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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 5
October 9, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Mon 9 PM
BAL at DET NO at GB IND at SF CIN at JAC* PIT at SDC*
CHI at CLE SEA at STL* CAR at ARI On Bye:  
MIA at BUF TB at NYJ* PHI at DAL KC, OAK
NE at ATL TEN at HOU* WAS at DEN MIN, NYG Updated*

Prediction: Baltimore 10, Detroit 16

This match-up pits two teams that have struggled offensively and their 1-2 records are below expectations and about to get worse for one of them. The Ravens come off their first win of the season while the Lions haven't seen a win since the first game of the year. Detroit's offense has sputtered despite having the apparent talent outside of the quarterback and the Ravens have no rushing game so far this year to pair with an always non-existent passing attack. Whatever happens here is likely to be defensive and boring with little fantasy value.

Baltimore Ravens (1-2)
1 7-24 IND 10 Nov 13 @JAC
2 10-25 @TEN 11 Nov 20 PIT
3 Open Bye 12 Nov 27 @CIN
4 13-3 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 at DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Anthony Wright 0 0 190
RB Jamal Lewis 70 10 0
TE Todd Heap 0 50 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 50 0
WR Clarence Moore 0 40 0
WR Mark Clayton 0 20 0
PK Matt Stover 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Ravens have little punch in their offense and need to rely on their defense controlling the game and letting Jamal Lewis rush so many times that eventually he does something worthwhile. The offense had never passed well but always could rely on a dominating defense and rushing game to win. Now - they just have to hope the defense is enough. The loss of Kyle Boller has really had no effect on this team.

Quarterback: Anthony Wright threw for a very Boller-esque 144 yards and one interception last week against the visiting Jets and after two games as the starting quarterback, he only has one score and two interceptions to show for the effort. And that is considering he went against the TItans in week two and yet the Ravens still lost. Wright only had 21 passing attempts last week and he'll only throw as much as the team thinks he must. This week should see more pass attempts but that doesn't necessarily equate into any significant rise in production.

Running Backs: Jamal Lewis finally scored a touchdown this season but he only gained 81 yards on 29 carries last week against the Jets. On the season he has only 138 yards on 55 carries for an average of only 2.5 yards per carry. He had help last week from Chester Taylor but even he only gained 32 yards on 11 carries. This rushing game is lethargic and has yet to produce even one long run to give hope that better days are ahead.

Wide Receivers: Derrick Mason benefits the most of all wideouts, but even that only came up with 54 yards on five catches last week. In the unusual event that the pass is thrown accurately, the Raven wide receivers are dropping passes outside of Mason and there's a transition happening since Clarence Moore continues to disappoint but Wright has not tried to connect more with the rookie Mark Clayton or Randy Hymes. As long as secondaries can take away Mason, this passing attack is sure to disappoint.

Clayton has quietly assumed the starting flanker role but it only yielded one catch for four yards last week.

Tight Ends: Todd Heap is a big part of the game plan, it's just that there is so little passing that Heap has only topped out at 56 yards this season. He has yet to score or get more than seven passes thrown his way in a game this year.

Match Against the Defense: While at home, the Lions have not allowed any opposing runner to gain more than 58 yards but they've only had one homestand so far. The defense was solid against Pittman and Cadillac last week but did allow Thomas Jones to run well in Chicago. The lackluster rushing of Jamal Lewis on the road doesn't give much hope that this is the week that Lewis steps up unless, yet again, he can get at least 29 carries. There is a chance that the Raven's defense can keep this game low scoring and primarily about the run but only through a huge volume of carries can Lewis be expected to yield good fantasy value this week. More than likely - just another head-scratching, low number game.

The Lions have been very good against the pass and only the long gainer given up to Galloway last week is a mark against the secondary. Wright will be challenged to get above 200 yards passing this week with CB Dre Bly covering Mason and the split ends are doing nothing for the Ravens this year. Heap should turn in his standard game which means no scoring and likely around 50 yards though no tight ends have had more than 27 yards against the Lions this season. While I like the Ravens to score one touchdown, it appears most likely to be either defensive thanks to an interception or a short plunge by Jamal Lewis.

Detroit Lions (1-2)
1 17-3 GBP 10 Nov 13 ARI
2 6-38 @CHI 11 Nov 20 @DAL
3 Open Bye 12 Nov 24 ATL
4 13-17 @TBB 13 Dec 4 MIN
5 Oct 9 BAL 14 Dec 11 @GBP
6 Oct 16 CAR 15 Dec 18 CIN
7 Oct 23 @CLE 16 Dec 24 @NOR
8 Oct 30 CHI 17 Jan 1 @PIT
9 Nov 6 @MIN . THU SAT
DET vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 0 0 180,1
RB Kevin Jones 60 0 0
RB Artose Pinner 20 10 0
RB Shawn Bryson 0 10 0
TE Marcus Pollard 0 30,1 0
WR Roy Williams 0 50 0
WR Mike Williams 0 20 0
WR Kevin Johnson 0 30 0
PK Jason Hanson 3 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Lions came very close to beating the Buccaneers last week and it will be interesting to see how that effects this team - either motivating them or deflating them even more. Harrington is clearly not the answer this year and that has left Kevin Jones stuffed on virtually every play he tries to run. The Lions will be back at home and it is time to circle the wagons. Facing a struggling Ravens team should be just the ticket to get a much needed win.

Quarterback: While it seemed that it would be hard to do, Joey Harrington actually played even worse last week and ended with only 137 yards passing though without the five interceptions like the previous game. He now has three scores in three games played and he has yet to gain even 200 yards passing. HC Steve Mariucci remains steadfast that Harrington is his starter but he's gritting his teeth when he says that in every successive post-game interview. More struggles could bring the rookie Dan Orlovsky onto the field and it is now almost certain that Jeff Garcia gets playing time when he heals up his broken leg in about a month or so from how.

Running Backs: Kevin Jones finally scored a touchdown this year when he ran in from the 8-yard line against the Buccaneers. He only had 38 yards in the game but only was given 12 carries. The Lions opted to give Artose Pinner six runs last week and he gained 28 yards. The line blocking has been so bad that it is hard to evaluate what is wrong with Jones and the fact that the Lions opt for more playing time for Pinner during a very close game is not a favorable development for Jones. Until the passing game means anything here, he'll continue to struggle against constant eight man fronts.

Wide Receivers: Like Mason for the Ravens, Roy Williams is the only wideout that matters for his offense but he only had 54 yards on three catches last week. Charles Rogers had yet to go over 31 yards in a game and only managed one catch for 15 yards last week - this was a first round pick? To top that off, Rogers has tested positive for a street drug and will be suspended for the next four weeks.

Mike Williams had three catches for 22 yards and so far his only apparent role is to let Harrington overthrow him in the endzone. Until there is a better quarterback, this unit will languish in surprising mediocrity with only Roy Williams having any fantasy value, marginal as even that is. The Lions will likely move Mike Wiliams into Rogers spot this week and move Kevin Johnson to the #3 role.

Tight Ends: Marcus Pollard only had two catches for five yards last week but he had a touchdown called back at the end of the game that could have provided the winning margin. Pollard is just as integral as any wideout in the passing game which is to say he has minimal fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: The Ravens defense came up huge last week and while they were patting each other on the back once again, the reality is that they were at home against the Jets who were using a third string quarterback. Look for Jones to have yet another marginal game against a good front line and since Pinner is being used more, you cannot even rely on a marginal game from Jones.

Harrington faces a good pass rush and a good to great secondary which should cause problems. This unit has only allowed one passing score to wideouts and the Lions do not have Manning throwing to Harrison. Look for the fourth game with less than 200 yards passing and while the Lions should score at least one touchdown, where that will go is most likely to Pollard or Bryson or some "non-standard" receiver.