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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
  Minnesota Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper 0 0 240,2
RB Moe Williams 20,1 10 0
RB Onterrio Smith 80 30 0
TE Jermaine Wiggins 0 40,1 0
WR Randy Moss 0 80,1 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 40 0
WR Marcus Robinson 0 40 0
PK Morten Andersen 1 FG 3 XP -
  Detroit Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 0 0 160
RB Kevin Jones 130,2 20 0
TE Stephen Alexander 0 30 0
WR Roy Williams 0 40 0
WR Az-Zahir Hakim 0 30 0
WR Tai Streets 0 20 0
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 2 XP -

MIN (7-6) vs DET (5-8)

Game Prediction: MIN 24, DET 20

This is a rematch of week 11 when the Vikings won 22-19. The Lions have only beaten the Vikings once in the last ten meetings and none in the last five games.

Pre-Game Notes - MIN

The Vikings have lost their last two games and now trail the Packers in the NFC North. After starting out hot this season, the Vikes are falling faster than the thermometer in Minneapolis. At least some things never change.

Quarterback: While Daunte Culpepper still has yet to not score in a game, he has not managed more than two scores in all but one of the last eight games. He's had 13 passing touchdowns in the last eight games. He had 18 scores in just the first five games.

Culpepper threw for 233 yards and two scores four weeks ago when Detroit came to town.

Running Backs: Onterrio Smith continues to be the primary back and had 14 runs for 56 yards and one score last week with 41 yards coming on four receptions. Michael Bennett was given five carries and ran for 25 yards. Smith will continue as the primary back and needs to improve since the Vikings did not run very well in the last meeting against the Lions. Michael Bennett only had 30 yards while Smith had 27 yards and Moe Williams scored once while only gaining 15 yards in the game.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss is truly back now. He not only had 104 yards and once score, he dwarfed what any other wideout did last week. Nate Burleson had 42 yards and no scores last week but he led the Vikes in week 11 with 52 yards and one score in the last meeting against the Lions. Moss did not play that week.

Tight Ends: Jermaine Wiggins hasn't scored in three weeks but he stays about 30 yards a game. Wiggins scored once and gained 51 yards in the last meeting with Detroit.

Match Against the Defense: It's only been four weeks since the last meeting and most of the changes in Detroit have been on the offensive side of the ball. Expect that Culpepper's 230 yards and two scores in the previous game are repeated with Moss back in the fold but not much else. This game will progress faster with the Lions preferring to run now and there won't be the time or need for a late game shoot out.

Onterrio Smith isn't likely to gain more than 70 yards rushing since hardly any back has this season against the Lions who have only allowed five runners to score all year as well - though one was Moe Williams. This should be a lower scoring affair thanks to the Lions better defense and improved running.

Pre-Game Notes - DET

The Cardinals are the only reason why the Lions have not lost their last seven games. As Kevin Jones gets better and better, the passing game gets smaller and smaller and has almost completely disappeared.

Quarterback: Joey Harrington is the starting quarterback, at least last I checked. It's not likely to continue on much longer and almost impossible to imagine he'll still be there next season. Harrington has fallen apart in the last five games, throwing for only two touchdowns against four interceptions. He has not exceeded 200 yards in five weeks and three times failed to even reach 100 yards in a game. The Harrington era is closing and Mike McMahon may get the start this week just to appear that something is being done.

Harrington only had 91 yards on 12 completions in the last meeting with Minnesota though he threw one touchdown.

Running Backs: Kevin Jones has exploded in the three weeks since he gained 100 yards against the Vikings in week 10. He dipped to only 99 yards in week 12 on only 12 carries and then ripped off efforts of 196 and 156 yards with scores in both games. He's easily the best runner in Detroit since Barry Sanders left if he can just maintain his performance.

Wide Receivers: Roy Williams only had one catch for 13 yards last week and only only 19 yards and no scores in the last matchup with Minnesota. He has not scored since week seven. He has not topped 76 yards since week three. The demise of all passing has finally reduced the only consistent wideout to non-relevance. If McMahon starts it might help, but there is a reason why he has been a backup the last two years - he is not any better.

Tight Ends: Stephen Alexander appeared to be breaking out and had 58 yards as recently as the Colts game in week 12. He had only one catch for five yards in the last two games. Alexander had only 27 yards in the last meeting with the Vikings, but he scored the lone Detroit passing touchdown that week.

Match Against the Defense: Right now all there is to consider is what the Vikings rushing defense is like - not very good. Jones should be a lock for a good game here and the best chance that Detroit has to actually score a touchdown - or two.

MIN DET 2004 Averages DET MIN
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
287
226
Pass yards
173
245
2.4
1.7
Pass TDs
1.2
1.8
0.8
1.0
Interceptions
0.7
0.5
26
13
Rush yards
11
12
0.2
0.2
Rush TDs
0.0
0.2
---
---
RB's
---
---
90
106
Rush yards
97
113
0.3
0.5
Rush TDs
0.4
0.7
64
48
Receive yards
34
40
0.2
0.2
Receive TD's
0.2
0.3
---
---
WR's
---
---
173
143
Receive yards
112
162
1.8
1.3
Receive TD's
0.8
0.8
---
---
TE's
---
---
51
38
Receive yards
26
44
0.2
0.3
Receive TD's
0.1
0.5
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.2
1.2
Field Goals
1.2
1.5
2.8
2.2
Extra Points
1.9
2.7
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.6
0.5
Fumbles
1.0
0.8
0.6
0.6
Interceptions
0.7
0.8
0.1
0.2
Touchdowns
0.5
0.2
2.5
2.3
Sacks
2.4
2.6
0.0
0.1
Safeties
0.1
0.1
Vikings (7-6)
Score Opp.
35-17 DAL
16-27 @PHI
27-22 CHI
Week 4 bye
34-28 @HOU
38-31 @NO
20-3 TEN
13-34 NYG
28-31 @IND
31-34 @GB
22-19 DET
27-16 JAX
14-24 @CHI
23-27 SEA
Week 15 @DET
Week 16 GB
Week 17 @WAS
Lions(5-8)
Score Opp.
20-16 @CHI
28-16 HOU
13-30 PHI
Week 4 bye
17-10 @ATL
10-38 GB
28-13 @NYG
21-31 @DAL
10-17 WAS
17-23 @JAX
19-22 @MIN
9-41 IND
26-12 ARI
13-16 @GB
Week 15 MIN
Week 16 CHI
Week 17 @TEN