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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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DIVISIONAL
ROUND

~ 2009 ~

Saturday
Sunday
 
 

Prediction: DAL 27, MIN 24

This is the most interesting game of the week since it features the red hot Cowboys playing in Minnesota where the Vikings have never lost a game. Vegas has this game with the Vikings as a 2.5 point favorite which is their way of saying no one can be sure what is going to happen here. The Cowboys are only 5-3 in road games but recently handed the Saints their first loss of the year while playing in New Orleans. This game should come down to the quarterbacks and who makes the most mistakes. Both teams will make harassing the quarterback a primary objective.

Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
Homefield: Cowboys 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 37-21 -5.5 47.5
8 SEA 38-17 -10 46
9 @PHI 20-16 +3 47.5
10 @GB 7-17 -3 48
11 WAS 7-6 -11 41.5
12 OAK 24-7 -13.5 40.5
13 @NYG 24-31 -1 45.5
14 SD 17-20 -3.5 48.5
15 @NO 24-17 +7.5 53.5
16 @WAS 17-0 -7 42
17 PHI 24-0 -3 47.5
DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo     280,2
RB Marion Barber 40 10  
RB Felix Jones 60,1 20  
TE Jason Witten   70,1  
WR Roy Williams   70  
WR Patrick Crayton   20  
WR Miles Austin   80,1  
PK Shaun Suisham 2 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Cowboys handled the Eagles again last week and the defense has not looked so good in years. The secondary is going to be very tested this week though and the Vikings can present perhaps the most balanced team that the Cowboys have faced this year. Other than Marion Barber, most of the Cowboys are healthy though and the team has the look of peaking at just the right time. Most likely a win here can advance the Cowboys to face the Saints next week - where they have already won this year.

Quarterback: Tony Romo has been a difference maker only this time around it has been positive. He has scored in each of the last 14 games but has tended to score less in road games than in home venues. He has passed for over 300 yards eight times this year and had over 250 yards in almost every game. More importantly, he has only thrown nine interceptions this year and only two in the last seven weeks.

The Vikings at home have been far tougher against the pass with only three touchdowns allowed over the last five games in the Metrodome. Their last four road games saw them surrender at least three touchdowns in each. That is all partially a function of opponents though and Romo should manage at least a couple of passing scores in this game. The Vikings are best against the run and that will force Romo to the air.

Running Backs: Marion Barber only had three carries last week because his knee bothered him. In his place, Felix Jones had a career best 148 yards and a score on 16 carries and caught a pass that gained 30 yards. That makes two straight weeks for Jones to gain 90+ rushing yards with a touchdown. Tashard Choice also filled in for the sidelined Barber last week and ran the wildcat for a total of 42 yards on 14 runs with one score as well. Barber is expected to play this week and should start, but his knee could be a problem again. Playing on the harder surface in the Metrodome will not help.

I will assume that a healthier Barber means much less Choice who himself was pulled last week when they feared he had another concussion. He ended up not being concussed and is available if Barber has problems again this week.

The Vikings have only allowed three runners to score in Minnesota and none have gained over 100 rushing yards there. The chance for big yardage is not good but Jones has the speed on the carpet that could see him make it three weeks in a row.

Wide Receivers: Miles Austin had his twelfth score of the year last week and has been good for ar least 80 yards if not a score as well for the last seven weeks. Austin has also had three of his 100 yard games in road venues. Oddly enough, Roy Williams also shows up better when away from Dallas with five of his seven touchdowns happening away from Dallas. His best game of the year was in Green Bay when he had 105 yards and a score. Patrick Crayton is the home guy who only scores in Dallas and rarely has more than one or two catches in road games.

The Vikings secondary has only allowed five scores to visiting wideouts this year but two went to the Ravens in the same game. Austin is always the best bet for a touchdown.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten has picked up the pace very well in recent games and this week faces one of the worst defenses against the tight end. Look for no less than solid yardage from Witten with a very good shot at a touchdown.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 10 14 9 5 18 25
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 21 4 18 29 7 9


Minnesota Vikings (12-4)
Homefield: Metrodome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CLE 34-20 +3.5 40
2 @DET 27-13 -10 47
3 SF 27-24 -7 40.5
4 GB 30-20 -3.5 46
5 @STL 38-10 -10 39
6 BAL 33-31 -3 44.5
7 @PIT 17-27 +6 46.5
8 @GB 38-26 +3.5 46.5
9 BYE - - -
10 DET 27-10 17 47.5
11 SEA 35-9 -10.5 47
12 CHI 36-10 -10 47
13 @ARI 17-30 +3.5 48
14 CIN 30-10 -6 42.5
15 @CAR 7-26 -9 42.5
16 @CHI 30-36 -7 41
17 NYG 44-7 -9 48
MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre     290,2
RB Adrian Peterson 70,1    
RB Chester Taylor 20 20  
TE Vishante Shiancoe   40,1  
WR Bernard Berrian   50  
WR Sidney Rice   90  
WR Percy Harvin   80,1  
PK Ryan Longwell 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Vikings have been a force at home where they have never scored less than 27 points in a game but will be facing the hot Cowboys defense that has held eight of the last ten opponents to 17 points or less. But Favre has less than stellar past results against the Cowboys or the 4-6 defense. The Cowboys are bringing a decent rushing defense and will either win or lose depending on the success of Brett Favre. And he wouldn't have it any other way.

Quarterback: Brett Favre is having the greatest season of any sports figure in the history of sports figures if you listen to announcers. In reality - it has been pretty good and outstanding for a quarterback that should be so far over the hill that he cannot even see it in the rear view mirror. Favre has only thrown seven interceptions and only two of those came in home games. Favre's all about rolling up the stats when he can and has finished out the season with five games over 300 yards in the second half of the season.

The Cowboys bring in a defense that has never allowed more than two passing scores to any opponent this season. They have not allowed a 300 yard passer since week two and only Drew Brees and Philip Rivers had more than 250 passing yards in the last seven games.

Favre is going to throw - no doubt. And he should be good enough to get that upper end yardage and two passing scores.

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson has been a much smaller factor for the Vikings than anyone imagined since he only has two games over 100 rushing yards and none since week ten. But he has been a scoring machine with an NFL-best 18 rushing touchdowns this year. He's been generally good enough to get around 80 or 90 yards in most games.

The Dallas defense has not allowed any runner to top 100 rush yards this season and most end up under 70 yards. They have only allowed six rushing scores as well so expect Peterson to remain under the 100 yard mark and have no more than one touchdown.

Wide Receivers: The trio of wideouts for the Vikings are arguably as good as any on the league short of perhaps the Cardinals. Bernard Berrian has been solid with around 50 or so yards in most games but he has not scored since week 11. Percy Harvin has won the offensive Rookie of the Year and deserves it with the spark he has added to the team as a receiver, a runner and special teams returner. Harvin has not scored since week 13 but has been at his best in home games. Sidney Rice is the primary target for Favre and has scored four times over the last four games and has four games over 100 yards this year.

The Cowboys have only allowed four passing scores to wide receivers in a road game and never more than one per opponent. But this is a big game and Rice has established great chemistry with Favre. Look for Rice to rack up good yardage and Harvin to both score and have nice yardage since he'll draw safeties and nickel backs.

Tight Ends: Vishante Shiancoe has been hampered with thigh and rib injuries and should be healthy thanks to the bye week. He has scored 11 touchdowns this year and been good for around 40 yards in most games. He should be a decent risk for a touchdown this week if the wideouts are held to just one. The Cowboys have only allowed five scores to the position this year but Shiancoe has scored more often than not.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 4 3 6 11 3 7
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 15 7 14 17 4 6

DIVISIONAL
ROUND

~ 2009 ~

Saturday
Sunday
 
 
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