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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
  Tampa Bay Rush Catch Pass
QB Brian Griese 0 0 230,1
RB Michael Pittman 100,2 20 0
TE Ken Dilger 0 20 0
WR Michael Clayton 0 70,1 0
WR Joe Jurevicius 0 40 0
WR Joey Galloway 0 40 0
PK Martin Gramatica 1 FG 3 XP -
  Carolina Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme 0 0 180,1
RB Nick Goings 50,1 20 0
RB Brad Hoover 20 0 0
TE Kris Mangum 0 10,1 0
WR Muhsin Muhammad 0 60 0
WR Ricky Proehl 0 40 0
WR Keary Colbert 0 40 0
PK Jeff Chandler 1 FG 2 XP -

TB (4-6) vs CAR (3-7)

Game Prediction: TB 24, CAR 17

Both of these teams are coming off wins and starting to feel better about themselves. The Panthers swept the Bucs last year though both games were three point wins.

As a bellwether for these teams, both played against the 49ers in the last two weeks. The Panthers won 37-27 and the Bucs won 35-3. Wonder which one had the better defense?

Pre-Game Notes - TB

Tampa Bay has won four of their last six games and are coming off playing the 49ers which is an NFL equivalent of Disneyland.

Quarterback: Brian Griese threw for 210 yards and two scores last week against San Francisco and that makes four of his last five games that had multiple passing touchdowns. While Griese has varied from 163 to 296 passing yards a week, he always scores at least once and four out of five starts have been double scores.

Running Backs: Michael Pittman ran for 106 yards and two scores last week and has three 100 yard rushing efforts and six scores in the last four games. Mike Alstott is back on the field and was only used for seven runs and 21 yards. This is Pittman's show for the last month and Alstott is not wedging in enough plays to diminish Pittman's fantasy value.

Wide Receivers: Surprisingly, Michael Clayton only had four catches for 66 yards last week but it did keep him above 60 yards per game for the last seven weeks. He's clearly been the best rookie wideout this season and now is getting help from Joey Galloway who is almost 100% healed from his groin injury. Galloway has not had a big game yet since returning in week nine but is expected to make bigger contributions down the stretch.

The biggest star last week was Joe Jurevicius who had two scores on his five receptions for 82 yards. With Galloway deep, Jurevicius tall over the middle and Clayton all over the field, this squad is making Griese's tenure as a starter enjoyable.

Tight Ends: In case you were impressed that Ken Dilger caught touchdowns in both week 9 and 10, he rewarded you with just one catch for seven yards last week.

Match Against the Defense: The big question here is which Panther defense will show up this week. The one that suddenly looked great against the run the last two weeks (against SF and ARZ) or the one that allowed every team for eight weeks to run wild? Magic 8-ball says stick with the eight game trend.

Expect Pittman to rush for at least one score and have a decent chance at good yardage. He has been hot lately and balanced by a good passing game means defenses cannot load up against him. The Panthers have already allowed 15 rushing scores this year.

Griese should enjoy at least an average day for him which means around 240 yards and at least one score. The Panthers have not allowed two passing scores this year other than to Jake Plummer because it's been so easy to run them in instead.

Look for moderate production from Clayton since the Panthers have allowed only two 100 yard efforts by receivers this year and only three scores have gone to wideouts. This should be controlled passing, some decent yardage by Clayton with help from Galloway and Jurevicius and some nice numbers from Pittman.

Pre-Game Notes - CAR

The Panthers are on a two game winning streak thanks to playing the 49ers and visiting Cardinals. They lost their six previous games. Jeff Chandler may again replace John Kasay this week.

Quarterback: Jake Delhomme is playing with a small fracture to the end of his right thumb but he still managed to connect on two scores last week which extended his multiple touchdown streak to four games. He only had 157 yards against the Cardinals and facing the Bucs defense should prove the end of his multiple scores.

Running Backs: Darling of the waiver wire. Nick Goings had three touchdowns last week in only the first quarter as the Panthers rolled up on the Cardinals. He ended with 121 yards on 22 carries and had 83 yards by halftime thanks to the 57-yard scoring run. After four years in the league, he only needed one game to record his first, second and third career rushing touchdown. It was, needless to say, a career day for Goings in an exponentially great way. Hope his VCR was working.

Brad Hoover missed the game last week for the first time in his five year career but should be back for this matchup.

Wide Receivers: Muhsin Muhammad has been the top receiver in the NFL over the last two weeks. In both games, he had 12 passes and caught six of them. He ended with 123 and 118 yards with a total of five touchdowns. Muhammad only had seven touchdowns combined in the three previous seasons.

Kerry Colbert has offered little help along the way after a nice start to the year. He has not exceeded 57 yards in the last four games in spite of soft opponents and has not scored since week five. Ricky Proehl was held to no catches last week.

Tight Ends: They only catch one pass per game.

Match Against the Defense: The wonderful scoring of these recent weeks have been against OAK, SF and ARZ. The Bucs defense would never be confused with those teams.

There have been only three times all season that an opponent has thrown for more than 200 yards in a game against the Bucs and only three teams that have managed to throw for more than one score - three had none. Expect a lowering of the bar for Delhomme this week and especially Muhammad who never had more than 60 yards or scored against the Bucs last year. The Bucs have been tremendous against allowing wideout scores and tight ends have had a touchdown in each of the last three games. That makes Mangum the most likely to score, hard as that is to believe. He only catches one pass per game but this time it could be a score.

The rushing game by Goings and Hoover is also ready to take a downward turn against a team that has only allowed six rushing scores all year. The Bucs are still, amazingly, harboring hopes for a wildcard bid and the Panthers run against some lesser teams does not change the fact that their offense has been decimated by injuries and their defense cannot stop runners on teams which have an actual offensive line.

TB CAR 2004 Averages CAR TB
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
224
217
Pass yards
232
180
1.3
0.6
Pass TDs
1.7
1.1
0.8
1.3
Interceptions
1.2
0.9
4
11
Rush yards
5
12
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.1
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
88
121
Rush yards
90
105
0.7
1.5
Rush TDs
0.6
0.7
37
36
Receive yards
43
31
0.2
0.3
Receive TD's
0.3
0.1
---
---
WR's
---
---
150
127
Receive yards
155
108
0.7
0.3
Receive TD's
0.8
0.6
---
---
TE's
---
---
37
54
Receive yards
19
40
0.3
0.0
Receive TD's
0.3
0.3
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.1
1.8
Field Goals
0.8
1.4
1.9
2.4
Extra Points
1.9
2.0
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.7
0.4
Fumbles
0.5
0.7
0.9
1.2
Interceptions
1.3
0.9
0.3
0.3
Touchdowns
0.0
0.2
2.5
1.2
Sacks
1.9
2.9
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Buccaneers (4-6)
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
14-24 @ATL
35-3 SF
Week 12 @CAR
Week 13 ATL
Week 14 @SD
Week 15 NO
Week 16 CAR
Week 17 @ARI
Panthers (3-7)
Score Opp.
14-24 GB
28-17 @KC
Week 3 bye
10-27 ATL
17-20 @DEN
8-30 @PHI
6-17 SD
17-23 @SEA
24-27 OAK
37-27 @SF
35-10 ARI
Week 12 TB
Week 13 @NO
Week 14 STL
Week 15 @ATL
Week 16 @TB
Week 17 NO