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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 3
September 22, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Mon 9 PM
ARZ at ATL* CHI at MIN JAX at TEN SF at SEA* DAL at WAS*
BAL at CIN PIT at MIA Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
HOU at KC* CLE at NYG* SD at DEN* TB at OAK BUF, CAR
PHI at DET NO at STL* GB at IND* *updated NE, NYJ
  Chicago Rush Catch Pass
QB Rex Grossman 10 0 190,1
RB Thomas Jones 100,1 30 0
TE Desmond Clark 0 30,1 0
WR Justin Gage 0 20 0
WR Bobby Wade 0 40 0
WR David Terrell 0 50 0
PK Paul Edinger 0 FG 2 XP -
  Minnesota Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper 30,1 0 220,1
RB Moe Williams 20 10 0
RB Onterrio Smith 100,1 30 0
TE Owens/Dugans 0 20 0
WR Randy Moss 0 90,1 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 30 0
WR Marcus Robinson 0 20 0
PK Morten Andersen 1 FG 3 XP -

CHI (1-1) vs MIN (1-1)

Game Prediction: CHI 14, MIN 24

The Bears catch the Vikes at a good time - an early week after a road loss. The Vikes also catch the Bears at an opportune time - three weeks into the season without a passing game in sight.

Pre-Game Notes - CHI

Chicago comes into this game on the heels of one of the biggest Bear wins in years - beating the Packers in Green Bay.

Quarterback: Rex Grossman took a step back last week but it was mostly to just hand off the ball to Thomas Jones. Grossman went 10 of 18 for only 132 yards and one touchdown against one interception. It was his first score of the season and Grossman's role right now is to not make mistakes and manage the game - which mostly means hand off to Thomas Jones.

Running Backs: After only gaining 67 yards on 21 carries in week one, Thomas Jones exploded on the Packers last week and racked up 152 rushing yards on only 23 carries (6.6 YPC) and scored one touchdown to add to his two last week. The passing game has been lackluster at best so far but as long as Jones continues to run hard and well, this offense can keep moving and stay in the game.

Wide Receivers: With only 132 passing yards last week, the receivers took an obvious hit. David Terrell was the biggest tease, falling from 5-126 to having no catches on his two passes last week. He added insult to injury by losing 15 yards in the game on a failed reverse. Grossman only threw a total of seven passes to the wideouts in the entire game with Bobby Wade (3-42) having the only catches from this crew.

There would seem to be a far greater chance this week to put together some better passing numbers, but so long as Jones is running well, the Bears won't much bother. David Terrell has the better matchup but that will mean something between 126 and 0 yards.

Tight Ends: Desmond Clark doubled his previous numbers but that only meant two catches for 48 yards. Still not a factor.

Match Against the Defense: The Bears actually beat the Vikes in Chicago last year 13-10 but lost 13-24 in Minneapolis.

In those two games, the passing never exceeded 157 yards and that alone seems high end for Grossman these days. The Bears generally do not match up well with the Vikings because they do not have the passing game to stay in the game. Look for plenty of Thomas Jones all game. Brian Westbrook just gained 69 yards on only 12 carries last Monday and Jones should exceed that by volume alone.

The Vikings secondary certainly can be beaten but this team is not using wideouts consistently enough to warrant individual matchup considerations. Chances are best that eventually the Bears will be forced into throwing the ball but that could wait until the fourth quarter and none of the Bears receivers have shown any consistency yet.

Pre-Game Notes - MIN

It was a painful loss on Monday with the Vikes beating themselves almost as much as the Eagles beat them. Culpepper's lost fumble at the goal line was especially damaging. Now back at home, they have a short week but face a team that has typically produced low game scores over the recent past.

Quarterback: So long as he holds onto the ball, Daunte Culpepper has been golden. After only two games he has six passing touchdowns and 585 passing yards, 343 coming on Monday against the Eagles. Culpepper also has 66 yards on 14 runs to further boost his fantasy value.

Running Backs: With Michael Bennett still on the shelf, Onterrio Smith had his second start and only gained 28 yards on 10 carries against the Eagles last week. More importantly, he gained 56 yards on eight passes. Smith should have another good game this week against the visiting Bears since he had 148 yards in Chicago last year in one of his few starts.

Moe Williams ended up being held out of the game due to his ankle injury. I will assume he'll not be a factor again this week but will update as warranted.

Update: Moe Williams has recovered from his knee sprain enough to play this week. I am swapping him in and Mewelde Moore out.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss hasn't had the yardage yet this season, but he caught his third touchdown of the season on Monday in spite of heavy coverage. Culpepper did a nice job against the Eagles in spreading the ball around to Nate Burleson (5-67), Kelly Campbell (2-30) and Marcus Robinson (2-14). Still half his passes go to Moss while the others divvy up the remaining throws.

Tight Ends: Culpepper had great chemistry going with Jermaine Wiggins last week, connecting on all eight throws for 65 yards. That partially reflected the intense rush that Culpepper was receiving and him looking to hit the closest receiver which should not be the case this week. Wiggins ended up breaking a bone in his hand and will miss at least this game. Since both he and Kleinsasser are now out, the Vikings will be using a couple of young unknowns - Richard Owens and Jeff Dugans - to fill in.

Match Against the Defense: Onterrio Smith has already had a monster game against the Bears and the loss of safety Mike Brown will not help Chicago any in trying to run down the speedy Smith. He should be a lock for a moderate game with an excellent chance of big numbers.

The Bears will also be without DT Alfonso Boone which again helps the running game.

The only question here is how much the Vikings will need to throw. With the way that Culpepper is spreading the ball out (beyond Randy Moss), that will have a big impact on what to expect from the receivers this week. Chances are best that the Vikes will handle the Bears using Onterrio Smith and Randy Moss and any players beyond them are unlikely to have big fantasy numbers.

CHI MIN 2003 Averages MIN CHI
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
180
300 Pass yards 293
220
0.5
1.5 Pass TDs 3.0
1.0
1.5
0.0 Interceptions 0.5
1.5
14
12 Rush yards 33
8
0.0
0.5 Rush TDs 0
0.0
---
  RB's  
---
124
71 Rush yards 70
110
1.5
0.5 Rush TDs 0.0
0.0
42
61 Receive yards 71
56
0.5
0.0 Receive TD's 0.5
0.0
---
  WR's  
---
95
206 Receive yards 169
150
0.0
1.0 Receive TD's 2.5
1.0
---
  TE's  
---
42
38 Receive yards 54
14
0.0
0.5 Receive TD's 0.0
0.0
---
  PK's  
---
0.0
1.5 Field Goals 1.5
1.5
2.5
2.5 Extra Points 3.0
1.5
---
  DEF/ST  
---
0.5
0.5 Fumbles 1.5
1.5
1.5
0.5 Interceptions 0
1.5
0.5
0.0 Touchdowns 0
0.5
0.5
3.0 Sacks 1.5
2.0
0.5
0.0 Safeties 0
0.0
Bears (1-1)
Score Opp.
16-20 DET
21-10 @GB
Week 3 @MIN
Week 4 PHI
Week 5 bye
Week 6 WAS
Week 7 @TB
Week 8 SF
Week 9 @NYG
Week 10 @TEN
Week 11 IND
Week 12 @DAL
Week 13 MIN
Week 14 @JAX
Week 15 HOU
Week 16 @DET
Week 17 GB
Vikings (1-1)
Score Opp.
35-17 DAL
16-27 @PHI
Week 3 CHI
Week 4 bye
Week 5 @HOU
Week 6 @NO
Week 7 TEN
Week 8 NYG
Week 9 @IND
Week 10 @GB
Week 11 DET
Week 12 JAX
Week 13 @CHI
Week 14 SEA
Week 15 @DET
Week 16 GB
Week 17 @WAS