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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
  St. Louis Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger 0 0 210,1
RB Marshall Faulk 60 20 0
RB Steven Jackson 40,1 20 0
TE B. Manumaleuna 0 10 0
WR Isaac Bruce 0 40 0
WR Torry Holt 0 50 0
WR Shaun McDonald 0 20 0
WR Kevin Curtis 0 30,1 0
PK Jeff Chandler 2 FG 2 XP -
Miami Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Fiedler 0 0 220,1
RB Sammy Morris 90,1 10 0
RB Travis Minor 10 10 0
TE Randy McMichael 0 40 0
WR Chris Chambers 0 80,1 0
WR Derrius Thompson 0 20 0
WR Marty Booker 0 50 0
PK Matt Bryant   1 FG 2 XP -

STL (4-2) vs MIA (0-6)

Game Prediction: STL 20, MIA 17

The Dolphins are still hunting for that first win and the Rams are on a three game winning streak. This is not likely the week for any change to those trends though the Rams come off a short week to face the toughest defense yet this year. This is actually a decent shot for the Fins to finally get rid of that resident goose egg in their record.

Update: Jeff Wilkins is expected to be a game time decision this week and since the Rams already have signed Chandler this week, I am assuming that he will be the kicker. Given the uncertainty that will not be resolved until kickoff, using either kicker this week is very risky and not recommended. Chandler is the most likely to play if you have to make a choice.

The loss of Wilkins could spin this game differently as well, since the tough MIA defense could give the Rams problems if St. Louis cannot connect on some field goals.

Pre-Game Notes - STL

After their third win, the Rams are now one game up on the Seahawks in the NFC West. Makes that upset two weeks ago look even bigger now.

Quarterback: Marc Bulger started out the season rather slowly, only throwing for one score in each of the first four games but against the tough secondaries of the Seahawks and Buccaneers, he threw for five total scores and 589 yards though he had five interceptions in those games. On Monday night, he finally returned to last year's formula of finding Holt early and often while breaking the heart of every Bruce owner.

Running Backs: After Steven Jackson looked so good in week five against Seattle, he had almost an equal sharing with Marshall Faulk against Tampa Bay and gained 48 yards on 13 carries with three receptions for 30 yards. Faulk had 15 carries for 40 yards and three catches as well for 29 yards. Both players are being used at the goal line now with Faulk having the one rushing score last week - his first score in three weeks.

Faulk is the starter and is still used in the most critical situations but Jackson is rushing better than Faulk lately. Expect that the sharing will continue since it is working during this three game winning streak.

Wide Receivers: Finally all those Tory Holt owners saw what they thought they were buying in August. Holt comes off his best effort of the season when he had six catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns against the Buccaneers. Isaac Bruce has cooled considerably from his hot pace to open the season, gaining only 78 yards in week five and then down to only one catch for 11 yards on Monday night.

Both Shaun McDonald and Kevin Curtis are doing well in the multiple receiver sets though their numbers were lower last week. Now that the defenses are respecting Holt and Bruce equally, these deeper receivers are the wildcards in most games.

Tight Ends: While Brandon Manumaleuna had a touchdown in week five, there were no tight ends that had any passes let alone any catches last week. There is no consistency here in this "hands off" fantasy situation that occasionally looks like it could be promising.

Match Against the Defense: This will certainly be the toughest test to date for Bulger. The Dolphins have not allowed more than 163 passing yards in Miami this season and only two passing scores. This includes good quarterbacks in McNair, Pennington and Roethlisberger. Expect for Bulger to turn in his likely lowest yardage total unless he can find an open player on a deep route once or twice in the game. It's going to be hard to notch two passing scores in this venue against a very desperate team with a good secondary.

The running game should do well since the Dolphins have allowed a very uncharacteristic four runners to top 100 yards. The fact that their offense has been terrible has allowed opponents the luxury of running out the clock and the duo of Faulk and Jackson should combine for a decent output. The question is what the sharing ratio will be. The most effective runners this season have tended towards the bigger runners like Jackson but you can never count Faulk out.

The single passing score I would expect could go anywhere. Since the Dolphins have great cornerbacks, don't expect too much from either Bruce or Holt though Hines Ward (9-96, 1 TD) did well enough there as the lone productive visiting receiver. He mostly goes from the same flanker spot as Bruce though both players will move around a lot so matchups are less clear.

Pre-Game Notes - MIA

It's like watching a car wreck whenever Dave Wannstedt gives a postgame interview. You don't want to watch and it is sort of painful in that "sense of humanity" sort of way but it's just interesting. The Miami newspapers are starting to run out of synonyms for the words "bad" and "hopeless". There's rampant speculation that Wannstedt is soon to be axed just on principal. The defense is as good as it has ever been really but the offense runs like a car that was built with no specifications or manuals.

I believe the over/under is two weeks on when Wannstedt leads off the postgame interview with "well... what the hell do you suggest I do?"

Quarterback: Jay Fiedler has settled down since returning as a starter. He is always good for exactly one touchdown and about one interception with the yardage varying between 160 and 250 yards. There is still speculation that the Fins may opt for a change at the quarterback position in the attempt to appear they are still trying to fix things but at least this week it will not happen.

Running Backs: The only factor preventing the Fins from breaking out champagne over Sammy Morris running for a heady 91 yards against the Bills is that, well, you know. They lost their sixth game this year. Morris will be the starter for now and did show some nice power on runs but he only gained 10 yards in the second half and couldn't score on a one yard dive (he actually lost a yard). And the Dolphins have yet to actually score a rushing touchdown this season.

Travis Minor should figure in some this week but only as a support player. There's so much to worry about on this offense the fact that Morris actually did something is not likely to be tinkered with anytime soon.

Wide Receivers: To ensure there would be no fantasy value last week, Derrius Thompson caught the lone Miami touchdown. Chris Chambers only had 23 yards on three catches which was far better than Marty Booker only having one reception for 11 yards. Fiedler doesn't complete more than 50% of his passes anyway and it takes a very enticing matchup before either Booker or Chambers really figures into the equation.

The reality is that the defense keeps them in games and with Morris looking as if he might run well enough, this crew will be challenged to improve much.

Tight Ends: Randy McMichael only had three catches for 34 yards last week and now is about an average NFL tight end. He is always good for a few catches and up to 50 or 60 yards but hasn't scored since week one.

Match Against the Defense: It is expected that eventually the Dolphins will find a team that doesn't take them seriously and allows the offense to look good again. It could happen this week but not likely.

If Fiedler is going to ever throw for two scores, this is the week since the Rams have allowed their last three opponents to score twice through the air. This is a game that should likely produce a score by Chambers with a good matchup but Booker could as well if there are two.

Morris goes against a defense that has been susceptible to the run so far, allowing six rushing scores already this year. If you picked up Morris as a free agent, he should pay some dividends this week unless his carries are cut down from the Dolphins needing to pass. This should be the week of the first rushing score though and with the interceptions of Bulger, some good field position that gains him opportunities to run on a shorter field.

Look for the highest scoring game yet by the Dolphins and actually one of their best opportunities for a win.

STL MIA 2004 Averages MIA STL
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
282
120
Pass yards
194
238
1.5
0.8
Pass TDs
0.7
1.2
1.0
0.8
Interceptions
1.8
0.2
5
3
Rush yards
6
31
0.3
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
 
---
RB's
---
 
107
128
Rush yards
63
109
0.8
0.4
Rush TDs
0.0
1.0
35
16
Receive yards
25
41
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.2
 
---
WR's
---
 
239
96
Receive yards
100
139
1.3
0.4
Receive TD's
0.5
0.8
 
---
TE's
---
 
8
9
Receive yards
69
59
0.2
0.4
Receive TD's
0.2
0.2
 
---
PK's
---
 
1.3
1.6
Field Goals
1.5
2.0
2.3
1.8
Extra Points
0.7
1.8
 
---
DEF/ST
---
 
0.3
1.2
Fumbles
0.2
0.8
0.5
2.0
Interceptions
0.7
1.0
0.2
0.6
Touchdowns
0.0
0.2
1.8
3.0
Sacks
2.2
2.4
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Rams (4-2)
Score Opp.
17-10 ARI
17-34 @ATL
25-28 NO
24-14 @SF
33-27 @SEA
28-21 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
Dolphins (0-6)
Score Opp.
7-17 TEN
13-16 @CIN
3-13 PIT
9-17 NYJ
10-24 @NE
13-20 @BUF
Week 7 STL
Week 8 @NYJ
Week 9 ARI
Week 10 bye
Week 11 @SEA
Week 12 @SF
Week 13 BUF
Week 14 @DEN
Week 15 NE
Week 16 CLE
Week 17 @BAL