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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 1
September 7, 2005
Season Ticket
Thur 9 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
OAK at NE NO at CAR HOU at BUF DAL at SD IND at BAL
Sun 1 PM SEA at JAC NYJ at KC STL at SF Mon 9 PM
CHI at WAS TEN at PIT TB at MIN ARI at NYG PHI at ATL
DEN at MIA CIN at CLE   GB at DET Times ET

Prediction: Seattle 17, Jacksonville 27

Here's a game with some point potential. The always formidable Seattle offense goes against the Jaguars who should love what they have not done to the Seahawks' defense. This is a coin toss game that mainly features a new offense being installed by the Jaguars against one of the worst defenses of last year by Seattle. A nice added touch - the Jaguars are forcing the Seahawks to wear their colors who they can experience Florida heat while wearing dark clothing.

Seattle Seahawks (0-0)
1 Sep 11 @JAC 10 Nov 13 STL
2 Sep 18 ATL 11 Nov 20 @SFO
3 Sep 25 ARI 12 Nov 27 NYG
4 Oct 2 @WAS 13 Dec 5 @PHI
5 Oct 9 @STL 14 Dec 11 SFO
6 Oct 16 HOU 15 Dec 18 @TEN
7 Oct 23 DAL 16 Dec 24 IND
8 Open Bye 17 Jan 1 @GBP
9 Nov 6 @ARI . MON SAT
SEA Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck 0 0 260,1
RB Shaun Alexander 80,1 30 0
TE Jerramy Stevens 0 30 0
WR Darrell Jackson 0 70 0
WR Bobby Engram 0 60,1 0
WR Peter Warrick 0 20 0
WR Joe Jurevicius 0 20 0
PK Josh Brown 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: Call it addition by subtraction. The Seahawks finally cut ties to problem child Koren Robinson and while all that great potential just went out the door, so did a lot of frustration and distraction and in reality - not a lot of points left with Koren. Otherwise, this offense stays intact with Hasselbeck, Alexander and Jackson. The additions of Joe Jurevicius and Peter Warrick may help down the road but if they don't - they got them cheap anyway.

Quarterback: Though Matt Hasselbeck has had luke warm interest in fantasy drafts his summer, he comes off a 3382 yard, 23 touchdown season and still has a great rushing game and Darrell Jackson to rely on. While Hasselbeck has not stepped up into greatness like his 2003 season seemed to suggest was possible, he remains a very solid fantasy player that will need to throw again this year thanks to that soft defense of Seattle.

Running Backs: Shaun Alexander is the touchdown machine in the NFL thanks to Priest Holmes inability to last an entire season. He's scored at least 16 times in each of the last four seasons and his 1696 rushing yards last year was really, really close to... no need to rehash I guess.

Wide Receivers: Darrell Jackson is a lock for around 1100 yards and seven scores each year though "locking" also entails a lack of exceeding. The Seahawks have promoted Bobby Engram up to the #2 spot but that could end up challenged by Peter Warrick if he remains healthy. The team lacks the normal sized #2 wideout as both Warrick and Engram are around 5'10" and Joe Jurevicius has the height (6'5") but at 31 years of age and an injury history, he likely does not have the durability for a #2 role.

Tight Ends: Jerramy Stevens has been good enough to displace Itula Mili as the starting tight end but he hasn't been able to turn the role into more than three scores or 348 yards a season. As a fourth-year player, he could get more use in 2005 near the endzone with height not abounding in other receivers but that remains to be nothing more than a mild possibility for now.

Match Against the Defense: The Jaguars already have an above average defense and are returning nine starters from last year so at home in the opener, expect the Seahawks to have a bit more problem posting points in than in most games this year. Seattle could see more success passing than rushing though with Alexander mere matchups mean less. Expect that Hasselbeck manages at least one score but more than that is just unlikely given the venue.

Jackson matches up with second-year CB Rashean Mathis who is considered a future star and who led the Jags with five interceptions as a rookie. Jackson will get his passes - he has to - but Mathis is a tougher matchup than it may seem.

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0)
1 Sep 11 SEA 10 Nov 13 BAL
2 Sep 18 @IND 11 Nov 20 @TEN
3 Sep 25 @NYJ 12 Nov 27 @ARI
4 Oct 2 DEN 13 Dec 4 @CLE
5 Oct 9 CIN 14 Dec 11 IND
6 Oct 16 @PIT 15 Dec 18 SFO
7 Open Bye 16 Dec 24 @HOU
8 Oct 30 @STL 17 Jan 1 TEN
9 Nov 6 HOU . . SAT
JAX Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Byron Leftwich 0 0 270,3
RB Fred Taylor 70 10 0
TE Kyle Brady 0 20 0
WR Jimmy Smith 0 70,1 0
WR Reggie Williams 0 80,1 0
WR Ernest Wilford 0 30 0
WR Matt Jones 0 50.1 0
PK Josh Scobee 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Jaguars tired of their slow pace offense and brought in Carl Smith from USC to infuse a quick strike ability to the passing game with deeper, vertical routes and a step away from the ball control scheme of previous OC Bill Musgrave. The results are not complete yet other than the players liking the changes and Leftwich connecting on a couple of deep strikes during the preseason. Going against the Seahawks should make airing it out even more tempting.

Quarterback: So far the hot draft pick in 2003 has spent two seasons hovering around 3000 yards and 15 touchdowns but this new offense promises to make better use of that cannon arm on Byron Leftwich. He's already decreased the errors of his rookie year by throwing only ten interceptions last year and been good for two rushing scores a season as well. The third year could be the charm for Leftwich who now has the receivers to make things happen and the scheme to let them occur far down field.

Running Backs: Fred Taylor had knee surgery in January and has only played in one preseason game (four carries) but is considered healthy again and ready for a full time load that could be as much as 20+ carries this week. Taylor suffered in the old offense as much as Leftwich since the old shorter passing scheme kept the defense closer and Taylor only scored twice in spite of gaining 1224 yards on 260 carries for a 4.7 YPC.

Labrandon Toefield had been considered the starter had Taylor not recovered and should fell in as such should Taylor return to his "every odd year" injury pattern but the team also drafted Alvin Pearman just in case. Once Pearman learns the offense, he could easily replace Toefield who is considered only average at best.

Wide Receivers: The Jaguars had been Jimmy Smith and no one else for several years but now Smith may be the weaker link in a crew that includes Reggie Williams and Matt Jones as starters. Smith is still the #1 wideout, but there is concern that the 36 year old player is finally starting to have diminished skills. He's dropped numerous passes this off-season and seems to have started the descent. Reggie Williams was largely a non-factor as a rookie but has been impressing the coaching staff this summer with his progress. The first round pick from 2004 appears to be coming into his potential and will be joined by the 2005 first rounder of Matt Jones - the tall ex-quarterback considered a freak from his size and speed.

In a long-ball offense, there could be some exciting play from this group with Leftwich throwing and that should start to be seen this week.

Tight Ends: Kyle Brady is the starter but even in the dink and dunk of Musgrave days, the tight ends here had no real fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: There's a good chance that YAHOO! was named by someone discovering their fantasy team was going against the Seahawks defense that week. While the Seattle rush defense sometimes rose as high as average, the team ended the #1 worst unit against wide receivers last year. Yes - Leftwich should give this new offense a shot this week.

Look for Taylor to run around 15 or so times this week and likely end up around 60 to 80 yards but the scoring gold should be in the passing game with Seattle having to choose between two speedy young players in Williams and Jones or leaving Jimmy Smith open over the middle. With no game film on this offense, this could be a very nice start for Carl Smith's new scheme.