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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
  St. Louis Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger 0 0 280,1
RB Marshall Faulk 60 20 0
RB Steven Jackson 20 10 0
TE B. Manumaleuna 0 10 0
WR Isaac Bruce 0 90 0
WR Torry Holt 0 80,1 0
WR Curtis/McDonald/Looker 0 60 0
PK Jeff Wilkins 3 FG 1 XP -
  Seattle Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck 0 0 240,2
RB Shaun Alexander 110,1 20 0
TE Jerramy Stevens 0 20 0
WR Darrell Jackson 0 90,1 0
WR Bobby Engram 0 30 0
WR Koren Robinson 0 60,1 0
PK Josh Brown 2 FG 3 XP -

STL (2-2) vs SEA (3-0)

Game Prediction: STL 16, SEA 27

Finally, several high fantasy draft picks get to square off with the expectation of some points. The Seattle defense may get in the way though since they've only allowed one touchdown this entire season since TB, SF and NO were no matches.

Pre-Game Notes - STL

The Rams have always scored between 17 and 25 points in each game this season. The only question is if their opponent can score more than that and at home, the Seahawks come off a 34-0 shutout of the 49ers and a bye week while the Rams come off a similar defeat of the 49ers by a margin of 24-14.

Quarterback: After starting the season with three games over 272 yards passing and one touchdown in each, Marc Bulger dipped down to only 186 yards (and the one obligatory touchdown) against the 49ers because the Rams suddenly decided to actually run the ball. He only had 25 attempts last week for a season low but the Rams are less likely to be able to just run the ball to win so expect Bulger to tilt back up this week in the yardage department... with the one obligatory touchdown pass.

Running Backs: After only having a dozen rushes in each of the two previous games, Marshall Faulk finally got the call 23 times against the 49ers and turned in 121 yards but never scored. That was given to both Steven Jackson (10-46) and even Joey Goodspeed (1-2) who both had touchdowns. Faulk only had one catch in the game as the Rams switched up their style against San Francisco but this week should see a greater need for the pass than the run.

Wide Receivers: In spite of lower passing yards last week, Isaac Bruce set the NFL record for four consecutive 100 yard games to start the season. He had exactly 100 yards on seven carries while Tory Holt took a major backseat when he only managed three catches for 28 yards. With the way Seattle typically plays at home this year, expect Bruce to get a decent shot at the fifth 100 yard game if only because the need will be there. It's obvious after last year that all teams are game planning against Holt, but Bruce is making that more painful for the secondary and should help loosen up the attention that Holt has been getting.

Shaun McDonald had a touchdown on his only catch last week and Kevin Curtis was the most productive #3 wideout with three catches for 22 yards. It was the first game this season that Dane Looker had no catches.

Tight Ends: Brandon Manumaleuna had one catch, fell forward and gained three yards. Never start a Ram tight end.

Match Against the Defense: You have to like the point potential of this game and the chance that a shootout happens since the Rams have the offensive firepower to at least pick up hefty trash time points and yet not enough defense to keep an opponent like Seattle from scoring with too much ease.

Marshall Faulk should return to his lower production this week and in Seattle last year he only managed 31 yards on 15 carries and that was in a rare healthy game. Later on in the year in St. Louis he did better but still only had three yards per carry and the Seahawks defense is better this year. No runner has gained more than 75 yards against Seattle this year and no runner has scored a touchdown. In fact there's only been one touchdown at all scored against Seattle.

Bulger has not had a big game against the Seahawks, turning in only 226 yards and 236 yards in two meetings last year. He'll likely throw for more than that this go around since the game situation should dictate more passing earlier in the game than what happened last year. The eventual game score will likely be skewed by trash time scores and yardage and with Holt and Bruce, that could end up as a nice fantasy day even if it wasn't enough for the Rams.

Pre-Game Notes - SEA

Seattle is now 3-0 and have allowed only one touchdown and two field goals in their first three games. That's not forcing Matt Hasselbeck to do much in order to win games. This week might not be too different but the Rams do have the means to stay in the game so unlike against TB and SF, Seattle cannot overlook St. Louis and hope to mail in a victory. With New England waiting in week six, getting a win here is even more important.

Quarterback: After three games, Matt Hasselbeck has only thrown for four touchdowns and had a season high of only 254 yards passing - well below expectations. That won't last but this opening stretch against non-quality opponents has yet to test the team much and Seattle has gone into every game knowing that they can win. They'll know it again this week but should post more points out of respect for what the Rams could potentially do later in the game.

Running Backs: Shaun Alexander had a tougher time against the 49ers when he only gained 52 yards on 19 carries but he did score two touchdowns to bring his season total to four in only three games. Even if he doesn't get the yardage, he's about as reliable as any runner in the NFL with scoring touchdowns each game. The Rams have always played it pretty tough against Alexander but this should be a good stage for a nice game from him.

Wide Receivers: The lower passing numbers haven't hurt Darrell Jackson too much since he gets his before any other wideout does. In their last game, Jackson had seven catches for 97 yards while Koren Robinson only had one reception for 12 yards though Koren does have the lone wideout touchdown this season.

Both Jackson and Robinson scored when these teams played in Seattle last year and should figure in more this week since Alexander will not be enough by himself.

Tight Ends: Despite preseason accolades, Jeremy Stevens has done nothing more this season than the previous year and against the 49ers, it was Itula Mili who had the scoring reception on his only catch in the game. This position should start figuring in more as the defenses get tougher this season, but that's not happening as early as this week.

Match Against the Defense: If Seattle's defense continues such a torrid pace, expect just Alexander to post good numbers but he's never really had great games in the past against the Rams. Since St. Louis has not yet met a runner as good as Alexander, the fact they haven't allowed more than 106 yards is probably misleading since they've only faced Emmitt Smith (87 yards, 1 TD), Warrick Dunn (43 yards, 2 TDs) and an injured Kevan Barlow (42 yards). Alexander should be a lock to score at least one touchdown but his yardage will largely be contingent on game situations and the luxury of just running the ball more than normal.

Hasselbeck goes against a secondary that allowed Aaron Brooks 316 yards and one score and Tim Rattay 299 yards and two scores even if most of those were in trash time for Rattay. This should be a nice opportunity to open up a balanced offense for Seattle and should benefit both the run and passing games.

STL SEA 2003 Averages SEA STL
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
275
195
Pass yards
219
244
1.0
0.3
Pass TDs
1.3
1.0
0.5
1.7
Interceptions
0.7
0.3
6
11
Rush yards
-2
35
0.3
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
109
60
Rush yards
115
93
1.0
0.0
Rush TDs
1.3
1.0
31
27
Receive yards
27
49
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.7
0.3
---
---
WR's
---
---
242
122
Receive yards
174
136
1.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.3
0.8
---
---
TE's
---
---
3
46
Receive yards
18
60
0.0
0.3
Receive TD's
0.3
0.0
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.5
0.7
Field Goals
1.0
2.0
1.8
0.3
Extra Points
2.7
1.5
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.3
0.3
Fumbles
1.7
1.0
0.3
0.7
Interceptions
1.7
0.5
0.0
0.0
Touchdowns
0.0
0.3
2.0
1.7
Sacks
3.3
2.5
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Rams (2-2)
Score Opp.
17-10 ARI
17-34 @ATL
25-28 NO
24-14 @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
Seahawks (3-0)
Score Opp.
21-7 @NO
10-6 @TB
34-0 SF
Week 4 bye
Week 5 STL
Week 6 @NE
Week 7 @ARI
Week 8 CAR
Week 9 @SF
Week 10 @STL
Week 11 MIA
Week 12 BUF
Week 13 DAL
Week 14 @MIN
Week 15 @NYJ
Week 16 ARI
Week 17 ATL