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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
  St. Louis Rush Catch Pass
QB Chris Chandler 0 0 200,1
RB Marshall Faulk 20 0 0
RB Steven Jackson 110,1 20 0
TE B. Manumaleuna 0 10 0
WR Isaac Bruce 0 50 0
WR Torry Holt 0 90,1 0
WR Curtis/McDonald 0 20 0
PK Jeff Wilkins 2 FG 2 XP -
  Arizona Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh McCown 0 0 220,1
RB Emmitt Smith 90,1 10 0
RB O. Ayanbadejo 10,1 0 0
TE Freddie Jones 0 40 0
WR Bryant Johnson 0 30 0
WR Larry Fitzgerald 0 40 0
WR Anquan Boldin 0 100,1 0
PK Neil Rackers 1 FG 3 XP -

STL (6-7) vs ARZ (4-9)

Game Prediction: STL 20, ARZ 24

This is a rematch of week one when the Rams won 17-10 and we first learned that Emmitt Smith would actually have some fantasy value this season.

Pre-Game Notes - STL

The Rams come off a loss to the Panthers and are now one game behind the Seahawks for the much coveted and never deserved NFC West crown. With games against PHI and NYJ coming up, getting that win here is pretty important. In fact, with PHI and NYJ waiting in the wings, reaching .500 looks almost impossible but in the NFC West that doesn't mean they still are not up for the title.

Quarterback: Chris Chandler was a near duplicate of Marc Bulger, only not with the yards (243) or the touchdowns (1), he maintained the Rams as the most intercepted team in the NFL (second year now) when he threw for a team record six interceptions against the Panthers. At some point, it's more like a lot of punts that no one knew were going to happen.

Running Backs: Arlen Harris filled in for Steven Jackson last week but only gained 61 yards on 19 carries as the only runner in the game. Marshall Faulk was probable to play but never participated and has been out since week 12. Jackson was out with a sprained knee but I am assuming he and Faulk return for this game. Updates as needed.

Wide Receivers: Like a page from a 2003 script, Torry Holt was the man again with Chandler at the helm, catching six passes for 160 yards and one score while Isaac Bruce only managed to net three passes for 27 yards. Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald only had one catch each. Chandler was so errant in his passing that the lead receiver for the Rams was a tie between Holt and the Carolina secondary. Holt and Bruce both had six passes thrown to them in the game, Holt just caught all his and did more. There is some concern that Bruce's old wrist injury is still a factor though he claims it is not.

Tight Ends: Not even one throw, let alone any catches last week.

Match Against the Defense: Running is the way to go if you want to win in Arizona. Marshall Faulk had 128 yards against the Cards back in week one though things have changed since then for the Rams. But not for Arizona, since they have allowed on average 150 rushing yards in the last seven games. If Jackson is healthy, he could have a career best game here and if it's Arlen Harris again, he'll at least have a worthwhile fantasy game.

After Chandler threw six interceptions, the Rams are less likely to get as "pass happy" if they get a lead. The Cardinals have not allowed over 200 yards passing to any of the last seven opposing quarterbacks mainly because rushing has been so easy. Holt and Bruce combined for over 200 yards in week one but no other team has done that well since.

Pre-Game Notes - ARZ

Nothing like losing two straight games, in overtime, to a team that otherwise is the worst in the NFL. The Cardinals are fighting to keep this latest setback from making the four game losing streak any worse than it already is. It does not help that Denny Green had stated that Arizona would be over .500 this year and in the playoffs when he signed on.

Quarterback: Josh McCown resumed the starting role last week and ended with 307 passing yards against the 49ers though he never scored. McCown will likely be the starter for the rest of the season mainly because a quick run through the rest of the roster only made the situation worse.

Running Backs: Emmitt Smith was able to play last week but he only gained 53 yards on 18 carries and had one touchdown. The Cardinals turned to fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo for five runs and 13 yards with two touchdowns. As if Smith needed to have his touchdown scoring drained away from him. Safest bet is that the sharing will continue since the tough, short yards near the goal line are tougher on Emmitt's knees and Ayanbadejo is a beefy banger that can score just as well as Emmitt.

In case you are still holding him, the Larry Croom experiment is over.

Wide Receivers: The lone positive from last week was that Anquan Boldin had nine catches for 109 yards though he still has yet to score a touchdown this season. Larry Fitzgerald only had 47 yards on four catches and the addition of Boldin to the roster didn't serve to free him up. Evidently it just sucked away his production since Fitzgerald has not done anything since week 11.

Tight Ends: Freddie Jones has developed into being a poor man's version of Tony Gonzalez. He's getting at least 35 yards every week for the past month but only has two touchdowns on the season.

Match Against the Defense: The Rams rush defense is average at best and Emmitt already had a touchdown and 87 yards on 16 carries back in week one. Expect that Emmitt has a moderate to good game here. McCown faces a secondary that held him to only 181 yards in the first meeting but has been much less adept at stopping opponents since then. They've allowed multiple touchdowns to most opponents this season.

Expect that McCown has around 220 yards and up to two scores. Much will depend on what they defense can do against Chandler this week. Most likely - it will be mainly running and defense that can win this game against the Rams.

STL ARZ 2004 Averages ARZ STL
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
288
210
Pass yards
195
216
1.5
1.3
Pass TDs
0.6
1.5
1.5
0.8
Interceptions
1.2
0.5
6
11
Rush yards
8
14
0.2
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
96
126
Rush yards
95
118
0.5
0.7
Rush TDs
1.0
0.8
39
36
Receive yards
26
34
0.1
0.1
Receive TD's
0.2
0.2
---
---
WR's
---
---
252
142
Receive yards
135
144
1.5
0.8
Receive TD's
0.4
0.8
---
---
TE's
---
---
13
33
Receive yards
35
43
0.1
0.3
Receive TD's
0.2
0.5
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.2
1.8
Field Goals
1.3
2.1
2.0
1.8
Extra Points
1.6
2.5
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.5
1.1
Fumbles
1.0
1.1
0.5
0.8
Interceptions
0.8
1.5
0.2
0.3
Touchdowns
0.2
0.3
2.1
2.5
Sacks
2.2
3.2
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.1
0.0
Rams (6-7)
Score Opp.
17-10 ARI
17-34 @ATL
25-28 NO
24-14 @SF
33-27 @SEA
28-21 TB
14-31 @MIA
Week 8 bye
22-40 NE
23-12 SEA
17-37 @BUF
17-45 @GB
16-6 SF
7-20 @CAR
Week 15 @ARI
Week 16 PHI
Week 17 NYJ
Cardinals (4-9)
Score Opp.
10-17 @STL
12-23 NE
3-6 @ATL
34-10 NO
28-31 @SF
Week 6 bye
25-17 SEA
14-38 @BUF
24-23 @MIA
17-14 NYG
10-35 @CAR
3-13 NYJ
12-26 @DET
28-31 SF
Week 15 STL
Week 16 @SEA
Week 17 TB