VOTED #1 FANTASY FOOTBALL SITE
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2002
PRIORITY NEWS   MESSAGE BOARDS JOIN   
HOME ARTICLES STATISTICS WEEKLY FEATURES TEAM LINKS NFL RESOURCES  
Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 8
October 22, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM *DET at CHI Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
CAR at NO NYG at MIN HOU at IND BUF at KC Atlanta
*CLE at NE SEA at CIN *NYJ at PHI Mon 9 PM Green Bay
DAL at TB *STL at PIT *SF at ARZ *MIA at SD Oakland
*DEN at BAL TEN at JAX   *updated Washington
   
St. Louis vs Pittsburgh Sun, Oct 26; 1 PM on FOX at Heinz Field
  St. Louis Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger 0 0 250,2
RB Arlen Harris 60 20 0
TE B. Manumaleuna 0 20 0
WR Isaac Bruce 0 60,1 0
WR Torry Holt 0 100,1 0
WR Dane Looker 0 30 0
  Pittsburgh Rush Catch Pass
QB Tommy Maddox 0 0 260,2
RB Amos Zereoue 20 20 0
RB Jerome Bettis 70,1 0 0
TE Jerame Tuman 0 20 0
WR Hines Ward 0 80,1 0
WR Antwaan Randle El 0 30 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 90,1 0


Game Prediction: STL 20, PIT 24

Update: Jay Riemersma will likely miss this week with an MCL sprain in his knee and Jerame Tuman will replace him.

The Rams are on the road and need a win to stay up with Seattle while the Steelers need a win desperately to stop a three game winning streak. The Rams will likely miss Faulk and Gordon in the game and the Steelers come off a bye with two weeks to prepare for this game. A loss here by Pittsburgh almost dooms their season.

St. Louis Notes

The Rams are 4-2 and are on a three game winning streak. They trail the Seahawks by one game in the NFC West.

Quarterbacks: Marc Bulger continues his hot hand and currently is the highest scoring QB per game in most fantasy leagues. Last week, Bulger faced the Packers secondary and came away with 247 yards and three touchdowns even though the Rams have not been producing a big rushing game without Faulk in the lineup.

Running Backs: Last week Lamar Gordon only had four carries before leaving the game with a high ankle sprain. I am considering him doubtful to play this week and Marshall Faulk is back at practice but is most likely to play in the following week against the 49ers. That means that Arlen Harris and Joffrey Reynolds are likely the only two active runners for this week. Harris gained 85 yards on 15 carries for one touchdown last week and has been about as good as Gordon.

Wide Receivers: Last week was more of the same for the dynamic duo. Torry Holt had a relatively low game with four catches for 67 yards but scored two touchdowns. Isaac Bruce grabbed nine passes for 129 yards. Just in case the secondary locked on them, and they did, Dane Looker also caught an impressive touchdown that entailed him running sideways, leaning over the out of bounds line, until he covered about eight yards into the endzone.

Tight Ends: Brandon Manumaleuna had four catches for 23 yards and three catches for 56 yards the previous week. Since Faulk has been out, the tight ends have had a slightly increased use and that has benefited Brandon much more than Cam Cleeland.

Match against the defense: The Rams bring their red-hot passing attack to Pittsburgh where the secondary has not been yielding a lot of passing yards, but do let opponents score touchdowns which in the El Photo Grande is a bad thing. Every quarterback has thrown at least one score against them - even Kyle Boller. The last three games they allowed at least two or more scores to McNair, Couch and Beuerlein.

The Split End has been more effective against them which spells a better game for Torry Holt and while they have been good at holding Flankers to lower yardage, they still let them score touchdowns. With the multiple sets used by the Rams it is less reliable to be considering corner matchups anyway.

Arlen Harris will be less productive this week. While William Green burned the Steelers for 115 yards, he needed 33 carries to do it and that was the fluke game two weeks ago anyway. Jamal Lewis only managed 69 yards there this season and Harris is nearly as good as Lewis though could get some benefit from the Steelers respecting the pass more.

Pittsburgh Notes

The Steelers are coming off a bye week and are 2-4 in the AFC North where no one wins anyway.

Quarterbacks: Tommy Maddox needs to get a score this week. He has not throw a touchdown pass since week three and in his last game in Denver, only threw for 182 yards. On the plus side he had no interceptions. While Maddox started out the season with good yardage, even that has gone away. Maddox needs this game to be good in order to quell any thoughts about Charlie Batch.

Running Backs: The Steelers ground game has been almost nonexistent this season. Against the Broncos, Amos Zereoue had only gained 15 yards on ten carries and Jerome Bettis got his heaviest play this season when he had 14 runs for 34 yards. Sad when a two yard per carry average looks so much better than what they had been getting. This week it appears that Bettis will be regaining the starting role again and will face an average rushing defense. Zereoue will still figure in though more likely in a third down role. Updates will be made on newer info this week.

Wide Receivers: Hines Ward continues to be the most popular outlet, but in recent weeks has felt the pinch of Maddox's lower numbers and bounces between 50 and 80 yards. Plaxico Burress is good for about (Hines Ward - 20 yards) and has been even less likely to score. Antwaan Randle El has been the most erratic and is even less reliable.

Tight Ends: While Jay Riemersma has been a better tight end than any in Pittsburgh, that still has not spelled much action. He left practice on Monday with a knee injury and his status is not known currently. I am assuming he is going to play.

Match against the defense: If the Steelers revert to using more of Jerome Bettis, there is reason to believe that he could have success against a team that is not a great road opponent and only presents an average rushing defense. The question is how committed the Steelers are to running Bettis and what use Zereoue still gets.

Tommy Maddox faces a secondary that has allowed good games to decent quarterbacks like Favre (268-2), Hasselbeck (256-2) and Garcia (222-2). This should be a good chance for him to get back on track and the Rams have been giving up yards and scores to Plaxico Burress' side of the field. This is Plaxico's best chance at a decent game as well.

Team Comparisons Current team rankings (1-32) by position for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
STL Scores
1
25
1
27
2
13
PIT Allows
12
2
6
28
19
31
STL AP 11 -23 5 1 17 18
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
PIT Scores
19
24
7
22
15
19
STL Allows
10
18
10
5
4
30
PIT AP -9 -6 3 -17 -11 11
Offensive ranks - lower = gains more points, Defensive Ranks lower = allows less points
AP = Advantage Points, the net difference between a positional rank gained or allowed by the teams.

STL PIT 2003 Game Averages PIT STL
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
279
163
Pass yards
252
206
1.8
1.7
Pass TDs
0.8
1.0
1.3
1.0
Interceptions
1.3
1.0
5
8
Rush yards
2
9
0.5
0.2
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
----
RB's
----
---
90
74
Rush yards
77
93
0.5
0.7
Rush TDs
0.8
0.5
29
15
Receive yards
35
33
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.3
---
----
WR's
----
---
224
107
Receive yards
197
144
1.8
1.2
Receive TD's
0.7
0.7
---
----
TE's
----
---
27
41
Receive yards
21
30
0.0
0.5
Receive TD's
0.2
0.0
---
----
PK's
----
---
2.2
1.3
Field Goals
1.8
1.2
3.0
2.8
Extra Points
1.8
2.2
---
----
DEF/ST
----
---
0.8
0.5
Fumbles
0.5
1.5
1.3
1.5
Interceptions
1.2
1.3
0.2
0.7
Touchdowns
0.2
0.5
2.0
3.5
Sacks
1.8
2.3
0.2
0.2
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Rams (4-2)
Score Opp.
13-23 @NYG
27-24 SF
23-24 @SEA
37-13 ARZ
Week 5 BYE
36-0 ATL
34-24 GB
Week 8 @PIT
Week 9 @SF
Week 10 BAL
Week 11 @CHI
Week 12 @ARZ
Week 13 MIN
Week 14 @CLE
Week 15 SEA
Week 16 CIN
Week 17 @DET
Steelers (2-4)
Score Opp.
34-15 BAL
20-41 @KC
17-10 @CIN
13-30 TEN
13-33 CLE
14-17 @DEN
Week 7 BYE
Week 8 STL
Week 9 @SEA
Week 10 ARZ
Week 11 @SF
Week 12 @CLE
Week 13 CIN
Week 14 OAK
Week 15 @NYJ
Week 16 SD
Week 17 @BAL

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points