The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

Cowboys Analysis: Game Plan vs Giants, Player Projections, and 8 Bold Predictions

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A bunch of articles posted today. At Bleacher Report, I posted eight predictions for Dallas in 2013:

I’m all about making predictions because I think they convey true understanding. All writers should make predictions—lots of them—but here’s the key: They should be forced to revisit them at the end of the year. Good or bad, that’s what I plan to do with these 2013 Cowboys predictions, just as I did with my 2012 predictions.

When I’m making any prediction, I’m looking for cases where past results aren’t necessarily a reflection of reality. Jason Witten is a great example of that. Although he had 110 receptions in 2012, he saw a career high in targets because the Cowboys were losing so much. If Witten has a lighter workload, his bulk stats will decline in a big way.

So I’m really just searching for predictors of future play that aren’t necessarily represented in past results.

At Dallas News, I posted a breakdown of how Dallas can stop the Giants’ offense:

Limiting Victor Cruz

You’re going to see nickel cornerback Orlando Scandrick on Cruz quite a bit. Although he’s a poor tackler, Scandrick is incredibly underrated in coverage. Last season, he allowed a 51.3 percent completion rate, 5.7 YPA, and a 68.6 passer rating. That low completion rate is particularly impressive playing in the slot, where he can’t use the sideline as an extra defender.

And Scandrick was highly impressive against the Giants in particular last season. In two games, he was targeted six times, allowing just two catches for 30 yards. One reason for that is that Rob Ryan gave his cornerbacks safety help over the top. That’s important for Dallas because it will allow Scandrick and the other cornerbacks to really play aggressively underneath.

And at DallasCowboys.com, I used aggregate projections and past player comps to project the Cowboys’ skill players this week:

For the first time, I’ll be completing week to-week projections for just about every skill position player in the league. It’s primarily for fantasy purposes, but I think the projections could actually give us some unique insights into the Cowboys. There are many ways in which fantasy football is nothing like the NFL, but sometimes the numbers are meaningful; if we know Tony Romo will throw three touchdowns or that Jason Witten will catch eight passes, that’s useful information.

Here’s a screenshot of what I’ve done thus far for the wide receivers:

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