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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 Orleans Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Brooks 20 0 220,2
RB Aaron Stecker 90,1 20 0
TE Boo Williams 0 30,1 0
WR Joe Horn 0 60 0
WR Donte Stallworth 0 60,1 0
WR Jerome Pathon 0 20 0
PK John Carney 1 FG 3 XP -
  Arizona Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh McCown 10 0 190
RB Emmitt Smith 50,1 10 0
TE Freddie Jones 0 30 0
WR Bryant Johnson 0 50 0
WR Larry Fitzgerald 0 40 0
WR Karl Williams 0 60 0
PK Neil Rackers 0 FG 1 XP -

NO (2-1) vs ARZ (0-3)

Game Prediction: NO 24, ARZ 7

After a shaky start in week one, the Saints offense has been clicking even without McAllister thanks to a pretty kind schedule. The Cards are 0-3 as expected but not before giving the Falcons a big scare last week.

Pre-Game Notes - NO

Evidently the last thing you want to do is write off the Saints when Deuce goes down injured because they'll turn around and go all Stecker on you when you least expect it.

Quarterback: Aaron Brooks has played solid football this season, throwing scores in every game and only tossing one interception with no fumbles. He comes off a 316 yard effort against the Rams with one score and even ran the ball five times for 27 yards. He's spreading the ball well and bounced back very nicely from a strained quadriceps in the preseason.

Running Backs: When Deuce McAllister went out injured last week, many scoffed at the idea that a five year career journeyman like Aaron Stecker could step in and be effective. When the dust settled in St. Louis, Stecker had 126 total yards and a touchdown and looked, well, almost McAllister-like. He hit the holes with some authority and turned on the jets when he cleared the linebackers.

McAllister should miss at least three more weeks but more likely not be ready until week nine when the Saints come off their bye.

Wide Receivers: Joe Horn had the lone touchdown last week but already this season each of the three wideouts have already scored. Both Donte Stallworth and Horn have had 100 yard games and Jerome Pathon has been good for around 50 in each of the last two weeks.

Joe Horn had a bursa sac pop in his left knee during the fourth quarter last week but still returned to make his touchdown catch. He'll may need to have his knee drained this week but is expected to play without limitation against the Cardinals. Donte Stallworth bruised his hamstring as well but also is expected to be fine to practice. Stallworth and hamstring are two words that normally are bad in the same sentence but it shouldn't be significant.

Update: Suddenly all the Saints receivers are having problems. Horn should be fine with his bursa sac problem but the worst of the group is Pathon who pulled a hamstring. He is questionable to play and I am lowering his numbers but he may not even play.

Tight Ends: Boo Williams finally got back into the gameplan with three catches for 38 yards after having no passes the previous week.

Match Against the Defense: Teams like the Cardinals are always harder to gauge since many opponents do not take them seriously enough and turn in uncharacteristically low numbers. The Saints are not likely to do that but by the same token the Cards are always tougher in the desert than they are at home.

Stecker should have some success since both Faulk and Dillon had at least 128 rushing and Dunn managed 117 though no runner has scored against Arizona yet this year in 82 carries.

Stallworth gets the matchup that most teams tend to pick on though either wideout could do well here. Figure Brooks for at least 200 yards passing and one score with more depending on the success of Stecker and the need to throw in the game.

Pre-Game Notes - ARZ

The Cardinals return home after almost managing an upset in Atlanta. The ever elusive passing touchdown still has not been secured this year and Emmitt's renaissance apparently is over. Gotta get those wins when they are close enough to grab.

Quarterback: Josh McCown got the hook last week after losing three fumbles and five sacks against the Falcons. He had a respectable 20 or 26 for 198 yards but losing the ball led HC Dennis Green to bench him in favor of Shaun King mostly to just let McCown get out of the flow of the game and reflect on his performance. Consider it a big-league timeout. Green has already said McCown is the unquestioned starter and there is no problem. At least until the next third turnover.

Running Backs: With a big first game of 87 yards and one score, Emmitt Smith appeared to be back to form (of at least only two or three years ago). Then he only managed 31 yards against the Patriots but scored again. Last Sunday, he was down to only 45 yards on 18 carries with no scores. It's called leveling off and it doesn't involve Troy Hambrick in the least so far.

Wide Receivers: Larry Fitzgerald only has five catches in each of his last two games for 39 and 37 yards and there is speculation that his ankle still has not healed completely. Last week Bryant Johnson had more passes as did Karl Williams. The Cards will need to throw this week but this crew has yet to prove it is up to the task.

Anquan Boldin hopes to start practicing again in a few weeks and hopes for a week seven return which would be well ahead of schedule. His rehabilitation work has been increased, and Boldin is encouraged by the increased strength and flexibility in his repaired right knee. The swelling has also gone down. There's still hope that the passing attack can eventually take shape once Boldin returns and Fitzgerald looks sharper but still seems a long way from happening.

Tight Ends: An ever-increasing need to help protect the quarterback has forced Freddie Jones to spend more time blocking than route running and his numbers have fallen to only two catches for 11 yards last week.

Match Against the Defense: While the Saints have been kind to runners this year, they did just hold Faulk to only 44 yards on 12 carries and Emmitt Smith is unlikely to replicate the success of Barlow or Alexander against the Saints. He could score again though since New Orleans has given up seven rushing touchdowns already this season.

The success of the passing game is hard to judge with lackluster performances from the wideouts and poor blocking by the offensive line. No doubt that Arizona will need to throw but a big doubt they can do it well enough to matter.

NO ARZ 2003 Averages ARZ NO
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
273
201
Pass yards
193
270
1.7
1.0
Pass TDs
0.0
0.7
0.3
1.3
Interceptions
0.7
0.7
16
24
Rush yards
11
6
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.3
---
---
RB's
---
---
72
155
Rush yards
59
136
0.3
0.0
Rush TDs
0.7
2.0
25
29
Receive yards
28
43
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.3
---
---
WR's
---
---
220
154
Receive yards
133
199
1.3
0.3
Receive TD's
0.0
0.3
---
---
TE's
---
---
28
18
Receive yards
33
28
0.3
0.7
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
---
---
PK's
---
---
2.7
2.7
Field Goals
1.3
1.0
1.7
0.7
Extra Points
0.3
2.7
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.3
1.3
Fumbles
2.0
1.0
0.7
0.7
Interceptions
1.3
0.3
0.0
0.0
Touchdowns
0.0
0.0
2.3
4.3
Sacks
2.3
2.3
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Saints (2-1)
Score Opp.
7-21 SEA
30-27 SF
28-25 @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
Cardinals (0-3)
Score Opp.
10-17 @STL
12-23 NE
3-6 @ATL
Week 4 NO
Week 5 @SF
Week 6 bye
Week 7 SEA
Week 8 @BUF
Week 9 @MIA
Week 10 NYG
Week 11 @CAR
Week 12 NYJ
Week 13 @DET
Week 14 SF
Week 15 STL
Week 16 @SEA
Week 17 TB