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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
  Cleveland Rush Catch Pass
QB Luke McCown 0 0 230,1
RB William Green 30 10 0
TE Steve Heiden 0 20 0
WR Frisman Jackson 0 30 0
WR Dennis Northcutt 0 70 0
WR Antonio Bryant 0 90,1 0
PK Phil Dawson 1 FG 1 XP -
  Buffalo Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Bledsoe 0 0 200,2
RB Willis McGahee 120,2 20 0
TE Ryan Neufeld 0 10 0
WR Eric Moulds 0 70,1 0
WR Josh Reed 0 20 0
WR Lee Evans 0 80,1 0
PK Rian Lindell 2 FG 4 XP -

CLE (3-9) vs BUF (6-6)

Game Prediction: CLE 13, BUF 34

The Bills have won their last three games and are scratching their heads about why they took so long to just give the keys to Willis McGahee and unlock the entire offense. The Browns not only have lost their keys, no one can even remember where they left the car.

Update: Not only is Mark Campbell out this week, but the rookie Tim Euhus has a sore knee and is likely to miss this week as well. Neufeld gets the start as the only other tight end but obviously with small expectations.

Pre-Game Notes - CLE

While the Browns offense has scored 63 points in the last two weeks, they have allowed 100 points in that short time frame and aside from playing in perpetual catch-up mode with trash time scores and yards, there is not much happening here that is building for the future since most starters will spend the rest of the season with crutches, casts and stitches.

Quarterback: Luke McCown was pressed into service last week and against the Patriots he managed a respectable 277 yards and two scores with two interceptions in a game that was horribly lost from the start. He'll likely start again this week as Jeff Garcia is still out with a shoulder injury. I'll update if the starter changes though the probable outcome will remain the same.

Running Backs: Without Lee Suggs to share carries, William Green discovered that facing the Patriots alone was not a reason to celebrate. He only gained 15 yards on 12 carries and added 24 yards on three receptions. There is no run blocking happening anymore. Lee Suggs missed last week with his continuing toe sprain and I am assuming he will leave Green all alone again this week to face a top 5 rushing defense.

Wide Receivers: It's not hard to find the lone bright spot for the Browns. Antonio Bryant has scored four touchdowns in the last two games and had 15 catches for 246 yards in those games. After a month of minimal production, Bryant has exploded the last two weeks and that success will only prompt more future opportunities. He accounted for the only Cleveland touchdowns last week. Dennis Northcutt had five catches for 93 yards against the Patriots and has also seen his best two games of the year just happen, though he still has yet to score a touchdown this season.

With Andre Davis gone for the rest of the year and Andre King injured, only Frisman Jackson remains but he had no catches last week. This offense is not hard to figure out. There are only two wideouts that basically do everything for the passing game.

Tight Ends: Steve Heiden followed up his monster three touchdown game of week 12 with only two catches for 20 yards and one fumble last week. Guess which one is more like all the other games?

Match Against the Defense: The Bills are coming together nicely over the last month and the defense is definitely enjoying the better situations left over by the Buffalo offense. The Bills are at home and they now sport a top 5 defense against the run and the pass.

William Green will turn in a poor game here, both in number of carries and what he does with them.

The Browns quarterback - likely McCown - has a chance at some decent yardage and certainly at least one score but it will be largely trash time offerings and come at the expense of throwing interceptions. McCown had two picks last week and the Bills collected five against the Dolphins.

Pre-Game Notes - BUF

The Bills have won five of their last six games and the lone loss was to the Patriots. They've scored at least 37 points in each of the last three games and have kept eight opponents under 20 points this season. With their final schedule of CLE, CIN, SF and then PIT, there's an excellent chance they'll end up 9-7 on the season.

Quarterback: After struggling most of the season, Drew Bledsoe is suddenly making that draft pick of J.P. Losman look like money wasted. Bledsoe comes off his best game of the season, throwing for 277 yards and four touchdowns against the Dolphins last week. He has eight scores over the last three games and with a run game to support him, Bledsoe is enjoying improvements in his scoring, yardage and completion percentage. With a soft schedule ahead, this is likely to continue.

Running Backs: Willis McGahee only gained 91 yards on 23 carries against Miami last week after topping 100 yards in the two previous games. While he did not score, he is having a dramatic effect on opposing defenses that have to respect his speed which opens up the passing game, which in turn opens up the running game, which in turn... you get the picture.

Wide Receivers: Eric Moulds only has one 100 yard game this season and that was back in week three. But he scored his fifth touchdown for the year when he faced the Dolphins last week and ended with eight catches for 93 yards. In previous years, the passing game was all about Moulds and little else but the Bills are getting great production out of rookie Lee Evans who scored two touchdowns last week and gained 110 yards for a career best.

Moulds and Evans are the only Bills wideouts of fantasy note, but the offense is diversifying as the season progresses thanks to McGahee and Evans. The next three games will be against very soft defenses and both Moulds and Evans should turn in at least moderate efforts each week with nice upside for big games.

Tight Ends: Bledsoe has turned to his tight ends more as the season progresses and while Mark Campbell had three scores in week 12, he had not catches last week and let the game early with a knee sprain. The rookie Tim Euhus caught a touchdown as his replacement. Pending news on Campbell's knee, I am assuming Euhus takes the start.

Match Against the Defense: The ever-injured Browns allowed 100 points over the last two weeks. This is a definitely good time to own Buffalo players.

Expect a big game from McGahee against an offense that has allowed three of the last four opposing runners to score two touchdowns. Rudi Johnson had 202 yards in week 12 and Dillon stopped at 100 yards and two scores last week in order to rest up for his shot at the Bengals this week.

Bledsoe faces a secondary that can be shredded if the effort is there. Likely the Bills defense will dictate that they game is well in hand and leave Bledsoe only needing to turn in a moderate effort here for a nice win. He should throw at least one score but two is almost as likely.

CLE BUF 2004 Averages BUF CLE
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
209
208
Pass yards
193
216
1.5
1.4
Pass TDs
1.4
1.1
1.2
1.3
Interceptions
1.3
1.2
15
7
Rush yards
3
10
0.2
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.2
---
---
RB's
---
---
86
90
Rush yards
101
125
0.3
0.3
Rush TDs
0.6
1.2
27
22
Receive yards
25
24
0.1
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
140
156
Receive yards
142
160
0.8
1.1
Receive TD's
0.8
0.8
---
---
TE's
---
---
42
29
Receive yards
29
33
0.6
0.3
Receive TD's
0.6
0.3
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.6
1.8
Field Goals
1.2
1.7
2.1
1.8
Extra Points
2.5
2.8
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.5
0.4
Fumbles
0.9
1.2
1.3
1.3
Interceptions
1.0
1.2
0.2
0.2
Touchdowns
0.6
0.5
1.8
2.7
Sacks
2.5
2.6
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.1
0.1
Browns(3-9)
Score Opp.
20-3 BAL
12-19 @DAL
10-27 @NYG
17-13 WAS
23-34 @PIT
34-17 CIN
31-34 PHI
Week 8 bye
13-27 @BAL
10-24 PIT
7-10 NYJ
48-58 @CIN
15-42 NE
Week 14 @BUF
Week 15 SD
Week 16 @MIA
Week 17 @HOU
Bills (6-6)
Score Opp.
10-13 JAX
10-13 @OAK
Week 3 bye
17-31 NE
14-16 @NYJ
20-13 MIA
6-20 @BAL
38-14 ARI
22-17 NYJ
6-29 @NE
37-17 STL
38-9 @SEA
42-32 @MIA
Week 14 CLE
Week 15 @CIN
Week 16 @SF
Week 17 PIT