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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
  Tennessee Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair 0 0 270,.2
QB Billy Volek 0 0 250,2
RB Antowain Smith 60 20 0
TE Erron Kinney 0 20 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 90,1 0
WR Eddie Berlin 0 40 0
WR Drew Bennett 0 70,1 0
PK Gary Anderson 1 FG 2 XP -
  Indianapolis Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 300,4
RB Edgerrin James 100,1 30 0
TE Marcus Pollard 0 20,1 0
TE Dallas Clark 0 20,1 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 100,1 0
WR Brandon Stokley 0 50,1 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 80,1 0
PK Mike Vanderjagt 1 FG 5 XP -

TEN (4-7) vs IND (8-3)

Game Prediction: TEN 17, IND 38

The Titans roll into Indy after a demoralizing loss to the Texans while the Colts have won their last four games by allowing Peyton Manning to assault every passing record in the NFL record book.

This is a rematch of week 2 when the Colts won 31-17. Eleven weeks later and opponents can only dream of holding the Colts to merely 31 points.

Update: McNair has not been practicing and there is reasonable speculation that he may not play this week, particularly since the game will be on the hard turf of the RCA Dome. McNair is likely a game time decision but I am going to project for Billy Volek. Realize that this could change with a game time decision to starting McNair but the game is an early one Sunday, so the swap should still allow fantasy teams enough time to respond.

Chris Brown is also going to be a game time decision again this week but he has not practiced either. I am keeping the projections for Chris Brown but there is a chance - though not a great one - that Brown could be active for this week.

Dallas Clark has a strained calf and has not been able to practice the last two days. I am removing him from the projections as it appears he will not play this week.

Pre-Game Notes - TEN

Losing to the Texans put a death-knell on any playoff fantasies for the Titans and Houston came back from a 21-3 deficit just to make it hurt a little worse. Bad enough that McNair openly questioned if he should retire after this year. There's bad, and then there is "I'm going to hang up the cleats" bad.

Quarterback: Steve McNair looked sharp initially against the Texans last week with three first half touchdowns. But he ended the game with two lost fumbles and one interception and never generated a scoring threat while the Texans skipped along for 28 unanswered points. Against the Colts in week two, McNair had 283 yards passing with one rushing score - his only one of the season.

Running Backs: Chris Brown was scratched again last week with his toe condition not improving and Antowain Smith turned in his second good performance as a fill-in, gaining 90 yards on 21 carries with no scores. I am considering Brown out again this week until practice reports give a better picture but there is realistic concern by the Titans that they may have pinned their hopes on a less than durable running back. After enjoying Eddie George for so many years, this is all new territory for the team.

Wide Receivers: While the rest of the team struggles, Derrick Mason has scored in each of the last three games though he has not exceeded 100 yards since week two - against the Colts. Drew Bennett only managed five catches for 54 yards against the worst secondary in all the land last week and his monster game against the Bears looks more and more like merely a blip. Bennett had 85 yards on seven receptions against the Colts in week two.

Tight Ends: Erron Kinney turned in his annual multi-score game last week when he had six receptions for 53 yards and two touchdowns. He only has one score otherwise and that was in week one.

Match Against the Defense: This is a dis-spirited Titan team so matching up the teams has to take into account that the Colts are on a roll and the Titans are reeling. McNair will throw well against the Colts because so much of each game with Indy is trash time but don't expect more than a moderate game from Antowain Smith this week. He'll get plenty of carries to keep Manning from the field but eventually, all opponents are falling behind so fast that they have to abandon the running game (with the exception of Houston who still ran while being clobbered).

Pre-Game Notes - IND

The only negative regarding the Indianapolis offense is that it cannot reasonably last like this forever. But it may make it the entire season.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning now has 41 touchdowns in only 11 games played. He has the NFL record of five consecutive games with four or more touchdowns and threw six against the Lions before retiring from the game late in the THIRD quarter. With the NFL record held by Dan Marino of 48 touchdowns in one season, Manning only needs to throw for eight more to set a new record. That is a good possibility since he is on a pace to end with 59 touchdowns for the season. In week 14, he plays in Houston against the worst pass defense in the league. He might have the eight scores in that game alone.

You are seeing history in the making this season. For fantasy owners of Manning, it is truly a magical time. For the rest of us, we ask that you shut up already because we can read boxscores without your help.

Manning only had 254 yards and two scores in the last meeting but that was back when they would allow James to score touchdowns.

Running Backs: Poor Edgerrin James is not getting the touchdowns this season and has scored only six times this season with only one in the last six games. He appears to be a little used weapon relative to the pinball-like numbers in the passing game but the reality is that he already has 1186 rushing yards and 334 receiving yards. That is a pace to end with 2200 total yards on the season. His production would be considered stellar on 31 other teams.

James had 124 yards and two scores in the last meeting.

Wide Receivers: Taking turns is what the Colt's wideouts are about this season. In week 11, Reggie Wayne was the man with 102 yards and two touchdowns while Marvin Harrison (4-49, 1 TD) and Brandon Stokley ( 1-7) mainly watched. Against the Lions, Brandon Stokley had three touchdowns in the first half. Marvin Harrison ended with three scores and 127 yards while Wayne only turned in 37 yards.

It is so easy for this team to score, repetitively, with the same wideouts that by the end of the season they may just split up the game into quarters and allow each one to score twice. Every game has one of the three with a low game. The other two explode. Must be Wayne's turn this week.

In the last matchup with the Titans, Harrison had 98 yards and Wayne scored once with 119 yards.

Tight Ends: The tight ends were left out of the fun last week and only Dallas Clark had a catch. The problem is that between Harrison, Wayne, Stokley, James, Clark and Pollard, Manning is awarding scores seemingly at random each week. Both tight ends are always worth a start, and they are coming off their worst week since week two.

Clark and Pollard have combined for 11 touchdowns already this season. There will be more to come.

Match Against the Defense: It gets hard to appreciate that there actually is an opposing defense when Manning and company shred everyone to pieces with the passing game.

TEN IND 2004 Averages IND TEN
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
214
277
Pass yards
291
213
1.3
1.5
Pass TDs
3.7
1.3
1.3
1.2
Interceptions
0.6
1.1
14
6
Rush yards
4
7
0.1
0.1
Rush TDs
0.0
0.1
---
---
RB's
---
---
110
110
Rush yards
125
104
0.6
0.6
Rush TDs
0.6
0.9
32
54
Receive yards
35
26
0.2
0.0
Receive TD's
0.2
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
152
169
Receive yards
207
153
0.7
0.9
Receive TD's
2.5
0.5
---
---
TE's
---
---
33
54
Receive yards
50
34
0.5
0.5
Receive TD's
0.8
0.7
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.3
1.6
Field Goals
0.7
1.3
2.0
2.1
Extra Points
4.5
2.5
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.8
0.5
Fumbles
1.4
0.6
1.1
0.6
Interceptions
1.3
1.3
0.1
0.0
Touchdowns
0.5
0.3
2.4
0.5
Sacks
2.5
2.1
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.2
Tennessee (4-7)
Score Opp.
17-7 @MIA
17-31 IND
12-15 JAX
17-38 @SD
48-27 @GB
10-20 HOU
3-20 @MIN
27-20 CIN
Week 9 bye
17-19 CHI
18-15 @JAX
21-31 @HOU
Week 13 @IND
Week 14 KC
Week 15 @OAK
Week 16 DEN
Week 17 DET
Colts (8-3)
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
41-10 @CHI
41-9 @DET
Week 13 TEN
Week 14 @HOU
Week 15 BAL
Week 16 SD
Week 17 @DEN