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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
  Pittsburgh Rush Catch Pass
QB Tommy Maddox 0 0 190,1
RB Duce Staley 40 20 0
TE Jerame Tuman 0 10 0
WR Hines Ward 0 60,1 0
WR Antwaan Randle El 0 40 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 50 0
PK Jeff Reed 2 FG 1 XP -
  Buffalo Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Bledsoe 0 0 200,1
RB Willis McGahee 90,1 20 0
TE Tim Euhus 0 10 0
WR Eric Moulds 0 60 0
WR Josh Reed 0 20 0
WR Lee Evans 0 90,1 0
PK Rian Lindell 3 FG 2 XP -

PIT (14-1) vs BUF (9-6)

Game Prediction: PIT 13, BUF 25

The Steelers have wrapped up the #1 seed regardless of what happens here while the Bills need a win and a little help to be in and a loss to be out. This is an early game and the results of the Denver game are not until later that afternoon.

Pre-Game Notes - PIT

The Steelers will look at this game as a warm up for the playoffs or more appropriately as, a cool down from the season. This is a chance to get some playing time for Maddox and Staley but not a reason to risk an injury to a starter. Don't be shocked if Burress and Ward do not play a full game - there's no reason for it.

Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger has some bruised ribs from last week and HC Bill Cowher said that he will not start. There's no reason to play him really. We get to get a reminder why Tommy Maddox forced the Steelers switch to Roethlisberger and never look back.

Running Backs: Duce Staley is slated to start this week since his hamstring has improved and now Jerome Bettis has a sprained ankle. Bettis is expected to be held out.

Wide Receivers: With Maddox back as starter, Hines Ward might see some actual passes. Long the only player that Maddox locked on to each game, Ward has only scored twice in the 13 games started by Roethlisberger. Plaxico Burress returned last week from his hamstring injury and scored yet another long touchdown but with Maddox back, he'll more likely resume his old role of blocking for Ward.

Tight Ends: Worthless no matter what quarterback is playing.

Match Against the Defense: Yet another game where the question is how much starters play and how hard? Expect some effort from Staley, Ward and Burress but a full game would be too risky to count on. The Bills need the win and will be playing hard with a good defense.

Pre-Game Notes - BUF

The Bills are one win away from being the first team that started 0-4 on the season and ended up in the playoffs. They are going for their seventh straight win this week.

Quarterback: Drew Bledsoe has only thrown for more than one score once in the last five games largely because he has not needed to pass much in order to win. A great defense and a strong rushing game has allowed him to safely manage games and take his time to find Lee Evans open in the endzone.

Running Backs: Willis McGahee was able to play last week and while he only had 15 carries, he gained 102 yards and scored twice against the 49ers. Shaud Williams also scored and had 93 yards and unless McGahee is injured again, you've probably seen the last of Williams.

Wide Receivers: Eric Moulds has become the standard possession receiver during this winning streak and only had one touchdown in the last eight games. He has only one 100+ yard game and that was back in week four. But he is usually good for around five catches a game for maybe 50 or 60 yards. Lee Evans is the star now, he has scored in each of the last five games and has topped 90 yards three times in that time. He usually gets to try one end-around per game as well. Evans is becoming everything that Peerless Price was, even if Moulds has dropped off to being only a marginal fantasy player now.

Tight Ends: Since Mark Campbell left, there is no fantasy value here.

Match Against the Defense: The Steelers bring in one of the top defenses in the NFL but there's that whole motivation question this week. Expect that McGahee easily surpasses the 66 yard average allowed by the Steelers with a chance at a 100 yard game if Pittsburgh folds the tents up early.

Bledsoe won't need to press too much to win this game since a good defense against Maddox will likely yield some nice field position. The scoring won't be too high this week but the Bills have every motivation to win while the Steelers have none. How that plays out will depend on how many Steelers starters play and for how long.

PIT BUF 2004 Averages BUF PIT
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
189
188
Pass yards
188
191
1.1
1.3
Pass TDs
1.4
0.9
0.7
1.5
Interceptions
1.1
1.2
10
7
Rush yards
4
12
0.1
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
139
89
Rush yards
108
66
0.9
0.4
Rush TDs
0.9
0.4
22
19
Receive yards
24
31
0.2
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.1
---
---
WR's
---
---
141
140
Receive yards
142
130
0.7
0.9
Receive TD's
0.9
0.6
---
---
TE's
---
---
13
29
Receive yards
24
30
0.3
0.3
Receive TD's
0.5
0.2
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.5
1.5
Field Goals
1.5
1.5
2.5
1.7
Extra Points
2.8
1.4
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.7
0.6
Fumbles
1.1
0.5
1.2
1.1
Interceptions
1.3
0.7
0.3
0.1
Touchdowns
0.6
0.2
2.6
2.4
Sacks
2.9
2.3
0.1
0.0
Safeties
0.1
0.0
Steelers (14-1)
Score Opp.
24-21 OAK
13-30 @BAL
13-3 @MIA
28-17 CIN
34-23 CLE
24-20 @DAL
Week 7 bye
34-20 NE
27-3 PHI
24-10 @CLE
19-14 @CIN
16-7 WAS
17-16 @JAX
17-6 NYJ
33-30 @NYG
20-7 BAL
Week 17 @BUF
Bills (9-6)
Score Opp.
10-13 JAX
10-13 @OAK
Week 3 bye
17-31 NE
14-16 @NYJ
20-13 MIA
6-20 @BAL
38-14 ARI
22-17 NYJ
6-29 @NE
37-17 STL
38-9 @SEA
42-32 @MIA
37-7 CLE
33-17 @CIN
41-7 @SF
Week 17 PIT