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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
  Philadelphia Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 20,1 0 260,2
RB Brian Westbrook 70,1 20 0
TE L.J. Smith 0 20,1 0
WR Terrell Owens 0 110,1 0
WR Freddie Mitchell 0 40 0
WR Todd Pinkston 0 50 0
PK David Akers 1 FG 4 XP -
  Cleveland Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia 20 0 180,1
RB William Green 50 0 0
RB Lee Suggs 30 40 0
TE Steve Heiden 0 10 0
WR Andre Davis 0 60 0
WR Antonio Bryant 0 20 0
WR Dennis Northcutt 0 60,1 0
WR Andre King 0 30 0
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 1 XP -

PHI (5-0) vs CLE (3-3)

Game Prediction: PHI 31, CLE 13

The Eagles have not lost anything yet. The Browns have won all of their home games. I'll give the points until an opponent looks like they are playing the same game as the Eagles.

Update: Andre Davis has been wearing a hard cast on his foot due to his injured toe and is questionable to play. While he has not been ruled out, I am expecting that he will not be able to participate and am removing him from the projections. If he can play, there will likely be a great need for him but he is too risky right now to recommend.

I am also including in Antonio Bryant this week since there is a chance he may see some time, particularly with Davis banged and and possibly missing the game. But his production would be most likely very limited as he obviously brand new to the offense that has not looked very good with the receivers already familiar with it.

Pre-Game Notes - PHI

The Eagle has not landed. Not yet and not likely this week.

Quarterback: Donovan McNabb has dropped out of the "Super-QB" race with Culpepper but mainly because the Eagles have a defense that doesn't force him to score pinball-like numbers to win games. McNabb only had 209 yards last week against the tough Panther secondary with no scores for the first time this season. He'll likely pick up the pace again this week.

Running Backs: Much of last week was merely sitting back and letting the defense win the game. Thanks to four interceptions, there were few long drives needed and as a result, yardage all around was lower than the score would normally suggest. Brian Westbrook only carried 13 times but gained 64 yards with one touchdown while Dorsey Levens also scored once on his four carries.

This offense still throws more than it runs, and Westbrook has only exceeded 17 carries once this season. So far, he's proven durable and with productive yet limited use, he should continue to be durable.

Wide Receivers: Just because the game was easy, there were no passing scores and lower passing yardage doesn't mean that Terrell Owens still doesn't get his numbers last week. Against the Panthers he had eight catches for 110 yards - over half of the receiving yardage in the game. As it ends up, it's pretty much one pass for Terrell, one pass for everyone else. One pass for Terrell, one pass...

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith took it in the shorts last week and had no catches on two throws. The need just wasn't there. On the plus side he was the only tight end who had any throws.

Match Against the Defense: The Browns rush defense has only allowed two games over 100 yards and the worst was only 117 yards, but they have allowed every team besides the Ravens in week one to score at least one rushing touchdown. The Cleveland rush defense is much improved from last year, not that it could have gotten much worse, and with Westbrook typically hanging around 15 carries a game, he's not likely to post much rushing yardage though either he or Levens should score once.

The secondary should be able to give up some decent gains to McNabb's arm. While their stats so far look pretty good - only three passing scores allowed - the reality is that they have yet to face a major passing attack like the Eagles can bring. Testaverde had 322 yards against them and Kurt Warner ended with 286. Forget the per game stats here since they were built largely on Boller, Brunell, and Palmer.

There's no real need to matchup the corners here. Owens will move around and will be getting about half the passes against a team that allowed 120+ yards to Coles, Toomer and Burress. There's also a great chance that McNabb sneaks a score in himself.

Pre-Game Notes - CLE

The Browns come off a solid defeat of the Bengals and have to come to terms with the fact they have yet to win back-to-back games this season. If Garcia can play like last week, the Browns have a chance. If he plays like the interception king like he did against the Cowboys, it will be a long afternoon.

Quarterback: Nothing like the visiting Bengals to cure what ails your passing attack. Jeff Garcia had his best game as a Brown (if not exponentially) when he threw for 310 yards and four touchdowns. That helped cover up his two lost fumbles and interception. Throwing a 99 yard touchdown also pumped up the numbers rather well. Before last week, he was topped out at 210 yards and one score.

Running Backs: Just to ensure that no one would be comfortable guessing the rotation between Lee Suggs and William Green, last week saw Suggs only gain 19 yards on 13 carries while Green had 115 yards on 25 runs. Then again, Suggs turned in 100 more yards and a score as a receiver. The 59-yard catch was a big part of his productivity.

Suggs has a role in the passing game and should again be a key this week against the blitz-happy Eagles.

Wide Receivers: Andre Davis scored on a 99-yard pass play to tie the NFL record. He had no other catches. Quincy Morgan also scored on his only catch in the game though from only ten yards out. On Tuesday, Morgan was traded straight up for Antonio Bryant which is, really, an even trade. It pumps the value of Bryant more potentially since he will have a better chance to be the #2 than he did in Dallas. Then again, Morgan had not seen much come the way of the split end position this year anyway.

Andre Davis had a slight case of turf toe from last week, but pending any information I assume he is good to play this week.

With Morgan gone, I am assuming that Dennis Northcutt moves into the split end spot at least for now and that Bryant will have little impact since he may not be in Cleveland yet. That should make Andre King matter a little more this week until Bryant is integrated into the offense. Updates later as warranted.

Tight Ends: Aaron Shea had his second touchdown of the year against the Bengals last week but he's still spending most weeks with just one catch.

Match Against the Defense: Much of this depends on how quickly the Eagles get a lead. No running back this season has carried more than 15 times against Philadelphia since the second half is reserved for "go deep! deeper!". Don't expect much production from either Green or Suggs as a runner though Suggs will likely turn in bigger yardage as a receiver out of the backfield.

There could be a significant amount of trash time here which bodes well for Garcia at least in opportunity for fantasy points but the reality is that he just lost his starting split end and has only once ever completed more than three passes to an individual wideout or tight end (Davis had five in week five). Davis gets extra attention now thanks to his 99-yard play last week and may be hobbled with a bad toe. You could argue swapping receivers mid-week is a sign that the Browns know the passing game is not likely to be big this week. Concede the likely loss to the Eagles and build for the rest of the season with Bryant on board.

PHI CLE 2004 Averages CLE PHI
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
275
244
Pass yards
191
257
1.8
0.4
Pass TDs
1.3
1.0
0.4
1.2
Interceptions
1.0
0.3
8
7
Rush yards
16
13
0.4
0.4
Rush TDs
0.2
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
95
101
Rush yards
98
74
0.4
1.2
Rush TDs
0.2
0.5
60
19
Receive yards
35
51
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.2
0.3
---
---
WR's
---
---
159
173
Receive yards
129
164
1.2
0.2
Receive TD's
0.8
0.8
---
---
TE's
---
---
57
53
Receive yards
28
31
0.6
0.2
Receive TD's
0.3
0.0
---
---
PK's
---
---
2.6
1.6
Field Goals
2.2
1.0
2.8
2.0
Extra Points
1.8
0.8
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.8
0.8
Fumbles
0.7
0.5
1.0
0.8
Interceptions
1.2
0.3
0.2
0.0
Touchdowns
0.2
0.0
4.0
2.6
Sacks
1.5
2.0
0.0
0.2
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Eagles (5-0)
Score Opp.
31-17 NYG
27-16 MIN
30-13 @DET
19-9 @CHI
Week 5 bye
30-8 CAR
Week 7 @CLE
Week 8 BAL
Week 9 @PIT
Week 10 @DAL
Week 11 WAS
Week 12 @NYG
Week 13 GB
Week 14 @WAS
Week 15 DAL
Week 16 @STL
Week 17 CIN
Browns(3-3)
Score Opp.
20-3 BAL
12-19 @DAL
10-27 @NYG
17-13 WAS
23-34 @PIT
34-17 CIN
Week 7 PHI
Week 8 bye
Week 9 @BAL
Week 10 PIT
Week 11 NYJ
Week 12 @CIN
Week 13 NE
Week 14 @BUF
Week 15 SD
Week 16 @MIA
Week 17 @HOU