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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
  Tampa Bay Rush Catch Pass
QB Brian Griese 10 0 240,1
RB Michael Pittman 70,1 50 0
TE Ken Dilger 0 20 0
WR Michael Clayton 0 70,1 0
WR Joe Jurevicius 0 30 0
WR Joey Galloway 0 30 0
WR Tim Brown 0 10 0
PK Martin Gramatica* (Q) 1 FG 2 XP -
  Atlanta Rush Catch Pass
QB Michael Vick 40,1 0 170,1
RB Warrick Dunn 60 30 0
RB T.J. Duckett 50,1 0 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 40,1 0
WR Dez White 0 20 0
WR Peerless Price 0 50 0
WR Brian Finneran 0 30 0
PK Jay Feeley 2 FG 3 XP -

TB (3-5) vs ATL (6-2)

Game Prediction: TB 17, ATL 24

These teams traded wins last season with both road teams winning. This season has a much improved Falcons hosting a marginally better Buccaneer squad but these matchups always hinge on one thing. How well will Vick be contained?

Update: Gramatica has only briefly kicked on Thursday due to his hip pointer and he is not a lock to play this weekend. The Buccaneers will evaluate him on Friday and Saturday to see if he can kick or if they will need a quick replacement. With his risk, Gramatica is not recommended as a fantasy starter this week. I have slightly lowered kicking projections in light of his injury.

Joey Galloway aggravated his groin last week and is questionable to play. I have lowered his numbers and he is not a lock to even play this week.

Pre-Game Notes - TB

After winning three of their last four games, the Buccaneers are looking better the past month and with Brian Griese they have a passing game again. The reality is that this will be the test to see if they really are better since those past wins were at home or in New Orleans where they squeaked past.

Quarterback: Hard to find much wrong with Brian Griese so far. He's only had three starts with two wins and his sole loss was in St. Louis where he threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns. He's thrown scores in every start this season and twice exceeded 280 yards passing. With Galloway back, his weapons are only getting better.

Running Backs: Michael Pittman comes off a career best game when he scored three touchdowns and ran for 128 yards on only 15 carries against the Chiefs. That makes two straight weeks with over 100 yards and scores in both. While the Buccaneers usually like to mix and match runners, the loss of both Garner and Alstott meant that Pittman is now getting everything. He had all but one carry last week and now just needs to show that he is more than a Florida-only phenomena.

Wide Receivers: While there were two passing scores last week, neither went to the wideouts. Michael Clayton had five catches for 90 yards but no other receiver had more than three receptions of 43 yards in spite of 296 passing yards. Tim Brown had no catches in the game for the first time in 179 starts and while Joey Galloway returned, he only had two grabs for 40 yards and aggravated his groin injury again. He's still expected to practice and play in pain again.

Tight Ends: Ken Dilger comes off his second game with a touchdown this season but the other six outings were all less than 30 yards. The Buccaneers like to use the position on occasion for a score, but they are not a component of the passing game until they near the endzone if even then.

Match Against the Defense: The good news is that Pittman scored in both meetings against the Falcons last season but these birds are better defensively this year. Look for Pittman to turn in good receiving yardage in this game with likely moderate rushing yardage. The Falcons have been giving up some big gainers via the pass to tailbacks this year.

As always, much of this game depends on which Falcon team shows up. Two weeks ago they allowed Plummer to throw for four scores but there had only been five passing scores against them in the previous six games. Griese has been hot and the Falcons can be beaten by a good quarterback which they have not often had to face.

The Falcons secondary has been without several players as well and both CB Jason Webster and CB Aaron Beasley may be back this week in practice but may not be big contributors this early. The FS Cory Hall has also been out and he is expected back this week which should help the pass defense.

Galloway will have the better matchup that has been most exploited this year but he's banged up and hard to rely on yet. Expect Clayton to be the main target as always.

Pre-Game Notes - ATL

After losing to Detroit, beating the Chargers by one point and then getting waxed by the Chiefs 56-10 in the record worst performance by a rushing defense, the Falcons turned everything around in only seven days by then visiting the Broncos and laying the whoop on them 41-28. As with all things Falcon, this team is only as good as Michael Vick... or as bad.

The Falcons are returning from their bye week.

Quarterback: Michael Vick turned in his best performance of the season in week 8 when he was on the road against a sound defense in Denver. He rushed for 115 yards - his highest of the season and second time to exceed the century mark. What is more significant was that he threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns. He found Peerless Price for both scores and Price had not scored this season until that point. Conversely, Vick was coming off a game in Kansas City that he only managed to complete 7 of 21 passes for 119 yards and no scores. This is Michael Vick. When you need something from him for your fantasy team, you get one of the five sub-200 yard passing efforts from him. If you sit him, he'll turn in a game like the two good performances he's had this season.

Running Backs: Warrick Dunn has been hampered by a hamstring strain most of the season and it clearly shows. He has not rushed for more than 49 yards in the past month in spite of getting up to 18 carries and he's been on an odd pattern of not catching any passes every other game. The rest should help Dunn heal more and while he was hot with scoring five times in the first three games, he's only had one touchdown in the last three matchups.

T.J. Duckett has become much more in the game plan than the first five weeks of the season when he had very little use. He rushed 18 times for 44 yards and one score with 31 receiving yards against the Lions and though he was quiet against the Chiefs during the pummeling in Kansas City, he redeemed himself with 11 carries for 49 yards and two catches for 72 yards in Denver. The ratio of sharing has never been consistent and with the two games that Duckett was completely ignored, he'll remain a fantasy risk each week especially if Dunn gets healthier and more productive again.

Wide Receivers: Peerless Price has his best game as a Falcon when he scored twice in week 8 and gained 59 yards. The reality is that those were his only catches in the game. In the past seven games, he's only once had more than two receptions and has never had more than 84 yards receiving in any week. Two scores were nice, but the seven previous games without a touchdown or any significant yardage makes Price remain someone to avoid as a fantasy starter.

Brian Finneran has done so little this season the only way he has been newsworthy is by laying out John Lynch with a block and giving him a stress fracture on his sacrum (tailbone). Michael Jenkins had his first NFL catch last week and gained 46 yards but it was his only catch of the season and Rookie of The Year is not looking particularly likely. Dez White often does well enough to make him worth an average tight end though he is a wide receiver.

Tight Ends: The only fantasy player with any relevance on the Falcons when it comes to receiving is clearly Alge Crumpler who consistently is the most common target for Vick. He's only scored twice this season but already has five games over 49 yards receiving.

Match Against the Defense: As with any Falcon game, the main consideration is how well Vick will be contained - all stems from that. In his only game against the Bucs last year, Vick had two passing scores and ran for only 29 yards. This is not a defense that will likely allow Vick a big passing game even if he had it in him which so far he hasn't anyway. Expect moderate rushing from Vick with likely one passing score but not much more.

The duo of Dunn and Duckett should combine for a good game here but their sharing ratio has been so wildly varying that it's hard to rely on either player managing a big game here. The Bucs defense is likely a better fit for Duckett running with power than Dunn trying to use his speed to gain yards but that all depends on the whims of the play calling.

Crumpler is the most likely to score here against a defense that has allowed past tight ends to hurt them but Price and Vick are connecting lately and last season Price had the score against Tampa Bay.

TB ATL 2004 Averages ATL TB
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
232
282
Pass yards
175
188
1.1
1.1
Pass TDs
0.8
1.3
0.6
1
Interceptions
0.8
0.9
4
4
Rush yards
58
6
0
0
Rush TDs
0.1
0
---
---
RB's
---
---
83
88
Rush yards
86
106
0.6
1.5
Rush TDs
1.1
0.6
42
52
Receive yards
38
28
0.3
0
Receive TD's
0.1
0.1
---
---
WR's
---
---
153
191
Receive yards
86
126
0.5
0.9
Receive TD's
0.4
0.8
---
---
TE's
---
---
37
39
Receive yards
57
33
0.4
0.3
Receive TD's
0.3
0.4
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.4
1
Field Goals
1.3
1.5
1.5
2.5
Extra Points
2.5
2.1
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.8
1
Fumbles
1
0.9
0.9
0.8
Interceptions
1
0.8
0.3
0
Touchdowns
0.5
0.3
1.9
3
Sacks
2.5
2.5
0
0
Safeties
0
0
Buccaneers (3-5)
Score Opp.
10-16 @WAS
6-10 SEA
20-30 @OAK
13-16 DEN
20-17 @NO
21-28 @STL
19-7 CHI
Week 8 bye
34-31 KC
Week 10 @ATL
Week 11 SF
Week 12 @CAR
Week 13 ATL
Week 14 @SD
Week 15 NO
Week 16 CAR
Week 17 @ARI
Falcons (6-2)
Score Opp.
21-19 @SF
34-17 STL
6-3 ARI
27-10 @CAR
10-17 DET
21-20 SD
10-56 @KC
41-28 @DEN
Week 9 bye
Week 10 TB
Week 11 @NYG
Week 12 NO
Week 13 @TB
Week 14 OAK
Week 15 CAR
Week 16 @NO
Week 17 @SEA