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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 7
October 20, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Mon 9 PM
BUF at BAL ATL at KC CHI at TB* SEA at ARZ* DEN at CIN
SD at CAR* STL at MIA* Sun 4 PM NO at OAK* Bye Week:
JAX at IND* DET at NYG* NYJ at NE Times ET HOU, PIT
PHI at CLE* TEN at MIN* DAL at GB *updated SF, WAS
  Buffalo Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Bledsoe 0 0 180,1
RB Travis Henry 50 10 0
RB Willis McGahee 20 10 0
TE M. Campbell 0 20,1 0
WR Eric Moulds 0 60 0
WR Josh Reed 0 20 0
WR Lee Evans 0 40 0
PK Rian Lindell 2 FG 1 XP -
  Baltimore Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Boller 10 0 170,1
RB Chester Taylor 50 30 0
TE Terry Jones 0 10 0
WR Travis Taylor 0 50 0
WR Kevin Johnson 0 40 0
WR Randy Hymes 0 30,1 0
PK Matt Stover 3 FG 1 XP -

BUF (1-4) vs BAL (3-2)

Game Prediction: BUF 13, BAL 16

Here's a lock for one of the more boring games of the week. Both teams have good defenses and neither offense has gotten on track all season long.

Pre-Game Notes - BUF

Buffalo finally secured their first win after getting reamed by their geriatric owner though the biggest factor was likely facing the only other winless team in the NFL. It's a bit early to hope for back to back wins as early as this week.

Quarterback: Last week Drew Bledsoe threw for 212 yards and one touchdown which makes him good for a score every week so far this season. He only reached two scores one time and will not likely repeat that feat against the Ravens defense. Against the Jets, Bledsoe finally had a game without any turnovers and again, he is not likely to repeat that feat against the Ravens defense.

Running Backs: There was some optimism sparked last week when Willis McGahee had his first NFL start and turned in 111 yards on 26 carries and had 31 more yards on three receptions. The coaching staff have already tried to quell any thoughts of a change at tailback by saying that Travis Henry remains the starter when healthy but the good showing of McGahee against a tough Miami defense has to get Willis a few more carries a game if only in relief of Henry.

Henry injured his foot and missed last week but was considered a game time decision and had practiced on a limited basis. I am considering him as available to start this week unless other information warrants an update.

Wide Receivers: True to form, Eric Moulds is the only wideout really doing much with any consistency. He had 99 yards on five receptions against the Dolphins while no other wideout had more than 32 yards. Lee Evans had a quiet game and Josh Reed had only a single catch. For fantasy purposes, consider Moulds and no one else on this crew this week.

Tight Ends: While the Bills do not use the tight ends much in the passing scheme, Mark Campbell is at least an average tight end and likely a good one if they would use him more. He's had a touchdown catch in each of the last two games and last week was the most common target for Bledsoe after Moulds. That reflects the Bills need for alternate receivers when facing a good secondary which will happen again this week.

Match Against the Defense: The Ravens come off a bye week and have prepared for life without Jamal Lewis (for two weeks anyway). Don't expect a big game from Bledsoe since he hasn't had one yet this season and the Ravens have held all passers to only one score in four of their five games. That fits into Bledsoe's pattern - one score and nothing more.

It's also unlikely that Henry will do much in Baltimore even if Holmes looked good there a few weeks ago. Most opposing running backs top out at around 50 or 60 yards a game and there is the question if McGahee is going to cut into Henry's action at least a little more now. This will be a defensive war to be certain and the offensive numbers should be low for all players in the game.

Pre-Game Notes - BAL

The Ravens come off their bye week with a 3-2 record and now that Jamal Lewis is gone until week nine, this team needs to assume a new look on offense in the interim. Considering the past, this means they would actually need to find an offense outside of Jamal Lewis.

Quarterback: Kyle Boller was the highly drafted rookie and the Ravens are sticking behind him, making excuses almost every week. This season Boller's best game was only 191 yards and he has thrown only two touchdowns the entire season. In the last four games, Boller has not completed more than 11 passes and has twice failed to throw for more than 100 yards. Boller will have to pick up the pace while Lewis is out.

Running Backs: With Jamal Lewis out for two weeks on a suspension, Chester Taylor is expected to take the bulk of the carries with relief from Musa Smith. Taylor has been productive in the past, not unlike most back-up running backs when the stud starter is not in the game and the defense focuses elsewhere. Unfortunately for Chester, he is handed two tough defenses to go against - BUF and PHI.

Wide Receivers: With no Lewis, the receivers need to step up and carry the offense for the first time in about two years. Travis Taylor returns from his groin injury and prepares to pile on the production that so far this year is only one catch for five yards. Kevin Johnson was acquired to have a legitimate #2 receiver but he rarely catches more than one or two passes a game and has yet to score as a Raven. The only receiver that has done much is Randy Hymes who has both Raven receiving touchdowns this season and two games of 60+ yards - pretty giddy stuff for a Ravens wideout. Not so much on 31 other teams.

Tight Ends: Todd Heap has been out since week two with a sprained ankle and is not expected back this week. In his absence, there is nothing. Terry Jones and Daniel Wilcox have no impact. Next week should be when Heap makes it back.

Match Against the Defense: Chester Taylor gets to start at a bad time. The Bills defense has been very good against the run, holding all runners to less than 100 yards and allowing only one rushing touchdown all season. Expect that he will have only a moderate showing but could pump up his numbers with a few receptions.

Kyle Boller goes against a defense that has always allowed one passing score in a game but only once has there been more than one. Boller should follow that trend as the most likely Raven's touchdown (aside from a defensive score) but his passing yardage will be, of course, on the low side.

Travis Taylor has the more popular side to throw against but is returning from injury so that's hard to count on. The more likely recipient of a score will be a #3 or #4 wideout like Randy Hymes who loses his starting spot to the returning Taylor.

BUF BAL 2004 Averages BAL BUF
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
201
209
Pass yards
130
240
1.2
1.0
Pass TDs
0.4
1.3
0.6
1.2
Interceptions
1.0
0.8
0
7
Rush yards
14
9
0.0
0.2
Rush TDs
0.8
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
95
96
Rush yards
136
75
0.0
0.4
Rush TDs
0.8
0.3
21
18
Receive yards
11
30
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
163
160
Receive yards
77
171
0.6
0.6
Receive TD's
0.2
0.8
---
---
TE's
---
---
25
31
Receive yards
42
39
0.4
0.4
Receive TD's
0.0
0.5
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.0
1.6
Field Goals
1.4
1.6
1.6
1.4
Extra Points
2.0
1.4
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.4
0.6
Fumbles
0.6
0.8
0.8
1.0
Interceptions
1.2
0.8
0.4
0.0
Touchdowns
0.8
0.3
2.2
2.6
Sacks
2.8
4.8
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Bills (1-4)
Score Opp.
10-13 JAX
10-13 @OAK
Week 3 bye
17-31 NE
14-16 @NYJ
20-13 MIA
Week 7 @BAL
Week 8 ARI
Week 9 NYJ
Week 10 @NE
Week 11 STL
Week 12 @SEA
Week 13 @MIA
Week 14 CLE
Week 15 @CIN
Week 16 @SF
Week 17 PIT
Ravens (3-2)
Score Opp.
3-20 @CLE
30-13 PIT
23-9 @CIN
24-27 KC
17-10 @WAS
Week 6 bye
Week 7 BUF
Week 8 @PHI
Week 9 CLE
Week 10 @NYJ
Week 11 DAL
Week 12 @NE
Week 13 CIN
Week 14 NYG
Week 15 @IND
Week 16 @PIT
Week 17 MIA