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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
  Tennessee Rush Catch Pass
QB Billy Volek 0 0 250,2
RB Chris Brown 80 10 0
RB Antowain Smith 90,1 10 0
TE Ben Troupe 0 40,1 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 50 0
WR Eddie Berlin 0 30 0
WR Drew Bennett 0 70,1 0
PK Gary Anderson 1 FG 3 XP -
Oakland Rush Catch Pass
QB Kerry Collins 0 0 220,2
RB A. Zereoue 30 20 0
RB J.R. Redmond 60 20 0
RB Zack Crockett 10,1 0 0
TE Jolley/Johnson 0 20,1 0
WR Doug Gabriel 0 40 0
WR Jerry Porter 0 70,1 0
WR John Stone 0 50 0
PK Sebastian Janikowski 2 FG 3 XP -

TEN (4-9) vs OAK (5-8)

Game Prediction: TEN 24, OAK 27

Now here is a messy game to predict. This is like a race between two cars that only have about half their cylinders hitting and the eventual winner is the car that lurches forward for the last time.

Update: Derrick Mason has not been ruled out but is questionable with a sprained ankle. He has not practiced but will likely play anyway though he would be limited. I am lowering his numbers but realize the risk if you start him.

Chris Brown has been ruled out for this week's game and Antowain Smith will take the start.

Kinney also appears to be out this week with a badly sprained ankle and even Shad Meier is questionable though will likely play.

J.R. Redmond is expected to take a lead role in rushing this week after a nice performance in week 14 against the Falcons.

Given that Mason is hobbled and Brown still has questions surrounding him, I am changing the game score to favor the Raiders at home. It still is a coin flip game.

Pre-Game Notes - TEN

The Titans come off their third loss in a row, losing on Monday night because Jeff Fisher thought it was okay to forget trying to score a touchdown and take a field goal with two minutes left to play because he completely forgot that the Titans have no defense anymore.

Quarterback: Bad sign when the only talk about Steve McNair is not when he will return but if he will ever return. McNair sounds more and more like he is conceding to retirement. Losing him would be a major blow to Tennessee but as long as the Titans face terrible defenses like the Chiefs, Billy Volek will be a fine replacement. He threw for 426 yards and four scores last week and has been stellar against soft secondaries.

I assume that Volek is the starter again this week.

Running Backs: Chris Brown is the best part-time runner in the NFL. He had 91 yards on 15 carries last week with one score against the Chiefs. Until they can come up with some pain killers that last more than one half, the Titans will continue to coast to the finish line at the end of games since Antowain Smith is roughly the equivalent of Brown hopping on one foot (which in retrospect may be a better idea anyway).

Wide Receivers: Drew Bennett comes off a game for the ages when he had 12 catches for 233 yards and three scores and was literally exhausted by the fourth quarter (not to mention very heavily covered). That gives Bennett six scores and 357 yards in the last two games. He only had two touchdowns in the previous twelve weeks but there is no chance we will remember that next summer.

Derrick Mason scored once last week and has touchdowns in four of the last five games. He turned his ankle but remained in the game though was very limited. Barring later practice information, the assumption is that he plays this week with some residual effects from the ankle sprain.

Tight Ends: Three tight ends and the only decent one on Monday night was Shad Meier (50 yards). The days of Frank Wycheck are over. Maybe the days of McNair too for that matter.

Match Against the Defense: Here's a painful situation. Chris Brown, if healthy, could likely run for 150+ yards on the Raiders but he'll have to get as much as he can before his toe forces him from the game again. Expect a decent game here even with the bad toe since the Raiders are so bad against the run but you should feel a little melancholy about what he could have done with a healthy foot.

Volek should be able to post some decent fantasy points here against a very bad secondary. Expect no less than two scores and possibly more if Brown doesn't last beyond halftime. Where the Raiders are truly bad are against tight ends but there are three to choose from with the Titans. Expect at least one tight end score and possibly both will, but flip a coin between Troupe, Kinney and Meier as to who catches it.

Bennett gets the best matchup here and after scoring six times in two games, you were going to start him anyway.

Pre-Game Notes - OAK

The Raiders have lost their last two games and now are playing games with almost no running at all and without Curry in the lineup - not that much passing either. This matters when the defense has allowed over half the opponents this season to score over 30 points and never less than 23 points in the last eleven weeks.

Quarterback: As mentioned last week, Ronald Curry had become the linking pin for the passing game. With him gone as of last week, the same offense that had scored nine touchdowns and averaged almost 300 passing yards a game suddenly only produced 166 yards and no scores last week. The Titans will bring a bad secondary this week but there's little to attack it with by the Raiders. Think Kerry Collins in his first four games.

Running Backs: The Raiders no longer have any commitment to running the ball and are mixing Amos Zereoue and J.R. Redmond together so that neither has much fantasy value. And now they are back to using Zack Crockett as a goal line back to steal the touchdowns. Tyrone Wheatley has been out with a hamstring strain and while he may return this week, I am assuming he misses one more game pending practice information during the week.

Wide Receivers: With Curry gone, the best Raider receiver was John Stone who had 62 yards on two catches because he managed one 51 yard grab. Jerry Porter needed to step up and compensate for the loss of Curry and only managed 33 yards on two catches because he is the only Raider receiver left to cover.

Doug Gabriel only had 19 yards on two catches last week. This passing offense will look marginally better this week, but without a supporting running game and no go-to guy with Curry out, the outlook is not good.

Tight Ends: Nope. They are needed to do more and yet only had 22 yards between Teyo Johnson and Doug Jolley last week.

Match Against the Defense: The Titans are very soft against the wideouts and tight ends, but the Raiders are not using Johnson or Jolley at all and with Curry out, the wideouts are mediocre at best. Samari Rolle is out for TEN and that should help out Jerry Porter but what happened last week was the safety rolled over to help out against Morton who had the same situation and Kennison had the big game on the other side.

The Raiders are not going to run well and likely not often. Look for a low to moderate game from Collins with upside only if he can figure out how to use his tight ends and non-Curry receivers again. The Titans are bad on defense now and there is an opportunity for the Raiders to rise up and look adequate but there's little on this offense that appears capable of taking advantage of the situation.

TEN OAK 2004 Averages OAK TEN
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
235
237
Pass yards
253
231
1.6
1.8
Pass TDs
1.3
1.5
1.2
0.5
Interceptions
1.3
1.2
14
13
Rush yards
4
5
0.1
0.1
Rush TDs
0.0
0.1
---
---
RB's
---
---
112
121
Rush yards
72
112
0.6
1.2
Rush TDs
0.7
1.2
34
33
Receive yards
49
28
0.2
0.4
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
167
166
Receive yards
168
166
1.2
0.8
Receive TD's
1.0
0.9
---
---
TE's
---
---
36
38
Receive yards
36
37
0.1
0.7
Receive TD's
0.3
0.6
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.2
1.1
Field Goals
1.5
1.3
2.3
3.3
Extra Points
1.8
3.1
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.9
0.9
Fumbles
0.5
1.0
1.1
1.3
Interceptions
0.4
1.1
0.1
0.4
Touchdowns
0.1
0.4
2.2
1.8
Sacks
1.4
2.7
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.2
Tennessee (4-9)
Score Opp.
17-7 @MIA
17-31 IND
12-15 JAX
17-38 @SD
48-27 @GB
10-20 HOU
3-20 @MIN
27-20 CIN
Week 9 bye
17-19 CHI
18-15 @JAX
21-31 @HOU
24-51 @IND
38-49 KC
Week 15 @OAK
Week 16 DEN
Week 17 DET
Raiders (5-8)
Score Opp.
21-24 @PIT
13-10 BUF
30-20 TB
17-30 @HOU
14-35 @IND
3-31 DEN
26-31 NO
14-42 @SD
27-24 @CAR
Week 10 bye
17-23 SD
25-24 @DEN
27-34 KC
10-35 @ATL
Week 15 TEN
Week 16 @KC
Week 17 JAX