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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 10
November 10, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Mon 9 PM
PIT at CLE* BAL at NYJ CIN at WAS BUF at NE* PHI at DAL*
TB at ATL* KC at NO* NYG at ARZ Bye Week: Bye Week:
DET at JAX* CHI at TEN* CAR at SF DEN MIA
HOU at IND SEA at STL MIN at GB* OAK SD
  Pittsburgh Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 0 0 240,2
RB Duce Staley 50 10 0
RB Jerome Bettis 60,1 0 0
TE Jay Riemersma 0 10 0
WR Hines Ward 0 70,1 0
WR Antwaan Randle El 0 30 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 100,1 0
PK Jeff Reed 1 FG 3 XP -
  Cleveland Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia 20 0 190,1
RB William Green 40,1 10 0
RB Lee Suggs 50 30 0
TE Steve Heiden 0 20 0
WR Andre Davis 0 60 0
WR Dennis Northcutt 0 60,1 0
WR Antonio Bryant 0 50 0
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 2 XP -

PIT (7-1) vs CLE (3-5)

Game Prediction: PIT 24, CLE 20

The Steelers only needed two weeks to become the new darlings of the NFL but beating the best teams from both the NFC and AFC and knocking them both from the undefeated perch does get a team noticed. The Browns too have been noticed, but mostly for throwing the record 106 yard interception return for a touchdown.

Update: Andre Davis is now doubtful to play and not expected to be available for the game. I am removing him from the projections and shuffling the lesser pass yards. Andre King is also unlikely to play.

Duce Staley has not practiced this week and though he is not officially out, it looks very unlikely. I am removing him from the projections. Willie Parker should get some play since Verron Haynes also is likely to miss this week, but since he has never been a factor in any game I am not projecting for him. He could water down Bettis' numbers who is also banged up this week as well.

Pre-Game Notes - PIT

The Steelers have been getting better each week and have a two game lead over the Ravens - the only team that has beaten them so far this season. If this all holds up, and it looks likely, that week 16 game hosting the Ravens will be very interesting.

Quarterback: Let's see, Ben Roethlisberger has won all six games that he has started. He has always thrown at least one score and has two scores in each of the last three games which also, incidentally, had no interceptions. This has been such a tremendous boon to Roethlisberger's marketability, it is surprising that some agent has not recommended this course of action to a client before this year. It seems so obvious now.

Roethlisberger had his third start of the year against the Browns and threw for 231 yards and one score.

Running Backs: Duce Staley was inactive against his old team last week but Jerome Bettis just fired up the engine in the bus and cranked out 149 yards on 33 carries in a game that looked like he had suddenly morphed into his mid-nineties form. Staley will try to play this week in Cleveland but if he is not 100% he may get yanked before the kickoff if not shortly thereafter. I am assuming that Staley plays with only minor limitation but shares more with Bettis for now.

Staley ran for 117 yards and his only touchdown of the year against the Browns in week five.

Wide Receivers: Plaxico Burress finally stopping scoring after three straight games and Hines Ward finally started getting touchdowns again. Last week Burress had 70 yards on three catches while Ward only turned in 32 yards on two receptions but with the score. It was Ward's first endzone trip since week five.

There were only 18 passes last week thanks to all the running, the lowest of the year.

The Cleveland game was the breakout for Burress this season when he had 136 yards and a score. It was his only 100+ yard game so far. Ward only had 61 yards on six catches that week.

Tight Ends: Yeah, so Jay Riemersma scored last week but that's his first of the season and it was his only catch in the game. No fantasy factor here.

Match Against the Defense: Playing in Cleveland should be tougher and in 2003, the Steelers only won 13-6 there. The Steelers won 34-23 in week five against the Browns which was a much higher score than these teams typically produce.

Look for Roethlisberger to be even better this time around with a few major games under his belt. He had 231 yards and a score last time and that should be the least of what he will do.

The Steelers running game will be much better if Staley plays, obviously, and it is not likely that Bettis suddenly found a fountain of youth. Expect a solid rushing game here by them combined but no major numbers from either. These teams know each other well and there should not be a lot of surprises. It will likely mirror the first matchup but with less scoring.

Pre-Game Notes - CLE

At 3-5, this week is pretty much a must-win game for the Browns. If they fall to 3-6, there is speculation that Butch Davis may be conferring with Wannstedt about the process of filing NFL papers. The Browns have the Steelers, then the Jets, at the Bengals and then against the Patriots. That's not pretty.

Quarterback: There's little disagreement that Jeff Garcia is a definite step up for the quarterback slot this year, but it has yet to be enough to matter in most games. Garcia only had 146 yards last week against the Ravens and most of that came in the final quarter before the fated interception. Garcia is still effective as a runner, but he rarely runs anymore and has only gone over 25 yards twice all season on the ground.

Garcia had 210 yards and one score against the Steelers in week five.

Running Backs: The feared sharing ratio has been realized. Both William Green and Lee Suggs are mixed in each game and together produce good results. Individually, they have one 100 yard rushing effort and three touchdowns on the season. In week five against the Steelers, Green only had three carries for 27 yards and Suggs had 11 runs for only 30 yards.

Wide Receivers: Andre Davis had no catches last week and his two nice games in week's 5 and 6 stand alone as the only good performances by a Cleveland wideout this year. That's not counting Quincy Morgan since he is gone. No current wideout on the roster other than Davis has even caught a touchdown.

Antonio Bryant has two games as a Brown now but only has six catches for 69 yards from those two efforts.

Davis had his best game of the year - and the lone 100 yard effort by a Browns wideout back in week five when he caught five passes for 101 yards and one score.

Tight Ends: Don't bother really. Only three scores on the season and never more than 45 yards by either Steve Heiden or Aaron Shea. This week should be mostly blocking anyway. Shea only had one catch in the previous meeting with the Steelers.

Match Against the Defense: Garcia has always played his best games at home this year and the Steelers are coming off two big wins and could be ripe for a letdown. But the Steeler pass defense has actually been getting better while the Browns passing attack is no better than it was a few weeks ago, especially with Bryant still learning the ropes. Expect an moderate game from Garcia as the most likely with no more than one passing score.

The Steeler rush defense has also been improving and they already held "GreenSuggs" to only 57 combined yards the last time. The only factor that should spell a positive for the Browns here is that Pittsburgh is on the road after two huge home wins and could be not as up to play a team they already beat. But chances are even if that happens it won't last beyond the first half.

PIT CLE 2004 Averages CLE PIT
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
191
236
Pass yards
191
197
1.4
0.9
Pass TDs
1.1
0.9
0.6
1
Interceptions
1
1.1
7
8
Rush yards
17
10
0.1
0.3
Rush TDs
0.3
0
---
---
RB's
---
---
145
95
Rush yards
99
67
1.1
0.9
Rush TDs
0.4
0.5
18
28
Receive yards
29
31
0.1
0
Receive TD's
0.1
0.1
---
---
WR's
---
---
161
165
Receive yards
124
134
1
0.4
Receive TD's
0.6
0.8
---
---
TE's
---
---
13
43
Receive yards
38
33
0.3
0.5
Receive TD's
0.4
0
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.3
1.9
Field Goals
2
1.9
2.9
2.1
Extra Points
2
1.5
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.1
1.1
Fumbles
0.6
0.6
1.1
1
Interceptions
1
0.6
0.3
0.3
Touchdowns
0.3
0.3
3.1
2.5
Sacks
1.5
1.6
0
0.1
Safeties
0
0
Steelers (7-1)
Score Opp.
24-21 OAK
13-30 @BAL
13-3 @MIA
28-17 CIN
34-23 CLE
24-20 @DAL
Week 7 bye
34-20 NE
27-3 PHI
Week 10 @CLE
Week 11 @CIN
Week 12 WAS
Week 13 @JAX
Week 14 NYJ
Week 15 @NYG
Week 16 BAL
Week 17 @BUF
Browns(3-5)
Score Opp.
20-3 BAL
12-19 @DAL
10-27 @NYG
17-13 WAS
23-34 @PIT
34-17 CIN
31-34 PHI
Week 8 bye
13-27 @BAL
Week 10 PIT
Week 11 NYJ
Week 12 @CIN
Week 13 NE
Week 14 @BUF
Week 15 SD
Week 16 @MIA
Week 17 @HOU