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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
  Indianapolis Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 290,3
RB Edgerrin James 90 20 0
TE Marcus Pollard 0 30,1 0
TE Dallas Clark 0 30,1 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 100,1 0
WR Brandon Stokley 0 60 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 30 0
PK Mike Vanderjagt 2 FG 3 XP -
  Chicago Rush Catch Pass
QB Craig Krenzel 0 0 180,1
RB Anthony Thomas 20 10 0
RB Thomas Jones 80,1 10 0
TE Desmond Clark 0 20 0
WR Justin Gage 0 30 0
WR Bobby Wade 0 70,1 0
WR David Terrell 0 40 0
PK Paul Edinger 1 FG 2 XP -

IND (6-3) vs CHI (4-5)

Game Prediction: IND 27, CHI 17

Here's an interesting matchup. The Bears have won their last three games and have not allowed an opponent to score more than 21 points in the last six games. During that time, the Colts have averaged only 33 points per game with the last three games all over 30 points.

Update: Thomas Jones has practiced this week and now is expected to play since his toe has improved. There is still an obvious risk that he re-injures it or shares time with Thomas but the Bears are optimistic that Jones is good to go for Sunday.

Pre-Game Notes - IND

The fantasy dream. The offense produces obscene fantasy points every week while the defense cannot stop anyone. The only question is if they can slow an opponent down enough for Manning to kill them.

Quarterback: Manning is still searching for a game that will hold him to less than two touchdowns. He has 31 touchdowns already this year in only nine games. EUREKA!

Running Backs: The Colts scoring explosion has not included Edgerrin James who had his last touchdown back in week five. James still gets solid yardage and has only once failed to net at least 100 yards. He just never scores anymore. in years past, the goal line runs have all turned into short passes to tight ends.

Wide Receivers: Marvin Harrison comes off his worst game of the year with only two catches for 22 yards. This in a game that Manning threw for five touchdowns. Reggie Wayne has also slowed down with the yardage, with four games less than 35 yards in the past six weeks but he's also scored in four of them.

Brandon Stokley has made the #3 position mean something this year. He comes off a season high of 132 yards and two scores last week and when Harrison and Wayne have a quiet game while Stokley explodes, you get the sense that Manning is just toying with the opponent.

Tight Ends: The main reason why the wideouts have turned in lower games lately is because Manning has been using the tight ends extensively this season. Marcus Pollard had a quiet game last week but has five touchdowns on the season and four in the last six games. Dallas Clark turned in two scores against the Texans and he has also scored in four of his last six games. There's a ton of scoring happening in Indianapolis but James, Harrison and Wayne are going to start glaring at the tight ends if this doesn't change soon.

Match Against the Defense: The Bears defense has been about average against runners, allowing four 100 yard games this year to those that try hard enough and bring a runner as good as Edgerrin. Expect that he totals at least that many yards this week but likely not score since the Bears have only allowed three running backs to score this year and James just does not get the goal line calls lately.

The Bears secondary has been pretty solid this year but they have faced some very weak passing attacks for the most part. Culpepper had 360 yards and two scores and last week Volek went for 334 and two scores as well. And simply enough - no one is playing at the level of Manning lately. The matchups strongly favor Harrison this week and he is due for a big game if the tight ends don't steal all the action again.

The loss of Urlacher isn't the end of the world for the Bears' defense, but it will matter when they have to cover tight ends.

Pre-Game Notes - CHI

The Bears have been putting together some inventive defense and special teams to secure the three game winning streak but they'll be tested this week with Brian Urlacher out and Manning coming to town. The weakest passing attack faces the worst secondary. This is like a zen question. If Craig Krenzel threw a pass in the forest, would anyone catch it?

Quarterback: There's something to be said for just being on a team when good things happen. Craig Krenzel is now 3-0 as a starter and yet has never thrown for more than 168 yards or one touchdown in any game. He has two scores this season against four interceptions and four lost fumbles. This is the best chance he may have all year to look like an actual NFL quarterback.

Running Backs: Anthony Thomas wasn't able to match his big game of week nine (110 yards, 2 TD's) but still kept the offense going against the Titans with 29 carries for 79 yards. Thomas Jones was a late scratch for the game as expected and had sat out Friday's practice due to his toe injury. I am projecting for Anthony Thomas again but will update later if Jones is able to play.

Wide Receivers: The good news is that this lethargic group of underachievers have a golden opportunity this week. The bad news is that there has been little to suggest that they will be able to use it. Bobby Wade has been the most productive receiver lately and had 63 yards last week which equates to a 250 yard game by most NFL receivers.

This is the week they better step up - it gets no better than this.

Tight Ends: So far there's a better chance that stores will be late in getting Christmas merchandise out than there is that a tight end will matter in Chicago.

Match Against the Defense: This is as good as it gets, but exactly how good can that be?

Every opponent this season has had success running on the Colts and pretty much every opponent has to abandon the running game by the second half as they get buried by the Colt lead. Then most teams shift to a surprisingly good passing team and in Chicago, it would be truly surprising.

Expect the starting runner to turn in at least moderate numbers if the game doesn't get out of hand early. But relying on the passing game so far just has proven to be wildly optimistic. True - they face the Colts. Krenzel topped out at 168 yards against the poor defense of the 49ers and has been getting worse each week. The Bears could win this in that "any given Sunday" sort of way, but until Krenzel proves he can throw as many scores as turnovers or can actually top 200 yards, it's unfounded optimism.

IND CHI 2004 Averages CHI IND
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
305
216
Pass yards
159
293
3.4
1.1
Pass TDs
0.4
1.7
0.7
1.0
Interceptions
0.9
1.1
4
7
Rush yards
13
5
0.0
0.1
Rush TDs
0.1
0.1
---
---
RB's
---
---
110
112
Rush yards
93
109
0.7
0.3
Rush TDs
0.8
0.8
39
53
Receive yards
36
54
0.2
0.0
Receive TD's
0.2
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
210
143
Receive yards
101
182
2.1
1.0
Receive TD's
0.2
1.1
---
---
TE's
---
---
56
20
Receive yards
22
57
0.9
0.1
Receive TD's
0.0
0.6
---
---
PK's
---
---
0.7
1.8
Field Goals
1.2
1.6
4.4
1.7
Extra Points
1.6
2.4
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.9
1.2
Fumbles
1.2
0.6
1.2
0.9
Interceptions
1.0
0.7
0.6
0.2
Touchdowns
0.6
0.0
2.2
3.7
Sacks
2.3
0.7
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.2
0.0
Colts (6-3)
Score Opp.
24-27 @NE
31-17 @TEN
45-31 GB
24-17 @JAX
35-14 OAK
Week 6 bye
24-27 JAX
35-45 @KC
31-28 MIN
49-14 HOU
Week 11 @CHI
Week 12 @DET
Week 13 TEN
Week 14 @HOU
Week 15 BAL
Week 16 SD
Week 17 @DEN
Bears (4-5)
Score Opp.
16-20 DET
21-10 @GB
22-27 @MIN
9-19 PHI
Week 5 bye
10-13 WAS
7-19 @TB
23-13 SF
28-21 @NYG
19-17 @TEN
Week 11 IND
Week 12 @DAL
Week 13 MIN
Week 14 @JAX
Week 15 HOU
Week 16 @DET
Week 17 GB