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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 11
November 17, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
DAL at BAL NYJ at CLE* DEN at NO* SD at OAK* GB at HOU
STL at BUF PIT at CIN SF at TB* ATL at NYG Mon 9 PM
ARZ at CAR* DET at MIN* Sun 4 PM WAS at PHI NE at KC
IND at CHI* TEN at JAX* MIA at SEA* *updated Times ET
  Detroit Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 0 0 220,1
RB Kevin Jones 100,1 20 0
TE Stephen Alexander 0 20 0
WR Roy Williams 0 90,1 0
WR Reggie Swinton 0 30 0
WR Az-Zahir Hakim 0 30 0
WR Tai Streets 0 30 0
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG 2 XP -
  Minnesota Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper 20 0 280,2
RB Moe Williams 20 30 0
RB Onterrio Smith 70,1 20 0
RB Michael Bennett 20 10 0
TE Jermaine Wiggins 0 60,1 0
WR Marcus Robinson 0 30 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 90,1 0
WR Kelly Campbell 0 30 0
PK Morten Andersen 3 FG 3 XP -

DET (4-5) vs MIN (5-4)

Game Prediction: DET 17, MIN 30

Both teams are on three game losing streaks that need to be broken. The difference is that the Vikings are finding their offensive feet again now that Moss is out while the Lions are relying on their punt returner to keep them in games.

Update: Az-Zahir Hakim is doubtful to play this week and has not practiced. I have removed him and inserted Reggie Swinton as his replacement. Tai Streets is also banged up and could be limited, but let's be serious - he's never done much when healthy anyway.

Pre-Game Notes - DET

After such an exciting start to the season, these Lions are looking pretty similar to the "not there yet" version we've known in seasons past. Defense and special teams have kept the Lions in several games, but have not been enough to actually win most the games.

Quarterback: Joey Harrington is on the hot seat after last week only completing 11 of 33 passes for 121 yards and one interception. HC Steve Mariucci has been queried about making a chance to back-up Mike McMahon but remains steadfast in supporting Harrington in spite of the last two games. If Harrington struggles, he could be replaced during the game but in Minnesota that shouldn't be the case this week.

Running Backs: Kevin Jones is slowing getting better and had 81 yards on 19 carries last week but has yet to experience a "breakout" game as a rookie. He had every carry by a running back last week and the Lions are trying to give him the opportunity for a big game while Artose Pinner is once again a nonfactor. This week will be Jones best chance at a good game.

Wide Receivers: Roy Williams had 64 yards last week but only two catches. The positive is that he has not made his ankle any worse though he is clearly not 100%. To compound problems in the passing game, Az-Zahir Hakim may not play this week. He was active against the Jaguars but never had a catch and could not finish the game thanks to a bothersome back injury. With a Williams slowed by his ankle and Hakim not playing, it's no surprise that this offense is not moving well lately.

I am projecting that Hakim plays but is very limited. Updates as warranted.

Tight Ends: Stephen Alexander is a lock to catch a pass and gain upwards of 20 yards in a game. He is also a lock to not do anything more than that.

Match Against the Defense: The Viking defense should breath life back into the Lions offense this week, if the Lions can find the healthy bodies to take advantage of one of the softest opponents this season.

Expect that Kevin Jones does have a good game here against a team that has allowed almost every opponent to rush for more than 100 yards and that has allowed nine rushing scores this year. If you have a bad matchup elsewhere on your roster, this will be about as low risk a start for Jones as you're going to find (other than maybe IND next week).

Harrington faces a secondary that has been regularly shredded this season but he just doesn't have the weapons lately to do much. Expect that Roy Williams should turn in a solid game with one score even if he has to hop down the field. But no other receiver has stepped up this year other than Hakim who may not play.

Pre-Game Notes - MIN

The Vikings have stumbled the last three weeks without Randy Moss, losing all three games but they are beginning to come to terms what life without The Freak is like. The Vikings took the Packers to task last week and only lost by a field goal after scoring 31 points. The only thing worse than not having Moss in the offense is having the Viking defense on the field.

Quarterback: Daunte Culpepper took three weeks to adjust to Moss not being the focal point of the offense but finally climbed back to his productive ways last week when he threw for 363 yards and four touchdowns. It was the fifth time this season that Culpepper has topped 300 yards passing and the first multiple touchdown game for him in five weeks.

Running Backs: Onterrio Smith got a shoulder stinger in practice last Friday and did not start though he did rush five times for 21 yards and scored once on a reception. Michael Bennett also gained 21 yards on five carries but the Vikings have not had the luxury of running lately with the scoreboard demanding that Culpepper pass more.

Mewelde Moore may be back this week but I'm not including him in the projections until better word comes out of practice that his ankle is healed. Moe Williams also scored last week on a catch and had 57 yards on four receptions. There are a lot of fantasy points somewhere in this group but this week is too early to expect that there is any clear beneficiary in a primary role.

The best assumption here is that Onterrio gets the start this week with support by at least two or three other runners...'sigh'..

Wide Receivers: Nate Burleson comes off a career best game, catching 11 passes for 141 yards and one touchdown against the Packers. Marcus Robinson only had two catches for 39 yards last week and he's continued to be hampered by a foot sprain he received two weeks ago. He only has five catches for 62 yards in the last two games.

Tight Ends: The loss of Moss has directly benefited Jermaine Wiggins who had six catches for 94 yards and one score last week. He had five catches for 63 yards the previous week. Not only has he supplied a much needed target for Culpepper, he has become a valuable outlet on third down and has made some nice catches.

Match Against the Defense: The only teams that have managed big rushing scores against the Lions are ones that focus solely on running the ball. That could happen to some extent here but there's three or four guys to spread the wealth over and the Lions do not allow more than one rushing score in any game this season other than week one. Expect that Onterrio Smith turns in moderate yardage and while one rushing score is likely, it could go to any of the tailbacks.

Culpepper faces a secondary that has allowed multiple touchdowns five times this season. While it's hard enough for the Vikings to pass without Moss, they are adapting. The Lions have not faced a Moss-less team in years. Expect that the wideouts have a nice game there that should benefit mostly Burleson though Robinson could score a short one if his foot has improved. Otherwise, it will likely replicate last week where Wiggins and the running backs are just as big in the passing game as the wideouts.

DET MIN 2004 Averages MIN DET
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
187
257
Pass yards
301
234
1.4
1.7
Pass TDs
2.8
1.3
0.7
0.4
Interceptions
0.6
0.9
6
12
Rush yards
23
14
0.0
0.3
Rush TDs
0.1
0.2
---
---
RB's
---
---
70
107
Rush yards
95
110
0.3
1.0
Rush TDs
0.2
0.6
36
48
Receive yards
69
53
0.3
0.2
Receive TD's
0.3
0.3
---
---
WR's
---
---
127
167
Receive yards
182
144
1.1
0.9
Receive TD's
2.1
1.0
---
---
TE's
---
---
25
43
Receive yards
50
40
0.0
0.4
Receive TD's
0.2
0.2
---
---
PK's
---
---
0.7
1.4
Field Goals
1.2
1.2
2.2
2.9
Extra Points
3.0
2.3
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.0
0.6
Fumbles
0.7
0.1
0.9
0.7
Interceptions
0.4
0.7
0.6
0.2
Touchdowns
0.0
0.2
2.9
2.3
Sacks
2.2
2.2
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.1
Lions(4-5)
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
10-17 WAS
17-23 @JAX
Week 11 @MIN
Week 12 IND
Week 13 ARI
Week 14 @GB
Week 15 MIN
Week 16 CHI
Week 17 @TEN
Vikings (5-4)
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
28-31 @IND
31-34 @GB
Week 11 DET
Week 12 JAX
Week 13 @CHI
Week 14 SEA
Week 15 @DET
Week 16 GB
Week 17 @WAS