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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 13
December 1, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
CIN at BAL* BUF at MIA ATL at TB* DEN at SD PIT at JAX
MIN at CHI TEN at IND* SF at STL* KC at OAK* Mon 9 PM
ARZ at DET CAR at NO   GB at PHI* DAL at SEA
NE at CLE HOU at NYJ *updated NYG at WAS Times ET
  Atlanta Rush Catch Pass
QB Michael Vick 50 0 180,1
RB Warrick Dunn 50 30 0
RB T.J. Duckett 50,1 10 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 60,1 0
WR Dez White 0 10 0
WR Peerless Price 0 40 0
WR Brian Finneran 0 20 0
PK Jay Feeley 2 FG 3 XP -
  Tampa Bay Rush Catch Pass
QB Brian Griese 0 0 220,2
RB Michael Pittman 70 40,1 0
TE Ken Dilger 0 20 0
WR Michael Clayton 0 70,1 0
WR Joe Jurevicius 0 60 0
WR Joey Galloway 0 20 0
PK Jay Taylor 1 FG 2 XP -

ATL (9-2) vs TB (4-7)

Game Prediction: ATL 20, TB 17

The Bucs throttled the Falcons last year in this game but that was when Vick was still out. Late in 2003, the Falcons beat the Bucs in Tampa Bay and now Atlanta is on a four game winning streak with the second best record in the NFL.

This is a rematch of week 10 when the Falcons won 24-14 in Tampa Bay.

Update: Brian Finneran now looks like a scratch again this week. The Falcons never throw to their wideouts anyway and I am not adding in any new receiver though Michael Jenkins will likely get more playing time and yet not catch any passes.

Pre-Game Notes - ATL

The Falcons have a five game lead over the 4-7 lumping for the rest of the NFC South. Amazingly their biggest obstacle will be staying motivated until the playoffs but that first round bye should be enough to keep them interested.

Quarterback: Michael Vick not only ran for 69 yards and one score against the Saints, he actually threw for two scores for the fourth time this season and third time in the last four games. He still managed to do that without using his wideouts but the Falcons just re-signed Crumpler for six years so Vick will continue to see his favorite target. Vick has not rushed for less than 60 yards in the last four games which includes 73 yards in week 10 against these Buccaneers.

Running Backs: The duo of Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett have been splitting carries almost 50/50 now, with last week having Dunn (11-59) trailing Duckett (12-58) by just one carry. Together they are a good rushing game. Individually they are only half a decent fantasy runner. Against the Bucs in week 10, Dunn had 17 carries for 76 yards while Duckett ran for 53 yards on 12 carries with two touchdowns.

Wide Receivers: Just pathetic really. Last week there was a meeting between Peerless Price and HC Jim Mora Jr. about how in the world Price could have played against the Giants and have no catches. He ended last week with four catches for 59 yards which was actually one of his best games of the season.

The wideouts faced the porous Saints last week and only produced a total of seven catches for 82 yards and no scores. In week 10 against the Bucs, they totaled three catches for 24 yards. Combined this entire group generally trails what Crumpler does from the tight end spot.

Brian Finneran played last week after missing four games (I know, no one missed him) but he sprained an ankle last week and may not play against the Bucs. There goes one catch... maybe...

Tight Ends: Alge Crumpler just signed a six-year contract to ensure he remains a Falcon and never hits free agency where he might get picked up by a team that does not throw most of their passes to the tight end. He comes off a 103 yard effort last week and has four touchdowns and 268 yards in just the last three games. Against Tampa Bay earlier this year, Crumpler had 118 yards and one touchdown. They will know he is coming but that hasn't mattered much the last 12 weeks.

Match Against the Defense: Michael Vick has been successful against Tampa Bay thanks to his rushing skills and the fact that he does not throw to wideouts which negates the strength the Bucs have with their cornerbacks. Look for a win at least as big as three weeks ago with Vick continuing to run wild and scaring the linebackers enough that they eventually forget they have to triple Crumpler every play.

The Bucs are softer against running backs and the duo should turn in a decent game. T.J. Duckett typically does better than Dunn against the Bucs since his power is more useful than Dunn's speed.

Pre-Game Notes - TB

The Buccaneers slip back to 4-7 with their loss in Carolina and now that they are tied for the second worst record in the NFC, it's getting pretty hard to convince themselves that they can still be contenders this season. Martin "Automatica" Gramatica missed three very costly field goals last week (one was blocked) and HC Jon Gruden is likely going to replace him this week. Gramatica has been a legend in Gramatica but he snapped the final straw last week. The Bucs signed Jay Taylor from the Arena Football League.

Quarterback: Brian Griese wasn't the problem last week, he threw for 347 yards and two touchdowns which gives him two scores in each of the last four games. He has never failed to throw for at least one score and had 174 yards and two scores in the last meeting with the Falcons.

Running Backs: Michael Pittman has been one of the very best fantasy running backs over the last month with a total of eight touchdowns and three of four games exceeding 150 total yards. He was held to only 29 yards on 18 carries last week but turned in 134 yards and two scores on eight catches against the Panthers. Lately he and Clayton have been splitting about half of all throws by Griese.

His only low output game in the last month was against the Falcons when he had 62 yards on 20 carries and only 16 yards receiving.

Wide Receivers: Michael Clayton is the rookie of the year, at least for wideouts. He has never failed to catch at least four passes every week and comes off an eight catch, 77 yard effort against the Panthers. While he has four games of at least 90 yards, he only has crested the 100 yard mark once this year. Against the Falcons in week ten, Clayton had 90 yards and one score.

Joey Galloway sprained an ankle last week to add to his laundry list of ailments this season. He likely will not practice and will be questionable to play. I am assuming he comes back but is limited and will update as needed.

Joe Jurevicius had 60 yards on four catches last week but only managed one grab for three yards against the Falcons a few weeks ago. He'll need to step up this week, particularly if Galloway is hobbled or misses the game.

Tight Ends: Still too inconsistent to matter in fantasy terms though Ken Dilger did have a touchdown against the Falcons in week 10.

Match Against the Defense: Atlanta held Pittman better than most any other team lately but their defense is only average against the running back and Pittman is pretty hot right now. He should get the touches to turn in at least a moderate game but he'll tend more towards his aberrant low game of week ten than his big 150+ yard efforts as of late.

Griese has been solid so far and had some success against the Falcons last time. Expect that he will have to throw in most of the fourth quarter to catch up and with that have enough trash time yards to be a solid starter this week.

ATL TB 2004 Averages TB ATL
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
170
183
Pass yards
235
253
1.0
1.2
Pass TDs
1.4
1.2
0.7
0.9
Interceptions
0.8
1.2
64
12
Rush yards
5
4
0.2
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.1
---
---
RB's
---
---
94
105
Rush yards
85
91
1.0
0.6
Rush TDs
0.6
1.1
34
30
Receive yards
48
46
0.2
0.1
Receive TD's
0.4
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
75
112
Receive yards
152
167
0.3
0.7
Receive TD's
0.6
0.8
---
---
TE's
---
---
66
41
Receive yards
35
40
0.5
0.3
Receive TD's
0.3
0.3
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.1
1.3
Field Goals
1.0
1.0
2.5
2.1
Extra Points
1.9
2.2
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.7
0.8
Fumbles
0.6
0.8
1.2
0.9
Interceptions
0.9
0.7
0.4
0.3
Touchdowns
0.3
0.0
2.9
2.8
Sacks
2.6
3.0
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Falcons (9-2)
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
24-21 NO
Week 13 @TB
Week 14 OAK
Week 15 CAR
Week 16 @NO
Week 17 @SEA
Buccaneers (4-7)
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
14-21 @CAR
Week 13 ATL
Week 14 @SD
Week 15 NO
Week 16 CAR
Week 17 @ARI