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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 16
December 22, 2004
Season Ticket
Friday Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
GB at MIN CHI at DET ATL at NO * NE at NYJ * CLE at MIA
Saturday NYG at CIN * BAL at PIT BUF at SF * Mon 9 PM
DEN at TEN 8:30 HOU at JAX * CAR at TB WAS at DAL PHI at STL
OAK at KC 5 * SD at IND * Good Luck!!! ARZ at SEA *updated
  NY Giants Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 0 0 180,1
RB Tiki Barber 110,1 30 0
TE Jeremy Shockey 0 50,1 0
WR Amani Toomer 0 40 0
WR David Tyree 0 20 0
WR Ike Hilliard 0 30 0
PK Steve Christie 1 FG 2 XP -
  Cincinnati Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna 0 0 220,2
RB Rudi Johnson 120,2 10 0
TE Matt Schobel 0 10 0
WR Houshmandzadeh 0 80,1 0
WR Kelly Washington 0 40 0
WR Chad Johnson 0 90,1 0
PK Shayne Graham 1 FG 4 XP -

NYG (5-9) vs CIN (6-8)

Game Prediction: NYG 17, CIN 31

The Giants finally witnessed a good game from Eli Manning last week but they've still lost seven straight games and need to find a sleeping opponent before they can hope to win a game. The Bengals are interested in winning out and won't take anything for granted after being spanked by the Bills last week.

Update: Palmer has not been able to practice this week and it now appears that Kitna will get his second start. He should find the Giants much more accommodating than the Bills were.

Pre-Game Notes - NYG

The Giants came out fired up and ready to play last Saturday and took the surprised Steelers down to the wire before finally, of course, losing the game. It was a trap game in the making and the Steelers were almost caught. The good news is that the Giants offense showed some life against a team that tried to mail in the game. The bad news is that the Giants defense still is not good enough to stop an underperforming opponent.

Quarterback: Eli Manning had the exact sort of game that he sorely needed last week. He completed 16 of 23 passes for a career high 182 yards and two scores against only one interception. That final interception soured the chances for the Giants to regain the lead last week but until that point he looked much better than he had in any other game this year. Manning has suffered through a brutal schedule so far but this week finally gets one of his easiest matchups of the year.

Running Backs: Tiki Barber ran for 76 yards on 18 carries last week when he faced the #1 NFL defense of the Steelers and he really only did that well thanks to a 35 yard run early in the game. On many occasions he was thrown for a loss and he was mostly productive on catching passes with five receptions for 38 yards. He had one score last week for an even dozen on the year.

Wide Receivers: How sad is it when the best game ever by Manning only yields 117 yards for the wideouts and of those, David Tyree's single catch for 49 yards was the most yardage by a wide receiver? Both Ike Hilliard and Amani Toomer ended with only 34 yards receiving though Hilliard came within one yard of actually scoring the first touchdown by a starting wideout this season for the Giants. The Bengals this week present a great chance that the Giants can actually score with Hilliard or Toomer this season. The Dallas game in week 17 will be the final chance and probably just as good but for the fantasy season, these wideouts have been largely worthless.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey only had three catches for 13 yards but scored once last week, his sixth on the season and best of his career. The opponents are using double coverage against Shockey which continues to limit any yardage that he might gain.

Match Against the Defense: Barber faces perhaps his best matchup of the year when he goes against a defense that has been seriously gouged by any team committed to running. The only limiting factor will be if the game score gets away too fast and the Giants have to throw but even then Barber is a factor.

Manning goes against a secondary that has also been ripped up this season but the Giants are not about to willingly get into a passing war. He should manage to hang around his 180 of last week but throwing for more than one score will only mean there is a lot of trash time in the game.

Pre-Game Notes - CIN

The Bengals host their last home game of the year and with a road trip to Philly ending the season, this is likely their final win as well. After two losses to BUF and NE, a nice "win-able" game like this will help make amends for a season that too often showed the difference between being "good" versus "good enough".

Quarterback: Jon Kitna was bad last week against the Bills and at this time it appears that Carson Palmer may play. He is coming off a left knee sprain with some damage to his MCL just a couple of weeks ago so it is not a guarantee yet. I will update if Palmer cannot play but expect that he will start and be only slightly limited from a gimpy knee.

Running Backs: Rudi Johnson comes off a very impressive 23 carry, 130 yard effort against the Bills that produced one touchdown in very tough playing conditions. He's exceeded the 100 yard mark five times this year including one 202 yard effort. Johnson becomes a free agent this offseason and the Bengals have not yet committed to ponying up the cash it will take to keep him. Chris Perry was drafted but has only had a few carries all season thanks to incurring an abdominal injury that just won't go away, He's supposed to see a specialist but for now, the Bengals still maintain that Perry was a good draft pick and an option if Johnson leaves in free agency.

Wide Receivers: The Bills handed Chad Johnson his worst career effort - only ten yards on two catches. Prior to last week's effort in the howling winds, Johnson had scored in the four previous games and not fallen below 80 yards per game. Even T.J. Houshmandzadeh was held in check last week, gaining only 43 yards after two straight weeks of 140+ yard performances.

Tight Ends: Obviously since the two stud wideouts were shut down, the three-headed monster tight ends scored once. Matt Schobel has actually been separating himself from Reggie Kelly and Tony Stewart recently and has two scores in the last two weeks. The Bengal tight ends matter most against tough defenses like BUF and NE. Not the case this week.

Match Against the Defense: The weather should be cold again but so far it looks like a dry game with minimal wind. The Giants rush defense has gotten much worse in the last six weeks and Johnson should log yet another 100 yard game with a great chance at a touchdown if not two.

The Giants secondary can be beaten though most teams prefer to run as the way to win the game. Since Palmer wants to play and leave the 2004 season on a high note, he'll be more likely to post some points through the air. Two scores should be the least of what he'll do and his yardage will likely remain under 240 because the running game will be chewing up the clock and he should have several short fields this week.

NYG CIN 2004 Averages CIN NYG
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
197
219
Pass yards
227
204
0.6
1.6
Pass TDs
1.4
1.7
0.8
1.1
Interceptions
1.5
0.9
5
7
Rush yards
5
20
0.1
0.1
Rush TDs
0.1
0.1
---
---
RB's
---
---
111
123
Rush yards
104
120
1.1
0.6
Rush TDs
0.6
0.7
47
37
Receive yards
21
36
0.1
0.4
Receive TD's
0.1
0.3
---
---
WR's
---
---
104
141
Receive yards
184
118
0.1
0.7
Receive TD's
0.9
0.9
---
---
TE's
---
---
45
41
Receive yards
23
35
0.4
0.4
Receive TD's
0.3
0.6
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.2
1.6
Field Goals
1.8
1.1
2.0
2.7
Extra Points
2.4
2.4
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.9
0.6
Fumbles
1.1
0.8
0.9
1.5
Interceptions
1.1
0.8
0.3
0.5
Touchdowns
0.3
0.0
2.4
2.0
Sacks
2.3
3.5
0.0
0.1
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Giants (5-9)
Score Opp.
17-31 @PHI
20-14 WAS
27-10 CLE
14-7 @GB
26-10 @DAL
Week 6 bye
13-28 DET
34-13 @MIN
21-28 CHI
14-17 @ARI
10-14 ATL
6-27 PHI
7-31 @WAS
14-37 @BAL
30-33 PIT
Week 16 @CIN
Week 17 DAL
Bengals (6-8)
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
17-33 BUF
Week 16 NYG
Week 17 @PHI