Chris Wesseling

Post-Season Fantasy Football Guide

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Wild Card Preview

Thursday, January 07, 2010




Cowboys

Jason Witten - When Witten scored one touchdown and topped 53 yards just twice in the Cowboys' first ten games, rumors circulated that he'd lost a step. His finish proved he hasn't. Witten, still just 27 even though it feels like he's been around forever, has rolled out an average of seven catches for 92 yards per game since Week 11, mixing in a 14-reception, 156-yard domination of the Giants for good measure. The Eagles will have their hands full.

Marion Barber - Barber's uninspired play has caused Dallas play-caller Jason Garrett to employ a running back committee. Felix Jones received just 13 fewer carries than "The Barbarian" in the past month. Barber was decidedly mediocre down the stretch, averaging 3.88 yards per attempt with just one game over 63 yards rushing since Week 12. On the bright side, he gashed this same Eagles team for 105 total yards on 15 touches in Week 17.

Anthony Spencer - Lacking consistent pass rush, the Cowboys' defense was one of the league's most up-and-down units in the season's first half. Spencer's incredible stretch run arguably turned Dallas into the NFL's most dangerous team. The former Purdue defensive end piled up six sacks, two forced fumbles, and an average of seven tackles per game in the final six weeks. Spencer's emergence has fellow OLB DeMarcus Ware seeing fewer double teams.

Mike Jenkins - Jenkins struggled as a rookie after being drafted in the 2008 first round, and opened 2009 in a rotation with Orlando Scandrick. By midseason, Jenkins emerged as the Cowboys' top corner with opponents suddenly more willing to throw to bookend Terence Newman's side. Jenkins will draw Eagles split end Jeremy Maclin in primary coverage in the wild-card round and has cover skills to take the rookie out of the game.

Eagles

Brian Westbrook - Limited to 455 all-purpose yards in just eight 2009 appearances, Westbrook hit the 30-year-old running back wall with a thud. He battled ankle and knee woes before back-to-back concussions knocked him out for seven games. Westbrook also appeared a step slower when 100 percent. He's since been medically cleared, but after seeing just 14 carries in the last two games it's unclear what sort of impact Westbrook will have on Saturday.

DeSean Jackson - The Cowboys minimized Jackson's impact during the teams' two regular season meetings, holding him to a combined 76 yards and no touchdowns on five receptions. Unfazed, the cocky second-year wideout wrote on Twitter this week that the Eagles are "gonna sting they a**...lil buddy." Jackson is a likely All-Pro, but he'd better come to play. His team lost both of its regular season meetings with the Cowboys.

Akeem Jordan - The Eagles have had a hole at middle linebacker since losing Stewart Bradley to a torn ACL in training camp, forcing defensive coordinator Sean McDermott to play musical chairs at the position. Jordan is his latest trial. A natural weak-side 'backer, Jordan struggled at the new spot down the stretch and made no big plays. Philadelphia asks its inside 'backer to cover tight ends, so Jordan will be on Jason Witten quite a bit Saturday.

Asante Samuel - Philadelphia's high-profile defensive back awaits a difficult matchup with Dallas top receiver Miles Austin, who over the last month and a half is averaging eight catches for 107 yards per game. Samuel has played at a high level statistically, tying for the league lead in interceptions, but is a gambler as opposed to a shutdown corner and isn't a proficient tackler. He now squares off with the NFC's toughest receiver to bring down.


Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for Rotoworld.com. The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to NBCSports.com. He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
Email :Chris Wesseling



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