NFC East Week 10 Fantasy Preview

 

Redskins played Thursday night against the Vikings

Cowboys @ Saints

Tony Romo- For fantasy football players whether Romo turns the ball over in the fourth quarter of a playoff game doesn’t really matter to us. Romo is throwing touchdowns right now which is what we’re interested in. Having said that his matchup against the Saints this week is not an easy one. The Saints rank fifth in pass defense and have only allowed on average about 211 net yards per game. Romo has thrown 20 touchdowns through nine games with only six interceptions and last week against the Vikings had 34 pass completions in 51 attempts for 337 yards and two touchdowns. The plan appears to be to focus on the run game more this week but the Saints have an offense that can put points on the board in a hurry and Romo and company will have to keep pace and if they fall behind the run game will abandoned quickly. Romo should have a good but not great day.

DeMarco Murray- Last week Murray disappointed the masses by having a miserable day against the Vikings which was thought to be a rather good matchup for him but he could only manage 31 rushing yards on four carries. The Saints are ranked 25th against the run and just last week gave up 198 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns to the Jets. Head coach Jason Garrett was disappointed with the balance of his offense against the Vikings and this week stated that they would be running the ball more this week. If the Cowboys can keep pace with the Saints things are setting up nicely for Murray this week.

Dez Bryant- The damnable misery of doing a preview for fantasy relevant players is that you don’t need me to tell you to start players of Bryant’s caliber and I feel foolish doing it. But like the college professor in the movie Animal House says, “Hey this is my job!” Bryant is obviously one of the best receivers in the game and he’s only had three games under ten fantasy points. He’s had three games with multiple touchdowns and has scored in five out of nine games so far. He’s been dealing with a sore back and this week he faces the Saints fifth ranked pass defense which at first appearance seems like a daunting task but keep in mind in week 16 of last season Bryant torched this very defense with nine receptions for 224 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Hell I don’t need to keep writing. Start him as usual.
UPDATE: Bryant is dealing with an injury that is being reported as a possible bulging disc in his back so keep your ears open until game time.

Terence Williams- Williams is fast becoming the reliable counter weight to Dez Bryant that Miles Austin was never really able to accomplish with any reliability. Williams has scored a touchdown in four of his last five games but last week didn’t help anyone with only two receptions on seven targets for 33 receiving yards. The Saints have only allowed six receiving touchdowns in eight games and as stated earlier this isn’t the easiest matchup for Williams on paper but he does have the talent to overcome and with Bryant attracting the majority of attention from defensive coordinators each week Williams will get his chances. In the last two games Williams has received 17 targets and is getting his share of love in the red zone. He has converted three of four red zone targets and also managed to score two for touchdowns.

Jason Witten- There was a time you could plug Witten into your lineup each week and not have a second thought about it. Those days could be in the past as I feel Witten has become a matchup start only going forward. The Saints are as efficient against tight end production as they have been against wide receivers allowing only two receiving touchdowns from the position in eight games and zero touchdowns from tight ends in the last four games. The positive news is that Witten was able to become fantasy relevant once again last week against the Vikings finishing with eight receptions on ten targets for 102 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown. It’s the most targets he’s seen since week four and five but this effort comes on the heels of an absolutely pitiful outing against the Lions where he only had two receptions on two targets for 15 yards. Quarterback Tony Romo has always relied on Witten to get himself out of sticky situations in the past so there is always hope the Cowboys will focus on getting Witten more involved in the offense after his week nine performance. Let’s hope so.

Eagles @ Packers

Nick Foles- It’s hard to be all in on Foles even after he tied the NFL record throwing seven touchdown passes last week against the Raiders and finishing with a very impressive 158.3 quarterback rating. In week six Foles passed for just short of 300 yards on 22 pass completions and three touchdowns only to follow that up with a clunker against the Cowboys managing only 11 completions and 80 yards passing with no touchdowns. This week Foles gets a Packer defense giving up on average about 250 yards per game and ranking 20th against the pass. Foles has thrown 13 touchdowns in five games he’s played in and I don’t see anything standing in his way of a productive outing against the Packers. He’s been getting all the first team reps this week so it appears Michael Vick isn’t a threat so get him in your lineup if you need him.

LeSean McCoy- McCoy has cooled off considerably the last three weeks rushing for only 147 yards and he hasn’t scored a rushing touchdown since week five. Last week McCoy saw 12 carries for 44 rushing yards compared to Bryce Brown’s seven carries for 54 yards and a 7.7 yard per carry average. The Packers defense is ranked fifth for rushing yardage allowed but last week they did give up 131 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown to the Bears. McCoy is still an elite talent and the Packers have allowed seven rushing touchdowns this season so you have to keep starting him and hope he breaks out of his mid-season slump.

DeSean Jackson- Last week against the Raiders it appeared Riley Cooper was going to steal the show but in the second half Jackson was invited to the party and finished the game with five receptions on six targets for 150 receiving yards and one touchdown with a long reception of 59 yards. Quarterback Nick Foles appears to be the answer for this offense and the success of Jackson’s season going forward. Foles has the arm strength to get the ball downfield which is right in Jackson’s wheelhouse. Jackson has the speed to get behind and separate from the Packers defensive backs who are ranked 20th against the pass so don’t hesitate to use him this week.

Riley Cooper- Last week Cooper finished against the Raiders going 139 receiving yards on five receptions and a career high three touchdowns. Cooper is averaging six targets per game but it appears Foles looks for him more often than Michael Vick did and has more confidence in him. Cooper was sick and missed practice on Tuesday but has returned and is ready to go against the Packers. Cooper is a good start for all the same reasons teammate DeSean Jackson is so get him your lineup and hope last week’s offensive outburst wasn’t an aberration.

Giants vs Raiders

Eli Manning- The Raiders are plenty bad against the pass which was made obvious last week when Eagle quarterback Nick Foles and company blasted them with seven passing touchdowns and 406 passing yards. The Raiders are giving up 281.7 passing yards per game which makes for a juicy matchup for Manning but he has been anything but reliable throwing 15 interceptions in eight games and hasn’t had a 300 yard passing game since week five. For the most part the Giants haven’t been clicking on offense but this matchup with the Raiders is just what the doctors ordered so look for him to have a fantasy relevant day for you if you need him.

Andre Brown- From all reports Brown will play this week for the first time this season after recovering from a leg injury but according to Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride he’ll most likely split carries with Peyton Hillis and Brandon Jacobs. Brown is the most talented running back on the Giants roster without the injured David Wilson considered and he once he has his game legs under him should easily surpass Hillis and Jacobs on the depth chart and for playing time. Gilbride did say Brown is physically healthy but has been struggling with the mental side of the offense and that it will take time to get squared away. Look for Brown to see the lion’s share of carries and against the Raiders average rushing defense he could have a good first outing.

Victor Cruz- The Raiders defense ranks 25th against the pass and has given up 17 passing touchdowns this season but Cruz is dealing with a neck injury of some kind and didn’t even practice till Thursday as a non-contact participant. Cruz hasn’t scored since week four and only has four total touchdowns this season but he did see 10 targets last week and had seven receptions for 86 yards. Cruz also hasn’t had a 100 yard receiving game since week four and until week eight hadn’t gone over 68 receiving yards in three games. Cruz is the go to receiver for quarterback Eli Manning but he’s a dicey call this week based on his health and the general state of the Giant’s offense. Hopefully all this will be moot if the Raiders continue to be…well the Raiders.

Hakeem Nicks- Although Nicks has been getting the targets he has yet to score a touchdown this season. The last two weeks he’s received 22 targets but has only been able to convert those into nine receptions and 79 receiving yards. Were it not for the state of the Raiders defensive play I wouldn’t have even included him as fantasy relevant this week.

Reuben Randle- This has to be one of the more frustrating receiving groups to deal with this season and were it not for a three week stretch from week five to week seven Randle would be at the head of pack. He was able to score four receiving touchdowns in that three week run but he’s also had five of eight games with less than spectacular numbers. Last week Randle disappeared finishing with zero receptions for zero yards on one target. You don’t get much more non-existent than that and touchdowns notwithstanding, it’s why Randle becomes a risky start as well. The positive to hang your hat on is that Raiders have allowed ten receiving touchdowns in eight games and were demolished by the Eagles passing game last week. Yup let’s go with that.

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