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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
Miami Rush Catch Pass
QB A.J. Feeley 0 0 240,1
RB Travis Minor 30 20 0
TE Randy McMichael 0 20 0
WR Chris Chambers 0 60 0
WR Derrius Thompson 0 30 0
WR Marty Booker 0 80,1 0
PK Olindo Mare 2 FG 1 XP -
  Denver Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Plummer 20 0 210,1
RB Reuben Droughns 90,1 10 0
RB Tatum Bell 30,1 10 0
TE Jeb Putzier 0 20 0
WR Rod Smith 0 80,1 0
WR Darius Watts 0 20 0
WR Ashley Lelie 0 70 0
PK Jason Elam 2 FG 3 XP -

MIA (2-10) vs DEN (7-5)

Game Prediction: MIA 13, DEN 27

The Broncos come off two close losses that stuck a knife into their divisional hopes this season. They lose here, someone might stick Shanahan. Actually, he might do it himself.

Pre-Game Notes - MIA

The Dolphins lost last week in Buffalo but they looked pretty good doing it. The only important thing is that as long as the 49ers keep losing, the Fins don't have to worry about being the worst team in the league.

Quarterback: A. J. Feeley comes off his best game of the year in fantasy terms. He threw for 303 yards and three scores but he did have five interceptions which maintains the Dolphins as the worst team in the NFL for giving away points to the opposing defenses. Not to worry - Feeley is safe because there is no one else worth starting.

Running Backs: Travis Minor comes off the best game by a Miami running back this season. He gained 96 total yards and scored a rushing touchdown. He'll be facing one of the toughest rushing defenses in the league this week - it won't last.

Wide Receivers: The Dolphins may be losing and Feeley may specialize in giving away free touchdowns, but that doesn't mean that Chris Chambers cannot be a fantasy stud lately. He has scored in the last three games and has caught at least five passes in each of the last four games. Marty Booker is improving as well, gaining 96 yards on five catches last week. He's been nursing a sore ankle but is obviously healthier now. Even Bryan Gilmore has been contributing with a score and 49 yards last week.

With any luck, the Miami defense will continue to allow opponents to gain big leads and force Miami into throwing. Even if the defense does well, there's always Feeley helping the defense to score that you can rely on as well.

Tight Ends: Randy McMichael only had 14 yards last week and other than his score in week 12, he's spent the last month mainly blocking.

Match Against the Defense: You have to figure that after the last two weeks, the Broncos are going to be plenty motivated to finally post a win. There's a great chance that Feeley can amass some decent yardage here and a score but more than one touchdown has only been done twice this season against the Denver secondary.

As for Minor, just say no. Just no.

Pre-Game Notes - DEN

Ouch. Losses to both Oakland and San Diego not only throw the Broncos into a likely wild card hunt, those two losses have already made people start thinking how long the Broncos have gone without any significant post season play.

Quarterback: Jake Plummer was looking like a genius acquisition a few weeks ago. After throwing only one score against the Raiders and none against the Chargers (where he had four interceptions), there is a growing consensus that Plummer is looking like... Plummer. The one we knew in Arizona.

Running Backs: Reuben Droughns only gained 38 yards on 14 carries last week and there's concern that he is wearing down after such a heavy load this season. Now that is the Denver way. This is compounded by Tatum Bell gaining 31 yards on seven carries and scoring on a nice 16 yard run. Now Shanahan says he wants to use Bell "five to ten times a game" which should only decrease what Droughns will do. Finally, a way to worry the waiver wire hounds who hit gold with Droughns earlier this season.

Wide Receivers: In spite of the recent losses, Ashley Lelie and Rod Smith remain very good fantasy starters. Smith has scored in four of the last six games while Lelie has three scores and good yardage every week. Other than one week against the Saints, both receivers have been solid fantasy performers for the last six weeks.

Darius Watts still gets passes every week but has taken some heat for failing to get out of bounds last week. The coaches still believe in him and Shanahan said that Watts had to get the first down anyway.

Tight Ends: Jeb Putzier is consistent, but that only means around 20 yards a week and no score.

Match Against the Defense: The Miami defense has been very inconsistent this season which makes forecasting and matching it up more difficult, but primarily they will be without MLB Zach Thomas this week and that should help the Denver running game. Droughns should have at least a moderate game here and could score once but there's the specter of Bell who may take some carries and do more with them.

The Broncos defense should handle this game and coupled with running of Droughns and Bell, Plummer won't have to win this game. After throwing four interceptions last week, Denver will want to run and win anyway.

MIA DEN 2004 Averages DEN MIA
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
211
201
Pass yards
252
177
1.3
0.9
Pass TDs
1.8
1.3
1.8
0.8
Interceptions
1.3
0.6
6
15
Rush yards
11
7
0.1
0.2
Rush TDs
0.0
0.1
---
---
RB's
---
---
73
74
Rush yards
118
126
0.3
0.7
Rush TDs
0.6
0.6
24
22
Receive yards
32
26
0.1
0.0
Receive TD's
0.5
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
132
153
Receive yards
173
129
0.8
0.9
Receive TD's
1.0
0.8
---
---
TE's
---
---
59
28
Receive yards
47
21
0.4
0.0
Receive TD's
0.3
0.4
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.3
1.3
Field Goals
1.6
1.3
1.5
1.5
Extra Points
2.6
2.7
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.6
0.9
Fumbles
0.6
1.3
0.8
0.7
Interceptions
0.8
1.4
0.1
0.1
Touchdowns
0.2
0.8
2.9
0.8
Sacks
2.0
3.0
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Dolphins (2-10)
Score Opp.
7-17 TEN
13-16 @CIN
3-13 PIT
9-17 NYJ
10-24 @NE
13-20 @BUF
31-14 STL
14-41 @NYJ
23-24 ARI
Week 10 bye
17-24 @SEA
24-17 @SF
32-42 BUF
Week 14 @DEN
Week 15 NE
Week 16 CLE
Week 17 @BAL
Broncos (7-5)
Score Opp.
34-24 KC
6-7 @JAX
23-13 SD
16-13 @TB
20-17 CAR
31-3 @OAK
10-23 @CIN
28-41 ATL
31-13 HOU
Week 10 bye
34-13 @NO
24-25 OAK
17-20 @SD
Week 14 MIA
Week 15 @KC
Week 16 @TEN
Week 17 IND