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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
  Washington Rush Catch Pass
QB Patrick Ramsey 0 0 180
RB Clinton Portis 50 10 0
TE Chris Cooley 0 20 0
WR Lavernues Coles 0 50 0
WR Rod Gardner 0 60 0
PK John Hall 2 FG 0 XP -
  Pittsburgh Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 0 0 170,1
RB Jerome Bettis 30,1 10 0
RB Duce Staley 50 10 0
TE Jay Riemersma 0 20,1 0
WR Hines Ward 0 40 0
WR Antwaan Randle El 0 50 0
WR Lee Mays 0 30 0
PK Jeff Reed 0 FG 3 XP -

WAS (3-7) vs PIT (9-1)

Game Prediction: WAS 6, PIT 21

The Redskins made the mistake of saying "things can't get worse" before they played the Eagles. Now here is part two of "things really can get worse".

Update: Duce Staley has practiced this week and appears likely to play. Since he is coming back from his hamsting injury, I am assuming that Bettis continues to play a role and that Staley will share carries with him.

Jay Riemersma is still listed as questionable but is expected to play. I am leaving the one passing score to him but mainly because the Redskins have been so effective against wideouts, especially with Burress out this week. The score could go to Staley or even Haynes out of the backfield just as easily.

Pre-Game Notes - WAS

Washington is now 3-7 on the season with two straight losses that produced a total of 16 points. And for the second week in a row, they are on the road to face a team with only one loss on the year.

John Hall may be back this week and would send Ola Kimrin back to kicking snowballs in Sweden.

Quarterback: Patrick Ramsey took his first start but only produced 210 yards and one score against the Eagles last week. While he looked good against the Bengals in week ten, the reality is that most quarterbacks have. This week he faces one of the top 5 toughest defenses and will likely do even less.

Running Backs: Against the Eagles, Clinton Portis only had 37 yards on 17 carries and it gets worse when you factor in the one reception for a four yard loss. In case you are hoping for a freak good game this week from Portis, realize that it would truly be a freakish event. The Steelers are #1 at stopping running backs this season. Yes, it can get worse.

Wide Receivers: The good news is that both Laveranues Coles and Rod Gardner are being used equally to prevent the defenses from loading up against just one of them. The bad news is that last week it meant that both players would only had four catches in the game and Gardner's 35 yards were only one yard better than Coles.

While Spurrier's offense last year was no better at winning games, at least it occasionally gave a decent fantasy game to the wideouts.

Tight Ends: Chris Cooley had two catches for 22 yards last week and in this offense, that's actually fairly heavy use.

Match Against the Defense: This matchup does not look pretty. Portis goes against the #1 defense against running backs and will do well enough to gain even 50 yards in the game. Knowing that the passing game is of little concern, there is no doubt he will be running against an entire defense loaded up to stop him which, incidentally, can be done with relative ease by good teams.

Ramsey faces a secondary that is #3 in the NFL at stopping quarterbacks. The main question here is if there will be any Redskin touchdowns this week. There may not be.

Pre-Game Notes - PIT

Rolling onward, the Steelers have won their last eight games and battled through a dog fight in Cleveland to preserve the streak last week. Now facing a team that cannot score more than 18 points in any game this season, it bodes well for Pittsburgh since they have not scored less than 19 points in any game during the last eight weeks.

Quarterback: Big Ben Roethlisberger turned in one of his worst games when he only had 138 yards with one score and one fumble against the Bengals but he only had 21 passes in the game and completed 15 of them. He also took off nine times for 16 yards on the ground and coupled with the 39 yards on seven runs the previous week is giving defenses another consideration each play.

Running Backs: Turning back time, Jerome Bettis recorded his third straight 100 yard game last week when he ran 29 times for 129 yards in Cincinnati. He had all but two carries in the game and continues to show surprising freshness and burst for a big aging veteran. Staley has missed the last two games and I am assuming he misses another until information from practice indicates he is a safe start.

Wide Receivers: Plaxico Burress pulled a hamstring last week and is expected to miss at least this week. Antwaan Randle El will be getting his first NFL start after three years in the league. The amazing facet of Roethlisberger is that not only has he won every game as a starter and is the lead contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year, but that he has absolutely killed the fantasy value of Hines Ward in the process. Even with Burress out of part of last week's game, Ward still only had three catches for 15 yards. The fullback Dan Kreider has more fantasy value than Ward lately.

Tight Ends: Jerame Tuman had one catch for 26 yards last week and while that is better than Hines Ward, it is still not worth considering.

Match Against the Defense: The Redskin defense is actually quite good, it just gets obscured by an offense that cannot score. The Redskins have allowed only two 100 yard rushing efforts against them and in both cases it required 28+ carries by either Jamal Lewis or Rudi Johnson. Bettis is on a tear lately but should be wearing down or at least receiving lesser use soon. Expect a moderate game from Jerome this week and a decent chance for one score but for him to turn in big yardage will require yet another 30 carry game - a possibility.

Roethlisberger has to face a secondary that had been stellar until last week in Philly. Expect that Ben manages the norm for opponents of around 220 yards and one score but without Burress that will likely be his high side, not the least of what he will do.

There is a good chance for a defensive score this week and the Steelers will likely need it to remain safely ahead. They are due for a trash game soon but the Redskins just cannot score this year and it would require a team-wide "mailing in the game" for the Steelers to stumble here.

WAS PIT 2004 Averages PIT WAS
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
171
192
Pass yards
180
195
0.9
1.0
Pass TDs
1.2
1.1
1.2
1.2
Interceptions
0.6
1.2
8
11
Rush yards
11
6
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.1
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
102
63
Rush yards
145
83
0.2
0.4
Rush TDs
1.1
0.5
24
27
Receive yards
17
39
0.1
0.1
Receive TD's
0.2
0.3
---
---
WR's
---
---
126
138
Receive yards
150
131
0.6
0.8
Receive TD's
0.8
0.4
---
---
TE's
---
---
22
27
Receive yards
13
28
0.2
0.0
Receive TD's
0.2
0.3
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.3
1.6
Field Goals
1.2
1.0
1.3
1.5
Extra Points
2.8
2.0
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.6
0.6
Fumbles
1.1
0.7
1.2
0.6
Interceptions
1.2
1.2
0.1
0.2
Touchdowns
0.4
0.5
2.2
0 Sacks
3.2
2.3
0.0
0 Safeties
0.1
0.0
Redskins (3-7)
Score Opp.
16-10 TB
14-20 @NYG
18-21 DAL
13-17 @CLE
10-17 BAL
13-10 @CHI
Week 7 bye
14-28 GB
17-10 @DET
10-17 CIN
6-28 @PHI
Week 12 @PIT
Week 13 NYG
Week 14 PHI
Week 15 @SF
Week 16 @DAL
Week 17 MIN
Steelers (9-1)
Score Opp.
24-21 OAK
13-30 @BAL
13-3 @MIA
28-17 CIN
34-23 CLE
24-20 @DAL
Week 7 bye
34-20 NE
27-3 PHI
24-10 @CLE
19-14 @CIN
Week 12 WAS
Week 13 @JAX
Week 14 NYJ
Week 15 @NYG
Week 16 BAL
Week 17 @BUF