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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 1
September 9, 2004
Season Ticket
Thu 9 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
IND at NE BAL at CLE CIN at NYJ DAL at MIN KC at DEN
Sun 1 PM SD at HOU OAK at PIT NYG at PHI Mon 9 PM
DET at CHI SEA at NO ARZ at STL ATL at SF GB at CAR
JAX at BUF TEN at MIA TB at WAS Saturday no byes
  Seattle Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck 10 0 270,2
RB Shaun Alexander 100,1 30 0
TE Jerramy Stevens 0 40 0
WR Darrell Jackson 0 80,1 0
WR Bobby Engram 0 40 0
WR Koren Robinson 0 70,1 0
PK Josh Brown 3 FG 3 XP -
  New Orleans Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Brooks 20 0 260,2
RB Deuce McAllister 120,1 30 0
TE Boo Williams 0 40,1 0
WR Joe Horn 0 80 0
WR Donte Stallworth 0 90,1 0
WR Jerome Pathon 0 20 0
PK John Carney 1 FG 3 XP -

SEA (0-0) vs NO (0-0)

Game Prediction: SEA 30, NO 24

The more things change...

This was the same game to start the 2003 season, except this year the players can drink Hurricanes on Bourbon Street after the game. Last meeting it went 27-10 in favor of the Seahawks.

Pre-Game Notes - SEA

The Seahawks are being discussed as a "deep playoff" team this year in hushed tones like we're scared either no one will believe us or we're afraid to we'll drive up the line before we can call to that guy named "Frank". The Seahawks return every skill player on offense this year after lighting up 2003. DC Ray Rhodes is on board to improve the defense that has been the only factor between this team and playing a few weeks in January, 2005.

Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck proved the point last year you can wait on a quarterback in a fantasy draft and still get a big difference maker. Problem is you couldn't wait nearly as long this year and still get him.

Running Backs: Shaun Alexander is in his prime and scored in seven of his final eight games last year. Each year the coaches say "we gotta get that Morris kid in there" and every season they find no reason to bother. Perhaps Maurice Morris should ask Lamont Jordan to define what "I said soon, son" really means.

Walter Jones finally got around to signing this summer, purely a coincidence right when camp was concluding.

Alexander started his 2003 season with 124 yards and two scores against the Saints. Could happen again.

Wide Receivers: Same three wideouts return and all should be in their prime. Darrell Jackson seemed to be destined to be a great #2 receiver before last year and now he's an unquestioned #1. Koren Robinson took three steps forward last year but also two steps back but has impressed the coaches this summer with renewed commitment to actually catching and holding on to the ball. Bobby Engram makes a great #3 receiver and this trio has the potential to be the best in the league.

Tight Ends: As if the Seahawks weren't already interesting enough, Jeremy Stevens apparently has "got it" now and left camp voted as the most improved player. He's overtaken Itula Mili as the lead tight end and if he'll just direct that light bulb over his head to shine on Koren Robinson more, this passing attack should be among the best in the NFL this year. Mili had tried holding out for a new contract but that proved ill-timed with the progress of Stevens.

Match Against the Defense: This game last year was mostly about rushing and letting the Saints self-destruct (three fumbles and an interception). The Saints were 27th against the run last year and have installed a 3-4 defense to help stop opposing rushers. They used their first round pick on DE Will Smith who so far has been impressive but it's safe to assume they did not magically upgrade to a top defense without playing a game. Look for a good game out of Alexander. CB Fred Thomas had missed time with a sprained foot but should be back this week to cover Marcus Robinson who scored on them last year anyway.

This should be a high scoring game with the Saints bringing the lesser defense but at home where they should be more comfortable. Chances are this game develops into a nice passing war if the scores get high and close later in the game.

Pre-Game Notes - NO

The Saints found a productive offense last season but were brought down by a defense not up to the task. Instead of their normal fast start leading to a late-year nose dive, their 2003 campaign was the reverse - they won seven of their final 11 games and feel good about their chances going into 204.

Quarterback: Aaron Brooks has been an enigma so far in that he often looks like a top quarterback and then loses a costly fumble. In fact he led the league with 11 drops last year. He only had eight interceptions against 24 touchdowns. He just has problems when he is not throwing. Considering that he's never had as good a set of receivers as this season, this is a "put up or shut up" year to hold on to the ball and do big things with it.

Running Backs: Deuce McAllister proved last season he actually was all that and a bag of beignets. His touchdown total went down but he had nine 100+ yard games before petering out at the end of the season.

Wide Receivers: The receiving crew has great promise with Joe Horn still able to turn in big games and Donte Stallworth finally healthy and on track for a breakout year. He did not miss a single practice or game this summer after participating in a strict off-season training program that focused on stretching his once-tender hamstrings. The Saints already have Jerome Pathon as a capable #3 receiver and picked rookie burner Devery Henderson in the draft. As long as Brooks doesn't continue to try dribbling the football in the backfield, he'll have plenty of targets this year.

Tight Ends: After legally changing his name from Eddie to "Boo", Williams spent the final six weeks of the 2003 season with 29 catches and 347 yards. He's now the starter and will be scaring linebackers since he is a converted wideout. Ernie Conwell is still around, but Williams is the one expected to be featured in the offense.

Match Against the Defense: Last season, McAllister rang up 99 yards rushing in Seattle and with LB Chad Brown out for at least a month, he should manage the feat once again. FS Ken Hamelin might make breaking the long gainer more difficult, but McAllister should get a steady diet of carries as the Saints try to keep the Seahawks off the field. Seattle was weak against the pass last year and Brooks threw for 274 yards in the opener with a healthy Horn and Stallworth. This game should turn into a barn-burner by the end, with rushing yards in the first half before the war breaks out in the fourth quarter. In the favor of the Saints, Seattle was unbeatable at home last year but only managed a 2-6 road record. This game is up for grabs and likely goes to the team that scores last.

 

 

 

 

 

Statistical Comparisons begin after Week 1

Seahawks (0-0)
Score Opp.
Week 1 @NO
Week 2 @TB
Week 3 SF
Week 4 bye
Week 5 STL
Week 6 @NE
Week 7 @ARI
Week 8 CAR
Week 9 @SF
Week 10 @STL
Week 11 MIA
Week 12 BUF
Week 13 DAL
Week 14 @MIN
Week 15 @NYJ
Week 16 ARI
Week 17 ATL
Saints (0-0)
Score Opp.
Week 1 SEA
Week 2 SF
Week 3 @STL
Week 4 @ARI
Week 5 TB
Week 6 MIN
Week 7 @OAK
Week 8 bye
Week 9 @SD
Week 10 KC
Week 11 DEN
Week 12 @ATL
Week 13 CAR
Week 14 @DAL
Week 15 @TB
Week 16 ATL
Week 17 @CAR

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points