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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 4
September 29, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 4 PM Mon 9 PM
NE at BUF IND at JAX NO at ARZ* TEN at SD* KC at BAL
PHI at CHI OAK at HOU* ATL at CAR* Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
NYG at GB CIN at PIT NYJ at MIA* STL at SF* DAL, DET
WAS at CLE* Times ET DEN at TB *updated MIN, SEA
  New England Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 0 0 230,2
RB Corey Dillon 70 10 0
TE Daniel Graham 0 40,1 0
WR David Patten 0 60 0
WR Bethel Johnson 0 30 0
WR David Givens 0 60,1 0
PK Adam Vinatieri 3 FG 2 XP -
  Buffalo Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Bledsoe 0 0 190,1
RB Travis Henry 60 0 0
RB Willis McGahee 10 0 0
TE M. Campbell 0 10 0
WR Eric Moulds 0 80 0
WR Josh Reed 0 50,1 0
WR Bobby Shaw 0 40 0
PK Rian Lindell 0 FG 1 XP -

NE (2-0) vs BUF (0-2)

Game Prediction: NE 23, BUF 7

Both teams come in rested after a bye week. That's about the only similarity between these two teams.

Pre-Game Notes - NE

Patriots get ready to shoot for their 18th consecutive win in a row against the team they dismantled 31-0 in the final game of the 2003 season.

Quarterback: Tom Brady has certainly enjoyed his early schedule against the Cardinals and Colts. Those secondaries gave up 552 yards and five touchdowns. Brady was consistent last season at having big games on the road and then low output at home. Against the Colts, he had no choice and rose to the challenge. On the road again, Brady meets the team that gave up four passing scores to him last year.

Running Backs: In their last game played, Corey Dillon got to work and posted 158 rushing yards on 32 carries. That's not going to happen every week (he only had 15 carries for 86 in week one) but he has shown that he can pick up the real estate better than any NE since Robert Edwards. Kevin Faulk has not played yet this year and was excused the first two games due to the death of his mother. When he finally returned, it was disclosed that he also had a knee injury that he was recuperating and likely would not have played anyway but the Pats were able to report it as "personal reasons" which it also was.

I am assuming that Faulk does not play this week until his status is clearer. He couldn't have played last week had the Patriots not been on a bye.

Wide Receivers: The great passing game that started the season has been equally shared among the wideouts as the system is designed to do. Like winning an oscar, the best yardage goes to David Givens (198), the most touchdowns (1) goes to both David Patten and Deion Branch. Best supporting player who was hurt but still returns punts goes to Troy Brown. The awards ceremony in two weeks will likely have all this reversed so don't read too much into it. The best receiver the last time these teams played was Bethel Johnson (80 yards, 1 TD).

Branch sprained his knees and while the Patriots are very bad at disclosing injuries, he was on crutches last week and I'll consider him out until further word is given.

Tight Ends: The Patriots currently have produced the most fantasy points per game in the NFL for tight ends. That's been almost exclusively Daniel Graham who has three touchdowns in only two games played. Graham scored once against the Bills in their last meeting as well.

Match Against the Defense: These two teams are very familiar with each other and played each other in both the first and last games of the 2003 regular season. Oddly enough, it was 0-31 and 31-0. There's a sign one team progressed better than the other last year.

Brady will need to throw this week since the worst the BUF defense has allowed was only 61 yards to Fred Taylor this season and they have not allowed any rushing scores. Even with the big four scores last year, Brady only had 204 yards passing and that was realistically in the final week when the Bills were playing with all the enthusiasm of an employee who has already given their two week notice (and actually it was for some).

The games last season were two extremes but the defenses from both sides should make for a better game with a lower score. Not enough to put the outcome in doubt, but a slower and lower scoring game.

Pre-Game Notes - BUF

The Bills are currently 0-2 and will likely have to wait until week 5 against the visiting Dolphins for a good shot at a victory.

Quarterback: So far Drew Bledsoe has been consistent. He's had games of 153 and 198 yards with one touchdown in each. It's likely he will have a bigger need to throw this week but not a given that he'll do it very well.

Running Backs: Travis Henry has faced two good defenses in JAX and OAK and only came away with 75 and 63 yards in those efforts. He should hang in that neighborhood again this week and it mirrors what he was able to do in 2003 against the Patriots as well. Willis McGahee will offer relief but he's not as suited for the type of running that will be more successful against the Patriots - running right up the gut.

Wide Receivers: This season the offense was intending not to throw as much and has made good on that plan. Only Eric Moulds has done much and he has both of the only touchdowns scored by Buffalo so far in 2004. He still only has 116 yards on a total of 10 catches for the season. The only other contributor has been Lee Evans and that was on only one catch in week two for 65 yards. It's enough to make the defenses respect his speed but not nearly enough to consider him a factor or fantasy relevant.

Tight Ends: Henry appreciates the blocking here. You shouldn't if you drafted Mark Campbell.

Match Against the Defense: The Patriots have weathered two extremes so far - The Colts and the Cardinals. Which does Buffalo most resemble?

Henry has typically turned in games around 60 yards against the Pats and NE has been slightly softer against the run this season. The last thing they want is to give the ball to the Brady bunch any more than is necessary. Look for Henry to turn in moderate yardage from volume alone.

So far the only receiver of note for the Bills has really been Eric Moulds and that won't be lost on the Patriots. This is a game that should see you bench all your receivers outside of Moulds and even with him - lower your expectations.

NE BUF 2003 Averages BUF NE
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
276
178
Pass yards
176
208
2.5
1.0
Pass TDs
1.0
1.0
1.5
1.0
Interceptions
0.5
1.5
1
18
Rush yards
-2
19
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
128
63
Rush yards
85
108
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
1.0
13
22
Receive yards
21
36
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
214
135
Receive yards
152
119
1.0
1.0
Receive TD's
0.5
1.0
---
---
TE's
---
---
50
22
Receive yards
24
54
1.5
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
---
---
PK's
---
---
2.5
2.0
Field Goals
1.0
1.5
2.5
1.0
Extra Points
1.0
1.5
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.0
1.0
Fumbles
0.0
1.0
1.5
0.5
Interceptions
1.0
1.5
0.0
0.0
Touchdowns
0.0
0.0
3.0
4.0
Sacks
2.0
2.0
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Patriots (2-0)
Score Opp.
27-24 IND
23-12 @ARI
Week 3 bye
Week 4 @BUF
Week 5 MIA
Week 6 SEA
Week 7 NYJ
Week 8 @PIT
Week 9 @STL
Week 10 BUF
Week 11 @KC
Week 12 BAL
Week 13 @CLE
Week 14 CIN
Week 15 @MIA
Week 16 @NYJ
Week 17 SF
Bills (0-2)
Score Opp.
10-13 JAX
10-13 @OAK
Week 3 bye
Week 4 NE
Week 5 @NYJ
Week 6 MIA
Week 7 @BAL
Week 8 ARI
Week 9 NYJ
Week 10 @NE
Week 11 STL
Week 12 @SEA
Week 13 @MIA
Week 14 CLE
Week 15 @CIN
Week 16 @SF
Week 17 PIT