fantasy football     JOIN THE HUDDLE    
HOME ARTICLES NEWS DRAFT GUIDE REGULAR SEASON STATISTICS NFL TEAMS MESSAGE BOARDS

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 15
December 15, 2004
Season Ticket
Saturday Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
PIT at NYG 1 * BUF at CIN * SD at CLE* STL at ARZ BAL at IND *
WAS at SF 5 * HOU at CHI SEA at NYJ DEN at KC * Mon 9 PM
CAR at ATL 8:30 JAX at GB * DAL at PHI * NO at TB NE at MIA*
Times ET MIN at DET TEN at OAK * *updated Times ET
  Buffalo Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Bledsoe 0 0 230,2
RB Willis McGahee 120,2 20 0
TE Ryan Neufeld 0 10 0
WR Eric Moulds 0 60,1 0
WR Josh Reed 0 30 0
WR Lee Evans 0 70,1 0
PK Rian Lindell 1 FG 4 XP -
  Cincinnati Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna 0 0 240,2
RB Rudi Johnson 80 10 0
TE Kelly/Stewart/Schobel 0 20 0
WR Houshmandzadeh 0 70,1 0
WR Kelly Washington 0 30 0
WR Chad Johnson 0 90,1 0
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 2 XP -

BUF (7-6) vs CIN (6-7)

Game Prediction: BUF 31, CIN 20

The Bills are on a four game winning streak and are almost an exact opposite of how they started the season. The defense is coming off the 5th best performance in NFL history and the offense with McGahee is operating just like it does on the chalk board in Mularkey's office. The Bengals offense is clicking well now but unfortunately that progress has been negated by a defense that is getting worse.

Update: I am lowering projections here because the game is predicted to be played in 17 mph winds with a possible snow shower in freezing temperatures. Both teams obviously know how to play in the snow, but it should lead to a heavier reliance on the running game and a lowering of numbers across the board.

Pre-Game Notes - BUF

The Bills only allowed Cleveland to gain 17 net yards last week. In the entire game. Buffalo is red hot right now and with CIN and SF up next and a week 17 game against PIT, they have a very real chance at a wild card this season.

The Bills have not scored less than 37 points in the last four games.

Quarterback: Drew Bledsoe cooled down last week since there was really no need to throw the ball at all, but he's been playing very well lately against soft secondaries and should be able to exploit the Bengals if the running game alone is not enough. Bledsoe has thrown nine touchdowns in the last four games and finally has a legitimate two receiver set in Moulds and Evans. It may have taken two years, but it appears that Peerless Price has finally been replaced.

Running Backs: Willis McGahee is proving to be a very shrewd draft pick last year. He comes off a 105 yard, two touchdown game against the Browns and has six 100 yard efforts in the last nine games with nine scores on the season. McGahee is a lock to get at least 24 carries this week and could top 30 totes in an effort to keep the Bengals from catching up. McGahee has two 30+ carry games already this season.

Wide Receivers: Eric Moulds is starting to look like a decoy for Lee Evans. Moulds only has two touchdowns in the last ten games and hasn't topped 100 yards since week four. Evans is enjoying the attention that Moulds garners and has scored in the last three games. The Bills use the #3 spot sparingly and the duo of Evans and Moulds have all 11 touchdowns thrown to wideouts this season by Bledsoe.

Tight Ends: Mark Campbell was placed on injured reserve last week and with him went the only true receiving tight end for the Bills. The rookie Tim Euhus has shown some promise but even he missed last week with a sore knee. I am assuming that Ryan Neufeld will start again this week and spend the entire game blocking.

Match Against the Defense: The Bengals have one of the worst rushing defenses in the league and knowing that Palmer or Kitna could hurt them, the Bills will want to control the clock with McGahee running as much as possible. Look for McGahee to have a big game against a team that has already allowed eight runners to exceed 100 yards.

Bledsoe faces a secondary that can be beaten but there is no reason to willingly get into a shootout with Cincinnati. Expect that Bledsoe tops 200 yards passing and scores once - literally every opponent has - but much more than that will only happen due to game situations that are not the most likely to happen. The matchups favor Moulds the most and he's overdue for a score anyway but Evans is enjoying the long ball role that should see at least some success this week as well.

Pre-Game Notes - CIN

The Bengals offense has been stellar in the last three games, scoring at least 27 points each week in spite of playing against teams like NE and BAL - both road games no less. The Bengals are harder to forecast this season because their production always seems to mirror what the opponents do, just a little bit less on most occasions. They have scored anywhere from 9 to 58 points in a game this year and yet most matchups are decided by a touchdown or less.

Quarterback: In case you have not noticed, Carson Palmer has been progressing into a great quarterback during the course of this season. He has thrown for 11 touchdowns in the last four games including five scores against the Ravens and Patriots the last two weeks. His completion percentage is way up and while he has thrown an interception in all but one game this season, he typically does not throw more than one per week.

Palmer got his knee busted up last week and is currently on crutches but says he will be able to play against the Bills. Until there is better evidence (like maybe not using crutches for instance), I will assume that Jon Kitna will capably replace him this week.

Running Backs: Rudi Johnson has shown that he can still gain decent yardage even against a top defense. He ran for 89 yards on 24 carries at New England last week though he only managed 56 yards on 19 runs against the Ravens in week 13. This will be the third straight week that Johnson will go against a top 5 rushing defense.

Wide Receivers: T.J. Houshmandzadeh has been one of the hottest wideouts in the NFL over the last three weeks and in two games against NE and BAL had 22 catches for 316 yards and one touchdown. Chad Johnson has scored in each of the last four games while never falling below 80 yards in any of those matchups. Palmer has established nice chemistry with this duo and even Kelley Washington has been a contributor. He only has a high of 47 yards in the last three games but has scored in each one. The passing attack with Palmer has been top notch lately and the wideouts are the main beneficiaries.

Tight Ends: Matt Schobel scored last week and has three of the four tight end touchdowns this season. The position does get use on occasion, but the three headed monster here is of no real fantasy value. Against the tough defenses the last two weeks they have done nothing but block other than the one catch by Schobel.

Match Against the Defense: Chances are excellent that the Bengals offense will fare better than Cleveland did. Buffalo ranks as one of the best rushing defenses and has only allowed four rushing scores all season - only one in the last five games. There has been only one 100 yard game against them this season (Dillon) so lower your expectations for Johnson this week.

Kitna was a great quarterback last year and should prove to be no drop-off from what Palmer was accomplishing. But the Bills secondary is one of the better ones in the NFL and are getting CB Troy Vincent back into the lineup. Touchdowns will need to come via the pass for the Bengals to stay in the game and have hope to win. This Bengals unit is far better than the Browns of last week and should manage to post some decent passing numbers here against a Bills secondary that will be worked hard trying to keep Houshmandzadeh and Johnson under wraps.

BUF CIN 2004 Averages CIN BUF
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
186
222
Pass yards
233
197
1.4
1.6
Pass TDs
1.5
1.4
1.2
1.2
Interceptions
1.5
1.3
3
7
Rush yards
4
7
0.0
0.1
Rush TDs
0.1
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
106
128
Rush yards
102
85
0.8
0.7
Rush TDs
0.5
0.3
25
39
Receive yards
22
21
0.0
0.4
Receive TD's
0.2
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
137
139
Receive yards
189
147
0.8
0.7
Receive TD's
1.0
1.1
---
---
TE's
---
---
28
44
Receive yards
21
29
0.5
0.5
Receive TD's
0.2
0.2
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.3
1.4
Field Goals
1.8
1.6
2.6
2.7
Extra Points
2.5
1.7
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.1
0.5
Fumbles
1.1
0.5
1.1
1.5
Interceptions
1.2
1.3
0.5
0.4
Touchdowns
0.3
0.2
2.9
1.9
Sacks
2.3
2.5
0.1
0.1
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Bills (7-6)
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
37-7 CLE
Week 15 @CIN
Week 16 @SF
Week 17 PIT
Bengals (6-7)
Score Opp.
24-31 @NYJ
16-13 MIA
9-23 BAL
17-28 @PIT
Week 5 bye
17-34 @CLE
23-10 DEN
20-27 @TEN
26-3 DAL
17-10 @WAS
14-19 PIT
58-48 CLE
27-26 @BAL
28-35 @NE
Week 15 BUF
Week 16 NYG
Week 17 @PHI