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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 4
October 2, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
BUF at NOS IND at TEN* STL at NYG* MIN at ATL* SFO at ARI*
DEN at JAC* PHI at KCC* Sun 4 PM On Bye: Mon 9 PM
DET at TBB SDC at NE* NYJ at BAL CLE, MIA GBP at CAR
HOU at CIN SEA at WAS DAL at OAK PIT, CHI *Updated

Prediction: NY Jets 6, Baltimore 17

Here's a messy game. Both teams have already lost their starting quarterbacks from offenses that were struggling anyway. Both teams have good defenses that have not nearly met expectations yet this season. The difference in this game - the Ravens never really knew what a quarterback was supposed to do and has much less adjustments to make.

The Ravens won 20-17 in the week 10 game against the Jets last year in New York.

Baltimore Ravens (0-2)
1 7-24 IND 10 Nov 13 @JAC
2 10-25 @TEN 11 Nov 20 PIT
3 Open Bye 12 Nov 27 @CIN
4 Oct 2 NYJ 13 Dec 4 HOU
5 Oct 9 @DET 14 Dec 11 @DEN
6 Oct 16 CLE 15 Dec 19 GBP
7 Oct 23 @CHI 16 Dec 25 MIN
8 Oct 31 @PIT 17 Jan 1 @CLE
9 Nov 6 CIN . . MON
BAL vs NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB Anthony Wright 0 0 150,1
RB Jamal Lewis 100,1 0 0
TE Todd Heap 0 40,1 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 70 0
WR Clarence Moore 0 20 0
WR Mark Clayton 0 20 0
PK Matt Stover 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Ravens come off their bye week with a sad 0-2 record and after all the offseason moves of this spring, possibly the worst looking offense yet in Baltimore. Problem is - the defense doesn't seem to be able to outpace this one.

Quarterback: The search for someone who can pass is not over. While Kyle Boller was predicted to have his breakout season by some there is nothing to suggest that will happen in 2005 (same as any other year we've seen Boller). He only managed 141 yards and one interception before leaving in week one and since Anthony Wright threw for 214 yards and one score that week, it appeared that Wright could breathe some life into this passing game. Against what was expected to be one of the easier match-ups of the year in week two, the TItans instead held him to only 212 yards, one score and one interception in the loss.

Boller threw for 213 yards and two scores in the last meeting with the Jets.

Running Backs: Jamal Lewis has remarkably only gained 57 yards on 26 carries after two weeks of play - great yardage if he was a fullback. But as a feature back his 2.2 yards per carry has spawned obvious questions about the health of his ankle. Chester Taylor provides relief but only has three or four carries a game so the Ravens are relying on Lewis to return to form.

Jamal Lewis gained only 71 yards last year in New York.

Wide Receivers: Derrick Mason has proven to be a positive for the Ravens, even though it has not been a winning difference yet. Mason had eight catches for 99 yards in his first game and then eight catches for 60 yards and one score in week two against the Titans. Compared to the others - Clarence Moore and Mark Clayton - there are no other wideouts with any fantasy relevance. Randy Hymes is likely to see more action soon if Clarence Moore doesn't start to turn in better numbers. Mark Clayton could also an an increase.

Clarence Moore had two scores on five catches last year against the Jets though no wideout gained more than 45 yards.

Tight Ends: So far Todd Heap has been a contributor with games of 38 and 56 yards, but he's no longer the primary passing target thanks to Mason. With the lackluster results from the rushing game, the Ravens need a blocker more than a receiver on the end of the line. The only notable game by a tight end here so far has been Daniel Wilcox with 78 yards and a score in week one but he followed that up with no catches on two throws in week two.

The Ravens had no tight end catches in the last meeting with the Jets and Heap was out that week.

Match Against the Defense: The Ravens come off their bye week and face a rushing defense that was ravaged by the Chiefs and even the Jaguars (though that took a ton of carries to happen). Considering the likely problems the Jets will have scoring with a third string quarterback, chances are that Lewis gets at least 25 carries this week and maybe more. This should end up as his best game of the year so far and if he fails to hit 100 yards in this game, you can just about write him off this year. This is a perfect situation for Lewis at home against a team that is reeling from injuries.

Wright will have an average passing game here at best, mainly because there should be no need to throw the ball and risk a turnover. He could toss one score and that would likely end up with Heap or Mason but the yardage won't be much due to game situation.

New York Jets (1-2)
1 7-27 @KCC 10 Nov 13 @CAR
2 17-7 MIA 11 Nov 20 @DEN
3 20-26 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 at BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Brooks Bollinger 0 0 170
RB Curtis Martin 50 20 0
RB Derrick Blaylock 10 10 0
TE Chris Baker 0 40 0
WR Laveranues Coles 0 50 0
WR Justin McCareins 0 40 0
WR Wayne Chrebet 0 20 0
PK Mike Nugent 2 FG 0 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Jets may not have realized it at the time, but last week may have seen their two best quarterbacks get knocked out for the season on successive plays. Neither are an option this week at a minimum and pending some second opinions and "better than expected" reports, both Pennington and Fiedler could be out for the season. Curtis Martin offers a bright spot since his knee sprain did not see to be an issue for him but Martin alone is not going to carry this team.

Quarterback: This week Brooks Bollinger is penciled in as the starter but the Jets just signed Vinny Testaverde who will serve as the #2 quarterback. Bollinger is really the only option this week and will start. The Jets also intend on looking to add another quarterback to likely replace Jay Fiedler.

Pennington was out injured in the last meeting against the Ravens and Quincy Carter only managed 175 yards with no scores.

Running Backs: Though he suffered a knee sprain the previous week, Curtis Martin seemed no worse for wear last week when he gained 67 yards on 18 carries against a very tough Jaguar defense. Martin already was stuck around 60 or 70 yards every week with Pennington there and now that the passing game has taken a huge hit, he'll be facing even more pressure from the defense. He has not scored this year and at this rate, that could be true for a while longer. The Jets have twice snuck in FB Jerald Sowell for scores though he never gets carries otherwise.

Curtis Martin rushed for 119 yards and two scores in the meeting last year with the Ravens.

Wide Receivers: This unit will obviously feel the effect of the loss of Pennington and Fiedler and undoubtedly will take it in the shorts unless Testaverde can turn back the clock or Bollinger exceeds expectations. The unit only produced one touchdown this season and Laveranues Coles and Justin McCareins have been producing very pedestrian numbers so far anyway. The best effort has been McCareins with 87 yards and he followed that up with a 16 yard effort last week - probably a lot closer to where he'll be for the next few weeks.

Tight Ends: Chris Baker was the week one star with 124 yards and one score and last Sunday he had three catches for 45 yards. Expect Baker to become a bigger part of the passing scheme from here on out as the man closest to the quarterback about to get killed. He's already shown that he can get the job done and the need will only be greater with a new quarterback.

Chris Baker had only one catch for 19 yards against Baltimore last year.

Match Against the Defense: So far the Ravens rush defense has been fairly good, allowing James only 88 yards on 23 carries and then holding the Titans to under 100 yards as well but the reality now is that Martin becomes the main focus of every defense. Expect a stacked line in Baltimore and likely the worst showing by Martin this season.

As for the passing offense, the Ravens could be beaten for a score by even an average team but the Jets were passing poorly when they had their best quarterback there. If anything happens in the passing game, consider it a surprise and likely because Bollinger landed one or two long passes when the Ravens were not expecting it.