fantasy football     JOIN THE HUDDLE    
HOME ARTICLES NEWS DRAFT GUIDE REGULAR SEASON STATISTICS NFL TEAMS MESSAGE BOARDS

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 5
October 6, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 4 PM Mon 9 PM
DET at ATL MIA at NE* BUF at NYJ STL at SEA TEN at GB
NYG at DAL TB at NO* CAR at DEN* Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
MIN at HOU* CLE at PIT* JAX at SD* BAL at WAS CHI, CIN
OAK at IND* Times ET ARZ at SF* *updated KC, PHI
  Cleveland Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia 20 0 210,1
RB William Green 20 10 0
RB Lee Suggs 80,1 10 0
TE Steve Heiden 0 10 0
WR Andre Davis 0 60,1 0
WR Dennis Northcutt 0 30 0
WR Quincy Morgan 0 60 0
PK Phil Dawson 1 FG 2 XP -
  Pittsburgh Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 0 0 190
RB Duce Staley 30 0 0
RB Jerome Bettis 40,2 0 0
RB Verron Haynes 30 0 0
TE Jay Riemersma 0 10 0
WR Hines Ward 0 90 0
WR Antwaan Randle El 0 20 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 60 0
PK Jeff Reed 2 FG 2 XP -

CLE (2-2) vs PIT (3-1)


Game Prediction: CLE 17, PIT 20

Two long-time rivals square off in Pittsburgh where the Browns spanked the Steelers 33-13 last season. Cleveland lost at home later in the year but the memory of that big thrashing should still be on the minds of the hometown fans.

Pre-Game Notes - CLE

Cleveland rises to 2-2 on the season with their win over the Redskins. The return of Lee Suggs has already made a difference though this offense still has not scored more than 20 points in any game and has yet to win on the road.

Quarterback: Jeff Garcia finally had a "turn around" game with 195 yards and one score against no turnovers last week. After the Dallas debacle and his famed 0.0 QB rating, he turned in a 112 against the Redskins. It's still nothing like he once did as a 49er, but at least he is not losing the games for the Browns. His 195 yards was his best this season.

Running Backs: Lee Suggs finally made it back into the starting lineup and rushed 22 times for 82 yards with one touchdown. That was the first rushing score of the year and Suggs hit the hole quicker than William Green has been. The plan all along was to have both share but when Suggs gets into gear, he's a definite step up from Green and should see most of the carries as long as he remains healthy.

Wide Receivers: Garcia has only thrown three touchdowns this year and two went to Quincy Morgan but last week he only found Morgan twice for 18 yards. Andre' Davis finally turned in a good afternoon, catching three passes for 93 yards while Dennis Northcutt only had two catches in spite of having nine the previous game against the Cowboys.

The passing scheme is still not developed and if Suggs can continue to run well, there's little reason to assume much more will come out of the Cleveland wideouts.

Tight Ends: Steve Heiden finally returned to the lineup but the lone passing score went to Aaron Shea. With four catches between them, it was the most productive day by the tight ends this season and not the standard.

Match Against the Defense: Suggs has never played against the Steelers but he has a chance at moderate numbers since Rudi Johnson turned in 123 yards last week in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, the Cleveland passing offense is less likely to inspire concern by the defense than the Bengals commanded last Sunday.

The Steelers pass defense has been very good lately but has only faced Boller, Feeley and Palmer - hardly the top passers in the NFL. When Gannon was in Pittsburgh he had 305 yards but this offense hasn't proven capable of nearly that much yet. The Browns will try to establish the rushing game and should have at least enough initial success to reduce the need for Garcia to throw much. This should be a fairly defensive matchup but if it were to turn into a shootout, the Browns aren't likely to come along for the ride.

Pre-Game Notes - PIT

Other than the one loss to the Ravens, the 3-1 Steelers are feeling pretty good about themselves now. They have a promising new quarterback, a much improved rushing game and a defense that has been at least good enough and at times very good.

Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger was drafted with high expectations, but so far he has exceeded even those by being thrown into the starting slot and winning the last three games. After 10 quarters of playing time, he has completed 41 of 67 passes for 513 yards and four touchdowns against only three interceptions and had no turnovers last week against the Bengals. He's playing with surprising poise and control and has yet to make a truly bad decision. At this rate, Tommy Maddox can take all the time he wants to heal up.

Running Backs: After changing teams in the offseason, Duce Staley is off to the best start for a season in his entire career. He comes off a 123 yard effort against the Bengals and only his one matchup against the Ravens saw him turn in less than 90 yards in a game. Before you get too excited about his fantasy potential, realize that Jerome Bettis is turning into a complete touchdown machine, scoring now five times on the season in spite of only having 18 carries on the year.

Update: Duce Staley had a toenail removed and infection drained and has missed practice. It's very painful and he is questionable to play this week but is not counted out yet. I am lowering his numbers from the risk but realize he may not even play by game time. Verron Haynes would get more carries in the event that Staley does not play or is limited. I am including Haynes as it is likely he will see at least some action and possible a fair amount if Staley does not play.

Wide Receivers: The most exciting aspect of Roethlisberger as quarterback is that he actually notices and throws the ball to Plaxico Burress. Last week he had ten throws and four catches from Plaxico who ended with 69 yards after having 60 yards the previous week. Compare this to the only full game with Maddox when Burress only had one catch for 13 yards.

Hines Ward had a down effort last week when he only had 48 receiving yards but he had six catches and remains, wisely, the preferred target of Roethlisberger. With Burress looking more like a factor again, it can only help Ward.

Tight Ends: It is just a myth in Pittsburgh.

Match Against the Defense: The Browns have not been the rushing doormat like last year, but they've still allowed four rushing scores already in 2004 and on the road has given up good games to both Eddie George and Tiki Barber. Expect at least a moderate yardage game for Staley and Bettis should have at least one opportunity to score if not two.

Roethlisberger will pass only as much as is needed but will face a team that has allowed only one passing score this year - primarily because they all rushing scores. Look for Roethlisberger to remain under 200 yards in the air and to throw no more than one passing score if that. Ward and Burress should combine for around 150 yards and while the Browns have been very kind to tight ends this year, the Steelers don't use them and will find Ward and Burress just as effective.

CLE PIT 2003 Averages PIT CLE
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
157
176
Pass yards
181
248
0.8
0.8
Pass TDs
1.0
0.3
1.0
1.5
Interceptions
0.8
1.3
13
9
Rush yards
5
6
0.3
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.3
---
---
RB's
---
---
98
93
Rush yards
120
87
0.3
0.8
Rush TDs
1.3
1.0
19
31
Receive yards
10
24
0.0
0.3
Receive TD's
0.3
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
111
109
Receive yards
161
158
0.5
0.5
Receive TD's
0.8
0.0
---
---
TE's
---
---
27
36
Receive yards
9
66
0.3
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.3
---
---
PK's
---
---
2.0
1.8
Field Goals
0.8
1.5
1.3
1.5
Extra Points
2.3
1.5
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.0
1.0
Fumbles
1.3
0.8
1.3
0.8
Interceptions
1.5
1.0
0.0
0.3
Touchdowns
0.3
0.0
1.5
2.0
Sacks
2.3
2.5
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.3
Browns(2-2)
Score Opp.
20-3 BAL
12-19 @DAL
10-27 @NYG
17-13 WAS
Week 5 @PIT
Week 6 CIN
Week 7 PHI
Week 8 bye
Week 9 @BAL
Week 10 PIT
Week 11 NYJ
Week 12 @CIN
Week 13 NE
Week 14 @BUF
Week 15 SD
Week 16 @MIA
Week 17 @HOU
Steelers (3-1)
Score Opp.
24-21 OAK
13-30 @BAL
13-3 @MIA
28-17 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