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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
  Washington Rush Catch Pass
QB Mark Brunell 0 0 240,2
RB Clinton Portis 70 40,1 0
TE Chris Cooley 0 20 0
WR Lavernues Coles 0 60 0
WR Rod Gardner 0 80,1 0
PK Ola Kimrin 0 FG 2 XP -
  Detroit Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 0 0 210,1
RB Kevin Jones 70 20 0
RB Artose Pinner 20 0 0
TE Stephen Alexander 0 30 0
WR Roy Williams 0 40 0
WR Az-Zahir Hakim 0 70,1 0
WR Tai Streets 0 20 0
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 2 XP -

WAS (2-5) vs DET (4-3)

Game Prediction: WAS 14, DET 20

Both of these teams come off losses, but the Skins continue to stumble and hurt themselves. The Lions lost their first road game this season but return home where they hope to get Roy Williams back since he apparently makes all the difference.

Update: Roy Williams will again be a game time decision and has not practiced fully this week on any day. I am lowering his numbers but there is a chance that he does not play. Watch for game time inactive on Sunday morning since that'll be the first and only certain sign of his playing status.

Pre-Game Notes - WAS

Giving post-game press conferences with a pained look is now a birthright of Washington coaches. Since the team is on the "one step forward, two steps back" plan this season, they'll need to lose this week to stay on course.

Quarterback: Mark Brunell had a nice enough day statistically against the Packers, throwing for 218 yards and two touchdowns but saw the chance to comeback for a victory ruined by an interception. A long completion to Portis went for a score late in the fourth quarter but was called back on a penalty. That would have given the Redskins a 21-20 lead but instead Brunell threw a pick on the next play.

There's a call for Patrick Ramsey by those who do not count, but that's as much about trying something new in the face of losing as it is true dissatisfaction with Brunell. Until the Redskins lose a few more, expect that Brunell continues to play though HC Joe Gibbs is a little less adamant about defending his quarterback lately.

Running Backs: Clinton Portis had his big 171 yard effort in week six but coming off his bye, he only managed 70 yards on 17 carries. That's still a nice 4.1 YPC but it was also the least amount of carries he's had in any game this season. He's only scored twice all season and continues to show little more than flashes of what they Redskins expect.

Wide Receivers: Rod Gardner not only leads all wideouts in scoring, he is the only wideout that has a touchdown. Against the Packers he had two scores though only three catches for 41 yards. The previous game he also reached the endzone once but only had two catches for 20 yards. In fantasy terms, he's feast or famine since he's never had more than three catches for 41 yards in the past four games and yet has three touchdowns in that time.

Laveranues Coles has become a possession receiver but in this scheme that means about 60 yards in the average game from about four catches and he has yet to score in 2004. No other wideouts have any fantasy relevance.

Tight Ends: Chris Cooley has spent the last five weeks alternating between two catches for 20 yards or having nothing in a game. Bad news - he had two catches for 23 yards last week.

Match Against the Defense: Portis will most likely have yet another mediocre game this week against a defense that has only allowed two rushing scores all season and no 100 yard runners though George had 99 yards in Dallas last Sunday. The Lions biggest weakness is against the pass and yet that mirrors the biggest weakness of the Redskins offense, so this week will be more about game planning for something new than Washington using the same plan that has only resulted in two wins this season. Expect a moderate game from Portis since he will get 15 to 20 carries but more than that will be dictated by game situation. The Lions have been susceptible to long gainers by running backs as receivers which could help his totals.

Brunell needs a good passing game to take some heat off himself and this and the CIN game the following week are the only cushions before Washington hits a brutal stretch of @PHI, @PIT, NYG and PHI. There is no way that Portis alone can be competitive in those games and the next two weeks had better tune up the passing game or risk a month of being crushed in every game.

Expect that Brunell turns in one of his best passing efforts with a decent shot at two touchdowns and around 250 yards passing since that's the low side of what most opponents do against Detroit. The split ends like Gardner have been the biggest problem for the secondary and twice the Lions have allowed two touchdown games this season to the position. Gardner already is the clear favorite to score and has a great chance again this week. RCB Dre' Bly is back but Keyshawn Johnson just had his best game of the season against him.

Pre-Game Notes - DET

Detroit stumbled in Dallas, but a 3-1 road record this season already shows vast improvement. Roy Williams was a game time scratch last week and the Lions faced a desperate Cowboy team that played their best game of the season. This week Detroit catches a break at home against a struggling Washington squad.

Quarterback: Though the game was a loss last week, it was the best performance of the season by Joey Harrington who threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns against one interception. Considering that Roy Williams was out, Harrington did a nice job spreading the ball around but there is a distinct difference when Williams is playing. Harrington has scored at least once in every game this season. Harrington is on a pace to throw over 20 scores this season and yet is 3:1 with his touchdown to interception ratio.

Running Backs: Kevin Jones had a nice 65 yard effort against the Giants but only had 11 carries for 36 yards in Dallas last week. The most encouraging aspect of that game was that Jones had four catches and scored on a pass for the first time this season. His pass catching ability will greatly expand the offense and though he only had 11 yards last week, he is slowly developing into the offense.

Wide Receivers: With Williams out last week, Az-Zahir Hakim turned up the dial and ended with 90 yards on four catches in spite of also being a game time decision from an ankle sprain. David Kircus scored once on a 50 yard pass play on his only catch of the day and even Reggie Swinton had a couple of catches. While the offense is predicated on Williams as the primary receiver, Hakim was able to make a difference last week with a better supporting cast than in 2003 when the wideouts were a revolving door each week.

Here is a very important fact about the Lions' receivers. Tai Streets went against the softest secondary of the season in Dallas and yet still only managed to catch two passes for 16 yards. It is almost inconceivable that a starting split end could play an entire season and never have more than 32 yards in any game but Streets is obviously up to the challenge of complete mediocrity. In seven games played in 2004, Streets has a total of 116 yards on 15 catches. Just painful and almost incomprehensible why Detroit doesn't give Swinton or even Kircus a chance to start since there would be no downside. It does not matter who the Lions play and it does not matter what other offensive players are in the game. It will be two catches for 20 yards a week.

I am assuming that Roy Williams plays this week since he was still a game time decision last Sunday. Updates if warranted.

Tight Ends: Stephen Alexander had a good chance last week in Dallas to do something but ended up mainly blocking the Dallas blitzes. He ended with two catches for 25 yards and remains a fantasy nobody.

Match Against the Defense: The Redskins have a decent rush defense and have only allowed four rushing touchdowns this season and two of those were last week to Ahman Green. Look for Jones to have a moderate game with around 50 yards tops since the Lions rushing game has not yet gotten on track and the Redskins best defensive strength is against the run. With Lavaar Arrington still out, Jones should have a little more room to run.

The Redskins keep losing games not because of their inability to prevent points but because their offense cannot post points. There has not been any quarterback this season who has thrown for more than one touchdown and Harrington will likely remain in the 200-250 yard range with the return of Roy Williams a deciding factor. If he is not playing this week, then the yardage should be much lower than last week against the Cowboys.

Detroit's passing attack is fairly easy to predict. There is Roy Williams who will provide about 65% of the yardage, Hakim will toss in about 20% and Streets gets 15 to 20 yards per game. I like the chance for a defensive score in this game with Brunell already interception prone playing inside a dome on the carpet against an aggressive defense.

WAS DET 2004 Averages DET WAS
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
182
265
Pass yards
185
178
1.1
1.4
Pass TDs
1.7
0.7
1.1
1.1
Interceptions
0.6
1.1
11
12
Rush yards
6
3
0.0
0.3
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
104
89
Rush yards
71
84
0.3
0.6
Rush TDs
0.4
0.6
23
58
Receive yards
38
41
0.1
0.3
Receive TD's
0.3
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
134
162
Receive yards
123
111
0.7
1.0
Receive TD's
1.4
0.4
---
---
TE's
---
---
25
46
Receive yards
24
29
0.3
0.3
Receive TD's
0.0
0.3
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.3
1.3
Field Goals
0.6
1.1
1.4
2.4
Extra Points
2.4
1.9
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.6
0.1
Fumbles
1.3
1.0
1.1
0.6
Interceptions
1.1
1.1
0.0
0.1
Touchdowns
0.4
0.7
2.4
2.3
Sacks
3.3
2.4
0.0
0.1
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Redskins (2-5)
Score Opp.
16-10 TB
14-20 @NYG
18-21 DAL
13-17 @CLE
10-17 BAL
13-10 @CHI
Week 7 bye
14-28 GB
Week 9 @DET
Week 10 CIN
Week 11 @PHI
Week 12 @PIT
Week 13 NYG
Week 14 PHI
Week 15 @SF
Week 16 @DAL
Week 17 MIN
Lions(4-3)
Score Opp.
20-16 @CHI
28-16 HOU
13-30 PHI
Week 4 bye
17-10 @ATL
10-38 GB
28-13 @NYG
21-31 @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