign of a franchise quarterback and the running game has finally sunk to being the worst in the league - #32 and with no sign of any upside for the future. The Cardinals offense has deteriorated into just one thing - throw the ball to Larry Fitzgerald as often as possible and hope for the best. He ranks third in the league with 153 passes thrown to him.

QUARTERBACK: Derek Anderson remains out with a concussion and HC Ken Whisenhunt has already committed to John Skelton for the rest of the season. But in three games, Skelton still has not thrown a touchdown pass or had more than 196 passing yards. The Cowboys secondary is just as bad with 31 passing touchdowns allowed. Skelton is not going to turn into Peyton Manning here but at least he should get his first NFL touchdown. The average is like 2.5 touchdowns allowed so surely Skelton can look almost NFL quality for one week.

RUNNING BACKS: Beanie Wells is not the biggest running back bust in the league but he sits at that table and he could sub for whoever that worse bust is. Wells runs with no speed and surprisingly little power this year. He scored twice back in week 7 and 8 but has never had more than 54 rushing yards in any game. Tim Hightower cannot stop fumbling and they still prefer him over Wells who does nothing more than cause the down marker to flip whenever he carries the ball.

The Cowboys are above average stopping the run anyway and this is the worst unit in the league. Hightower doesn't even catch the ball much this year.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Early Doucet needed an MRI on his hip and will probably miss this week with a hip flexor. That will allow Stephen Williams to step up and become the newest guy with 20 yards per game. Steve Breaston has not scored since week three or had any game of note since Skelton showed up. This week should be better with the Cowboys visiting but still it would be a risk to expect anything more than moderate yardage from him with Skelton playing.

Larry Fitzgerald has quietly had a surprisingly decent season. He had become the youngest player in history to reach 600 catches in his career and became the all-time leading receiver in franchise history when he passed 8000 career yards last week. He only needs 14 yards to break 1000 yards on the season and has scored five times on this team devoid of anyone else to worry about. Fitzgerald gets about a dozen targets every game. Last week in Carolina, he had a season best nine catches for 125 yards.

The Cowboys are the worst at stopping wide receivers and this should be at least a good performance for Fitzgerald playing at home. He is a must start every week anyway, but should really pay off in this game.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 31 32 20 31 24 3
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 31 12 32 13 22 22
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) ARI 0 -20 12 -18 -2 19

WEEK 16
2010
CAR at PIT BAL at CLE TEN at KC IND at OAK
DAL at ARI DET at MIA SEA at TB NYG at GB
NE at BUF NYJ at CHI MIN at PHI SD at CIN
  SF at STL WAS at JAC HOU at DEN NO at ATL
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