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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
  New England Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 0 0 280,3
RB Kevin Faulk 10 40 0
RB Corey Dillon 50 10 0
TE Daniel Graham 0 30,1 0
WR David Patten 0 80,1 0
WR Troy Brown 0 50 0
WR David Givens 0 70,1 0
PK Adam Vinatieri 1 FG 3 XP -
  St. Louis Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger 0 0 260,2
RB Marshall Faulk 50 40 0
RB Steven Jackson 30 10 0
TE B. Manumaleuna 0 10 0
WR Isaac Bruce 0 90,1 0
WR Torry Holt 0 80,1 0
WR Shaun McDonald 0 30 0
PK Jeff Wilkins 3 FG 2 XP -

NE (6-1) vs STL (4-3)

Game Prediction: NE 24, STL 23

The Patriots magic has been broken after 21 games but the Rams have only been magic for one week in Seattle. Is it possible that the Patriots could lose two in a row or better put, is it possible for the Rams to beat a second team with a winning record?

Pre-Game Notes - NE

Hey, it had to happen sometime and at least the Steelers were non-divisional and there's always the "Dillon, Branch and Law were injured" excuse. Still pretty remarkable that they won for so long that Belichick had completely forgotten how to give a "well, that didn't work" post game interview.

Quarterback: Tom Brady did what he could to save the win for the Patriots last week, throwing for 271 yards and two scores but he was battered about most of the game and lost one fumble and two interceptions. He still has not failed to throw at least one score every week and only twice has gone below 230 yards.

Running Backs: Corey Dillon was evidently fine last Wednesday, then he was probable to play with a thigh injury on Thursday which became questionable on Friday and by Sunday he was deemed a game time inactive. Welcome to the NFL Injury version of Jeopardy brought to you by the New England Patriots where injuries don't get better with time, they get worse.

Last week, the Patriots only tried rushing Kevin Faulk five times for four yards gained though Faulk did add eight catches for 72 yards. Cedric Cobbs only had one carry in the game. Pending information that no one should rely on anymore, I am considering Dillon playing but limited this week. As with all things New England, you never can absolutely know until it is too late which is precisely the goal of Belichick. We can only hope that this week his thigh does not continue to get worse.

Wide Receivers: David Givens had the better matchup last week and turned in his best game of the season with eight catches for 108 yards and two scores while David Patten only managed 39 yards on four catches. Troy Brown had been limited the entire season with varying injuries but showed up for 59 yards on five catches last week. With Dillon likely out or at least limited, this crew has to come up big.

Tight Ends: All the self-professed league geniuses that drafted Daniel Graham were crowing loudly when he scored in each of the first four games. Since then he has declined each week and against the Steelers he spent most his time helping out with the blocking thanks to other line injuries and ended with no catches in the game.

Match Against the Defense: If he was healthy, there's no reason why Dillon would not score once and likely post 80+ rushing yards but that is hard to rely on given last week. As stated, wait for better word before starting him if in fact it is given and can be considered credible. The NFL should fine the Patriots for the way they use injuries as a strategic tool that skirts the spirit if not the letter of the reporting rules.

Regardless if Dillon plays, Brady should be a great start this week against a team that has given up two scores and plenty of yards to each of the last four quarterbacks which include notables like Griese and Fiedler. He should score twice and potentially three times if the run game is not there and the points are needed.

David Patten has the matchup that has been most exploited by opponents though the Rams are not particularly strong on either side. The Rams also are very soft against tight ends and have allowed a touchdown to the position in each of the last three games. If Graham is going to get back into the endzone, this is the week.

Pre-Game Notes - STL

The Rams are 4-3 and only have that mark thanks to the comeback victory in Seattle. Other than the surprise win over the Seahawks, the Rams are not too hard to figure out so far. They have won all their home games except against the Saints. They have lost half of their road games with wins against the 49ers (who did not have Rattay or Barlow healthy) and the Seattle win. Otherwise, they were trounced by the Dolphins and Falcons.

Quarterback: Marc Bulger has been a very good fantasy quarterback this season and while he has improved his interception ratio from last season, he is starting to throw more the last three games. To his credit he did play very well against the Buccaneers with two scores and 264 yards but against the Dolphins he only had one score and Holt only had one catch. He's still above average to be sure, but not consistent enough to be considered top 5.

Running Backs: The running back by committee lives. While it has varied the last three weeks, Steven Jackson has never had less than a third of all the carries and usually gets about half of what Marshall Faulk has. Facing two tough rush defenses in the last two games, neither has rushed in a touchdown and neither has done more than 61 yards rushing. Faulk still holds a clear lead in the receiving game over Jackson and in the last game, his eight catches for 74 yards against the Dolphins was his season high.

Wide Receivers: Torry Holt had a monster week six with 124 yards and two scores but then followed that up with just one catch for four yards against the Dolphins. The defense is clearly loaded up to stop him even if it means allowing Isaac Bruce more room. Holt really only has two good games this season. Bruce already has 635 yards in only seven games this season which trends out to over 1400 yards on the season. The way that defenses continue to make Holt the priority, he may well continue that production though he was held to only one catch for 11 yards against the Buccaneers - the same game that Holt went wild.

Tight Ends: Strictly hands off for a fantasy team.

Match Against the Defense: The Patriot rush defense gave up major yards last week but otherwise has been pretty solid. The Rams are mixing both Faulk and Jackson which waters down what they can individually do but Faulk should be the best bet here as the pass catching back when the Patriots bring a blitz to try to rattle Bulger. Don't expect any big rushing yards by either back but Faulk should include enough receiving yards to give a moderate fantasy output and if there is a touchdown rushing it would more likely go to Jackson as the bigger back.

With Ty Law likely to miss this week due to a foot injury, Isaac Bruce will get the benefit and should catch the most wideout passes though Holt is moved around so much it's hard to rely on individual matchups.

This game should produce some decent fantasy points and could be a challenge for the Patriots if Dillon remains out or is very limited. The secondary injuries for the Patriots are not coming at a good time but it's also hard to imagine that after 21 wins the Pats could drop consecutive losses.

NE STL 2004 Averages STL NE
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
284
240
Pass yards
284
232
1.4
1.4
Pass TDs
1.4
0.9
1.0
0.3
Interceptions
1.0
1.0
7
22
Rush yards
7
9
0.4
0.0
Rush TDs
0.4
0.1
---
---
RB's
---
---
104
101
Rush yards
104
111
0.7
1.1
Rush TDs
0.7
0.6
45
36
Receive yards
45
25
0.0
0.3
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
231
151
Receive yards
231
168
1.3
0.7
Receive TD's
1.3
0.9
---
---
TE's
---
---
8
60
Receive yards
8
39
0.1
0.4
Receive TD's
0.1
0.0
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.1
1.6
Field Goals
1.1
1.6
2.3
2.3
Extra Points
2.3
1.6
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.3
0.7
Fumbles
0.3
1.0
0.4
1.0
Interceptions
0.4
1.0
0.1
0.1
Touchdowns
0.1
0.3
2.4
2.7
Sacks
2.4
1.9
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Patriots (6-1)
Score Opp.
27-24 IND
23-12 @ARI
Week 3 bye
31-17 @BUF
24-10 MIA
30-20 SEA
13-7 NYJ
20-34 @PIT
Week 9 @STL
Week 10 BUF
Week 11 @KC
Week 12 BAL
Week 13 @CLE
Week 14 CIN
Week 15 @MIA
Week 16 @NYJ
Week 17 SF
Rams (4-3)
Score Opp.
17-10 ARI
17-34 @ATL
25-28 NO
24-14 @SF
33-27 @SEA
28-21 TB
14-31 @MIA
Week 8 bye
Week 9 NE
Week 10 SEA
Week 11 @BUF
Week 12 @GB
Week 13 SF
Week 14 @CAR
Week 15 @ARI
Week 16 PHI
Week 17 NYJ