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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
  Tennessee Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair 0 0 260,2
RB Chris Brown 100,1 10 0
TE Ben Troupe 0 10 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 100,1 0
WR Eddie Berlin 0 50,1 0
WR Drew Bennett 0 70 0
PK Gary Anderson 2 FG 2 XP -
  Minnesota Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper 30 0 300,2
RB Moe Williams 10 10 0
RB Mewelde Moore 80,1 20 0
TE Jermaine Wiggins 0 40,1 0
WR Marcus Robinson 0 70 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 80 0
WR Kelly Campbell 0 50,1 0
PK Morten Andersen 1 FG 3 XP -

TEN (2-4) vs MIN (4-1)

Game Prediction: TEN 20, MIN 24

This game looked like a great matchup when the schedule was made and now looks half good. Then again, the two biggest fantasy stars in the game of Moss and Brown are banged up.

Update: Chris Brown has returned to practice and appears to have no problems from his shoulder injury. He is expected to start and I am not changing the projections for him based on reports of his good health though he is questionable on the injury report.

Randy Moss remains a game time decision and I am not including him this week. He has not practiced and by all reports looks like he likely will not play or at least be very limited if he does. For the first time in his career, he does not offer a low risk start for your team. Though he is a fast healer, only good reports on him by Sunday should make him a worthwhile start. Since the Vikings can likely beat the Titans without him, holding Moss out seems very prudent this week.

Pre-Game Notes - TEN

The Titans looked like they were finally back in the groove when they stomped the Packers but looking back, the only two wins they've managed this year were to teams with a combined record of 2-10.

Quarterback: Steve McNair was held out of the week four game against the Chargers in order to heal from his chest bruise. Against the Packers, he looked like he was back to form throwing for 206 yards and two scores. Then against the Texans, he was whacked again in his chest (supposedly slightly lower than the previous knock out punch) and he only managed to complete 19 of 41 passes for 210 yards, one score and a disastrous four interceptions. McNair continued to play last week so expect him back this Sunday and a chance to face a secondary that will be the most forgiving yet this season.

Running Backs: Chris Brown only ran for 52 yards on 13 carries last week before suffering a shoulder injury that caused some fear that he might have damaged some nerves since he had numbness in his right arm. Later medical review has dismissed any real damage and the official prognosis is that he only has a bruise. I am projecting for Brown to play with only minor limitation but will update as more information becomes available later in the week. Brown would be a natural for a big game against the Vikings if healthy and the offense changes dramatically if he is absent since Antowain Smith would start - now there's a drop off.

Wide Receivers: After scoring the two previous weeks, Derrick Mason was held out of the endzone against the Texans but still managed to catch five passes for 74 yards. He may not be posting top ten numbers yet, but he's been solid the past three weeks. The lone touchdown last week went to Drew Bennett (5-59) and McNair threw nine passes to both Mason and Bennett. He really has not favored Mason lately, it's just that Mason catches more of his throws.

Now that Tyrone Calico is out of the equation at least for a good while, Eddie Berlin is stepping up in the #3 position. Berlin has over 50 yards in both the last two games and scored in week five. If Brown does end up missing time due to his shoulder injury, some of the redistributed offense should end up benefiting Berlin.

Tight Ends: It's a good thing that the Titans drafted Ben Troupe. He hasn't done much this season but once again he appears to be the only healthy tight end on the roster. Both Shad Meier and Erron Kinney are likely to miss this week as well but updates will be made as needed. If Chris Brown misses any time, the tight end position should really benefit but Troupe has yet to show he's good enough to be a passing target of any significance.

Match Against the Defense: So much of the Titans success relies on McNair being healthy enough to throw well and Chris Brown being able to run. With McNair banged up again, he's not shouldering any of the rushing load lately.

Unless Brown is more injured than is being made public, figure him to have a very nice game since Tennessee will need to establish the run and use up the clock to hope to stem the tidal wave of the Vikings offense. Runners have done well scoring against the Vikes this year but the scoreboard has been getting away from their team so early that the most any runner has managed is 22 carries against them. That 110 yard effort by Thomas Jones was the best so far though the Vikes have allowed five rushing touchdowns already this season.

The saving grace here is the chance that Moss is out and that the Vikings may not roll up as big a score as early. Expect Brown for a good game here unless his injury ends up worse than it seems.

McNair's numbers rely entirely on how badly the Titans are trailing. So far there has not been any quarterback with less than 240 passing yards and a score against Minnesota. McNair should manage that as a floor to what he might do but his chest is still bruised and he comes off a terrible four interception game. He'll step it up from last week but his health will be the limiting factor.

There's no clear favorite side to throw against the Vikings since both have given up nice fantasy value. Expect that at least Mason scores here but Bennett or Berlin could as well.

Pre-Game Notes - MIN

The Vikings notch their fourth win of the season and this offense is a fantasy dream. Every player scores and the principal studs are almost enough to win your league games by themselves. The last two times the Titans went on the road, they allowed 27 and 38 points. Hello Minny.

Quarterback: Wow. Three games of five touchdowns in only five weeks of playing. Drafting a quarterback in the second round of your draft will still prove hard to do because Daunte Culpepper will not likely be available after the first round next summer.

Running Backs: Evidently the Denver bottomless bag of stud running backs now has a twin in Minnesota. Using their #4 tailback, the Vikings have kept the chains moving with the rookie Mewelde Moore who has 369 total yards in the past two games. Since Onterrio Smith is still on suspension and Michael Bennett is slowly coming off his right knee surgery, I am assuming that Moore will again be the primary carrier this week though Bennett will likely contribute. I will update if any changes are discovered this week.

Wide Receivers: When the quarterback has thrown 18 touchdowns in only five weeks, you can be sure there are many wideouts worth owning on your roster. Randy Moss had 89 yards and one score last week before straining his hamstring. The Vikings offense still moved well even without him against the Saints. Nate Burleson showed why he is the #2 receiver by catching six passes for 134 yards and Marcus Robinson had four catches for 32 yards and his second straight game with two touchdowns. Robinson is an endzone target to almost rival Moss. While Burleson is used more for yardage, Robinson is a nice big target with soft hands on the short field.

I am considering Moss as out this week but will update as appropriate.

Tight Ends: When Jermaine Wiggins finally became a starter in week two, he had eight catches for 65 yards. In the two weeks he was out, the tight ends only combined for a total of five catches for 33 yards. In his first week back, Wiggins had five catches for 56 yards and two touchdowns. Culpepper doesn't like his tight ends. He just likes Wiggins as a person evidently.

Match Against the Defense: The Titans defense has given up scores to every opposing quarterback and over 250 yards to those that try hard enough. The most productive NFL passer of Culpepper shouldn't have too much trouble managing a couple of scores even without Randy Moss if that happens.

Moore should have a nice game here as well since every team has ran well on Tennessee who has allowed six rushing scores already this season. Even if Moss is out or playing hurt, the defense cannot afford to stack up against Moore.

As always with the wideouts, there are yards to share and touchdowns to score. You have to figure that Wiggins is a complete lock to score this week since he has in the past two games and the Titans have already allowed every single team to score with their tight end. Seven touchdowns allowed to the tight ends in only six games? Minnesota will notice that.

TEN MIN 2004 Averages MIN TEN
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
197
305
Pass yards
353
239
1.0
1.5
Pass TDs
3.6
2.0
1.0
0.0
Interceptions
0.6
1.2
20
16
Rush yards
24
3
0.2
0.5
Rush TDs
0.2
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
121
71
Rush yards
100
103
0.8
0.8
Rush TDs
0.0
1.0
27
59
Receive yards
87
28
0.2
0.0
Receive TD's
0.2
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
156
216
Receive yards
227
172
0.7
1.3
Receive TD's
3.0
0.6
---
---
TE's
---
---
20
32
Receive yards
39
39
0.3
0.3
Receive TD's
0.4
1.4
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.5
1.2
Field Goals
1.2
0.8
2.2
2.0
Extra Points
3.6
2.8
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.0
0.8
Fumbles
0.8
0.4
1.2
0.3
Interceptions
0.2
0.4
0.2
0.0
Touchdowns
0.0
0.0
1.5
3.0
Sacks
2.4
2.2
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Tennessee (2-4)
Score Opp.
17-7 @MIA
17-31 IND
12-15 JAX
17-38 @SD
48-27 @GB
10-20 HOU
Week 7 @MIN
Week 8 CIN
Week 9 bye
Week 10 CHI
Week 11 @JAX
Week 12 @HOU
Week 13 @IND
Week 14 KC
Week 15 @OAK
Week 16 DEN
Week 17 DET
Vikings (4-1)
Score Opp.
35-17 DAL
16-27 @PHI
27-22 CHI
Week 4 bye
34-28 @HOU
38-31 @NO
Week 7 TEN
Week 8 NYG
Week 9 @IND
Week 10 @GB
Week 11 DET
Week 12 JAX
Week 13 @CHI
Week 14 SEA
Week 15 @DET
Week 16 GB
Week 17 @WAS