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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 9
November 3, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 4 PM Mon 9 PM
NYJ at BUF* ARZ at MIA CHI at NYG NE at STL MIN at IND*
OAK at CAR* PHI at PIT* NO at SD* Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
DAL at CIN KC at TB SEA at SF* CLE at BAL ATL, JAX
WAS at DET* *updated HOU at DEN *updated GB, TEN
  Minnesota Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper 0 0 300,2
RB Onterrio Smith 60,1 20 0
RB Mewelde Moore 40 20 0
TE Jermaine Wiggins 0 50,1 0
WR Marcus Robinson 0 40 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 100,1 0
WR Kelly Campbell 0 60 0
PK Morten Andersen 1 FG 3 XP -
  Indianapolis Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 290,3
RB Edgerrin James 100,1 20 0
TE Marcus Pollard 0 10 0
TE Dallas Clark 0 10 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 110,1 0
WR Brandon Stokley 0 50,1 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 90,1 0
PK Mike Vanderjagt 3 FG 4 XP -

MIN (5-2) vs IND (4-3)

Game Prediction: MIN 24, IND 37

Here's a Monday night barn-burner that doesn't look to burn quite so hot with Randy Moss possibly out. What am I saying - the Colts defense?

Burn, baby, burn.

Update: Word has it that Mewelde Moore, who is hampered by a sprained ankle, will likely start but that Onterrio Smith will receive heavy playing time. I am adding Smith into the equation and lowering Moore's numbers.

Of course Randy Moss will seem like a game time decision but I do not expect him to play and will not add him in.

Pre-Game Notes - MIN

The Vikings are following the script from last year. Look all-world early and then start to unravel. With Randy Moss sidelined last week, the Giants throttled the Vikes in Minnesota and thanks to injuries, this Minnesota team looks different now than only two weeks ago.

Quarterback: Daunte Culpepper has certainly made the Moss injury appear to be devastating to the offense. After throwing for 18 touchdowns in the first five weeks, he only has two in the last two games without Moss and has only passed for 183 and 231 yards. Last week he had two interceptions and a lost fumble. Both those games were at home.

Running Backs: Is the roulette wheel spinning again? Mewelde Moore only had eight rushes for 29 yards last week and due to an ankle sprain gave way to Michael Bennett who rushed five times for 20 yards and one score. Oh yes, and Onterrio Smith is back this week from suspension. Moe Williams is around as well with a rushing touchdown in week seven. All they need now is for Robert Smith to un-retire and produce the first five-headed monster in the history of the league.

For now, HC Mike Tice claims Moore is the starter, Bennett returns punts and offers relief along with Onterrio Smith on occasion. Moe Williams is around as a fullback mostly. With all the runners productive with opportunity, regardless of what happens the Vikings have a bench that 31 other teams can only dream of having.

Moore is the stated starter and I am projecting for him. But for at least a few more games there will always be a risk that Tice switches gears and tries to find the hot hand.

Wide Receivers: While this was a grouping of golden children, now it is starting to look a bit ragged. Randy Moss may not play this week and regardless of what Tice says, you can be sure he isn't telling you the truth as proven the last two weeks. Since there is some speculation that Moss is held out this week, I am not projecting for him. He is clearly not 100% and with the next two games against the Packers and Lions, it makes a lot of sense to not play him.

Problem #2 is that Marcus Robinson sprained his foot and was wearing an inflatable cast on it. He is likely to be listed as probable, whatever that term actually means in Minnesota lingo, but could be limited this week. Moving down the bench there is Nate Burleson who is looking much better in that 11:30 P.M./six beers/ "what did you say her name was again?" sort of way. Figure on Burleson as the only healthy starting receiver with some help from Kelly Campbell and potentially Marcus Robinson. The Vikes are looking at possibly promoting a practice squad guy or grabbing a free agent like D'Wayne "hello again" Bates.

Tight Ends: Jermaine Wiggins only had three catches last week but the way things are shaping up lately, he could have that in the first quarter this week.

Match Against the Defense: Let's get to the point here. The Colts are very likely to score some big points and yet have a defense that is among the worst in the league (thanks to significant trash time each week). They have allowed five different quarterbacks to exceed 300 yards passing. They allow a few passing scores a game and they also allow one or two rushing scores. Randy - you picked a fine time to leave the fantasy radar.

Regardless of Moss or not, Culpepper will post some major yardage here if only to backs and tight ends. It would be almost inconceivable not to do that. Burleson is a lock for a good game and Robinson as well if he proves healthy enough to play. Ditto for Wiggins.

The interesting aspect is who will run and for how long before the run is abandoned. Indy is coming off two straight losses and need a win badly and they know they have to score an obscene amount of points to feel safe.

Pre-Game Notes - IND

While the world merely nodded when the Colts lost a three point game in New England to start the season, the last two games - both losses - have given pause to reconsider how much of a machine the Colts offense can be when it has to drag around the Colts defense like a huge ball and chain. This week the Colts must get on track to stay if they want to entertain notions of a playoff run. With Leftwich now hurt in Jacksonville and Houston... well, they're Houston and the Colts still have an excellent shot at January play. But it needs to start here.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning has 23 touchdowns in the first seven games and is on a pace for 52 touchdowns on the season. That is sort of familiar to me because I am in one very competitive fantasy league with first-come, first-served free agents. And three times this season I have scanned the waiver wire to see Peyton Manning there on top, ready to be snatched.

And then I always wake up. Doh.

Running Backs: The equation is not really hard to determine. When the Colts win, Edgerrin James always scores at least once and has decent yardage. When they lose this season, he never scores and still has decent yardage. This week he should score. And have decent yardage.

Wide Receivers: Brandon Stokley has cooled down since week three but still is an important part of the passing game. In the last two games, Marvin Harrison has been on fire with 189 total yards and four touchdowns. Reggie Wayne was a home warrior and a road wimp last year but last week he had 119 yards and two scores against the Chiefs. If you have any of the three, play them this week. If you have all three, play all three.

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark has scored in each of the last two games and Marcus Pollard has three scores on the season. There are so many touchdowns, even the tight ends cash in even though they rarely have any yardage this season.

Match Against the Defense: For some reason the "ooh baby-baby, a-baby-baby" song is playing in my head.

No need to dissect really when it is all good and mainly controlled by which way they want to score. Figure Edgerrin, Wayne and Harrison should be locks for big games with Stokley or the tight ends possibly also involved.

MIN IND 2004 Averages IND MIN
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
311
322
Pass yards
309
258
2.9
2.0
Pass TDs
3.1
1.0
0.7
1.0
Interceptions
0.6
0.6
23
1
Rush yards
3
13
0.1
0.1
Rush TDs
0.0
0.4
---
---
RB's
---
---
100
109
Rush yards
108
91
0.3
0.7
Rush TDs
0.9
1.3
73
56
Receive yards
39
44
0.1
0.0
Receive TD's
0.3
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
199
204
Receive yards
224
179
2.4
1.3
Receive TD's
2.1
0.9
---
---
TE's
---
---
40
63
Receive yards
46
37
0.3
0.7
Receive TD's
0.7
0.1
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.1
1.7
Field Goals
0.7
1.4
3.0
2.6
Extra Points
4.1
2.6
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.7
0.7
Fumbles
1.0
0.7
0.6
0.6
Interceptions
1.0
0.7
0.0
0.0
Touchdowns
0.1
0.0
2.7
0.6
Sacks
2.1
2.4
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Vikings (5-2)
Score Opp.
35-17 DAL
16-27 @PHI
27-22 CHI
Week 4 bye
34-28 @HOU
38-31 @NO
20-3 TEN
13-34 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
Colts (4-3)
Score Opp.
24-27 @NE
31-17 @TEN
45-31 GB
24-17 @JAX
35-14 OAK
Week 6 bye
24-27 JAX
35-45 @KC
Week 9 MIN
Week 10 HOU
Week 11 @CHI
Week 12 @DET
Week 13 TEN
Week 14 @HOU
Week 15 BAL
Week 16 SD
Week 17 @DEN