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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 17
January 2, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
MIA at BAL * CLE at HOU * DET at TEN TB at ARZ DAL at NYG *
PIT at BUF SF at NE * MIN at WAS IND at DEN Happy
GB at CHI CIN at PHI * Sun 4 PM JAX at OAK * New Year!
NO at CAR NYJ at STL ATL at SEA * KC at SD * *updated
  Indianapolis Rush Catch Pass
QB Jim Sorgi 0 0 180,1
RB Dominic Rhodes 60 20 0
TE Dallas Clark 0 20 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 40 0
WR Brandon Stokley 0 50,1 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 40 0
PK Mike Vanderjagt 3 FG 1 XP -
  Denver Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Plummer 0 0 260,2
RB Reuben Droughns 100,1 10 0
RB Tatum Bell 50 10 0
TE Jeb Putzier 0 30 0
WR Rod Smith 0 100,1 0
WR Darius Watts 0 40 0
WR Ashley Lelie 0 60 0
PK Jason Elam 2 FG 3 XP -

IND (12-3) vs DEN (9-6)

Game Prediction: IND 16, DEN 27

The Colts are locked in with the #3 seed and have to play on the road but there's been no word that players will be rested. But reason says that the effort will fall a little flatter now that the record does not matter and all Manning will do is make his passing record harder to break next year.

Update: Though the Colts are playing it close to the vest like all teams, the reality is that they have nothing to play for here and I am lowering all the projections for them. Jim Sorgi will likely play a significant part of the game for Peyton Manning and none of the normal stars may do much this week since they do not get a week off like bye week teams do. It is not a week to use any normal Indy starters if you can avoid it.

Pre-Game Notes - IND

The overtime win against the Chargers added great drama to a game when several records fell. When the smoke cleared, the Colts own the #3 best record outright regardless of what happens this week. HC TOny Dungy has said that the Colts want to win here for their ninth consecutive victory and head into the playoffs on a roll.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning will start and play but the chance that he gets pulled eventually does realistically exist. He still could end up with a big game even if he only plays for one half. Since Manning usually is rarely sacked, he may end up playing the entire game since he is at less risk than most quarterbacks.

Running Backs: Edgerrin James winds down a great yardage year - he's already ran for 1550 yards this year and yet only has nine touchdowns. Facing one of the top rushing defenses this season should keep him out of the endzone again this week unless the Colts opt for a heavy rushing attack - unlikely since they want James healthy for the playoffs.

Wide Receivers: The Big Three now have a 10+ touchdown claim to fame. Champ Bailey usually gets stuck on the best wideout of the opponent. He'll have to look at the sidelines each play for a clue on which one that might be this week.

Tight Ends: Marcus Pollard didn't play last week and Dallas Clark only had 23 yards on three catches. I am assuming that Pollard is held out again this week.

Match Against the Defense: The Colts say they are going to play to win and short of the game getting lop-sided, it appears that the Colt starters are a safe play this week. Denver has every reason to win here and advance to the playoffs and will be motivated. Whatever success Indianapolis has will likely be through the air and with all those receivers, they should see some success.

Pre-Game Notes - DEN

The Broncos will get into the playoffs with a win here. Enough said. This is the playoffs for them.

Quarterback: Jake Plummer comes off a nice 303 yard, two touchdown game last week in Tennessee and he's been golden against bad secondaries. This final home game needs to come up big in order to quell the dissent of the fans that was growing in the past month.

Running Backs: Last week Reuben Droughns got all the action and ended with three touchdowns and 121 total yards. He's not likely to be back next year since he has a one year contract so there is no concern in using him up. His bruising style is a better fit against the faster style of the Colts defense anyway. Tatum Bell will figure in as well, though he only had 12 carries for 44 yards last week.

Garrison Hearst broke his hand and is on injured reserve now.

Wide Receivers: Rod Smith must be licking his lips at the thought of the visiting Colts. Smith has scored in each of the last two games and has been good for decent yardage even when Plummer falters. His biggest games have come at home this season anyway. Ashley Lelie hasn't scored since week 11 though he remains a good yardage play every week. This will be an excellent chance for him to get back into the touchdown column once again.

Tight Ends: Jeb Putzier had an uncharacteristic 60 yards last week but rarely tops 40 yards in most games. He has not scored since week nine.

Match Against the Defense: No shock here that the Broncos will want to run as much as possible and keep Manning off the field. Expect that Droughns turns in a big game with enough left over for even Bell to have decent fantasy value this week.

Plummer could throw for some great yards here but that will only happen if it turns into a shootout. Expect solid games from both Smith and Lelie that could turn into big efforts if the Colts get and keep a lead.

IND DEN 2004 Averages DEN IND
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
304
199
Pass yards
256
265
3.3
1.0
Pass TDs
1.7
1.6
0.7
0.8
Interceptions
1.3
1.3
2
12
Rush yards
13
7
0.0
0.1
Rush TDs
0.0
0.1
---
---
RB's
---
---
121
77
Rush yards
124
113
0.7
0.8
Rush TDs
0.8
0.6
35
19
Receive yards
35
57
0.2
0.0
Receive TD's
0.5
0.1
---
---
WR's
---
---
218
149
Receive yards
173
157
2.3
1.0
Receive TD's
0.9
0.9
---
---
TE's
---
---
50
32
Receive yards
48
51
0.6
0.0
Receive TD's
0.3
0.5
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.3
1.3
Field Goals
1.7
1.4
4.1
1.8
Extra Points
2.6
2.2
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.2
0.9
Fumbles
0.5
0.5
1.2
0.9
Interceptions
0.8
0.6
0.5
0.1
Touchdowns
0.1
0.0
2.8
1.1
Sacks
2.5
0.9
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Colts (12-3)
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
34-31 SD
Week 17 @DEN
Broncos (9-6)
Score Opp.
34-24 KC
6-7 @JAX
23-13 SD
16-13 @TB
20-17 CAR
31-3 @OAK
10-23 @CIN
28-41 ATL
31-13 HOU
Week 10 bye
34-13 @NO
24-25 OAK
17-20 @SD
20-17 MIA
17-45 @KC
37-16 @TEN
Week 17 IND