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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 14
December 8, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
NYG at BAL* DET at GB CIN at NE* SF at ARZ* PHI at WAS
OAK at ATL IND at HOU* Sun 4 PM STL at CAR* Mon 9 PM
CLE at BUF* CHI at JAX* MIA at DEN TB at SD* KC at TEN*
NO at DAL SEA at MIN NYJ at PIT *updated Times ET
  Chicago Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Hutchinson 0 0 170
RB Thomas Jones 50 10 0
RB Anthony Thomas 30 10 0
TE Desmond Clark 0 30 0
TE Dustin Lyman 0 10 0
WR Justin Gage 0 20 0
WR Bobby Wade 0 30 0
WR David Terrell 0 40 0
PK Paul Edinger 2 FG 0 XP -
  Jacksonville Rush Catch Pass
QB Byron Leftwich 0 0 210,1
RB Fred Taylor 110,1 30 0
TE Kyle Brady 0 10 0
WR Jimmy Smith 0 70,1 0
WR Troy Edwards 0 50 0
WR Reggie Williams 0 30 0
PK Josh Scobee 2 FG 2 XP -

CHI (5-7) vs JAX (6-6)

Game Prediction: CHI 6, JAX 20

The always surprising (though not necessarily in a good way) Bears travel to face the Jaguars who were not quite good enough against the Steelers last week. The Bears are 3-3 with a better road record than home record. The Jaguars are also 3-3 at home.

Update: Desmond Clark has not practiced this week due to rib and shoulder injuries and wil likely sit out this week. Dustin Lyman will replace him and do even less.

Pre-Game Notes - CHI

Sometimes all a team needs is to run through four quarterbacks before finding their best offensive game from a guy that was released last summer by the Cowboys. Last week's win over the Vikings was the weekly "go figure" game and this week will be a far bigger test.

Quarterback: Sure, the Bears were going against one of the worst secondaries in the NFL, but Chad Hutchinson's 213 yards and three touchdowns was about twice the normal yardage for Chicago and his three passing scores in one game accounts for 42% of all Chicago passing scores for 2004. That gets noticed. FB Jason McKie, TE Desmond Clark and WR David Terrell all had their first touchdown on the season.

The Bears acquired Jeff George as QB #5 but now are faced with an ironic dilemma - who plays? With Hutchinson being the only actually successful quarterback this season, he gets at least one more week to start.

Running Backs: Thomas Jones struggles to be considered even an average back. He has not scored since week seven and he's not rushed for more than 59 yards in his last five games. Since Grossman is gone, Jones never gets more than about 15 carries in a game and that's not enough to have fantasy relevance. Last week, Anthony Thomas also had 15 carries and actually gained 55 yards to the 49 yards by Jones. This is just too production poor of an attack to pin your hopes to and they'll share carries in almost a random fashion at times.

Wide Receivers: David Terrell scored an actual touchdown last week but he only had three catches for 44 yards. True to plan, the wideouts all were even split in yards and catches but when none of them had more than 44 yards against the weak corners of the Vikings, you know you just saw the best case scenario happen.

Tight Ends: Desmond Clark had, rather easily, his best game of the season last week when he caught six passes for 58 yards and one touchdown. So far it was the only game this season that Clark has appeared to have any fantasy value and chances are best that it'll end up as his only one as well.

Match Against the Defense: On the road to Jacksonville, the happiness spawned last week should prove short-lived. The Jaguars have only allowed 235 passing yards as the highest in the last four games and that was to Culpepper. Hutchinson is not exactly Culpepper. With the passing so meager from the Bears anyway, don't expect Hutchinson to throw more than one score and chances are best he'll have no scores.

If he does manage a touchdown, it would be trended towards Desmond Clark since the tight ends have been productive against the Jags but the reality is that Clark is not on par with Gates, Gonzalez, Pollard or even Dallas Clark who have done well against Jacksonville.

There is virtually no chance for Jones to turn in a decent fantasy game here and the way the Bears shuttled in Anthony Thomas last week casts a shadow over what already looked dark.

 

Pre-Game Notes - JAX

The Jaguars have lost four of their last five games, including the last three consecutive games. But at 6-6, they are in the run for the wildcard with no room for error.

Quarterback: Byron Leftwich had a nice game against the Steelers, throwing 16 of 27 for 268 yards and one score with no interceptions. He still has not regained that great form he was flashing weekly before the knee injury. Leftwich continues to wear a brace but is becoming more comfortable with it and should not be forced to throw as much this week against an opponent that has problems stopping the run.

Running Backs: Fred Taylor was told he would get more work and last week he had a season high 27 carries. But he only gained 76 rushing yards against one of the top rushing defenses in the NFL of the Steelers. He added 34 yards on five receptions and this week will face a much softer front four. His higher number of carries should get him back over the 100 yard mark that he had reached in the previous three games.

Wide Receivers: Perhaps it was a gift to Troy Edwards who had been with the Steelers earlier in his career before being dumped, but for whatever reason Edwards looked great last week when he gained 90 yards on five catches with one touchdown in one of the best games of his career. Jimmy Smith only managed 52 yards on four receptions and he still has not seen the bounce up from Leftwich returning behind center. Smith was gaining 100 yards and a score in most games when Leftwich was hot but as the season progresses and weather gets worse, the renewed emphasis on running by the Jaguars will likely continue to depress what Smith will do.

Tight Ends: Todd Yoder had a 56 yard reception last week which was made possible because the Jaguars never throw to their tight ends. It was the only tight end reception in the entire game for the Jaguars.

Match Against the Defense: There is no doubt that the Jaguars will be feeding the ball to Taylor at least 25 times this week and it could end up as his first 30+ carry game of the year against one of the softer rushing defenses in the league. The oddity is that while the Bears have allowed six runners to crest 100 rushing yards, there have only been four opposing runners that actually rushed in a score. Look for yards from Taylor but more than one touchdown would be uncharacteristic for both teams.

Leftwich should be a lock for one score and some moderate yardage but this is not where he will likely turn in a big game. The Bears have held most opponents to less than 200 passing yards mainly because everyone prefers to run against them. That one passing score definitely favors Smith since it is invariably the best receiver for each team that scores against the Bears.

CHI JAX 2004 Averages JAX CHI
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
163
225
Pass yards
229
213
0.7
1.3
Pass TDs
1.1
1.4
1.0
0.5
Interceptions
0.7
1.3
12
12
Rush yards
12
9
0.1
0.2
Rush TDs
0.3
0.1
---
---
RB's
---
---
89
94
Rush yards
102
127
0.6
0.4
Rush TDs
0.3
0.5
40
40
Receive yards
42
46
0.3
0.1
Receive TD's
0.2
0.1
---
---
WR's
---
---
99
147
Receive yards
157
142
0.3
0.7
Receive TD's
0.7
1.2
---
---
TE's
---
---
23
42
Receive yards
30
26
0.2
0.4
Receive TD's
0.3
0.2
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.1
1.3
Field Goals
1.7
1.5
1.6
1.9
Extra Points
1.2
2.1
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.2
0.5
Fumbles
0.7
1.3
1.1
0.8
Interceptions
0.6
1.1
0.5
0.3
Touchdowns
0.0
0.2
2.3
2.4
Sacks
2.0
4.0
0.2
0.0
Safeties
0.1
0.0
Bears (5-7)
Score Opp.
16-20 DET
21-10 @GB
22-27 @MIN
9-19 PHI
Week 5 bye
10-13 WAS
7-19 @TB
23-13 SF
28-21 @NYG
19-17 @TEN
10-41 IND
7-21 @DAL
24-14 MIN
Week 14 @JAX
Week 15 HOU
Week 16 @DET
Week 17 GB
Jaguars (6-6)
Score Opp.
13-10 @BUF
7-6 DEN
15-12 @TEN
17-24 IND
21-34 @SD
22-16 KC
27-24 @IND
6-20 @HOU
Week 9 bye
23-17 DET
15-18 TEN
16-27 @MIN
16-17 PIT
Week 14 CHI
Week 15 @GB
Week 16 HOU
Week 17 @OAK