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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 9
September 3, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
CAR at HOU NYG at NYJ CIN at ARZ GB at MIN Buffalo
IND at MIA OAK at DET PIT at SEA Mon 9 PM Cleveland
JAX at BAL SD at CHI PHI at ATL NE at DEN Kansas City
NO at TB WAS at DAL STL at SF *updated Tennessee
   
Green Bay vs Minnesota Sun, Nov 2; 8:30 PM on ESPN at Metrodome
  Green Bay Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre 0 0 270,2
RB Ahman Green 60,1 30 0
TE Bubba Franks 0 20 0
TE Wesley Walls 0 40,1 0
WR Javon Walker 0 40 0
WR Donald Driver 0 80,1 0
WR Robert Ferguson 0 50 0
  Minnesota Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper 20 0 260,2
RB Onterrio Smith 30 10 0
RB Michael Bennett 20 0 0
RB Moe Williams 30,1 20 0
TE J. Kleinsasser 0 10 0
WR Randy Moss 0 120,1 0
WR D'Wayne Bates 0 30 0
WR Kelly Campbell 0 60,1 0

Game Prediction: GB 24, MIN 30

Update: Michael Bennett will be playing this week, though he will not be starting. This means that he will get at least one play and according to HC Mike Tice, no where near 20 carries. I am including him in the projections but realistically he may not do much - his status will be literally play-to-play. But in light of this I am lowering the other rushing numbers slightly. D'Wayne Bates is also expected to play this week and I have replaced Nate Burleson with Bates.

The Vikings are at home and come off their first loss. The Packers are on the road, inside a dome, against a team that knows them well and that is leading the league in interceptions. This game should produce some nice points.

Green Bay Notes

The Packers come off their bye week with a 3-4 record. They trail Minnesota bye three and a half games and a loss this week pretty much writes off the division for them if not the playoffs.

Quarterbacks: Brett Favre suffered a hairline fracture to his right thumb during the Rams game but played much of the game with it. There is no question that he will be playing this week.

Running backs: Ahman Green continues as one of the top runners in the league though his most recent performance in St. Louis was no help. He ended with only 35 yards on 20 carries but added 62 more yards on six catches including a 21-yard touchdown. Najeh Davenport ripped off a 76 yard touchdown run in the last game during trash time but it meant little. With Tony Fisher nursing a groin injury, Davenport has resumed the #2 role.

Wide Receivers: The wideouts have been languishing in obscurity lately, thanks in no small part to the passes going to the running backs and tight ends. Donald Driver has topped out at only 71 yards receiving since he has returned from his concussion and now Robert Ferguson and Javon Walker are almost used interchangeably. While Ferguson is still on the field for a few more plays, neither of them have been even remotely productive. Between the two, typically they are only gaining three to five catches a game.

Tight Ends: Bubba Franks remains the endzone tight end with a score in week six, but Wesley Walls is adding to the mix. Favre throws to Walls now as much as any receiver other than Driver but has spread out the ball so well that no one player is catching a significant portion of the passes.

Match against the defense: When these two teams met in week one, Favre threw four interceptions and started the Vikings out as the best intercepting defense which still holds true. But Favre threw for 296 yards and two scores in MIN last season and the receiving crew is as healthy now as it has been the entire season. The Vikings come off a game at home where they allowed 375 yards to Kerry Collins.

Another factor is that Ahman Green almost always scores against the Vikings and did so twice earlier this season. However, on the road inside a dome he only managed 35 yards last week and only had 53 yards on the road in Arizona.

This is a big game for the Packers but their defense has not been able to keep them in games too often this season. The Packers have been scoring well but allowing even more and that will cause this game to turn more towards the passing in the second half and away from Ahman Green running. Favre is nursing a bad thumb but will play and yet will need his accuracy to be dead on if he is to avoid another interception-fiesta like he gave away in week one.

Minnesota Notes

The Vikings are 6-1 and come off their first loss of the season. They have a three game lead on the Packers in the NFC North.

Quarterbacks: Daunte Culpepper comes off a 241 yard, two touchdown effort against the Giants last week but finally threw an interception this season when rookie Keenan Howry cut a route off short. Culpepper was hot in the first half but could not manage much in the second half with the Giants made adjustments.

Running backs: Last week, Moe Williams gained 69 yards on only 11 carries in the loss and Onterrio Smith gained 32 yards. They both had 11 carries and this week they get to see Michael Bennett likely line up for a few plays. The Vikings may allow Bennett to have a few carries this week since he has looked so good in practice but there are no plans to start him for several more weeks.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss leads the league with eight touchdowns and 791 receiving yards. He scored twice last week with catches that made the difficult look merely routine. Kelly Campbell missed last week with a bruised right calf and Keenan Howry (2-15) and Nate Burleson (3-71) picked up the slack. Campbell should be back this week as well as D'Wayne Bates who has missed the last four weeks with a bruised foot. Campbell should return to the #2 role and Bates has likely lost it for good.

Tight Ends: Jim Kleinsasser has not exceeded 20 yards in the past month.

Match against the defense: Culpepper and Moss always have a good game at home against the Packers and even torched Green Bay as a visitor this season. The Packers have been pretty soft against good wideouts lately, allowing Bruce and Holt about 200 yards and two scores, Johnnie Morton had 109 yards and only a schedule that has included DET, ARZ and CHI has made their pass defense numbers look average.

When these two teams played in week one, Moss had 150 yards and a score, Culpepper had 195 yards passing and three touchdowns. Moe Williams gained 80 yards but was not yet sharing the ball. The Packers rushing defense is about average, but the way the Vikings are mixing runners there is no one player that seems to benefit.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
GB Scores
16
1
25
9
15
16
MIN Allows
23
22
26
12
18
5
GB AP
7
21
1
3
3
-11
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
MIN Scores
2
8
3
25
19
5
GB Allows
30
15
28
18
31
9
MIN AP
28
7
25
-7
12
4
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.
GB
MIN
2003 Game Averages
MIN
GB
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
220
262
Pass yards
246
255
1.9
1.1
Pass TDs
2.4
1.4
1.3
2.4
Interceptions
7.6
8.4
0
9
Rush yards
12
17
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.3
0.3
---
---
RB's
---
---
137
88
Rush yards
108
90
1.6
0.9
Rush TDs
0.7
0.6
58
52
Receive yards
45
31
0.9
0.1
Receive TD's
0.3
0.3
---
---
WR's
---
---
124
165
Receive yards
186
180
0.6
1.0
Receive TD's
1.7
1.0
---
---
TE's
---
---
39
45
Receive yards
16
44
0.4
0.0
Receive TD's
0.3
0.1
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.1
1.7
Field Goals
1.1
2.3
3.6
2.0
Extra Points
3.4
2.4
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.6
0.6
Fumbles
0.3
0.6
1.3
0.6
Interceptions
2.4
1.4
0.1
0.0
Touchdowns
0.1
0.1
1.7
2.4
Sacks
2.4
1.0
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.3
0.0
Vikings (6-1)
Score Opp.
30-25 @GB
24-13 CHI
23-13 @DET
35-7 SF
39-26 @ATL
Week 6 BYE
28-20 DEN
17-29 NYG
Week 9 GB
Week 10 @SD
Week 11 @OAK
Week 12 DET
Week 13 @STL
Week 14 SEA
Week 15 @CHI
Week 16 KC
Week 17 @ARZ
Packers (3-4)
Score Opp.
25-30 MIN
31-6 DET
13-20 @ARZ
38-23 @CHI
35-13 SEA
34-40 KC
24-34 @STL
Week 8 BYE
Week 9 @MIN
Week 10 PHI
Week 11 @TB
Week 12 SF
Week 13 @DET
Week 14 CHI
Week 15 @SD
Week 16 @OAK
Week 17 DEN

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points