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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 15
2011
JAC at ATL (thu) * CIN at STL * MIA at BUF SEA at CHI
DAL at TB (sat) * CLE at ARI NE at DEN * TEN at IND
BAL at SD * DET at OAK * NO at MIN WAS at NYG
* UPDATED CAR at HOU GB at KC * NYJ at PHI * PIT at SF (mon)

Prediction: DAL 27 , TB 17

The Cowboys fall to 7-6 and tie with the Giants in the NFC East with a two game losing streak that pretty much undoes whatever good was created in previous games. The Cowboys are just 2-4 on the road while the Buccaneers are 4-9 and only 3-4 at home with a seven game losing streak going strong. The Cowboys can ill afford to look past anyone even though Philly and the Giants await. The Buccaneers have not even been competitive in most recent games.

Dallas Cowboys
Homefield: Cowboys Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYJ 24-27 10 BUF 44-7
2 @SF 27-24 11 @WAS 27-24
3 WAS 18-16 12 MIA 20-19
4 DET 30-34 13 @ARI 13-19
5 Bye - 14 NYG 34-37
6 @NE 16-20 15 @TB -
7 STL 34-7 16 PHI -
8 @PHI 7-34 17 @NYG -
9 SEA 23-13      
Cowboys Report | Statistics | Roster
DALLAS at TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo - - 280,3
RB Felix Jones 70 20 -
TE Jason Witten - 40,1 -
WR Laurent Robinson - 80,1 -
WR Dez Bryant - 60,1 -
WR Miles Austin - 50 -
PK Dan Bailey 2 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Cowboys certainly know how to ruin a good thing with a loss in Arizona and then letting the Giants comeback to beat them in Dallas. If the Cowboys can get past the Bucs and visiting Eagles - hardly a slam dunk anymore, it may come down to the final game in New York where the winner gets the division and the loser goes home for good. Losing DeMarco Murray is going to hurt the offense but should result in bigger passing stats.

QUARTERBACK: Tony Romo catches his share of grief for the losses but at least he remains a very good fantasy quarterback. He has scored in all but one game and already has passed for 26 touchdowns with five efforts that topped 300 yards. Losing DeMarco Murray will put more of the load on Romo's shoulders again and this week that means facing a secondary that has allowed at least one score to every visiting quarterback. The Bucs have given up four games with 280+ passing yards in Tampa Bay. This should end up a strong effort for Romo with higher yardage and two if not three scores.

The Bucs have a weak rush defense but Felix Jones has not been much of a factor in most games, particularly as a scorer.

RUNNING BACKS: It is back to Felix Jones again. DeMarco Murray and Philip Tanner are on injured reserve and the Cowboys signed 34-year old Sammy Morris to be a backup. Not a sign that Dallas is turning into a power running team. Jones did gain 106 yards on the Giants last week but has never been better than 44 rush yards in a road game so far.

The Bucs normally serve up big stats for opposing runners and Jones is worth a start this week but he has just one touchdown on the season so far. Expect decent yardage, hope for the rare touchdown.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Buccaneers come off average against the pass thanks to most teams running all over them instead. Even at home, their secondary has allowed eight touchdowns to the position and the Cowboys come riding up with perhaps the best three wide set in the NFL. All three wide receivers scored in the Giants loss. Miles Austin was back for his hamstring Part II and turned in 63 yards on four catches. Laurent Robinson failed to get the memo about his tumble down the depth charts because he once again led the team with 137 yards on four receptions. Even Dez Bryant (1-50) scored for the second game in a row. With a rushing game on the decline, this unit is not done making noise.

All three wideouts are worth a fantasy start though that is riskier now with Austin back because there will always be a third guy with minimal stats - Bryant was limited to one catch last week and that was on a busted play by the defense.

TIGHT ENDS: Jason Witten has taken a back seat with the rushing game working and Laurent Robinson playing well but even with Murray gone last Sunday he only had a season low 12 yards on three catches. Witten only has one touchdown in the last five weeks but goes against a team weaker against the position. He is still worth a start and has a better chance for a score and yards this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 7 21 4 7 2 18
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 25 32 17 21 24 27


Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 DET 20-27 10 HOU 9-37
2 @MIN 24-20 11 @GB 26-35
3 ATL 16-13 12 @TEN 17-23
4 IND 24-17 13 CAR 19-38
5 @SF 3-48 14 @JAC 14-41
6 NO 26-20 15 DAL -
7 CHI 18-24 16 @CAR -
8 Bye - 17 @ATL -
9 @NO 16-27      
Buccaneers Report | Statistics | Roster
TAMPA BAY vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh Freeman 10 - 250,2
RB LeGarrette Blount 60 - -
TE Kellen Winslow Jr. - 40 -
WR Preston Parker - 50 -
WR Mike Williams - 50,1 -
WR Dezmon Briscoe - 20,1 -
PK Conner Barth 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: Seven game losing streak is tough to bear and to make it worse the defense has declined as the season progresses. Four of the last five opponents scored 35+ points and that is a problem when the Bucs almost never reach 20 points themselves. This is the final home game but there is some dissension in the ranks which is only natural. The Bucs started strong last week and got a lead but by the end had given up yet again.

QUARTERBACK: Josh Freeman has never delivered on the promise of 2010 and currently has only 12 passing touchdowns and about half of his starts fail to gain more than 200 passing yards. That compares poorly to 18 interceptions and two lost fumbles. But Freeman has been more likely to score twice and get better yardage when at home.

The Cowboys secondary has allowed two passing scores to all but one team and very nice passing yards. Freeman is still nursing his chest injury but could end up with two scores in this game if only with trash time included.

RUNNING BACKS : LeGarrette Blount has had his moments this season and broke the 100 rushing yard mark three times but he has also turned in four sub-30 yard games and three of those came in Tampa Bay. He has never been used as a receiver despite coaches' pledges. Blount has only five scores on the year and now faces one of the better rushing defenses.

Blount is a risky start because he is used so inconsistently. Over the last seven games, he was limited to 13 or fewer carries four different times. He has topped 20 runs in a game only once in the last seven weeks. He should have at least moderate yardage but beyond that relies on the Buccaneers using him different and they apparently are not doing that.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Arrelious Benn suffered a concussion in Sunday's loss to Jacksonville and may not be cleared to play this game. I will monitor it and add him back in if appropriate though he has been marginal in production even when he is active for games. This continues to be a mish mash of mediocre players with Mike Williams finally showing up here later in the season. But none of those receivers have more than three scores and none of them have broken 100 yards yet. I like both scores to end up here but who catches them is just speculation that is nearly baseless. This is one of the most lethargic receiving units in the NFL.

TIGHT ENDS: Kellen Winslow Jr. was supposedly coming into this season healthy and without knee surgery in the offseason but he's plodded along with just two scores on the year and exceeded 50 yards only twice. He's never been more than mediocre and makes a marginal fantasy start at best.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 14 29 19 19 15 23
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 17 10 13 25 15 10

WEEK 15
2011
JAC at ATL (thu) CIN at STL MIA at BUF SEA at CHI
DAL at TB (sat) CLE at ARI NE at DEN TEN at IND
BAL at SD DET at OAK NO at MIN WAS at NYG
  CAR at HOU GB at KC NYJ at PHI PIT at SF (mon)

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