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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
  Detroit Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 0 0 190,1
RB Kevin Jones 80,1 20 0
RB Artose Pinner 20 0 0
TE Stephen Alexander 0 40,1 0
WR Roy Williams 0 90,1 0
WR Reggie Swinton 0 40 0
WR Tai Streets 0 50 0
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 2 XP -
  Dallas Rush Catch Pass
QB V. Testaverde 0 0 220,2
RB Eddie George 50 10 0
RB Richie Anderson 30 40,1 0
TE Jason Witten 0 70,1 0
WR Keyshawn Johnson 0 70 0
WR Randall Williams 0 30 0
WR Dedric Ward 0 30 0
WR Quincy Morgan 0 40,1 0
PK Bill Cundiff 1 FG 2 XP -

DET (4-2) vs DAL (2-4)

Game Prediction: DET 20, DAL 17

Just when you think the Lions have reverted back to 2003 form, they win their third straight road game and are - ready for this? - tied with the Eagles for the best road record in the NFL. Oh yeah, this is just a season that never changes. The Cowboys come off a bad loss in Green Bay that did a nice job illustrating what was wrong with Dallas and what was right with the Packers... which was basically everything last Sunday.

The Cowboys are due for a good homestand but the loss of Glenn and the absence of sound defense or rushing will make it tough against a good Detroit defense. It should be a close game that either could win.

Update: This game is a mess. Hakim will likely miss this week and Roy Williams has only limited practice but should start after re-tweaking his ankle sprain last week. I still like Williams - he was great last week until the ankle bothered him again and faces a weaker secondary this time. I am not changing his numbers.

Quincy Morgan has not practiced and it will be Saturday at the earliest before his status is decided. I am removing him from the projections since that is the most likely scenario. The Cowboys are not even sure what practice squad player they may promote up if needed. I am redistributing the passing yardage and lowering it since the Cowboys want to run more and have less receiving weapons anyway.

Sunday Morning - Williams is inactive this week after pre-game warmups. The passing by both teams this week should be lower with so many receivers out. Dedric Ward is also out and Randall Williams starts.

Pre-Game Notes - DET

Either the Lions stepped up and played over their heads, or their flop against the Packers was a fluke, or Roy Williams has a magical power that spreads to the entire team when he starts. This season? Probably going to be the magical power as much as any one thing.

Quarterback: Joey Harrington was very efficient last week when he completed 18 of 22 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers. You cannot ask for much more than that. He's thrown at least one score in every game and currently has ten touchdowns against only three interceptions. At this rate the Lions should just dump Charles Rogers because Harrington is doing fine without him and every season time is lost practicing the wideout who only gets two or three games before leaving for the year.

Running Backs: The best part of the win over the Giants was the play of Kevin Jones who is finally healthy after battling various injuries since the preseason. Jones ran 13 times for 65 yards and one touchdown with several nice runs. So long as he remains healthy, he should become a big part of the offense that has never had the option to be balanced in the past three years.

Wide Receivers: Roy Williams was a game time decision again last week but he played and ended with 67 yards on four catches and one touchdown. He tweaked his ankle again on Sunday and missed most of the fourth quarter but should be back again this weekend. He is an integral part of the passing offense and a reason why there's more room to run for Jones and Pinner. Reggie Swinton also scored last week on his three catches for 32 yards and will again act as the #3 receiver if Hakim is out.

Tai Streets... what is the purpose really? He's more like a mannequin than a split end. Every game is less than 33 yards. That doesn't even qualify as an average tight end production.

Az-Zahir Hakim missed last week with a sprained ankle and is questionable again for Sunday. I assume he will not play but will look for updates.

Tight Ends: Stephen Alexander comes off a five catch, 52 yard effort over the Giants which is far better than his previous season high of 15 yards. Expect that he'll stick closer to the 15 yard than the 50 yard mark.

Match Against the Defense: Hard to imagine that Harrington won't delight in the Cowboys secondary since every other quarterback besides Garcia has. Dallas is averaging allowing two scores per game and well over 200 yards passing and there's little reason that Roy Williams (if healthy) should not score and turn in at least moderate to good yardage.

This is the week that Tai Streets has the best matchup so far this year. If he cannot exceed 30 yards here, he never will.

The Cowboys rushing defense has also fallen on hard times, allowing four rushing scores in the past three weeks along with three running backs to gain between 93 and 163 yards. Kevin Jones is still getting through his learning curve, but given his nice game last week he should manage moderate numbers here.

Pre-Game Notes - DAL

It didn't take long for the wheels to start wobbling on the Cowboys wagon. With three straight losses there are already calls to replace Testaverde with Drew Henson and to shake up the offense and defense. This is virtually the same defense from last year but the parts just don't work as well together. The best cornerback in Terrence Newman is now giving up big plays and the loss of Darren Woodson at safety has never been filled. The Cowboys cannot run to finish a game and cannot stop the pass when they are ahead. More rocky times ahead.

Quarterback: During the bombing by the Packers last week, Vinny Testaverde still threw for 308 yards and one touchdown and had no turnovers but it wasn't enough to stem the tide. He's on the hot seat now with everyone except Bill Parcells so it doesn't really matter - Testaverde remains the starter. He's not really the problem, he's just not a solution.

Running Backs: Eddie George did score last week but only had 10 carries for 41 yards and Richie Anderson ran five times for 25 yards. In case you're counting, George always gets between 10 and 15 carries a game and since he usually remains between three and four yards a carry (on a good day), that means he is not a fantasy starter.

The lack of a credible running game is proving to be the ruin of the offense. They cannot control the game nor protect a lead.

Wide Receivers: Terry Glenn is now out for the next two weeks and likely Quincy Morgan will step in to fill the void - if even he is healthy. He is battling a hamstring injury and is questionable to play this week. With Antonio Bryant gone, the Cowboys may be moving a practice player or two up just to fill out formations. I am assuming Morgan will be okay to play but will update as needed.

Keyshawn Johnson is no stud, but he remains a solid #3 fantasy starter with around 50 to 70 yards a week with the odd touchdown. His role should increase with the loss of Glenn.

Tight Ends: The emergence of Jason Witten as a top tight end continued with his 8 catch, 112 yard game against the Packers with one touchdown. With Glenn now gone, Witten becomes even more important.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions rush defense has yet to allow any runner to exceed 70 yards this season and Eddie George is hardly the equivalent of Westbrook, Green or Barber. Expect yet another low yardage effort from George on his 10 to 15 carries and the chance is best there will be no rushing score.

Testaverde should turn in another good yardage effort if he can find enough healthy wideouts to hit. By necessity, the Cowboys are becoming an unwilling but unavoidable passing team now and the Lions weakness is against the pass. With Dre' Bly assigned to Keyshawn Johnson, Vinny will have to rely more on Witten and other receivers to get down the field.

DET DAL 2004 Averages DAL DET
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
173
218
Pass yards
268
270
1.7
2.0
Pass TDs
1.2
1.2
0.5
0.5
Interceptions
0.7
0.8
8
12
Rush yards
0
13
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.2
---
---
RB's
---
---
76
123
Rush yards
88
87
0.5
0.7
Rush TDs
0.8
0.7
39
43
Receive yards
33
61
0.2
0.2
Receive TD's
0.0
0.3
---
---
WR's
---
---
113
151
Receive yards
186
176
1.5
1.5
Receive TD's
0.7
0.8
---
---
TE's
---
---
22
31
Receive yards
55
40
0.0
0.5
Receive TD's
0.5
0.2
---
---
PK's
---
---
0.7
2.0
Field Goals
1.2
1.3
2.3
2.8
Extra Points
2.0
2.2
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.5
0.8
Fumbles
0.2
0.2
0.8
0.7
Interceptions
0.5
0.5
0.3
0.0
Touchdowns
0.0
0.2
3.7
2.0
Sacks
2.5
2.5
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.2
0.2
Lions(4-2)
Score Opp.
20-16 @CHI
28-16 HOU
13-30 PHI
Week 4 bye
17-10 @ATL
10-38 GB
28-13 @NYG
Week 8 @DAL
Week 9 WAS
Week 10 @JAX
Week 11 @MIN
Week 12 IND
Week 13 ARI
Week 14 @GB
Week 15 MIN
Week 16 CHI
Week 17 @TEN
Cowboys (2-4)
Score Opp.
17-35 @MIN
19-12 CLE
21-18 @WAS
Week 4 bye
10-26 NYG
20-24 PIT
20-41 @GB
Week 8 DET
Week 9 @CIN
Week 10 PHI
Week 11 @BAL
Week 12 CHI
Week 13 @SEA
Week 14 NO
Week 15 @PHI
Week 16 WAS
Week 17 @NYG