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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
  San Diego Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 0 0 230,1
RB L. Tomlinson 130,2 30 0
TE Antonio Gates 0 60,1 0
WR Malcolm Floyd 0 10 0
WR Kassim Osgood 0 40 0
WR Eric Parker 0 80 0
PK Nate Kaeding 1 FG 3 XP -
  Indianapolis Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 310,3
RB Edgerrin James 80,1 10 0
TE Marcus Pollard 0 30 0
TE Dallas Clark 0 40 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 100,1 0
WR Brandon Stokley 0 50,1 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 80,1 0
PK Mike Vanderjagt 2 FG 4 XP -

SD (11-3) vs IND (11-3)

Game Prediction: SD 24, IND 34

Thanks to the Patriots loss last week, the Colts are not necessarily out of the bye week hunt. Nor are the Chargers. Both teams are 11-3 and are on winning streaks of at least seven games (San Diego has 8). They have identical records, almost the same points for and against and the same win/loss records on the road and home. Both teams have already locked down their division.

It's like the same team on two coasts except they run out west and pass like crazy in the east.

Update: Pollard is questionable this week with an ankle sprain and will be a game time decision. I am removing him from the projections.

Pre-Game Notes - SD

If the Chargers want to counter any claims that they had an easier schedule, here is where they can show up and quiet any critics if, in fact, any possibly remain.

Quarterback: Drew Brees has dipped downward dramatically the last three weeks with only three scores and never more than 220 yards. He only had 85 yards last week against the Giants. Thing is - he did all he needed to do with LaDainian Tomlinson running with ease and scoring multiple touchdowns per game. Don't forget - this is the quarterback who can throw up to five scores in a game when needed.

Running Backs: LaDainian Tomlinson already has 16 scores this season and has topped 100 yards in each of the last three games. He has seven touchdowns in the last four weeks. Tomlinson slowed down from his groin strain during mid-season but has been back on top for over the last month. By week eight, those who drafted him over Priest Holmes were probably crying. By now, those are tears of joy.

Wide Receivers: The wideouts have been largely quiet in the last three weeks with Tomlinson providing enough to win games but Eric Parker had 118 yards and a score two weeks ago and Kassim Osgood has stepped up with two scores in the last three weeks. This crew does not compare to the Holy Trinity in Indy, but in conjunction with Tomlinson and Gates they can post the points when needed.

Keenan McCardell was unable to practice or play last week with a hamstring injury. I am going to assume he is out until word from practice says he can play.

Tight Ends: Antonio Gates had a two game drought of no scoring with no more than 48 total yards but turned one catch into a 72-yard touchdown last week. He has 12 scores on the year which already ties for the best in NFL history for a tight end. With two games left to play against IND and KC.

Match Against the Defense: With Peyton Manning pacing the other sidelines, there is no secret that the Chargers will want to follow what every opponent has for a goal - run the ball and keep Peyton off the field. In this case, they actually have the running back that can do the job (as much as it can be done).

The Colts rushing defense is not very good and is cloaked mainly because most teams never have the chance to run more than 15 times in a game before trailing by three scores. Expect a monster game here from Tomlinson right when you need it most.

Brees will be pressed into passing eventually and the potential loss of McCardell could be a limitation but Osgood can fill the shoes adequately and Parker has the speed to stretch the defense. Expect the best passing effort from Brees in at least a month and realize that the Colts are one of the weaker teams against tight ends - let alone against one of the most productive ends of all time.

Pre-Game Notes - IND

The Colts took down the Ravens last week and the world is still waiting for Manning to break the record. He needs two scores and the Chargers have already allowed that many to six different quarterbacks.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning only had one touchdown last week for the first time this season. Since the Chargers can post a lot of points, there's no time to wait this week to reach #48 and then #49. The Hall of Fame awaits the ball.

Running Backs: Edgerrin James fell off his four straight games over 100 rushing yards when he only managed 69 yards on 22 carries last week but he scored once. With Manning passing so much and so well, rushing James seems almost like a gimmick play.

Wide Receivers: Marvin Harrison had the lone passing score last week and he's had a touchdown in the last five games. Brandon Stokley is one score away from being the first receiver in NFL history to record 10 touchdowns after two others on the team already have in the same season. The only question with the wideouts each week is which one and how many.

Tight Ends: Neither Dallas Clark or Marcus Pollard has scored in the last three weeks though Pollard remains good for around 30 or 40 yards per week.

Match Against the Defense: Manning should be a lock here for at least two scores since it has been done often against the Chargers who have not faced a quarterback as prolific as Manning. Look for at least 250 passing yards in this game with a good chance of 300+ or more.

The Chargers rush defense has allowed about one rushing score per week over the last seven games and that included some bad offenses anyway. James has a good shot at scoring again this week because everyone is looking at Manning. The Chargers rush defense has been pretty tough against yardage though, so expect James to struggle to top 100 yards.

As for which receiver will likely score, it usually is hard to call with the Colts but San Diego has been slightly softer against the split end (Wayne). They have been bad against tight ends as well so there is no real pattern to how this might go down.

SD IND 2004 Averages IND SD
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
210
264
Pass yards
298
246
1.7
1.5
Pass TDs
3.4
1.1
0.4
1.3
Interceptions
0.6
1.3
6
6
Rush yards
2
9
0.2
0.1
Rush TDs
0.0
0.1
---
---
RB's
---
---
123
115
Rush yards
122
73
1.4
0.6
Rush TDs
0.7
0.9
31
54
Receive yards
35
49
0.0
0.1
Receive TD's
0.1
0.1
---
---
WR's
---
---
109
158
Receive yards
213
150
0.7
0.9
Receive TD's
2.4
0.6
---
---
TE's
---
---
70
51
Receive yards
50
47
1.0
0.5
Receive TD's
0.6
0.4
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.3
1.4
Field Goals
1.1
1.1
3.4
2.1
Extra Points
4.3
2.1
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.0
0.5
Fumbles
1.3
0.6
1.0
0.6
Interceptions
1.2
0.4
0.1
0.0
Touchdowns
0.4
0.1
1.8
0.6
Sacks
2.9
1.3
0.1
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Chargers (11-3)
Score Opp.
27-20 @HOU
28-34 NYJ
13-23 @DEN
38-17 TEN
34-21 JAX
20-21 @ATL
17-6 @CAR
42-14 OAK
43-17 NO
Week 10 bye
23-17 @OAK
34-31 @KC
20-17 DEN
31-24 TB
21-0 @CLE
Week 16 @IND
Week 17 KC
Colts (11-3)
Score Opp.
24-27 @NE
31-17 @TEN
45-31 GB
24-17 @JAX
35-14 OAK
Week 6 bye
24-27 JAX
35-45 @KC
31-28 MIN
49-14 HOU
41-10 @CHI
41-9 @DET
51-24 TEN
23-14 @HOU
20-10 BAL
Week 16 SD
Week 17 @DEN