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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
  Tampa Bay Rush Catch Pass
QB Brian Griese 0 0 220,1
RB Michael Pittman 110,1 40 0
TE Ken Dilger 0 10 0
WR Michael Clayton 0 80 0
WR Joe Jurevicius 0 20 0
WR Joey Galloway 0 60,1 0
PK Jay Taylor 1 FG 2 XP -
  Arizona Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh McCown 0 0 210,2
RB Emmitt Smith 80 10 0
TE Freddie Jones 0 10 0
WR Bryant Johnson 0 40 0
WR Larry Fitzgerald 0 80,1 0
WR Anquan Boldin 0 70,1 0
PK Neil Rackers 2 FG 2 XP -

TB (5-10) vs ARZ (5-10)

Game Prediction: TB 17, ARZ 20

This is a game with nothing more on the line than minimal positioning for the 2005 NFL draft. Both teams spent a few weeks this year looking very good and twice as many looking not nearly good enough. That, appropriately, ends up 5-10.

Pre-Game Notes - TB

The Bucs are on a three game losing streak and have fallen apart since shutting out the Falcons in week 13. They come off two straight losses at home and now play on the road where they are only 1-6. Their only road win was that one Falcon game.

Quarterback: Brian Griese finishes out the season with having scored in all eleven games that he started. With 20 touchdowns over that span, he could have produced 30 scores in 16 weeks with that pace. Problem lately is that Griese has been prolific with 300+ yard games every other week but he has thrown ten interceptions in the last six games.

Running Backs: Michael Pittman's hot streak bottomed out against the Panthers when he only had 41 rushing yards on 10 carries. He has not scored in the last threw weeks and only once totaled 100 yards in that time. Mike Alstott has seen his role reduced as well and only had three carries over the last two games. He is no longer a factor in the running game and with the Bucs trailing so often lately, the running game itself if no longer a factor in matchups.

Wide Receivers: if there is a bright spot from the last month, it would clearly be the wideouts and Joey Galloway in particular. Galloway has scored in each of the last four games while Michael Clayton finally got back into the scoring column last week when he turned two scores on four catches for 66 yards against the Panthers. He now has six touchdowns on the year and only twice this entire rookie year has failed to catch at least four passes.

Tight Ends: No impact here.

Match Against the Defense: Michael Pittman will have a big game here as long as he gets the opportunities. The Cardinals have allowed virtually every #1 running back to top 100 yards and score this season with several games of 150+ yards and two or three rushing scores allowed.

Griese faces a better secondary this week that has been fairly stout but mainly because most teams like to run more against them. Expect at least a moderate game here that would favor Galloway with a shot at big numbers only if a shootout happens later in the game.

Pre-Game Notes - ARZ

The Cardinals conclude the inaugural season for Denny Green that contained a quarterback merry-go-round that ended, coincidentally, where it started.

Quarterback: Josh McCown comes off his best game of the year - 248 yards with three touchdowns against the Seahawks and he had 287 yards and two scores against the Rams. His only other big game was against the 49ers. McCown clearly loves the NFC West but then again so does all the rest of the league.

McCown injured his leg a bit last week but is expected to be fine for this game.

Running Backs: Emmitt Smith is winding down his season and had 23 carries last week for 65 yards. He'd need about 130 yards this week for a 1000 yard season but his nine scores are already a pleasant surprise. This realistically could be the final game that Emmitt ever plays - there's some motivation.

Wide Receivers: Anquan Boldin finally scored a touchdown this season when he had seven catches for 197 yards in Seattle last week. That makes two 100 yard games in the last three weeks and a sign that Boldin is finally clicking with McCown and healthy again. Larry Fitzgerald still has not topped 100 yards in a game but he has scored twice in each of the last two games and stands at eight touchdowns on the year.

Tight Ends: Freddie Jones has oddly disappeared in the last two weeks right when the passing game has looked the best. He only had one catch in each game and only managed two scores this entire season.

Match Against the Defense: The Buccaneer rush defense is nothing special anymore. They have allowed big yardage several times this season on the ground and three runners in the last five weeks have crested 100 yards though there has only been one touchdown during that time. I like Emmitt to be a little more motivated this week but that still will not necessarily spell a big game. He should be at least a moderate start this week.

The Bucs secondary has been fairly lax lately, allowing eight passing scores over the last three weeks and at least two in each game. The yardage is almost never high, but the scores are almost guaranteed. With McCown playing better and the wideouts performing well, look for a moderate game from McCown of around 200 yards with a good shot at two scores.

There's no weaker side to exploit so Fitzgerald should be the favored one to catch a score since he already has that chemistry with McCown though Boldin's hot play in the final weeks also makes him a decent start this week.

TB ARZ 2004 Averages ARZ TB
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
237
203
Pass yards
204
182
1.5
1.1
Pass TDs
0.9
1.4
1.1
0.9
Interceptions
1.1
1.0
4
10
Rush yards
10
16
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.1
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
88
122
Rush yards
93
106
0.6
0.8
Rush TDs
0.9
0.5
46
32
Receive yards
32
30
0.3
0.1
Receive TD's
0.1
0.1
---
---
WR's
---
---
157
140
Receive yards
142
115
1.0
0.7
Receive TD's
0.7
1.0
---
---
TE's
---
---
34
31
Receive yards
32
37
0.2
0.3
Receive TD's
0.1
0.3
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.0
1.7
Field Goals
1.2
1.1
2.1
1.9
Extra Points
1.9
2.3
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.8
1.0
Fumbles
0.9
0.9
0.9
0.9
Interceptions
0.8
1.1
0.3
0.3
Touchdowns
0.1
0.4
2.9
2.6
Sacks
2.2
2.7
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.1
0.0
Buccaneers (5-10)
Score Opp.
10-16 @WAS
6-10 SEA
20-30 @OAK
13-16 DEN
20-17 @NO
21-28 @STL
19-7 CHI
Week 8 bye
34-31 KC
14-24 @ATL
35-3 SF
14-21 @CAR
27-0 ATL
24-31 @SD
17-21 NO
20-37 CAR
Week 17 @ARI
Cardinals (5-10)
Score Opp.
10-17 @STL
12-23 NE
3-6 @ATL
34-10 NO
28-31 @SF
Week 6 bye
25-17 SEA
14-38 @BUF
24-23 @MIA
17-14 NYG
10-35 @CAR
3-13 NYJ
12-26 @DET
28-31 SF
31-7 STL
21-24 @SEA
Week 17 TB