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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
  Atlanta Rush Catch Pass
QB Michael Vick 30 0 140,1
RB Warrick Dunn 40 40 0
RB T.J. Duckett 20 0 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 40,1 0
WR Dez White 0 20 0
WR Peerless Price 0 20 0
WR Brian Finneran 0 10 0
PK Jay Feeley 1 FG 1 XP -
  Denver Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Plummer 0 0 220,1
RB Reuben Droughns 130,2 10 0
TE Jeb Putzier 0 20 0
WR Rod Smith 0 60,1 0
WR Darius Watts 0 30 0
WR Ashley Lelie 0 60 0
PK Jason Elam 2 FG 3 XP -

ATL (5-2) vs DEN (5-2)

Game Prediction: ATL 10, DEN 27

In a matching of two teams that come off possibly the most embarrassing loss in years for both, this week only one will get to make things right and the other takes a deeper tumble into "you're not as good as you think you are."

Pre-Game Notes - ATL

Every so often there comes a game that just makes you say "WOW!". The Falcons represent the bad side of that "WOW!"

The reality here is that the Falcons have not beaten a team with a winning record outside of the Chargers win by one point in Atlanta. While the Falcons were clearly humiliated by giving up a record eight rushing scores, at least they were not on national TV against the Bengals on Monday night.

Quarterback: Michael Vick continues to struggle badly in the new west coast offense and comes off a throttling by the Chiefs. Vick could only complete seven passes for 119 yards and two interceptions. This in spite of being horribly and irreversibly behind literally the final 55 minutes of the game. If you think Vick struggled against the soft Chiefs secondary, wait until you see what the Broncos will be like this week.

Running Backs: There was nothing happening last week in the running game because the Falcons rarely had the ball and when they did, there was a far greater need for Vick to throw a bad pass than either T.J. Duckett or Warrick Dunn to have a bad run. Dunn did have one long reception to boost his overall numbers to 121 yards but that was not to suggest that he had a good game. Duckett only had four carries for eight yards last week so there is, basically, no rhyme or reason to the sharing ratio or success of the running backs in Atlanta.

Wide Receivers: Just pitiful. Peerless Price only had two catches for 21 yards last week and those were ALL the catches by any wideout. This in a game that should have been almost four quarters of trash time yards and scores. Matched against a certain to be grumpy Champ Bailey, Price may end up with negative yardage this week.

Tight Ends: If there is one bright spot in the passing game, and there really isn't, it would be Alge Crumpler who has clearly been the most effective and consistent weapon on the entire offense, sparse as that gets most weeks.

Match Against the Defense: The Broncos have a top defense and last week's Monday Night Football game is no measuring stick since it was a trap game that surprised even the Cincinnati players. I'd look for a very strong bounce back game here by the Denver defense pitted against a struggling offense that doesn't play well on the road.

Expect that both Dunn and Duckett get stuffed though Dunn could sneak in a long gainer via a reception to make his numbers look better. This is not a place or a time to start a running back against the Broncos in Denver.

Though the Bengals won easily and looked like they were ripping the Broncos apart, the reality is that overall the Denver secondary did well. There still is no quarterback that has thrown for more than 200 yards against the Broncos and save for two long passes by Palmer last week, he would have been under 100 yards in the game. Expect major struggles throwing the ball this week by Vick and a virtual shutout of the Falcon wideouts.

Pre-Game Notes - DEN

"Whoops." That last one is going to leave a mark. After not playing on Monday Night Football for about 15 years, the Bengals saddled up the Broncos and rode them into the ground. Consider last week's trap game as a reason why this week will be the "I want to kill someone" game.

Quarterback: Jake Plummer has been good this season and was as big a part of the upset loss last week as any other player since he threw two interceptions and missed the mark on several other passes in spite of facing a secondary that had been kind to opponents. He has thrown scores in every game except one this year and back at home he's always had two scores in each game.

Running Backs: Reuben Droughns said that he needs at least 25 carries before he gets into a rhythm and can do some damage. Unfortunately, he only had 24 carries last Monday and gained 110 yards. That was one of the best performances by a runner in week seven but well under both his average and the expectations of the entire world. Droughns doesn't even share carries anymore.

Quentin Griffin is now gone with an ACL injury and Tatum Bell will become the #2 tailback but the Broncos are not even bothering with sharing Droughns' carries anyway.

Wide Receivers: Rod Smith had a touchdown against the Falcons but both he and Ashley Lelie are used about evenly in the game plan with Lelie the better shot at yardage since he runs deeper routes. Darius Watts had four catches for 36 yards and is slowly becoming more of a factor. This crew is always affected by the success of the rushing attack and since Plummer remains around 200 yards passing in most games, there are no significant fantasy stars here though Smith and Lelie are providing a solid #3 receiver for fantasy teams.

Tight Ends: Ding Dong, Shannon's gone. So are the tight ends from the game plan. There was only one pass to Jeb Putzier against the Falcons and he did not catch it. El blanko. Putzier is still the most likely tight end to do anything for Denver, but that does not mean he will do anything.

Match Against the Defense: The Atlanta effort last week has to be largely disregarded or the trend suggests that Droughns will have 450 yards rushing with 14 touchdowns. That is not possible (though neither was eight rushing scores until last week). The Falcons defense has to come up big against the run or risk being shell-shocked all season long. Expect Atlanta to pour everything into stopping Droughns but to still come up short since Atlanta's good stats through week six were build largely because they faced softer offenses. Plus the struggles of the passing game by Atlanta will only mean that Denver has the ball more and that Droughns is likely to see another 30 carry game.

Whatever is left over should be maybe one passing score for Plummer unless Atlanta sells out against the run and allows Lelie and Smith too much room to ignore. There's no doubt that should happen at least once in the game but Denver will keep running the ball which will depress potential passing numbers.

ATL DEN 2004 Averages DEN ATL
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
164
156
Pass yards
221
251
0.6
0.6
Pass TDs
1.6
0.7
0.9
0.4
Interceptions
1.0
0.7
49
5
Rush yards
15
4
0.1
0.3
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
87
70
Rush yards
128
94
1.0
0.3
Rush TDs
0.4
1.7
41
10
Receive yards
26
50
0.1
0.0
Receive TD's
0.6
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
74
123
Receive yards
148
163
0.1
0.6
Receive TD's
0.7
0.6
---
---
TE's
---
---
53
23
Receive yards
45
38
0.3
0.0
Receive TD's
0.3
0.1
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.1
1.4
Field Goals
2.0
1.1
2.1
1.1
Extra Points
2.0
2.3
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.1
0.7
Fumbles
0.4
1.0
0.7
0.6
Interceptions
0.4
0.9
0.4
0.0
Touchdowns
0.0
0.0
2.9
1.0
Sacks
2.0
3.3
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Broncos (5-2)
Score Opp.
34-24 KC
6-7 @JAX
23-13 SD
16-13 @TB
20-17 CAR
31-3 @OAK
10-23 @CIN
Week 8 ATL
Week 9 HOU
Week 10 bye
Week 11 @NO
Week 12 OAK
Week 13 @SD
Week 14 MIA
Week 15 @KC
Week 16 @TEN
Week 17 IND
Falcons (5-2)
Score Opp.
21-19 @SF
34-17 STL
6-3 ARI
27-10 @CAR
10-17 DET
21-20 SD
10-56 @KC
Week 8 @DEN
Week 9 bye
Week 10 TB
Week 11 @NYG
Week 12 NO
Week 13 @TB
Week 14 OAK
Week 15 CAR
Week 16 @NO
Week 17 @SEA