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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
  Minnesota Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper 20 0 280,3
RB Moe Williams 10 20 0
RB Mewelde Moore 60,1 10 0
TE Richard Owens 0 10 0
WR Randy Moss 0 110,2 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 60,1 0
WR Kelly Campbell 0 50 0
PK Morten Andersen 1 FG 4 XP -
  Houston Rush Catch Pass
QB David Carr 0 0 270,2
RB Jonathan Wells 50,1 10 0
RB Domanick Davis 20 20 0
TE Miller/Bruener 0 20 0
WR Corey Bradford 0 60,1 0
WR Andre Johnson 0 90,1 0
WR Jabar Gaffney 0 50 0
PK Kris Brown 1 FG 3 XP -

MIN (2-1) vs HOU (2-2)

Game Prediction: MIN 31, HOU 24

The Vikings come off their bye week to face the Texans - the "two wins in a row" Texans. If it took this long to get to consecutive wins, it's a bit early to hope for the trifecta quite yet.

Pre-Game Notes - MIN

The Vikings schedule is looking easier with each passing week and that's a good thing since they are starting to run out of healthy or non-suspended tailbacks.

Quarterback: Daunte Culpepper has played only three games this year but has scored nine times already and has never had less than 240 passing yards. He's an automatic fantasy starter even if the rest of the team gets suspended.

Running Backs: Onterrio Smith's run of legal luck has run out and he's starting his four game suspension now. Unfortunately, Michael Bennett's bad luck has not stopped and he'll be gone the next two weeks until something else is discovered or he hurts himself yet again. That leaves a banged-up but ready Moe Williams and rookie Mewelde Moore left to start this week. Williams played very well last year in relief of Bennett until his return.

Update: Since Moe Williams is coming off a knee sprain, he's expected to mainly play on passing downs as the better blocker and leave most the rushing to rookie Mewelde Moore. I am changing the numbers to better aligm with their likely roles of both runners.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss has five scores on the year and at least one in each game so far. When the defenses have devoted too much to stopping him, the trio of Nate Burleson, Marcus Robinson and Kelly Campbell get to have fun. Much more fun than the secondary. There's been no real trend beyond Moss so far - there's only been two non-Moss receiving touchdowns and Kelly Campbell and Nate Burleson have been more productive in yardage.

Tight Ends: Pure unfounded rumor really. Richard Owens rewarded waiver hounds in week three with two catches for 16 yards.

Match Against the Defense: If you can disregard Kerry Collins, and you really should, then all three opposing quarterbacks against the Texans have thrown for either two or three scores in their game and what's even better is that the wideouts catch those scores even though SD, DET and KC didn't really have any in the first place.

Expect a very nice game from Randy Moss this week and enough left over to reward one of the other three wideouts - most likely Nate Burleson's first score of the year though it could just as easily be for Robinson on a short endzone pass or Campbell on a fly pattern.

The Texans rush defense has allowed Tomlinson and Holmes to run wild, but also Amos Zereoue took off last week. The ground game should score at least once if Culpepper doesn't take in himself.

Pre-Game Notes - HOU

Getting that second win in a row out of the way allows the Texans to get back to being outgunned by opponent offenses.

Quarterback: David Carr's been effective though not flashy. He's thrown a touchdown in each of the past three weeks and even turned in a great 313 yard effort in the Detroit loss. He should be good for yardage again this week in a game he will need to throw to stay up with the Vikes.

Running Backs: Domanick Davis missed last week due to an ankle sprain and was very capably replaced by Jonathan Wells who turned in 105 yards on 26 carries with one touchdown. That was actually the best rushing game by any Texan this season. It was also the first 100 yard game of Wells' career. Tony Hollings filled in for six runs but only gained 22 yards in his first game back from a knee sprain.

Until later practice reports are available, I am assuming that Davis misses again this week and that Wells will take the next start. Updates as warranted.

Update: Domanick Davis has returned to practice now but is not participating fully yet. There is some expectation that he will play on Sunday but most likely he will be limited. I am inserting Davis, with lower numbers, into the lineup and removing Tony Hollings who is less likely to see time. Jonathan Wells is still the probable starter but could see some carries lost to Davis now.

Wide Receivers: Corey Bradford missed last week due to a separated right shoulder but is expected to return this week. He was replaced by Jabar Gaffney (4-48) against the Raiders but Gaffney should return to being the #3 this week. Andre Johnson had his first 100 yard game of the season last week and scored his second touchdown. He'll be in for plenty of action this week.

Tight Ends: Just say no. David Carr does.

Match Against the Defense: The effectiveness of the rushing game depends mostly on the scoreboard. Thanks to Culpepper posting so many points, only Thomas Jones has done much with 22 carries for 110 yards and a score. Brian Westbrook only managed 69 yards on only 12 carries as a more typical outing against Minnesota and there's a good chance that Jonathan Wells will not turn in 100 yard games each week. A very good chance. Excellent even.

There's no reason not to expect David Carr to have his biggest passing game this season. He could approach 300 yards if the run is abandoned and the Vikings secondary is not good enough in the nickel or dime packages to do much more than just slow down opponents. Andre Johnson should turn in a big game here with even Corey Bradford surprising if his shoulder is healthy again. If not, expect Gaffney to fill in well.

MIN HOU 2003 Averages HOU MIN
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
315
212
Pass yards
251
283
2.7
2.0
Pass TDs
1.0
1.0
0.3
1.3
Interceptions
1.0
0.0
26
4
Rush yards
26
15
0.3
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.7
---
---
RB's
---
---
78
121
Rush yards
89
84
0.0
0.8
Rush TDs
0.8
0.7
82
14
Receive yards
63
68
0.3
0.3
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
193
123
Receive yards
168
184
2.3
1.3
Receive TD's
1.0
0.7
---
---
TE's
---
---
41
76
Receive yards
20
34
0.0
0.5
Receive TD's
0.0
0.3
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.7
0.8
Field Goals
2.3
2.0
3.0
3.0
Extra Points
1.8
2.0
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.3
1.3
Fumbles
0.5
1.0
0.0
1.0
Interceptions
1.3
0.3
0.0
0.3
Touchdowns
0.5
0.0
1.7
2.8
Sacks
1.8
3.0
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Vikings (2-1)
Score Opp.
35-17 DAL
16-27 @PHI
27-22 CHI
Week 4 bye
Week 5 @HOU
Week 6 @NO
Week 7 TEN
Week 8 NYG
Week 9 @IND
Week 10 @GB
Week 11 DET
Week 12 JAX
Week 13 @CHI
Week 14 SEA
Week 15 @DET
Week 16 GB
Week 17 @WAS
Texans (2-2)
Score Opp.
20-27 SD
16-28 @DET
24-21 @KC
30-17 OAK
Week 5 MIN
Week 6 @TEN
Week 7 bye
Week 8 JAX
Week 9 @DEN
Week 10 @IND
Week 11 GB
Week 12 TEN
Week 13 @NYJ
Week 14 IND
Week 15 @CHI
Week 16 @JAX
Week 17 CLE