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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 8
October 27, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Mon 9 PM
ARZ at BUF NYG at MIN* ATL at DEN SF at CHI* MIA at NYJ
DET at DAL* NE at PIT CAR at SEA Bye Week: Bye Week:
IND at KC CIN at TEN* BAL at PHI CLE NO
JAX at HOU* GB at WAS OAK at SD* TB STL
  Arizona Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh McCown 0 0 190,1
RB Emmitt Smith 50 10 0
TE Freddie Jones 0 30 0
WR Bryant Johnson 0 30,1 0
WR Larry Fitzgerald 0 60 0
WR Anquan Boldin 0 40 0
PK Neil Rackers 2 FG 1 XP -
  Buffalo Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Bledsoe 0 0 210,1
RB Travis Henry 20 0 0
RB Willis McGahee 90,1 10 0
TE M. Campbell 0 30 0
WR Eric Moulds 0 80,1 0
WR Josh Reed 0 30 0
WR Lee Evans 0 40 0
PK Rian Lindell 1 FG 2 XP -

ARZ (2-4) vs BUF (1-5)

Game Prediction: ARZ 13, BUF 17

The Cardinals hit the road where they are 0-3 but get to face the Bills who have only beaten the Dolphins this season. This is almost guaranteed to be one yawner of a game.

Update: McGahee was named as the starter and word from Buffalo is that he will get a primary role with less sharing than we've seen in the past with Henry and McGahee. I am bumping up McGahee's numbers.

Pre-Game Notes - ARZ

So far the Cardinals have been always surprising at home and always disappointing on the road. The offense is looking better and this week is probably the toughest test yet when they are on the road against the Bills defense.

Quarterback: After an inauspicious start to the season, Josh McCown is starting to come around. In week five he had his season best of 231 yards and three scores in San Francisco and against a far tougher Seattle defense he still threw for 212 yards and one score. Maybe not the stuff of legends but he's looking like he could become at least an average quarterback which was not a given only a few weeks back.

The one area this season that has been a mild surprise is that McCown is not running the ball much. He had some decent rushing yardage in his brief play in 2003 but this year he is obviously staying at home and trying to run the offense.

Running Backs: If Emmitt Smith were to go down injured for the rest of the season this week, 2004 would still go down as a major success. After six games, Emmitt has scored in five of them with two 100+ yard efforts as well. Only on the road in Atlanta did he fail to score (this being back when Atlanta had the best rush defense instead of the worst). Worth noting - his best games have all been at home. Emmitt had been bothered by a groin strain but now looks 100% again.

Wide Receivers: This group continues to underperform but have improved in the last two games, most notably Larry Fitzgerald who has touchdowns in each of the last two games and 167 combined yards. While his production is about double his earlier efforts, he's still only getting the same half dozen passes a game but doing much more with them.

Bryant Johnson has topped out around 55 yards this season and will have the #2 spot only so long as it takes Anquan Boldin to get back into the lineup. While Boldin will be fully practicing this week he is no lock to play and will likely still be questionable on the injury report. I am going to project numbers for him but expect limited playing time and possibly even missing the game.

If you're holding him all this time, it's probably best to wait at least one week from his first start before letting him do something for your team. The Cardinals have a brutal two weeks ahead with road games in Buffalo and Miami, so realistically the first time he could have a decent matchup anyway would be in week ten against the Giants.

Tight Ends: Freddie Jones has done little all season and has one touchdown but might be more in the gameplan when the Cardinals go against two defenses with good cornerbacks. That doesn't mean he will do anything more than the 20 or 30 yards a game he always does, but he should see at least a few more throws.

Match Against the Defense: While Brady had a good game in Buffalo, the Cardinals are never confused with the Patriots. Look for McCown to mirror both Leftwich and Fiedler's production there with a sub 150 yard effort but the outside chance he might have one touchdown. There is no soft side to matchup receivers against the Bills and the only scorers with a reception have been the odd players like Ernest Wilford, Derrius Thompson and Ronald Curry who were not primary receivers and did little else in the game. This will be a defensive battle and the scores should remain fairly low.

Emmitt goes against a defense that has not allowed a 100 yard game yet this season and only Corey Dillon scored a rushing touchdown against them. Figure Smith to stay under 60 yards with the chance for a very bad game since these Bills are desperate and at home.

Pre-Game Notes - BUF

After the Bills finally recorded their first win of the season, they had to play in Baltimore where predictably they were unable to generate any real offense and lost 20-6. Bledsoe is on the hot seat and Henry will be playing tag team with McGahee.

Quarterback: Drew Bledsoe did himself no favors last week against the Ravens when he threw four interceptions and ruined any chance the Bills would be competitive. Look for Bledsoe to start this week but as soon as J.P. Losman can play, there's little doubt which player is the future and which one is the past they want to forget.

Running Backs: Travis Henry returned to play last week but only had seven carries for 27 yards and sat out almost all of the second half since Willis McGahee was much more effective in gaining 58 yards on 17 carries and looking like he should be the clear #1 for the team. That'll probably formally happen sooner than later, but as of now the Bills still contend that Henry is the #1 and McGahee is the "relief". The only truly decent showings by the run game this season has been with McGahee who has the speed and burst that Henry lacks. The most telling fact - the Bills have yet to score a rushing touchdown this season.

Wide Receivers: This passing game is entirely one dimensional with only Eric Moulds gaining either 90 yards or scoring a touchdown in five of the six games this season. Lee Evans shows promise but even he had no catches last week and Josh Reed is one of the more inconsequential #2 receivers in the league. There's always hope that Losman can do something for the wideouts like Roethlisberger has in Pittsburgh, but that isn't happening yet.

Tight Ends: Mark Campbell is underrated as a tight end and he's fairly consistent as far as tight ends go. He's almost always good for about 30 yards a game (and little more) and has two of the only six Buffalo passing touchdowns.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals rush defense has been very good the last month and that should be tested this week since the Cardinals are away from home. Look for a timeshare between McGahee and Henry that will most likely mirror the ratio last week. The Bills have not yet decided to go with just one back and this could be the final week of sharing if Henry falters and McGahee shines.

Drew Bledsoe should throw at least one score this week but much depends on which Cardinal defense shows up. On the road the Cardinals are much worse against the pass but the Bills are no offensive machine. No need to worry much about matchups here - Moulds is the only Bills wideout that does much in any game though I like Campbell's shot at scoring this week if Moulds doesn't finally get back into the endzone.

ARZ BUF 2004 Averages BUF ARZ
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
197
197
Pass yards
202
243
0.7
1.0
Pass TDs
1.0
1.0
0.7
0.7
Interceptions
1.2
1.3
8
9
Rush yards
0
18
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
101
84
Rush yards
94
99
1.0
0.3
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
32
27
Receive yards
23
39
0.3
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
134
133
Receive yards
159
152
0.3
0.7
Receive TD's
0.5
0.5
---
---
TE's
---
---
34
36
Receive yards
27
53
0.2
0.3
Receive TD's
0.3
0.5
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.5
2.0
Field Goals
1.2
2.2
1.8
1.7
Extra Points
1.3
0.8
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.7
0.7
Fumbles
0.5
1.0
1.3
1.2
Interceptions
0.7
0.7
0.2
0.3
Touchdowns
0.3
0.5
2.3
4.0
Sacks
2.5
3.3
0.2
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Bills (1-5)
Score Opp.
10-13 JAX
10-13 @OAK
Week 3 bye
17-31 NE
14-16 @NYJ
20-13 MIA
6-20 @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
Cardinals (2-4)
Score Opp.
10-17 @STL
12-23 NE
3-6 @ATL
34-10 NO
28-31 @SF
Week 6 bye
25-17 SEA
Week 8 @BUF
Week 9 @MIA
Week 10 NYG
Week 11 @CAR
Week 12 NYJ
Week 13 @DET
Week 14 SF
Week 15 STL
Week 16 @SEA
Week 17 TB