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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
  Pittsburgh Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 0 0 170,1
RB Duce Staley 50 30 ,1 0
TE Jay Riemersma 0 10 0
WR Hines Ward 0 60 0
WR Antwaan Randle El 0 30 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 30 0
PK Jeff Reed 2 FG 1 XP -
Miami Rush Catch Pass
QB A.J. Feeley 0 0 200,1
RB Lamar Gordon 40 0 0
TE Randy McMichael 0 60 0
WR Chris Chambers 0 70,1 0
WR Derrius Thompson 0 20 0
WR Marty Booker 0 40 0
PK Olindo Mare 1 FG 2 XP -

PIT (1-1) vs MIA (0-2)

Game Prediction: PIT 13, MIA 17

The Steelers come off a pasting by the Ravens defense while the Dolphins come back home to search their closets to see if they misplaced the offense that never made it to Cincinnati.

I like the chance for a defensive score in this game.

Pre-Game Notes - PIT

The Steelers take their third tough defense in a row to start the season before finally facing CIN and CLE the following weeks.

Quarterback: Tommy Maddox injured his elbow during the second quarter of last weeks game and an MRI revealed that he had torn ligaments which will keep him out for at least six weeks. The Ben Roethlisberger era begins. Roethlisberger (and I am already hating spelling out his name) turned in a very nice half game last week considering he was in Baltimore at the time.

Ben completed 12 of 20 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns against two interceptions. Basically in two and a half quarters of play. With Ray Lewis snorting on the other side of the line no less. The Steelers were already down 20-0 at the time. Unfortunately for him, he is once again on the road to face one of the best defenses. His initiation into the NFL might redefine hazing.

Running Backs: Duce Staley comes off a 57 yard effort against the Ravens and for the second game now he only had one reception which seems a misuse of one of his distinct talents. While Jerome Bettis stole the show in week one on his three scoring plunges, last week Verron Haynes took seven carries and ended withy 34 yards. This crew will be hard pressed to do much more than that down in Miami this week.

Wide Receivers: Roethlisberger paid attention during his brief time on the bench. He knew enough to throw an incompletion to Plaxico Burress and to focus all the good passes on Hines Ward who ended with six catches for 151 yards and one touchdown. Burress ended the game with only two catches for 30 yards while Antwaan Randle El had three grabs for 29 yards and the other touchdown.

It's too early to tag Roethlisberger as having tendencies, but he certainly connected very well with Ward and even found Randle El unlike Maddox in most games.

Tight Ends: Not really.

Match Against the Defense: The Steelers catch a small break with the loss of RDT Larry Chester. That should help the run game some though Zach Thomas has been on fire lately and he'll be only a yard or so behind the hole in the line. Even without Chester and Tim Bowens the Dolphins still kept Rudi Johnson to only 67 yards on 22 carries and they always play tougher at home.

Roethlisberger will have no easier time throwing here and with Ward covered by Patrick Surtain, it may not be as productive. Surtain missed last week but should be back. The question too is if a rookie quarterback can pilot this team effectively for a full game now that the opponent has had time to adjust and are not already dropped deep against the pass in a 20-0 game. Roethlisberger will have to throw and this will be a definite test.

Pre-Game Notes - MIA

The Dolphins are tied for 8th best in points against but are tied for 2nd worst in points scored - hence the 0-2 start.

Quarterback: A.J. Feeley remains the starter here and had 218 yards and one score against two interceptions last week. There is some word that the veterans of the team strongly prefer Jay Fiedler to take the helm again but no movement that way as of yet.

Running Backs: There are two statistics that best describe the state of the running game in Miami.

1. Facing the same defense that allowed Curtis Martin to rush for 196 yards, Lamar Gordon gained only 22 yards on 19 carries.

2. For the first time since 1967 - that's 37 years - the Dolphins failed to get even one rushing first down. Not one. 37 years.

Enough said.

Wide Receivers: While both Chris Chambers and Marty Booker get a lot of passes thrown "at" them (18 last week), they only combined for 6 catches and 74 yards. Chris Chambers had five of them for 69 yards and one score. The blocking has been so bad, and this was just the Bengals, that most incompletions were just getting rid of the ball.

Tight Ends: The only notable fantasy player on the entire Dolphin offense has been Randy McMichael who led all receivers in both games. In two weeks he now has 14 catches for 172 yards and one touchdown.

Match Against the Defense: With the offense just not working, matching it up doesn't really matter. The rushing game is horrible so far, accounting for a total of 90 yards on 39 carries and it does not appear to be getting any better.

The Steelers secondary has been very good so far though they have only faced OAK and BAL and the only wideout with any success has been Doug Gabriel on one long bomb. Safe enough to assume that Chambers and McMichael have the better numbers but they should be lower than last week against a better Steeler defense.

This game revolves around a very good defense at home with almost no offense against a team using a rookie quarterback and having a decent defense. That equation means the outcome is likely predicated on mistakes made. This should be yet another low scoring affair that's a toss-up.

PIT MIA 2003 Averages MIA PIT
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
193
110
Pass yards
214
202
1.0
0.5
Pass TDs
1.0
1.0
1.0
0.5
Interceptions
2.5
1.0
7
6
Rush yards
2
17
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
93
124
Rush yards
41
98
1.5
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
1.0
8
8
Receive yards
52
38
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
171
88
Receive yards
76
127
1.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.5
1.0
---
---
TE's
---
---
14
15
Receive yards
86
37
0.0
0.5
Receive TD's
0.5
0.0
---
---
PK's
---
---
0.5
2.0
Field Goals
1.0
2.5
2.0
1.5
Extra Points
1.0
2.0
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.0
0.5
Fumbles
0.5
1.0
1.0
2.5
Interceptions
0.5
1.0
0.0
1.0
Touchdowns
0.0
0.5
2.5
2.5
Sacks
3.5
3.0
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Steelers (1-1)
Score Opp.
24-21 OAK
13-30 @BAL
Week 3 @MIA
Week 4 CIN
Week 5 CLE
Week 6 @DAL
Week 7 bye
Week 8 NE
Week 9 PHI
Week 10 @CLE
Week 11 @CIN
Week 12 WAS
Week 13 @JAX
Week 14 NYJ
Week 15 @NYG
Week 16 BAL
Week 17 @BUF
Dolphins (0-2)
Score Opp.
7-17 TEN
13-16 @CIN
Week 3 PIT
Week 4 NYJ
Week 5 @NE
Week 6 @BUF
Week 7 STL
Week 8 @NYJ
Week 9 ARI
Week 10 bye
Week 11 @SEA
Week 12 @SF
Week 13 BUF
Week 14 @DEN
Week 15 NE
Week 16 CLE
Week 17 @BAL