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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 6
October 13, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Mon 9 PM
MIA at BUF* GB at DET* CAR at PHI* DEN at OAK TB at STL
SD at ATL KC at JAX HOU at TEN* PIT at DAL Bye Week:
CIN at CLE* SF at NYJ*   Sun 8:30 PM ARZ, BAL
WAS at CHI* SEA at NE* Times ET MIN at NO IND, NYG
  San Diego Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 10 0 250,1
RB L. Tomlinson 80,1 50 0
TE Antonio Gates 0 60,1 0
WR Reche Caldwell 0 50 0
WR Eric Parker 0 20 0
WR Tim Dwight 0 20 0
PK Nate Kaeding 1 FG 2 XP -
  Atlanta Rush Catch Pass
QB Michael Vick 40,1 0 240,1
RB Warrick Dunn 70,1 30 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 50 0
WR Dez White 0 30 0
WR Peerless Price 0 70,1 0
WR Brian Finneran 0 50 0
PK Jay Feeley 1 FG 3 XP -

SD (3-2) vs ATL (4-1)

Game Prediction: SD 17, ATL 24

Here's a pairing of two teams that no one really knows what they really are like this year. The Chargers are a high scoring offense, somehow, that only has a running back and tight end. The Falcons defense has been outstanding until at home against the Lions who had not won consecutive road games since our galaxy was being formed.

Pre-Game Notes - SD

San Diego is now 3-2 after throttling the Titans and Jaguars. Drew Brees has been so effective that Philip Rivers is a name that is never mentioned and incredibly Marty Schottenheimer is trying to quell actual excitement by the team.

Quarterback: For being a lame duck, Drew Brees is certainly flying pretty high now. At home the last two weeks, he's thrown for 417 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. He's only had interceptions in one of his five games this year and has even scored one rushing touchdown.

Running Backs: LaDainian Tomlinson only had 56 rushing yards on 19 carries against the Jaguars, but he added 78 yards on four catches and scored one touchdown. He even attempted two passes in the game. His groin was bothering him later in the game and since the Chargers were comfortably ahead, they allowed Jesse Chatman to have 11 carries which he turned into 103 yards and a touchdown. Chatman's performance will allow San Diego more comfort in swapping out Tomlinson in the future when the need arises.

Wide Receivers: Welcome to 2004. Although the Chargers had 211 passing yards and two scores, there were only three catches at all by a wideout and all went to Reche Caldwell who only managed 30 yards. This is a sad group to rely on outside of Caldwell and even he cannot compete with one of the best tight ends in the game.

Tight Ends: Antonio Gates continues to amaze, nabbing eight catches for 93 yards and two touchdowns last week. Almost half of all passes went to him and between he and Tomlinson, they had all but 40 of the receiving yards.

Match Against the Defense: This should be a statement game - both teams need to prove who they are this season if only to themselves. The Falcons have twice allowed decent passing yardage but never more than one touchdown at home. The main matchups - TE and RB - should go well enough. The only team with a strong tight end to face them were the 49ers and Eric Johnson had 86 yards and a score in week one. Gates gets almost half the passes anyway.

Tomlinson will face a stout rushing defense that has not allowed more than 76 yards to any runner this year though Barlow is about the best RB they have faced. He's still a very safe play and the Falcons have given up a few nice receptions to the opposing tailbacks as well.

Caldwell has a chance to do something this week since they have been weaker against the pass, but much of that was due to game situations allowing it (trash time) and he's hardly the same level as Holt or even Muhammad who had nice games this year.

Pre-Game Notes - ATL

Nothing like getting spanked by the Lions to put a team back in their place. The loss last week was painful in many ways, more than any it showed that the offense is still struggling when the defense doesn't give them great field position from turnovers.

Quarterback: Michael Vick comes off his worse start of the year, throwing for only 196 yards and no score against two lost fumbles and one bad interception. He only has two passing scores on the year against seven turnovers. His only saving grace is that he finally noticed Peerless Price last week for the first time all season. Vick is struggling in the new offense that has not yet shown to be a match for his skills which are primarily letting the receivers all go deep and then running the ball. Relying on shorter throws in this offense plays against his skills.

Running Backs: Warrick Dunn was initially questionable to play last week since he had a cramp in his hamstring but suited up and once again had all the running back carries. He ended with only 44 yards on 18 rushes but scored once and finally even caught five passes for 31 yards.

The amazing, yet again, factor in the game was that T.J. Duckett was never used. Once again, the coaching staff says that he is a big part of the offense and that they will try to work him in this week but coming off a 63 yard, one touchdown game the previous week was evidently not enough to remind him he existed against the Lions. I am no longer projecting any numbers for Duckett until he actually plays in two consecutive games.

Wide Receivers: This group had been entirely worthless the whole year but finally had some output last week. Peerless Price managed 84 yards on five catches. That's more than he had in the three previous games combined. The rest of the crew was meaningless, never having more than 45 yards and still no wideout has scored this year.

Tight Ends: Alge Crumpler ended with only one catch for 24 yards last week. Evidently noticing the wideouts finally made him less a target. Crumpler's best games so far have been on the road where he had 82 and 85 yards with one score. In three homestands, he's never been better than 49 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Chargers have the 30th ranked pass defense so Michael Vick will have his best opportunity of the season to do something. The Chargers have allowed no less than 250 passing yards to any opponent in the last four games while giving up seven touchdowns in that time. The left side has been more soft this year but Dez White has hardly been lighting it up. Price is a decent play this week and has a good chance of his first touchdown for 2004.

The Chargers rushing defense has vastly improved from last season, allowing only one 100 yard game but much of that success has been because the offense was scoring so much that the opponents were not running in the game. Since week two, no runner has had more than 15 carries against them. Look for Dunn to turn in a moderate game but to have at least the opportunity for receiving yards.

SD ATL 2004 Averages ATL SD
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
194
253
Pass yards
160
283
1.6
0.8
Pass TDs
0.4
1.4
0.4
0.8
Interceptions
0.6
0.8
7
5
Rush yards
50
8
0.4
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.2
---
---
RB's
---
---
123
65
Rush yards
98
75
1.2
0.6
Rush TDs
1.4
1.0
43
43
Receive yards
35
67
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.2
0.2
---
---
WR's
---
---
80
178
Receive yards
73
183
0.8
0.6
Receive TD's
0.0
0.8
---
---
TE's
---
---
70
32
Receive yards
57
33
0.8
0.2
Receive TD's
0.2
0.4
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.4
1.2
Field Goals
1.4
1.6
3.4
1.2
Extra Points
2.2
2.6
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.8
1.2
Fumbles
1.4
0.6
0.8
0.6
Interceptions
0.8
0.4
0.2
0.0
Touchdowns
0.4
0.0
1.8
3.2
Sacks
3.8
1.6
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Chargers (3-2)
Score Opp.
27-20 @HOU
28-34 NYJ
13-23 @DEN
38-17 TEN
34-21 JAX
Week 6 @ATL
Week 7 @CAR
Week 8 OAK
Week 9 NO
Week 10 bye
Week 11 @OAK
Week 12 @KC
Week 13 DEN
Week 14 TB
Week 15 @CLE
Week 16 @IND
Week 17 KC
Falcons (4-1)
Score Opp.
21-19 @SF
34-17 STL
6-3 ARI
27-10 @CAR
10-17 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