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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 12
November 24, 2004
Season Ticket
Thu 12:30 Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
IND at DET CLE at CIN* BAL at NE NYJ at ARZ* OAK at DEN*
Thu 4:05 TB at CAR JAX at MIN* NO at ATL Mon 9 PM
CHI at DAL SD at KC PHI at NYG BUF at SEA* STL at GB*
*updated TEN at HOU* WAS at PIT* MIA at SF Times ET
  New Orleans Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Brooks 0 0 250,1
RB Deuce McAllister 90,1 30 0
TE Boo Williams 0 40 0
WR Joe Horn 0 60,1 0
WR Donte Stallworth 0 30 0
WR Jerome Pathon 0 40 0
PK John Carney 2 FG 2 XP -
  Atlanta Rush Catch Pass
QB Michael Vick 60,1 0 170,1
RB Warrick Dunn 80,1 30 0
RB T.J. Duckett 40,1 0 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 70,1 0
WR Dez White 0 20 0
WR Peerless Price 0 20 0
WR Michael Jenkins 0 10 0
PK Jay Feeley 2 FG 4 XP -

NO (4-6) vs ATL (8-2)

Game Prediction: NO 20, ATL 34

This is the first of two meetings this season between these divisional rivals and in four of the last five years, they have taken turns sweeping the other team. Last year it was the Saints. Bet this year will be the Falcons.

Probably. Depends on which Saints show up. And there is no way of knowing.

Pre-Game Notes - NO

The Saints remain one of the most inconsistent teams in the NFL, scoring anywhere from 7 to 31 points a week and beating the Chiefs by a touchdown which was followed by losing to the Broncos by 21 points - both at home. On the road they lost to the Cardinals by 24 points the week after beat the Rams in St. Louis by a field goal.

The owner came out and said they team played like high schoolers last week. This literally caused high school football coaches to then call the media and claim the comparison was invalid because their team played with heart. The Saints are playing like people attend the Mardi Gras celebration. You never know what to expect but chances are very good you won't enjoy the next morning.

Quarterback: Aaron Brooks has been a good fantasy quarterback this year with at least one score in all but one game and 14 touchdowns on the season. But he's throwing interceptions again and had three last week including one "here, you want to score a touchdown?" gift. He remains the starting quarterback but the question does get asked each week.

Running Backs: Deuce McAllister had his worst rushing effort of the year against Denver, gaining only 42 yards on 13 carries but adding 87 yards on 11 receptions which basically doubled his receiving yards and catches for the entire year. In spite of the up and down play by the team, McAllister has either scored or gained at least 100 total yards in each of the last six games.

Wide Receivers: Joe Horn was questionable to play last week with a sprained knee but was active and had five catches for 81 yards. He also bruised his right elbow to ensure he would be on the injury report in some capacity again this week though he is expected to play.

Donte Stallworth held out until he was dropped from every fantasy starting lineup and then exploded against the Broncos with ten catches for 122 yards and one score. Basically it was equal to the total of his five previous games. He does that about every nine weeks so the next one will likely be in 2005.

Tight Ends: Boo Williams only had 35 yards on three catches last week and 29 yards on three catches the previous week. But Brooks is trying to involve him by throwing at least eight passes in each of the last three weeks. He just needs to actually catch them.

Match Against the Defense: As a typical showing of how inconsistent the Saints always are, consider Brooks last year in two matchups with the Falcons. At Atlanta he had 352 yards and three scores. Three weeks later, he only had 228 yards and no scores while at home.

The Falcons have allowed anywhere from a low of 162 up to 499 passing yards per game this season. Put the two teams together and the range of possibilities are almost endless.

The only consistent player last year was of course McAllister who scored twice in each game. The Falcons have been very tough against the run except, oh yeah, when they allowed the Chiefs to score a record eight times in one game.

The greatest likelihood here is that Brooks throws for at least one score and around 240 yards while Deuce turns in a good game with one score. But anything can happen between these two teams. The only certainty is that the Saints will have a terrible defense which will eventually force Brooks to throw to catch up.

Pre-Game Notes - ATL

The Falcons are inconsistent too, but they tend more towards being good than bad like the Saints. They have won their last three games and lost only two all season - one being the 46 point losing margin to the Chiefs team that New Orleans actually defeated only three weeks later. Then again, the Falcons beat the Broncos 41-28 in Denver and the Saints lost 13-34 to Denver last week in New Orleans. I think my head is going to explode now.

Quarterback: Michael Vick has thrown scores in his last three games - all wins. He has also ran for at least 73 yards in each of those games. But he has varied from 115 to 252 passing yards in those three weeks as well. I am really hating that I left this game for last. Vick only has nine passing touchdowns this year but three times scored twice and four times had no scores... 'sigh'

Running Backs: The closest aspect to consistency has become how they use T.J. Duckett and Warrick Dunn. Since week seven, they maintain about a 2:1 carry ratio in favor of Dunn. Total carries may sway from 16 to 30 each game, but that ratio has held fairly constant and neither have exceeded 76 rushing yards during that time. While Dunn has more yardage, Duckett has more touchdowns. I pine for the days of the single back.

Wide Receivers: The safest statement that can be made about the Falcons is that the wideouts are absolutely worthless in fantasy football terms. You'd only be wrong twice all year and you would avoid players like Peerless Price who had no catches last week.

Tight Ends: Why opposing secondaries cover any player besides Alge Crumpler is a mystery. He has five touchdowns on the season and three in the last two weeks. He has been thrown 56 passes with 39 catches this year. The four wideouts combined for the entire year only have 103 passes with 56 catches. That's four guys versus one player and Crumpler blocks as well. Crumpler has 606 yards and five scores. All four wideouts combined for the season only have 744 yards and three scores. That's roughly the same fantasy points from Crumpler alone that has been produced by the entire set of four wideouts for the entire year. This is not balance. But it is easier to rely on.

Match Against the Defense: If there is any universal truth in either of these teams, it is that the Saints have a terrible defense and in the case of running backs and tight ends - they are the absolute worst in the entire NFL. Guess what are the only two positions that Atlanta uses? (New Orleans is also 3rd worst against quarterbacks).

Anything could happen here but clearly the most likely scenario has Crumpler scoring at least once and the running back duo also scoring. The Saints have not held an opponent to less than 20 points this entire season and it will not start this week.

Go for the usual suspects and feel very good about your fantasy starters this week. That does not, of course, include Falcon wideouts.

NO ATL 2004 Averages ATL NO
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
251
259
Pass yards
166
280
1.2
1.2
Pass TDs
0.9
1.7
0.8
1.1
Interceptions
0.7
0.7
12
3
Rush yards
64
5
0.2
0.0
Rush TDs
0.1
0.1
---
---
RB's
---
---
78
89
Rush yards
92
139
0.7
1.2
Rush TDs
1.1
1.1
33
50
Receive yards
35
48
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.1
0.3
---
---
WR's
---
---
184
168
Receive yards
74
180
0.8
0.8
Receive TD's
0.3
0.8
---
---
TE's
---
---
33
42
Receive yards
62
54
0.4
0.3
Receive TD's
0.4
0.7
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.7
0.9
Field Goals
1.1
1.8
2.2
2.3
Extra Points
2.5
3.2
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.0
0.8
Fumbles
0.8
0.8
0.7
0.7
Interceptions
1.1
0.8
0.2
0.0
Touchdowns
0.4
0.3
1.8
3.1
Sacks
2.8
2.1
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.1
Saints (4-6)
Score Opp.
7-21 SEA
30-27 SF
28-25 @STL
10-34 @ARI
17-20 TB
31-38 MIN
31-26 @OAK
Week 8 bye
17-43 @SD
27-20 KC
13-34 DEN
Week 12 @ATL
Week 13 CAR
Week 14 @DAL
Week 15 @TB
Week 16 ATL
Week 17 @CAR
Falcons (8-2)
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
24-14 TB
14-10 @NYG
Week 12 NO
Week 13 @TB
Week 14 OAK
Week 15 CAR
Week 16 @NO
Week 17 @SEA