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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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Game Predictions Summary

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The Huddle
WEEK 7
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
DEN, JAC
Monday
DET, BAL
SEA, TEN
*updated

Prediction: ATL 20, DAL 24

Late update: Turner was stil limited in practice on Friday but is listed as probable and will play this week. All injured Cowboys are considered probable this week and expected to play. Barber and Jones both have been in full practices.

Early update: Marion Barber had a full practice all this week and says his quadriceps injury is no longer a factor. He does now have a fractured thumb and will be playing with a cast. Felix Jones has returned to full practices as well but won't likely take a full load quite yet - "full" being around 10 carries for him. I am lowering his projections but leaving Barber's alone despite his thumb. Tashard Choice is the only completely healthy back and likely to get the most touches but this could be messy this week with three runners all getting touches. Choice remains the most attractive but all are risky.

Jerious Norwood remains out and Michael Turner was limited in practices because of his chest but is not expected to miss this week or play with any limitations.

This should be a very competitive game and it depends on which teams show up. The Falcons only had two other road games and that was getting spanked by the Patriots or thumping the 49ers. The Cowboys have varied between awesome and completely punchless right when they need to show up the most. Played in Dallas will be a help as will the Cowboys coming off a bye week which usually results in a win.

Atlanta Falcons (4-1)
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 MIA 19-7 -4 43.5
2 CAR 28-20 -6 43
3 @NE 10-26 +4 44.5
4 BYE -    
5 @SF 45-10 +2.5 41
6 CHI 21-14 -3 45.5
7 @DAL - +4.5 47
8 @NO - - -
9 WAS - - -
10 @CAR - - -
11 @NYG - - -
12 TB - - -
13 PHI - - -
14 NO - - -
15 @NYJ - - -
16 BUF - - -
17 @TB - - -
ATL at DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan     250,2
RB Michael Turner 70    
TE Tony Gonzalez   70,1  
WR Michael Jenkins   50  
WR Roddy White   90,1  
WR Brian Finneran   10  
PK Jason Elam 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Falcons remain one game behind the Saints and travel to New Orleans next week. No doubt that will be a slight distraction. Not unlike last year, the Falcons are undefeated at home but only 1-1 away from Atlanta. This week is the first of four road games in the next five weeks and the Falcons have to get better outside of the Superdome. The 49ers game was a nice surprise but they were without Frank Gore and just were not prepared. The Cowboys have spent two weeks getting ready for the Falcons and answering questions about why Wade Phillips is still there.

Quarterback: Matt Ryan has been much improved this year and has multiple touchdowns in four of the five games so far. He also has not been sacked since week one and has nine passing scores against just four interceptions. But his one bad game with 199 yards and no touchdowns came in his only road loss - to the Patriots.

The Cowboys have always allowed at least one passing score if not two to each opponent and never less than 220 passing yards. They are also good against the run in Dallas so expect Ryan to have at least a decent game here that could be big since the Falcons will have to pass to stay in the game.

Running Backs: Jerious Norwood left the Bears game with a hip flexor and may not play this week. He's only had marginal fantasy value at best and has not yet scored. Michael Turner only managed to gain 30 yards on 13 carries against the Bears but scored for the fourth game in a row. He's only averaging around 70 yards per week with minimal use as a receiver.

The Cowboys have not allowed a touchdown to be rushed in at the new stadium. No runner has gained more than 65 rushing yards on the Cowboys since week one. Expect Turner to have only moderate yardage and more likely no touchdown.

Wide Receivers: There is still no wideout of note here other than Roddy White who has scored in three of the most recent four games - no other Falcons wideout has even one touchdown so far. The yardage has been less than stellar with the 210 yard game in San Francisco still being more than White has gained in all other games this year combined. Michael Jenkins remains just a possession receiver with rarely more than 50 yards in a game.

This week White faces a secondary that has given up plenty of yards and scores to the primary wideout - almost all decent games against them came from the only guy who could hurt them. Look for a score and at least decent yardage from White who is a must start this week.

Tight Ends: This week will be a big test. Tony Gonzalez has scored three times and had good yardage in all those games - each one coming in a home venue. But the two road trips did not produce any scores and he has his two worst games of the year away from Atlanta. The Cowboys have not faced a truly good tight end this year other than Kellen Winslow who scored against them. I am calling for Gonzo to have at least a decent game there even though it is against the trends for both teams.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 14 8 19 10 25 16
Preventing Fantasy Points    DAL 25 11 29 16 19 14


Dallas Cowboys (3-2)
Homefield: Texas Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @TB 34-21 -5 39
2 NYG 31-33 -3 43.5
3 CAR 21-7 -9 46
4 @DEN 10-17 -3 43
5 @KC 26-20 -9 42.5
6 BYE - - -
7 ATL - -4.5 47
8 SEA - - -
9 @PHI - - -
10 @GB - - -
11 WAS - - -
12 OAK - - -
13 @NYG - - -
14 SD - - -
15 @NO - - -
16 @WAS - - -
17 PHI - - -
DAL va ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo     250,1
RB Marion Barber 50 20  
RB Felix Jones 40 10  
RB Tashard Choice 60,1 10  
TE Jason Witten   50,1  
WR Roy Williams   60  
WR Patrick Crayton   20  
WR Miles Austin   50  
PK Nick Folk 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys come off their bye having last squeaked past the Chiefs in overtime. Yes, it was the winless Chiefs and after starting the season on a high note offensively, the Cowboys have struggled in most games to consistently move the ball. Worst yet, both losses came in games where they led and then could not hold on or hold back the Broncos or Giants. Both of those were very good teams but the Cowboys had hopes they might rise above mediocre this year.

I like the chance for a defensive score here.

Quarterback: Tony Romo has been consistent this year but only in the way he is inconsistent. He had a big game in the season opener in Tampa Bay but then struggled against the Giants and then turned in two games without a score but exactly 255 yards versus the Panthers and Broncos. In Kansas City he was back to a monster game. Coming off a bye week should be interesting to see where he is at since he only had six touchdowns on the year and yet six turnovers (four interceptions and two lost fumbles).

The Falcons have allowed over 300 passing yards twice this season and oddly both were at home. But they have give up only five passing scores and just one per opponent other than Jay Cutler's two last week. Dallas should have better changes with the run this week so it is hard to expect more than just an average sort of effort with one passing score. His two big games came against the two worst defenses - not from being in a shootout with an equally good opponent.

Running Backs: Felix Jones is expected to return this week from his PCL injury that has held him out for the last two games. Jones had over 90 rushing yards in the two home games he played this year and scored once against the Giants. Marion Barber is not completely healthy but will play as will Tashard Choice who once again has been more effective of a runner and is expected to see an expanded role. The problem now is that all three runners want to play and will get some playing time. How that breaks down will relate to game situation and how well they are running. My expectation is that Choice and Barber nearly split carries with Jones adding his standard eight runs. That waters each other down but could move the chains.

The Falcons have been good against the run but are on the road and have not faced that many decent rushing attacks. I like good yardage divided up among the trio of runners and one touchdown that I will credit to Choice but could be for Barber or Jones just as easily. The split will be very interesting.

Wide Receivers: Roy Williams has returned to practice with healthy ribs and resumes the #1 spot that has only produced one touchdown and never more than 86 yards. Miles Austin has replaced Patrick Crayton as the starting flanker in light of his team record 250 yards on ten receptions with two scores which were the only reason the Cowboys are not 2-3 and pushing every panic button they can find. Crayton had a big game in the season opener but then did little since and returns to the slot position that he is best suited for and that the Cowboys rarely use. Austin had a big game of course, but he only had five receptions for 81 yards in the four previous games.

The Falcons corners are very good and allowed only one passing touchdown to a wideout this year - Johnny Knox just last week from the slot. But the Falcons gave Steve Smith (CAR) his only decent game this year and even the Bears just had over 160 yards from their wide receivers. That all said, expect just an average game from this unit with no scores and moderate yardage at best.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten has been a huge disappointment this year after his big 2008 season. He has only scored once and has averaged just six catches for 50 yards per week. The Falcons are weak against the tight end and have allowed three to score. I like Witten to have at least decent yardage this week and score once.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 15 5 13 13 9 28
Preventing Fantasy Points    ATL 16 20 12 27 10 3

The Huddle
WEEK 7
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
DEN, JAC
Monday
DET, BAL
SEA, TEN
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Early Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
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