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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
  Minnesota Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper 20,1 0 260,2
RB Moe Williams 10 10 0
RB Michael Bennett 50 40,1 0
TE Jermaine Wiggins 0 30 0
WR Randy Moss 0 60,1 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 50 0
WR Marcus Robinson 0 30 0
PK Morten Andersen 1 FG 3 XP -
  Washington Rush Catch Pass
QB Patrick Ramsey 0 0 220,2
RB Ladell Betts 40 30 0
TE Chris Cooley 0 40,1 0
WR Lavernues Coles 0 80 0
WR Rod Gardner 0 70,1 0
PK Jeff Chandler 2 FG 2 XP -

MIN (8-7) vs WAS (5-10)

Game Prediction: MIN 24, WAS 20

The Redskins come off their most recent bad mojo loss to the Cowboys, waiting until the final 30 seconds before yielding to fate. The Vikings had everything on the line last week against the Packers and fell short at home. Now they have to win here to ensure a playoff spot. A loss does not preclude a wildcard even at 8-8 because, hey, this is the NFC.

Pre-Game Notes - MIN

The Vikings led 21-14 in the second quarter last week but then lost the game when the offense could only produce one field goal during the entire second half. And that was against one of the worst secondaries in the league - not one of the best like this week.

Quarterback: Daunte Culpepper winds down the season with 37 passing touchdowns and two rushing scores. His 4414 passing yards not only is tops, it's also almost 200 yards better than Peyton Manning in the #2 spot. Were it not for Manning's record-breaking touchdown season, we'd all be marveling at what a monster year that Culpepper had.

Running Backs: Michael Bennett is once again the primary back and had 17 carries for 92 yards and added 67 yards with one score on the three receptions. Onterrio Smith is once again in the background and even Mewelde Moore had a few carries last week.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss has scored in each of the last three games but only had two catches for 30 yards last week against what should have been his biggest game - the Packers in Minneapolis. Instead, Nate Burleson was the top receiver with 110 yards and one score and over the last two games, Burleson has been far more effective than Moss. Those weeks that Culpepper had to learn his other receivers paid dividends for Burleson and when Moss is covered, Culpepper has much less concern about throwing it to a different receiver now. At least as long as that is Burleson.

Tight Ends: While Jermaine Wiggins still catches around 35 yards a game, he has not scored since week 11 and his fortunes have been tired directly to Moss. When Moss is there, forget Wiggins. When Moss is out, Wiggins becomes a factor in the red zone.

Match Against the Defense: The Vikings play in the morning and won't know what other teams have done. The face one of the top defenses in the NFL this week and the typical astronomic yardage by Culpepper is going to be challenged. The Redskins have only allowed four passing scores to visitors this entire season though injuries to the Washington corners last week will come into play. Fred Smoot may be able to participate this week after bruising his side and kidney last week but he won't likely be 100%. He'd face Moss on most plays.

The Redskins only have only allowed two 100 yard games in Washington this season and the Vikes have not been committed to running for the most part anyway. This will be a low scoring game since they always are with Washington which may give more reason for rushing which would benefit Bennett. Arrington is expected to be out this week which would also help him.

Pre-Game Notes - WAS

The Redskins top defense takes a hit with Arrington out and Smoot at least limited, but worse than that is the loss of Clinton Portis this week. Since the offense was predicated on running him, the offense may be even worse.

Quarterback: Patrick Ramsey has a lock on the starting job for next season but facing the soft Minnesota defense should be reason enough to want a big game. With Portis out, there'll be a bigger reason to throw particularly if the Vikings get a lead early in the game. Ramsey has not throws for more than 251 yards in a game this season but he'll likely challenge that mark here since the Vikes average allowing 260 yards.

Running Backs: With Portis out, Ladell Betts becomes the starting running back. This is considered a step down in case you were wondering though facing the Vikings may cloak that fact.

Wide Receivers: Laveranues Coles has only scored one touchdown this season and has only three 100 yard games - just one with Ramsey. And yet, he is the most productive receiver with Ramsey anyway. Rod Gardner had 111 yards against the 49ers but otherwise struggles to reach 35 yards a game with Ramsey. Both these wideouts will get better games this week against a soft defense and with Portis out. This is the most attractive game for starting either this entire season.

Tight Ends: While Chris Cooley is always good for about 30 yards a game with the odd score, last week Robert Royal had the lone touchdown against the Cowboys. He has three scores this year and never more than once catch per game.

Match Against the Defense: While Betts gets a nice matchup this week as a starter, he is no lock to do much. The Vikings get to face an injury-reduced defense in a game they need to win and will more likely drive the score higher than in most Redskins games.

Expect a nice game from Ramsey here with little run support and an unusually bigger need to throw. That favors the wideouts, but also Cooley since the Vikings are soft against tight ends.

MIN WAS 2004 Averages WAS MIN
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
295
193
Pass yards
176
261
2.5
1.0
Pass TDs
1.0
1.9
0.7
1.2
Interceptions
1.1
0.7
25
6
Rush yards
5
11
0.1
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.2
---
---
RB's
---
---
89
78
Rush yards
105
112
0.3
0.5
Rush TDs
0.3
0.7
67
38
Receive yards
23
45
0.3
0.2
Receive TD's
0.1
0.3
---
---
WR's
---
---
175
127
Receive yards
125
175
1.9
0.5
Receive TD's
0.4
1.0
---
---
TE's
---
---
52
29
Receive yards
29
41
0.2
0.3
Receive TD's
0.5
0.5
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.1
1.1
Field Goals
1.3
1.6
2.9
1.8
Extra Points
1.5
2.7
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.6
0.6
Fumbles
0.5
0.7
0.7
1.1
Interceptions
1.2
0.7
0.1
0.4
Touchdowns
0.1
0.2
2.4
2.3
Sacks
2.3
2.6
0.0
0.1
Safeties
0.0
0.1
Vikings (8-7)
Score Opp.
35-17 DAL
16-27 @PHI
27-22 CHI
Week 4 bye
34-28 @HOU
38-31 @NO
20-3 TEN
13-34 NYG
28-31 @IND
31-34 @GB
22-19 DET
27-16 JAX
14-24 @CHI
23-27 SEA
28-27 @DET
31-34 GB
Week 17 @WAS
Redskins (5-10)
Score Opp.
16-10 TB
14-20 @NYG
18-21 DAL
13-17 @CLE
10-17 BAL
13-10 @CHI
Week 7 bye
14-28 GB
17-10 @DET
10-17 CIN
6-28 @PHI
7-16 @PIT
31-7 NYG
14-17 PHI
26-16 @SF
10-13 @DAL
Week 17 MIN