Fantasy Football 2012: Historically Speaking Week 1, Dallas at Giants

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Fantasy Football 2012: Historically Speaking Week 1, Dallas at Giants
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Trying to determine what a player will do in any given week is what we as writers try to do for the entire season; but some will miss a large indicator of future success. This hidden indicator is how a player performs against a bitter rival. We all talk about the big rivalries, but don’t often take into account whether a player will perform better against an opponent they face two times every year.

Each week for the rest of the season I will break down big divisional games to show how the players have performed against that specific team over the past three years. Granted, they have all played three years in the NFL. For the players that have been in the league for a few years, six games will provide a sufficient amount of data to prove correlation.

For the first article in this series we will cover the Dallas Cowboys playing the New York Giants on opening night in New York. The game will kick off the season Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 8:30 p.m.

The scoring that will be the basis of these articles is basic Point-Per-Reception (PPR) with four-point passing touchdowns, 25 passing yards-per-point for quarterbacks and -2 points for any turnovers. All receptions get one point each for all positions.

First up are the Cowboys.

 

Cowboys

Tony Romo QB

2011: Home, Week 14: 21-31-321 yards, 4 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 0 fumbles.  Fantasy points: 28.84

Al Bello/Getty Images

            @NYG, Week 17: 29-37-289 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 1 fumble. Fantasy points: 15.56

2010: Home, Week 7: 5-7-39 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 5.56

           @NYG Week 10: Did not play. Fantasy points: 0

2009: Hom,e Week 2: 13-29-127 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions, 0 fumbles, 1-3-1 rushing. Fantasy points: 9.08

          @NYG Week, 13: 41-55-392 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 27.68


Analysis

To get a more accurate analysis of Romo’s performance, it is important to remove his Week 7 game in 2010, when Romo was injured and did not finish the game. Upon removing that game, we are left with four full games by Romo to evaluate. He had two outstanding games, one at home and one on the road, one mediocre game on the road and one bad game at home.

The average of the four games is 26 completions on 38 attempts, 282.25 yards, 2.5 touchdowns, 1 interception, .25 fumble. That equates to 23.80 fantasy points.

 

Prediction

Romo is an excellent play in Week 1.

 

Felix Jones RB

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

2011: Home, Week 14: 16-106-0 rushing, 6-31–0 receiving, 1 fumble.  Fantasy points: 17.7

            @NYG, Week 17: 11-30-0 rushing, 7-47-0 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 14.7

2010: Home Week 7: 9-35-0 rushing, 3-27-0 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 9.2

           @NYG, Week 10: 14-51-0 rushing, 3-85-1 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 22.6

2009: Home Week 2: 7-96-1 rushing, 0 receptions, 1 fumbles. Fantasy points: 13.6

          @NYG, Week 13: 6-6-0 rushing, 3-13-0 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 4.9


Analysis

Felix Jones was quite successful against the Giants in 2011. DeMarco Murray was out for the season by the time the Cowboys faced the Giants in weeks 14 and 17, leaving Jones as the starting tailback. In his two contests, he averaged 16.2 fantasy points per game.

Jones is the backup to start the 2012 season and will see limited touches as long as DeMarco Murray is healthy. However, watch to see how he is used in the preseason to see if he remains a decent flex option. Most likely he won’t see many carries in Week 1, but he could catch 4-5 balls, which may net him 40-50 yards. With only two touchdowns in the six games he has played against the Giants, and the fact that he has only scored three touchdowns in the last two years, it is unlikely he scores in this one. 

He will have a good game if he can get five receptions for 50 yards and eke out a double-digit score, but it is more likely that he ends up with 8-9 points. At this point he is only a flex play possibility.

 

Prediction

Jones is a very risky play.

Al Bello/Getty Images

DeMarco Murray has never played in any game against the Giants.

 

Dez Bryant WR

2011: Home, Week 14: 1-50-1 receiving, 0 fumbles.  Fantasy points: 12.00

            @NYG, Week 17: 6-70-0 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 13.00

2010: Home, Week 7: 4-54-2 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 21.4

           @NYG, Week 10: 3-104-1 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 19.4


Analysis

Even in his worst game against the Giants he caught a 50-yard touchdown. He is averaging only 3.5 receptions and 69.5 yards a game, but he is grabbing an average of one touchdown a game. His average is 16.45 points a game, but if he bounces back to 2010 form, those numbers could jump to 20.4 points.

There is a slight concern about a possible suspension, but Cowboys beat writer Brandon George thinks Bryant won’t be suspended. Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas reports his stock is on the rise in training camp.

Prediction

If the league takes no action against Bryant, he is a strong play in Week 1.

 

Miles Austin WR

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

2011: Home, Week 14: 4-63-1 receiving, 0 fumbles.  Fantasy points: 16.3

            @NYG, Week 17: 2-20-0 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 4.0

2010: Home, Week 7: 3-38-0 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 6.8

           @NYG, Week 10: 2-68-1 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 14.8

2009: Home, Week 2: 1-20-0 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 3.0

          @NYG, Week 13: 10-104-1 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 26.4


Analysis

Unlike Bryant, Miles Austin is all over the board against the Giants. He has had three double-digit games and three very weak games, however only one of the really weak games was at Giants stadium. In his other two games in New York, he averaged 86 yards and a touchdown.

Austin was having a good offseason until this past week when his hamstring injury flared up again. Keep an eye on his progress during preseason, but if he can get healthy he should have a solid game against the Giants.

 

Prediction

If healthy by Week 1, Austin is a strong play.

 

Jason Witten TE

2011: Home, Week 14: 3-12-0 receiving, 0 fumbles.  Fantasy points: 4.2

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

            @NYG, Week 17: 7-69-0 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 13.9

2010: Home, Week 7: 9-95-1 receiving, 1 fumbles. Fantasy points: 22.5

           @NYG, Week 10: 1-7-0 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 1.7

2009: Home, Week 2: 5-33-1 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 14.3

          @NYG, Week 13: 14-156-0 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 29.6


Analysis

Witten has been very inconsistent against the Giants. He has had two excellent, two decent and two very poor games. The problem is there's been no rhyme or reason as to when his game will be up or down. He is averaging 6.5 receptions, 62 yards, and .33 touchdowns in the six games, which would net 14.7 fantasy points, but the inconsistency could be a killer to your fantasy team in Week 1.

 

Prediction

Witten is a risky play with TE 1 upside in Week 1.

 

Giants

Eli Manning QB

2011: @DAL, Week 14: 27-47 for 400 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 22

            Home, Week 17: 24-33 for 346 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 25.84

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

2010: @DAL, Week 7: 25-35-306 yards 4 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 22.24

           Home, Week 10: 33-48-373 yards 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 18.92

2009: @DAL, Week 2: 25-38-330 yards 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 21.20

          Home, Week 13: 11-25-241 yards 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 15.64

 

Analysis

Based on these last six games, Manning's average is 332 yards, 2.5 touchdowns and 1.1 interceptions, which equates to 20.28 points every time he faces Dallas. If we take out that 11-completion aberration in Week 13 of 2009, he would average 22.04 points a game.  Only five QBs averaged over 20 points game in 2011 in this scoring.

Prediction

He is an excellent play in Week 1.


Ahmad Bradshaw RB

2011: @DAL, Week 14: 8-12-0 rushing, 1-7-0 receiving, 0 fumbles.  Fantasy points: 2.7

            Home, Week 17: 16-57-1 rushing, 3-12-1 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 21.9

2010: @DAL, Week 7: 24-126-0 rushing, 2-12-0 receiving, 1 fumble. Fantasy points: 13.8

           Home, Week 10: 20-73-0 rushing, 6-62-0 receiving. Fantasy points: 19.5

2009: @DAL, Week 2: 9-37-0 rushing, 2-8-0 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 6.5

          Home, Week 13: 7-47-0 rushing, 0 receptions, 1 fumble. Fantasy points: 2.7

 

Analysis

If you take out the Week 14 game in 2011 when Bradshaw was fighting a foot injury, his last three games were all in double digits. For the two games in 2009, he was actually a backup behind Brandon Jacobs.

For the three games where he was healthy and a starter, Bradshaw put up strong numbers in two games and decent RB3 numbers in the third. The two strong games were both at home. At home he is averaging 18 carries, 65 yards and .5 touchdowns rushing, plus 4.5 receptions, 37 yards and .5 touchdowns for a total of 20.7 fantasy points.

 

Prediction

Bradshaw is a very strong play in Week 1.

 

Hakeem Nicks WR

2011: @DAL, Week 14: 8-163-0 receiving, 0 fumbles.  Fantasy points: 24.3

            Home, Week 17: 5-76-1 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 18.6

2010: @DAL, Week 7: 9-108-2 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 31.8

           Home, Week 10: 5-82-0 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 13.2

2009: @DAL, Week 2: Did not play. Fantasy points: 0.0

          Home, Week 13: 2-37-1 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 11.7

 

Analysis

Even with the 2009 game in the mix, a game that Nicks was sharing time with Mario Manningham, Nicks has recorded double-digit fantasy points in every game he has played against the Cowboys. Unlike Bradshaw above, Nicks has actually done more damage to the Cowboys in Dallas. In the three games at home his numbers have been pedestrian. He is averaging four receptions, 65 yards and .66 touchdowns.

Coming off the foot injury and the lower numbers he has shown at home against the Cowboys, he is good start as a Flex spot if starting, but don’t expect WR1 numbers from him.

 

Prediction

Nicks is a risky play in Week 1.

 

Victor Cruz WR

2011: @DAL, Week 14: 6-74–0 receiving, 0 fumbles.  Fantasy points: 13.4

            Home, Week 17: 6-178-1 receiving, 0 fumbles. Fantasy points: 29.8

 

Analysis

Cruz rocked the Cowboys at home in Week 17. Four of his six receptions went for at least 20 yards. His average for the two games was six receptions, 125 yards and .5 touchdowns.

Giants’ coach Kevin Gilbride insists that Cruz “hasn’t missed a beat.”

 

Prediction

Cruz is an excellent play in Week 1.

 

Let’s review the players listed.

Excellent plays

Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Tony Romo

 

Strong plays

Ahmad Bradshaw, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin

 

Risky plays

Hakeem Nicks, Felix Jones, Jason Witten

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