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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 3
September 25, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
ATL at BUF* JAC at NYJ* TEN at STL* NE at PIT NYG at SDC
CAR at MIA NOR at MIN Sun 4 PM On Bye: Mon 9 PM
CIN at CHI OAK at PHI* ARI at SEA BAL, HOU KCC at DEN
CLE at IND* TBB at GBP* DAL at SFO* DET, WAS Times ET

Prediction: Jacksonville 17, New York Jets 14

The Jags head on the second leg of their road trip after a close loss that had Leftwich banged up but playing. The Jets remain home for the second week after a close win over the Dolphins that had Martin banged up but playing. Both stars are currently saying they will play and either has a huge impact on the game. Still there is no denying - the Jaguars clearly have the look of a better team.

Update: This game will not be missing any players, but Byron Leftwich will be playing while still not recovered from his groin injury from last week. He was held out of practice on Wednesday but participated on Thursday. Expect to see him play but for the running game to take a bigger role this week. I am updating projections considering a decrease in passing and increase in rushing. Leftwich could still suffer a setback, so using him this week is a risk.

Curtis Martin will play this week though he too is injured. Martin strained his right knee but has been upgraded to probable and has practiced. I expect him to play but with some limitation that will see Derrick Blaylock get more carries this week against a fairly tough Jaguar defense.

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)
1 26-14 SEA 10 Nov 13 BAL
2 3-10 @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 0 210,2
RB Fred Taylor 80 10 0
TE Kyle Brady 0 10 0
WR Jimmy Smith 0 60,1 0
WR Reggie Williams 0 40 0
WR Ernest WIlford 0 30 0
WR Matt Jones 0 40,1 0
PK Josh Scobee 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Jaguars dispatched the Seahawks easily enough in week one but in Indianapolis were held to only three points in a game that became a defensive way like never seen between these two teams. While the new offense faltered last week, the defense has played very well in both games and will need to be the difference maker here whether or not Leftwich plays.

Quarterback: Byron Leftwich had the hot hand in the season opener against Seattle when he threw for 252 yards and two scores but he only managed 198 yards and no scores last week against the Colts in a huge disappointment considering that he had 300 yard games in both meetings with Indianapolis in 2004. Chalk that up mostly to a vastly improved Colt's defense.

Leftwich was twisted in a pileup in a way normally reserved for playdough action figures but continued to play despite having a strained groin. He says he intends on playing this week and pending any further information, I am projecting for him with minor limitations in mobility.

Running Backs: Fred Taylor had only spot play during the preseason but has racked up 157 yards on 36 carries this season for an average of 4.4 yards per carry. He still hasn't scored but the same could be said even if you considered most of last year. The Jaguars opted to use Greg Jones as relief last week but he only had four carries and gained an impressive 29 yards thanks to a 27 yard jaunt.

Wide Receivers: Jimmy Smith was a star in week one with 130 yards and two scores but he only managed 49 yards on three catches last Sunday. None of the wideouts did much and outside of the one game by Smith, the ball is being spread very equally among Ernest WIlford, Reggie Williams and Matt Jones. Williams takes a slightly higher share than the rest since he is the starting flanker but he still has not topped 41 yards yet.

Tight Ends: Kyle Brady had his standard one catch last week but Brian Jones also snagged one pass for a nice 41 yard pick up. Jones is the youngster that always gets good reviews in camp and at practice but has not yet broken through into the starting lineup. He's worth keeping an eye on for the future if Leftwich continues to look his way.

Match Against the Defense: The Jets were horrible against the run in the opener in Kansas City but tightened up against Ronnie Brown last week. Look for Fred Taylor to turn in better numbers than Brown but he won't score and he won't likely have more than a moderate game.

This game revolves on the Jaguar defense and the health of Leftwich. The Jets passing defense has not really been tested since the Chiefs never had to throw and the Dolphins on the road with a new scheme predictably fell short. This should be a fairly low scoring affair but any touchdowns by the Jaguars will need to come via the pass. Leftwich can hit at least one and maybe two but there is no real weakness on either side yet. CB Ty Law was beat by Eddie Kennison a time or two in week one, but Reggie Williams is not yet developed enough to present a reliable matchup problem.

New York Jets (1-1)
1 7-27 @KCC 10 Nov 13 @CAR
2 17-7 MIA 11 Nov 20 @DEN
3 Sep 25 JAC 12 Nov 27 NOR
4 Oct 2 @BAL 13 Dec 4 @NE
5 Oct 9 TBB 14 Dec 11 OAK
6 Oct 16 @BUF 15 Dec 18 @MIA
7 Oct 24 @ATL 16 Dec 26 NE
8 Open Bye 17 Jan 1 BUF
9 Nov 6 SDC . . MON
NYJ Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Pennington 0 0 230,2
RB Curtis Martin 60 0 0
RB Derrick Blaylock 30 10 0
TE Chris Baker 0 40,1 0
WR Laveranues Coles 0 70,1 0
WR Justin McCareins 0 50 0
WR Wayne Chrebet 0 30 0
PK Mike Nugent 0 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: After getting massacred in Kansas City, the Jets went home and took a good win over the visiting Dolphins though the 17-7 win was not that impressive. Curtis Martin was banged up and ran for only 72 yards and the lone saving grace was Pennington finally connecting with the wideouts. That will be a bigger challenge this week.

Quarterback: Chad Pennington came off a big yardage, big error game in Kansas City and turned in a solid effort last week. He threw 19 of 30 for 190 yards and two scores that went almost entirely to the two wideouts. He looked much more at ease back at Giants Stadium but the Jaguars are bringing a very good defense this week.

Running Backs: Curtis Martin ran 31 times last week but only gained 72 yards for a very pedestrian 2.3 yard per carry average. He suffered a knee sprain but continued to play as the warrior he is. Martin has played with ankle, knee and tailbone problems in the past and as of this writing his MRI is negative and I am assuming he will play with only minor limitation. Updates as warranted by Friday.

Wide Receivers: Laveranues Coles return has not provide a huge spark to the passing game, but he's been consistent so far with around 65 yards a week and a score against the Dolphins. He should only improve.

Justin McCareins was the best receiver last week when he had five catches for 87 yards but he too is remaining a solid but unspectacular part of the passing game. Wayne Chrebet is around for a couple of catches a week and nothing more.

Tight Ends: Chris Baker had the monster game in the season opener but had only one catch for three yards last week. His role is a relief valve for Pennington when the wideouts are covered should come into more play this week.

Match Against the Defense: The Jaguars have lost SS Donovan Darius and with him a nice run stopper. But Martin is banged up and going against a better than average rush defense with a bum knee. Expect this game to be too close to warrant heavy use for Martin this week and his knee likely won't be best served with another 31 carry outing. Look for moderate numbers from Martin and no score.

Pennington will be challenged this week but his style so far - using the wideouts first - will likely be taken away from him. Coles will get enough throws for moderate success but he'll likely look back at Chris Baker more than last week. Expect a moderate game from Pennington and a good test of the new offensive scheme. The matchups are less clear here with the uncertainty of Curtis Martin, so rely mostly on Coles and Baker if the game is a defensive war.