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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
  San Diego Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 0 0 170
RB L. Tomlinson 110,1 20 0
TE Antonio Gates 0 50 0
WR Kassim Osgood 0 30 0
WR Eric Parker 0 40 0
WR Keenan McCardell 0 20 0
WR Tim Dwight 0 20 0
PK Nate Kaeding 2 FG 1 XP -
  Carolina Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme 0 0 240,2
RB Stephen Davis 60 20 0
RB Brad Hoover 50 20 0
RB Nick Goings 20 10 0
TE Kris Mangum 0 10 0
WR Muhsin Muhammad 0 80,1 0
WR Ricky Proehl 0 20 0
WR Keary Colbert 0 90,1 0
PK John Kasay 1 FG 2 XP -

SD (3-3) vs CAR (1-4)

Game Prediction: SD 13, CAR 17

Two of the bigger surprises so far this year meet to determine just how dangerous a wounded cat can be. This is a bad time for the Panthers to still be struggling against the run but an even worse time for the Chargers to be without the only wideout that actually did much this year.

Update: Here's a game changing all the time. Keenan McCardell has already been in part of two practices this week already and I am including him with minor production since it appears likely he will suit up and play in some role. I am removing Tim Dwight since the team prefers to use him on special teams anyway though he may have a catch. Bobby Shaw is also with the team but I am not projecting for him yet since even down the road he is not likely to be more than a #3 at best while McCardell will step into a starting role.

Davis has not practiced this week and still has soreness in his knee though the swelling is down. He is questionable to play and likely a game time decision but all my sources have indicated that he is most likely to sit this week out and not risk any further damage to his knee. If he does sit out, expect that Brad Hoover is the primary ball carrier and I am projecting for him. He will likely share with Nick Goings to some extent and possibly even Joey Harris but the one runner to most rely on will be Hoover. Davis may still play, but with the decision not to be made until later and not looking good, he is not recommended for a start this week.

Pre-Game Notes - SD

The Chargers only lost by one point in Atlanta last week after giving them all they could handle. The receiver corps was instantly upgraded with a couple of trades on Tuesday, but it's too soon enough to matter this week.

Quarterback: Drew Brees has thrown at least one score in every game unless Tomlinson had one of those monster days. Brees comes off a 227 yard, one touchdown effort against the Falcons and almost managed to secure the fourth win of the season. Brees should produce even better numbers later this season with both Keenan McCardell and Bobby Shaw now on board.

Running Backs: LaDainian Tomlinson only managed 80 total yards in Atlanta but still scored in his fifth of six games this year. With the passing game likely even less productive due to the Caldwell injury, the Chargers are going to want to stuff Tomlinson down the Panther's throats and play this game on the ground where Carolina has been beaten this year.

Wide Receivers: Eric Parker took up some slack last week when Reche Caldwell went down and he had 76 yards on six catches with a touchdown. The Chargers just brought in Keenan McCardell and Bobby Shaw who should instantly improve the passing game once they have jerseys and helmets. This week is too early to consider them and since Caldwell is out, I will assume that Kassim Osgood and Eric Parker will likely start. Tim Dwight could take over for Caldwell but his role on special teams more likely will limit his playing time.

This should be a very interesting group once Shaw and McCardell are into the groove. If they appear to be playing this week, I will update as needed.

Tight Ends: Antonio Gates had a sub-par day last week but that only means he had six catches for 80 yards and no score. His numbers could end up lowering once Shaw and McCardell are integrated into the offense but he's such a weapon it might actually make him better from getting lesser attention from the secondary.

Match Against the Defense: Expect an extra heavy dose of Tomlinson this week against a team that surrendered 193 yards to Reuben Droughns. The Panthers have already allowed seven rushing scores and over four yards a carry to those that try.

It's unlikely that Brees will have a big day here since the Panthers secondary has been good this year and only allowed four passing scores. The best so far has been 226 yards and most quarterbacks leave under 150 yards. Look for the touchdowns to most likely come from Tomlinson on a run but Gates should manage at least moderate yardage.

If you are tempted to start Osgood or Parker, just stop yourself. The Panthers have only allowed one wideout to score all season and almost all wideouts leave with less than 50 yards receiving.

Pre-Game Notes - CAR

On the heels of three straight losses and two tough road games, the Panthers come home and need to make a stand here against a team that should allow one of the best offensive performances by Carolina this year.

Quarterback: Not unlike every other team discovered this year, heading to Philadelphia was no way for Jake Delhomme to get out of his slump. He had 205 yards and one touchdown but four interceptions after a total of 42 passes. Without Steve Smith, this offense no longer excels at comebacks.

Running Backs: Stephen Davis finally returned to the lineup last week, fortunate since De'Shaun Foster left it, and Davis had a decent enough game. He ran 15 times for 66 yards in Philadelphia but the run game was abandoned once the Eagle whooping was officially commencing. Brad Hoover also had 63 yards on 11 carries while the Panthers were doing everything they could to play keep away from Donovan McNabb until the bubble burst in the second half.

Wide Receivers: Muhsin Muhammad scored only his second touchdown of the year last week after staying out of the endzone since week one. He ended with six catches for 48 yards. Keary Colbert had almost as many throws as Muhammad but only caught two passes for 39 yards. Colbert's more productive games have come when the defenses focus more on Muhammad so the duo ends up with the better game every other week. Since the Chargers secondary has been very lax, this could finally end up a week that both do well.

Tight Ends: If you memorized any of their names, you have wasted valuable time.

Match Against the Defense: This is the week that Delhomme should turn in some good fantasy points. The Chargers not only have allowed four of the last five opposing quarterbacks to score two touchdowns, that list includes Volek and Vick. The Charger rush defense has been much improved and is balanced by the fact that opponents have discovered that throwing the ball works really well.

Expect Delhomme to toss two scores and there is no really favorable side so both Colbert and Muhammad have equal opportunity. With Davis back in cleats, the Chargers will have to respect the run and that should allow the wideouts a better game. The Chargers have been soft against tight ends, but the Panthers have made little use of the three that typically participate in games.

While running Davis all game would be great, it's not the most likely outcome since the Chargers have clamped down hard on all running backs since week two. There's only been one rushing score in that time.

SD CAR 2004 Averages CAR SD
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
200
176
Pass yards
230
283
1.5
0.8
Pass TDs
1.4
1.4
0.5
0.8
Interceptions
1.8
0.8
6
14
Rush yards
4
8
0.3
0.0
Rush TDs
0.2
0.2
---
---
RB's
---
---
115
143
Rush yards
98
75
1.2
1.3
Rush TDs
0.4
1.0
39
29
Receive yards
53
67
0.0
0.5
Receive TD's
0.2
0.2
---
---
WR's
---
---
87
89
Receive yards
154
183
0.8
0.3
Receive TD's
0.8
0.8
---
---
TE's
---
---
73
58
Receive yards
23
33
0.7
0.0
Receive TD's
0.4
0.4
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.5
1.2
Field Goals
0.4
1.6
3.2
2.0
Extra Points
1.8
2.6
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.8
0.5
Fumbles
0.2
0.6
0.8
1.3
Interceptions
0.8
0.4
0.2
0.5
Touchdowns
0.0
0.0
2.0
1.5
Sacks
1.4
1.6
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Chargers (3-3)
Score Opp.
27-20 @HOU
28-34 NYJ
13-23 @DEN
38-17 TEN
34-21 JAX
20-21 @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
Panthers (1-4)
Score Opp.
14-24 GB
28-17 @KC
Week 3 bye
10-27 ATL
17-20 @DEN
8-30 @PHI
Week 7 SD
Week 8 @SEA
Week 9 OAK
Week 10 @SF
Week 11 ARI
Week 12 TB
Week 13 @NO
Week 14 STL
Week 15 @ATL
Week 16 @TB
Week 17 NO