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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
  Detroit Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 0 0 240,1
RB Artose Pinner 30 0 0
TE Stephen Alexander 0 20 0
WR Roy Williams 0 90,1 0
WR Az-Zahir Hakim 0 50 0
WR Tai Streets 0 40 0
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 1 XP -
  Atlanta Rush Catch Pass
QB Michael Vick 40 0 220,1
RB Warrick Dunn 60,1 10 0
RB T.J. Duckett 20 0 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 70,1 0
WR Dez White 0 30 0
WR Peerless Price 0 50 0
WR Brian Finneran 0 40 0
PK Jay Feeley 2 FG 2 XP -

DET (2-1) vs ATL (4-0)

Game Prediction: DET 15, ATL 20

Coming full circle now, head coach Jim Mora Jr. has already beaten the team he left and now gets to face his old head coach from when he was the 49er defensive coordinator. This is an offense that Mora understands and he'll be featuring a defense that Mariucci has already seen. Comes down to the players who are executing all those plays - advantage Mora.

Pre-Game Notes - DET

The Lions come off their bye week with a 2-1 record and now get to face their second undefeated team in a row. While Detroit has won on the road finally, heading into Atlanta right now is not the recipe for staying above .500.

Quarterback: So far Joey Harrington has been good - not great but not bad either. He's thrown six touchdowns in three games and yet has one interception or fumble in each. He still has not exceeded 199 yards passing yet but has already gained chemistry with Roy Williams to keep the chains moving and points on the board. After hitting Williams for two scores in each of the last two games, chances are that no defenses are going to underprepare for the new rookie wideout.

Running Backs: The rushing game remains a mess in Detroit, with Kevin Jones 57 yards against the Texans as the season high. Jones remains out with an ankle sprain and though he may make it back this week, I am assuming that Artose Pinner takes the start in place of Jones. Updates as warranted. Pinner has been no gem so far, gaining only 35 yards on 12 carries in the last two games when the defenses weren't focusing on him.

Wide Receivers: There's Roy Williams and then there's pretty much no one else. Williams has turned in 17 receptions for 277 yards and four scores in only his first three games. That's rookie of the year stuff if he can maintain it and in light of his ability of catch in traffic and the fact that Harrington is throwing up to 16 times a game to him - he just might. Tai Streets has taken over for the injured Charles Rogers but only comes up with about three catches and 25 yards a game. There's Roy Williams and then there's pretty much no one else. That about sums it. Sounds sort of "Anquan Boldin-ish" from last year. Pretty much looks like it too.

Tight Ends: Stephen Alexander tops out at 15 yards a game so far. Go team!

Match Against the Defense: No one can be certain that the Atlanta offense is really that good, but there is a definite consensus that the defense really is that good - particularly with sacks and turnovers that kill drives and swing games.

You can let Artose Pinner ride the pine this week in case you thought your crafty 18th round draft pick means something this Sunday. The Falcons held Foster to only 51 yards last week and Marshall Faulk had only 20 yards in week two. Pinner is no Faulk. His best aspect is that if the Lions get to the goal line, he can score a short one but the yardage is very unlikely to be fantasy relevant.

Harrington should produce his best passing numbers of the season if only in trash time. The Falcons gave up a ton of yards to both Bulger and Delhomme even if much was later in the game. This will be no shoot-out against this defense but Harrington has a shot at one passing score. That's most likely Roy Williams since he throws so many to his new toy but too many passes just means the Atlanta defense eventually has yet another interception return for a score.

Given the two teams trends, I like the one passing score and I am awarding it to Roy Williams but it could go anywhere, particularly to either Streets or Hakim since the tight end does not figure into the game plans much and will need to spend most the time blocking.

Pre-Game Notes - ATL

Wow. The Falcons are 4-0 and next up are the Lions, then the Chargers and Chiefs. These birds may be partying like it's 1999 again.

Quarterback: The nice thing about being Michael Vick, aside from the endorsement contracts, is that you never have to do too much and everyone still loves you. If you listen to television announcers, he's like a busty blonde at a high school sock-hop who can't dance - who cares? The reality for you non-Vick fantasy owners is that Vick has not made a huge difference this year other than scaring the bejeezus out of defenses and forcing them into unfamiliar formations. In four games so far, Vick has thrown only two touchdowns against two interceptions and two fumbles. He's never had more than 179 yards passing this year and absolutely has no clue what wideouts are supposed to do. But he rushed for 109 yards against the Rams and 68 yards against the Cardinals so back off defenses! Blondie is heading for the dance floor!

Running Backs: Warrick Dunn was able to play last week after spraining his ankle in week three and gained 76 yards on 16 carries with one touchdown until he had a cramp in his hamstring and gave way to T.J. "Really? Me?" Duckett who ran for 63 yards on only 13 carries with yet another touchdown. While it was nice to see Duckett - and all too unexpected for fantasy owners - the coaching staff acted genuinely surprised that the guy who scored eleven times last year would run that well. There's talk that he'll figure into the offense much more from now on though it's been said before. Considering after four weeks that Dunn has already been dinged up twice, Duckett will either be a smart move now or the only option later.

Wide Receivers: Let's not spend a lot of time on a group of guys that have combined for only 132 total yards in the last three games. That's not even individual tight end numbers on many teams. By now you have to picture this crew as Vick's Entourage. They are always with him, they laugh at his jokes, and they hold his jacket when he dances but they never actually get any action themselves. They probably haven't washed their game jerseys this year.

Tight Ends: Alge Crumpler turned in 85 yards on five catches and that's enough to lead all receivers on this team last week. In fact it was more than all other receivers combined. In fact he's been the leading receiver in every game this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions bring one of the quietly better NFL defenses this season to Atlanta. This should be an interesting game since the Loins have held runners pretty well this year - Thomas Jones (21-67), Domanick Davis (25-78) and Brian Westbrook (13-44) have all languished around three yards per carry. Atlanta is a running team and that should hit a wall this week that sheer volume will be needed to scale.

Expect lower numbers from Dunn though he could turn in some receiving yardage if the Falcons actually started throwing the ball to him. If Duckett is used, that only waters down Dunn even more.

Lions biggest weakness is against the pass since they allowed both Carr and McNabb to throw for over 300 yards and two scores against them. This will be a week where Vick will have to use his wideouts more or risk playing in a game closer than expected. This is a carpet like back home in Detroit and the team speed of the Lions should be able to contain Vick better than most, along with a defense that has collected eight turnovers in the past three games.

It should be a good game to watch since it should force Vick out of his comfort zone and into being a real quarterback. He's done it before, just not this year. And maybe the wideouts will have to wash their jerseys finally.

DET ATL 2003 Averages ATL DET
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
187
279
Pass yards
151
299
2.0
0.8
Pass TDs
0.5
1.3
0.7
1.0
Interceptions
0.5
1.0
11
6
Rush yards
55
16
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.3
---
---
RB's
---
---
74
56
Rush yards
107
74
0.0
0.5
Rush TDs
1.5
0.7
36
45
Receive yards
36
60
0.3
0.0
Receive TD's
0.3
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
134
201
Receive yards
53
191
1.7
0.5
Receive TD's
0.0
1.0
---
---
TE's
---
---
18
34
Receive yards
63
48
0.0
0.3
Receive TD's
0.3
0.3
---
---
PK's
---
---
0.7
1.3
Field Goals
1.5
1.3
2.3
1.0
Extra Points
2.5
2.0
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.7
0.8
Fumbles
1.8
0.3
1.0
0.5
Interceptions
1.0
0.7
0.7
0.0
Touchdowns
0.5
0.0
3.3
2.5
Sacks
4.0
2.7
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.3
Lions(2-1)
Score Opp.
20-16 @CHI
28-16 HOU
13-30 PHI
Week 4 bye
Week 5 @ATL
Week 6 GB
Week 7 @NYG
Week 8 @DAL
Week 9 WAS
Week 10 @JAX
Week 11 @MIN
Week 12 IND
Week 13 ARI
Week 14 @GB
Week 15 MIN
Week 16 CHI
Week 17 @TEN
Falcons (4-0)
Score Opp.
21-19 @SF
34-17 STL
6-3 ARI
27-10 @CAR
Week 5 DET
Week 6 SD
Week 7 @KC
Week 8 @DEN
Week 9 bye
Week 10 TB
Week 11 @NYG
Week 12 NO
Week 13 @TB
Week 14 OAK
Week 15 CAR
Week 16 @NO
Week 17 @SEA