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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday
Monday
*updated

Prediction: NYG 20, DAL 24

Update: Brandon Jacobs has been ruled out and while there will be a sharing of carries with Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw, I am only projecting for Ward. Bradshaw will play but even he has a slight neck strain that landed him on the injury report. Ward looked great in Dallas last year when he replaced Jacobs. Domenik Hixon is questionable to play because of ankle and foot injuries that held him out of practice until Friday when he was limited. He will be a game time decision and is traveling tomorrow so there will be no more word until pregame warmups. Problem is that this is the late Sunday game so you would have no where else to go as an option. I am lowering Hixon's projections and realize he may not play as a game time decision.

Marion Barber is also a gametime decision who was held out of practice this week before finally showing up for limited participation on Friday. I am lowering his numbers and including Tashard Choice but Barber may not even play. Again - Sunday night limits your options if you are waiting on him but it does not look favorable. Roy Williams hasn't practiced because of his foot but he is listed as probable and expected to play.

The Giants have clinched the NFC East and only need to hold on to their one game edge over the Panthers to maintain their #1 seed. The Giants are 5-1 on the road this year won 35-14 when the Cowboys visited in week nine. The Cowboys are 8-5 thanks to their recent loss in Pittsburgh and still barely alive for a wild card bid.

New York Giants (11-2)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 WAS 16-7 -3.5 41
2 @STL 41-13 -8.5 41.5
3 CIN 26-23 -13.5 42
4 BYE - - -
5 SEA 44-6 -7 43.5
6 @CLE 14-35 -8 43
7 SF 29-17 -10.5 45
8 @PIT 21-14 +2.5 42
9 DAL 35-14 -8.5 41
10 @PHI 36-31 +3 43.5
11 BAL 30-10 -6.5 42
12 @ARZ 37-29 -3 49
13 @WAS 23-7 -3.5 41.5
14 PHI 14-20 -8 44
15 @DAL - +3 44
16 CAR - - -
17 @MIN - - -
NYG @ DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning     260,2
RB Brandon Jacobs 60
RB Derrick Ward 80 30  
TE Kevin Boss   50,1  
WR Domenik Hixon   40  
WR Amani Toomer   50  
WR Steve Smith   70,1  
PK John Carney 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Giants snuck into the playoffs last year and ran the table and this year appear to be doing the opposite. They are the highest profile team in the league with the second best record that has now lost their start wide receiver and the starting running back in dinged up. They just dropped a game at home that they were favored by eight points to win. The rushing game has been the savior and shoulder continue but the Giants near the end of the season in a near opposite fashion from last year.

Quarterback: Week #1 without Plaxico Burress and all is not well. Eli Manning could only complete 13 od 27 passes for 123 yards and one score against the visiting Eagles last week. Domenik Hixon was the replacement who dropped a couple of big play balls and then Brandon Jacobs left the game injured. Too early to expect that one game means much but the Giants hit the road to Dallas where the Cowboys are beyond desperate and Manning won't have Shockey or Burress as he did the last time he was there.

Manning passed for 147 yards and three touchdowns against the Cowboys this year. He also had three lost fumbles and two interceptions.

Running Backs: The injury to Brandon Jacobs last week was said to re aggravate an old knee injury and while Jacobs himself said he could have re-entered the game, the fact is that he did not and the rushing game and overall offense suffered. An MRI did not uncover any structural damage but he's likely to be a gametime decision this week. I am projecting assuming that a slightly limited Jacobs will be playing.

Jacobs rushed for 117 yards on 17 carries and scored once against the Cowboys this year while Derrick Ward tacked on 63 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.

Wide Receivers: The loss of Plaxico Burress is as much a distraction as it is a fundamental change to the offense. He had not been a huge part of the offense this year anyway and the game last week was an overall ambush by the Eagles. But it was disconcerting to see the promoted Domenik Hixon only gaining 30 yards on three receptions with a couple of drops that could have been difference makers. It doesn't really matter if Hixon is ready yet or not, he has to get into the groove of being a starter and getting the attention of the secondary.

Both Toomer and Steve Smith scored against the Cowboys this year though no wideout had more than 34 yards in the game.

Tight Ends: The plus side to this week is that Kevin Boss has turned in almost all his best efforts in road games including three of his last four scores. Boss tends to top out around 50 yards but has been used more in away games. Last week - only one catch though.

Boss turned in 30 yards and a score on three catches against the visiting Cowboys this season.

Match Against the Defense: The Giants could really use a healthy Jacobs this week playing in Dallas where there has been no running back rushing in a score since week two and almost every runner failing to exceed 50 rushing yards. This will be a tougher venue than most and without a healthy Jacobs, the offense will suffer.

Manning only had 147 yards last time these teams played though he had three passing scores. And Burress had a bad game that week anyway. Look for much better yardage from Manning since this could end up as a shootout if the Giants rushing game is less effective than normal. Look for healthy yardage and two scores that could be three. Hixon needs to step up here with the more favorable corner matchup.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 14 2 13 17 1 11
Preventing Fantasy Points    DAL 13 9 17 9 26 25


Dallas Cowboys (8-5)
Homefield: Texas Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CLE 28-10 -5.5 49
2 PHI 41-37 -7 47
3 @GB 27-16 -3 51
4 WAS 24-26 -11.5 46
5 CIN 31-22 -17.5 44
6 @ARZ 24-30 -5 50
7 @STL 14-34 -7 44
8 TB 13-9 -2 42
9 @NYG 14-35 +8.5 41
10 BYE - - -
11 @WAS 14-10 -1.5 43
12 SF 35-22 -11 48
13 SEA 34-9 -12.5 46.5
14 @PIT 13-20 +3 41.5
15 NYG - -3 44
16 BAL - - -
17 @PHI - - -
DAL vs NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo     240,2
RB Marion Barber 30 10  
RB Tashard Choice 50,1 10  
TE Jason Witten   50  
WR Terrell Owens   80,1  
WR Patrick Crayton   50,1  
WR Roy Williams   20  
PK Nick Folk 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys had an excellent chance to make a statement game in Pittsburgh but came away with little more than "we choke." While they are currently the #6 seed to get a playoff spot, that is tenuous as best with this week against the Giants followed by the Ravens visiting the next week and a finale in Philly. That's brutal and yet if the Cowboys could navigate that for a wildcard they would certainly be in fighting shape. Tall order though for a franchise notorious for late season slides and late game gaffs.

Quarterback: Tony Romo was back on top of the world with 300+ yards against both the visiting 49ers and Seahawks. He had three scores in each and was back into form. Then in Pittsburgh, he three three interceptions and lost one fumble and the final pick came on that drive with a chance to win the game with just a field goal. The Steelers pass defense is topped ranked for a reason but worse than the loss was that the Cowboys played so well and yet gave it away at the end.

The Cowboys used both Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger to pass for 134 yards and one score in New York against the Giants this season.

Running Backs: The Cowboys were without Marion Barber last week because he injured his calf while compensating for his bad toe. But the rookie Tashard Choice was thoroughly impressive in rushing for 88 yards on 23 runs and catching five passes for 78 more yards all the while in Pittsburgh. Choice is not going to replace Barber but if he is needed to spell him or take over there will be no hesitation to do so. He is hopeful that he can return this week and I will project for a limited Barber to return this week.

Barber rushed for only 54 yards on 19 carries against the Giants this year.

Wide Receivers: Terrell Owens was visibly agitated last week with the loss and his failure to get a pass late in the game but he scored once against the Steelers for a rare touchdown allowed by their secondary. Patrick Crayton and Roy Williams have all but fallen from the gameplan by now and Owens is the only wideout worthy of fantasy consideration. He has scored in each of the last three games and had season highs for those which were both at home.

No wideout had more than 46 yards versus the Giants this year though Owens did score one touchdown.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten had a decent showing in Pittsburgh last week when he caught six passes for 62 yards and he is starting to get more use the last couple of weeks after a bad month that spanned when Romo was gone.

Witten was held to no catches against the Giants this season.

Match Against the Defense: Backs are against the wall so it is either put up or shut up time in Dallas. Look for the Giants to play much less aggressively this time - Romo will be the starter for a major difference and the Cowboys play much better at home. Look for one rushing score but lackluster yardage against a truly dominating rushing defense.

Barber faces a secondary that has not played nearly as well away from New York. Expect two passing scores in this game that should end up with Owens and with Crayton or Owens again. Witten is facing one of the best defenses against tight ends and that will limit him once again.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 7 15 12 1 22 12
Preventing Fantasy Points    NYG 9 2 23 3 3 3

The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday
Monday
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
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