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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
September 25, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
CAR at MIA NOR at MIN Sun 4 PM On Bye: Mon 9 PM

Prediction: Tampa Bay 24, Green Bay 13

Here's a nasty matchup that pits the most surprising team (in a good way) against the most surprising team (in a bad way). The Buccaneers are sporting a top defense and rushing game while the Packers are just kicking the dirt while trying to decide what they have that could be considered "good". The loss to the Browns was like a mortal wound and the Bucs are not above twisting the knife.

Update: Bubba Franks has missed practice with a knee sprain and is listed as questionable. In his place, David Martin has been working out with the first team and would replace him. There is still a chance that Franks could play however, and I am still leaving him in while adding Martin. Be aware that Franks may not play.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)
1 24-13 @MIN 10 Nov 13 WAS
2 19-3 BUF 11 Nov 20 @ATL
3 Sep 25 @GBP 12 Nov 27 CHI
4 Oct 2 DET 13 Dec 4 @NOR
5 Oct 9 @NYJ 14 Dec 11 @CAR
6 Oct 16 MIA 15 Dec 17 @NE
7 Open Bye 16 Dec 24 ATL
8 Oct 30 @SFO 17 Jan 1 NOR
9 Nov 6 CAR . . SAT
TBB Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Brian Griese 0 0 210,2
RB Cadillac Williams 90,1 30 0
RB Michael Pittman 20 10 0
TE Becht / Smith 0 30,1 0
WR Joey Galloway 0 50 0
WR Michael Clayton 0 70,1 0
WR Ike Hilliard 0 10 0
PK Matt Bryant 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: Every team looks to make a couple of key additions each offseason in the hopes that it supplies the missing pieces for a great team. It appears that the Buccaneers will be giving seminars on that subject next spring.

Quarterback: The bad news here for fantasy owners is that Brian Griese has been only marginally fantasy relevant this season. There has not been any great need for him to pass much yet and he has yet to throw more than 29 passes in either game. Last week he only had to turn in 16 of 22 for 136 yawns yards in order to beat the Bills. A great defense and rushing game just kills the passing game, delightfully so for Bucs fans.

Running Backs: We were all impressed when Carnell Williams had the big 148 yards against the Vikings, but 72 of that came on one run. Going against a far better defense of the Bills, Cadillac still gained 128 yards on 24 carries and that was without any huge gainer to pump the yardage. It was just 24 very good runs that so far have him as clearly the best rusher to come out of the NFL draft so far.

Michael Pittman finally had some playing time last week and ended with 46 yards on seven runs and Mike Alstott scored once on a one-yard plunge but this team is all about driving the Cadillac to the promised land.

Wide Receivers: The lack of passing should effect the wideouts but Michael Clayton still managed to turn in 84 yards on six catches last week. Joey Galloway followed up his 97 yards of week one with no catches but when the run and the defense are enough, it has to come at the expense of someone. This duo can post numbers, the only question is if they need to. In Green Bay this week - maybe not so much.

Tight Ends: Yes, Alex Smith had two scores in week one. Yes, you snapped him up with your free agent pick. And yes, his one catch for two yards against the Bills is likely closer to what you can expect on a weekly basis.

Match Against the Defense: Oh yes, come and sit on Poppa's lap.

The Packers have been fairly good against the run this season but the wheels are wobbling and Cadillac is coming. Expect at least a good game from Williams from a sheer volume of carries and maybe more if he pops a long one.

This should be the best game yet for Griese against a very bad secondary. His production will be related to the game situation and he may not need to throw much with the Bucs defense slowing down Favre. Expect at least 200 yards and one score with two very likely because he can and Gruden is just that way. The tight end spot killed the Packers last week and that could spell good things for Alex Smith again but any of the wideouts could break one as well. Green Bay needs to circle the wagons this week but this is a bad team to hope will allow a turn around.

Look for a solid game from Michael Clayton but as always, Galloway on the fly pattern could happen at any time.

Green Bay Packers (0-2)
1 3-17 @DET 10 Nov 13 @ATL
2 24-26 CLE 11 Nov 21 MIN
3 Sep 25 TBB 12 Nov 27 @PHI
4 Oct 3 @CAR 13 Dec 4 @CHI
5 Oct 9 NOR 14 Dec 11 DET
6 Open Bye 15 Dec 19 @BAL
7 Oct 23 @MIN 16 Dec 25 CHI
8 Oct 30 @CIN 17 Jan 1 SEA
9 Nov 6 PIT . . MON
GBP Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre 0 0 270,1
RB Ahman Green 40 30 0
RB Najeh Davenport 20 0 0
RB Tony Fisher 10 30 0
TE Bubba Franks 0 20 0
TE David Martin 0 10 0
WR Donald Driver 0 60 0
WR Robert Ferguson 0 50 0
WR Antonio Chatman 0 40,1 0
WR Terrence Murphy 0 30 0
PK Ryan Longwell 2 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The stands should be pure yellow this week but mainly because everyone wearing a cheese hat will be bowing their heads looking at the ground. Going against the Browns, the Packers allowed two long scores to beat them in what should have been the easiest match-up of the entire season. Donald Driver proved that he can step up to cover for Javon Walker but no one else stepped up enough to cover for Driver. Favre is throwing two interceptions a week and that's not likely to improve any time soon.

Quarterback: While 342 yards and three scores is a great fantasy game, coupling with two interceptions it was not enough last week against the Cleveland Browns who still have wet ink in their playbooks. In a fantasy sense, this could still be a good season for Brett Favre but in a "let's win games" way, it could be Favre ending with a whimper instead of a bang. The glimpses of great throws are now mixed with bad routes and errant passes.

Running Backs: The problem with Ahman Green is not a lack of productivity, it is a lack of volume. He has 112 yards on 28 carries this season for a solid four yard average but he hasn't had more than 16 carries in a game so far. Green is adding five catches a game so far so he has fantasy value even if touchdowns are not in the equation.

The Packers went with Najeh Davenport eight times last week for 36 yards but all that did was water down Green's numbers.

Wide Receivers: The outlook here after the demise of Javon Walker this season is not all bad. Donald Driver stepped up well last week with 105 yards and one score and is clearly the favorite target for Favre. Robert Ferguson got the start and ended with four catches for 47 yards and one score. Even Antonio Chatman had four catches for 71 yards. The rookie Terrence Murphy had three catches for 23 yards so there is production here, even if it hasn't proven to be enough yet. Then again, realize that those passing numbers went against the Browns secondary that so far is less than average.

Expect the same lineup unless Chatman continues to play well and gets some more time at the expense of Ferguson.

Tight Ends: Bubba Franks only had three catches for 15 yards last week and he injured his hip. Pending any information about his status, I am expecting that he plays this week and continues to be a non-factor for yardage with the threat of an occasional touchdown.

Match Against the Defense: Okay, get off Poppa's lap so he can go throw up.

So far this season, the best runner against the Buccaneers has been McGahee with 34 yards.

There have been no passing scores against the Buccaneers this season and an average of only 170 yards per game.

There have been no rushing scores against the Buccaneers this season.

Expect a low game from Green rushing and he's throwing some carries to Davenport lately anyway.

Favre will respond to the adversity and he'll find more success than either Culpepper or Losman could. He'll likely throw another couple of interceptions but the stage is set for Favre to put the wheels back on the offense and that has to come via the pass. I like him to throw for one score but none of the wideouts are really favored since Driver will get double coverage and Ferguson was only marginally successful against the Browns. I am projecting for Chatman as the slot man but this game could be ugly with no apparent weakness to exploit by Green Bay.