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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
  St. Louis Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger 0 0 280,2
RB Marshall Faulk 50,1 30 0
RB Steven Jackson 20 0 0
TE B. Manumaleuna 0 10 0
WR Isaac Bruce 0 80,1 0
WR Torry Holt 0 110,1 0
WR Dane Looker 0 50 0
PK Jeff Wilkins 1 FG 3 XP -
  San Francisco Rush Catch Pass
QB Ken Dorsey 0 0 210,1
QB Tim Rattay 0 0 230,1
RB Kevan Barlow 110,1 20 0
TE Eric Johnson 0 40 0
WR Brandon Lloyd 0 30 0
WR Curtis Conway 0 60 0
WR Cedrick Wilson 0 80,1 0
PK Todd Peterson 2 FG 2 XP -

STL (1-2) vs SF (0-3)

Game Prediction: STL 24, SF 20

Here's a matchup that once was a fantasy football equivalent of "Charlie's Angels" and now it's like a rerun of the "Golden Girls." Okay, so maybe not so much for the guys in San Francisco since they've never starred in anything before this gig.

Pre-Game Notes - STL

In a tip of the hat to the fantasy world, Holt and Bruce continue to post big games and numbers. And in a flip of one finger, no one else seems to be doing anything related to the scoreboard.

Quarterback: Marc Bulger has been consistent and does still turn in good yardage efforts with no game less than 275 yards and one score. It's just that he has never done more than the one score per game and continues to lose the ball at least once each Sunday. It is progress of sorts since he led the NFL in interceptions last season but starting out against ARZ, ATL and NO should have produced more than three touchdowns.

Running Backs: After a tantalizing 120 yard effort in week one, Marshall Faulk had a 12 carry, 20 yard meltdown in Atlanta and just to show that was the rule and not exception, he only gained 44 yards on 12 carries at home against the same defense that all other rushers think is just a track meet. Mike Martz has called only had 15 and 14 rushes in the past two weeks and unabashedly says that the way their wide open offense works.

It works if you own Holt or Bruce. It does not if you want to see the Rams win, however.

Wide Receivers: Tory Holt and Isaac Bruce are still posting blistering numbers each week. Bruce has posted 100+ yards in each of the past three games and that's the first time he has managed the hat trick in the past nine years. Holt either scores or gets over 100 and usually both.

Dane Looker had five catches for 69 yards last week and serves as a valuable #3 for Bulger but this offense is becoming all about Holt and Bruce and very little else.

Tight Ends: They line up near Holt and Bruce and that better be enough for them because that is as close to relevance as they see in a game.

Match Against the Defense: The great news here is that the 49er defense allows two passing scores a week and no team has had less then three touchdowns against them this year. For a team needing to post some points, this is the week the chances are best.

Look for Bulger to again notch at least 275 yards but get at least one extra touchdowns from his one-only standard. The 49ers are happy to likely get CB Mike Rumph back but Tory Holt should make him wish he waited another week. The last time Holt faced him in SF he had 200 yards receiving on 11 catches and one score. Even Bruce had 93 yards that day.

Don't look for Faulk to reverse his recent misfortune here. The 49ers have not allowed any RB to gain more than 63 yards this season and on the slower field in San Francisco, this game will be won through the air where the Rams like to play anyway. Faulk did not have good games against the 49ers as a visitor back when he was younger, it's not going to change now.

Pre-Game Notes - SF

After tantalizing, teasingly close losses the 49ers dropped the biggest dud of the NFL season last week when they were shutout 34-0 by Seattle. This week will be much better but for a team in transition - likely not quite close enough.

Quarterback: After week two, HC Dennis Erickson suggested that Ken Dorsey might be gaining a lock on the starting slot over the injured Tim Rattay and might continue to play once Rattay was healthy. After Dorsey had four turnovers last week, Erickson just keeps looking at his watch and asking everyone if they've seen Rattay lately. Dorsey is now the lowest rated passer in the NFL.

Rattay is slated to try to practice on Wednesday and could be available this Sunday but until that happens I am assuming Dorsey gets to work on that QB rating again.

Update: Rattay has practiced for two days and looks sharp. He is expected to start this week.

Running Backs: After his big week two of 114 yards and two scores, Kevan Barlow managed to return from a sprained ligament in his knee but only gained 22 yards on ten carries against the Seahawks. That was with FB Fred Beasley back but Barlow never had a chance to get into the flow of the game with score lopsided early. He is certain to rebound this week.

Update: I bumped up Barlow's numbers a bit with Rattay back. The Rams will likely respect the pass a little more and give Barlow a better crack at a bad rush defense.

Wide Receivers: Cedrick Wilson picked up where he left off in week one when he returned from a hamstring tweak to lead 49er receivers with six catches for 57 yards. In a game that needed deep passing for about three quarters of play, this crew with Dorsey just couldn't deliver the goods.

Brandon Lloyd had a right groin strain in practice last week and ended up inactive for the game. He's expected to be fine this weekend and serve as the starting split end.

Update: LLoyd is still quesitonable to play and Conway has already been named as the #2 receiver. Lloyd may play some from the #3 spot, but that is not certain do I am disregarding him this week.

Tight Ends: Eric Johnson had five catches for 39 yards and is still a big component in the passing attack.

Match Against the Defense: The Rams rushing defense has managed to face only Emmitt Smith, Warrick Dunn and Aaron Stecker. They've allowed that group to score four touchdowns. The 49ers are bound to run more this week if only to keep the ball from temporarily being in Dorsey's hands before he loses it. Count on a better than average game from Barlow who should be better recovered from his ligament strain.

The Rams pass defense is nothing special but then again, neither is the passing game for SF. The matchups favor Lloyd the most but he has not shown capable of doing much with it yet this year.

STL SF 2003 Averages SF STL
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
305
235
Pass yards
215
225
1.0
2.0
Pass TDs
0.7
0.7
0.7
0.3
Interceptions
1.3
0.0
6
4
Rush yards
0
47
0.3
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
89
76
Rush yards
108
105
0.7
1.3
Rush TDs
1.0
1.3
32
19
Receive yards
30
42
0.0
0.3
Receive TD's
0.0
0.3
---
---
WR's
---
---
270
181
Receive yards
114
141
1.0
1.0
Receive TD's
0.3
0.3
---
---
TE's
---
---
3
35
Receive yards
70
42
0.0
0.7
Receive TD's
0.3
0.0
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.7
1.7
Field Goals
1.3
2.7
1.3
3.3
Extra Points
1.3
2.0
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.0
1.7
Fumbles
0.3
1.3
0.0
1.3
Interceptions
0.3
0.7
0.0
0.0
Touchdowns
0.0
0.3
1.7
2.7
Sacks
2.7
3.3
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Rams (1-2)
Score Opp.
17-10 ARI
17-34 @ATL
25-28 NO
Week 4 @SF
Week 5 @SEA
Week 6 TB
Week 7 @MIA
Week 8 bye
Week 9 NE
Week 10 SEA
Week 11 @BUF
Week 12 @GB
Week 13 SF
Week 14 @CAR
Week 15 @ARI
Week 16 PHI
Week 17 NYJ
49ers (0-3)
Score Opp.
19-21 ATL
27-30 @NO
0-34 @SEA
Week 4 STL
Week 5 ARI
Week 6 @NYJ
Week 7 bye
Week 8 @CHI
Week 9 SEA
Week 10 CAR
Week 11 @TB
Week 12 MIA
Week 13 @STL
Week 14 @ARI
Week 15 WAS
Week 16 BUF
Week 17 @NE