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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
October 9, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Mon 9 PM
CHI at CLE SEA at STL* CAR at ARI On Bye:  

Prediction: New Orleans 17, Green Bay 24

The Saints finally had a psuedo-home game and pulled off a nice win over the Bills while the Packers lost their third straight game by three points or less. Brett Favre has not lost his magic, but the rest of the team pretty much has. This should be a very competitive game with the resurgent Saints facing the desperate Packers who are hard hit with injuries.

Update: Joe Horn continues to be listed as questionable and was held out last week due to his hamstring strain. He has participated a bit in practice this week and could end up as a game time decision. It is not unusual for Horn to be on the injury list - he remained on it much of last year and still excelled in games but this injury was bad enough to hold him out of last week's game. I am adding him to the projections with limited yardage, but realize that there is a chance he once again is made inactive.

Franks continues to be held out of practice and appears likely to miss the game again this week. Ahman Green has been held out of practice due to a sprained knee and sore quadriceps. I am not changing his projections since they were already low but he is still a risk to not play and if he does, will likely be limited and spelled by Najeh Davenport.

New Orleans Saints (2-2)
1 23-20 @CAR 10 Open Bye
2 10-27 NYG 11 Nov 20 @NE
3 16-33 @MIN 12 Nov 27 @NYJ
4 19-7 BUF 13 Dec 4 TBB
5 Oct 9 @GBP 14 Dec 12 @ATL
6 Oct 16 ATL 15 Dec 18 CAR
7 Oct 23 @STL 16 Dec 24 DET
8 Oct 30 MIA 17 Jan 1 @TBB
9 Nov 6 CHI . MON SAT
NOR at GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Brooks 10 0 190,2
RB Deuce McAllister 80 10 0
TE Ernie Conwell 0 40,1 0
WR Donte Stallworth 0 80,1 0
WR Joe Horn 0 30 0
WR Az-Zahir Hakim 0 20 0
PK John Carney 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Saints were without Joe Horn last week but it did not matter. Donte Stallworth came up big and Deuce McAllister had his first big yardage game of the year to secure the win over the Bills. This week they face the sputtering Packers but it will be the fourth road trip and against a team that doesn't want to spend their bye week 0-5.

Quarterback: Aaron Brooks only had 172 passing yards last week without a scoring pass but he added a touchdown run and only needed to throw 26 times in a game that was controlled by McAllister and the running game. Brooks only had two passing scores on the year and only once has had more than 200 yards in a game. Brooks had 375 yards in the Giants game but otherwise has seen a major step down from his production of 2004.

Running Backs: While he did not score, Deuce McAllister had 130 yards on only 27 carries last week and ran like the Deuce of old. He's been limited in carries in most games this year and even though he gets around 20 yards receiving in a game, he now has only once managed to turn in over 100 total yards.

Wide Receivers: Joe Horn suffered a hamstring strain in week three and only had one catch the next week. Last Sunday he was made inactive at gametime and his absence did not hurt the effort. Donte Stallworth had eight catches for 129 yards while the only other wideout with a catch was Devery Henderson with one reception for just seven yards. Without Horn, Stallworth became the only target downfield.

I am not projecting for Horn until there is word that he will play - updates as warranted.

Tight Ends: Surprisingly, the absence of Horn did not give anything more to the tight ends. Ernie Conwell only had one catch last week for five yards. Conwell's two big games came on the road which could come back into play this week if Horn is still out.

Match Against the Defense: The Packer rush defense was ripped up by Cadillac Williams earlier this year but that required 37 carries by Williams. Otherwise, no other runner has managed more than 87 yards and only Stephen Davis has scored on the ground. Expect McAllister to dip back below the century mark this week and even one score would be slightly above expectations.

Aaron Brooks goes against a terrible secondary that has allowed two or more scores to every opponent this year. Much of Brooks success will hinge on the health of Horn because without him, this offense turns into little more than Stallworth so far. If Horn does not play, then Conwell should see an increase in numbers because there simply are no other receivers that have shown they can make a difference.

Green Bay Packers (0-4)
1 3-17 @DET 10 Nov 13 @ATL
2 24-26 CLE 11 Nov 21 MIN
3 16-17 TBB 12 Nov 27 @PHI
4 29-32 @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 vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre 0 0 290,3
RB Ahman Green 40 30 0
RB Najeh Davenport 20 10 0
TE David Martin 0 30 0
WR Donald Driver 0 60,1 0
WR Robert Ferguson 0 70,1 0
WR Antonio Chatman 0 60,1 0
PK Ryan Longwell 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Packers are limited by a bad offensive line that is actually getting worse. They have lost Javon Walker, Bubba Franks, Terrence Murphy and even Ahman Green was injured last week. And yet they still lose all their games by a field goal or less. Times are getting tough in Green Bay looking at the possibility of an 0-5 start and there's less players to fight with every week.

Quarterback: Sure, the Packers have lost all their games and Brett Favre already has seven interceptions this year, but he has also thrown nine touchdowns already and his 303 yard, four score comeback bid on Monday night was pure Favre even if it did come up just short. Favre has always been adept at spreading the ball around and with all these injuries, he's likely just aiming for green shirts lately.

Running Backs: Ahman Green has yet to score a touchdown this year and while he had around 55 rushing yards and 30 receiving yards in each of his first three games, he only had 14 carries for 36 yards last week before getting sidelined with a knee bruise. I am assuming that Green plays up to his 50 yard level again this week but will update if any information changes that projection.

The Packers reverted to using William Henderson (2-42) last week but surprisingly has not involved Tony Fisher since week two when he caught a touchdown pass.

Wide Receivers: Donald Driver had six catches for 92 yards and one score last week and he remains the preferred target for Favre. Robert Ferguson is now filling in for the injured Javon Walker but he only had three catches for 24 yards last week and other than two scores in previous games, he is hardly an adequate fill in for Green Bay. Antonio Chatman has scored in each of the last two games but still never had more than a couple of catches or more than 36 yards in a game.

The loss of Terrence Murphy - at least for this week - leaves the Packers with only Driver, Ferguson and Chatman as viable options for wideouts.

Tight Ends: With Bubba Franks still sidelined, David Martin finally had a nice game and turned in five catches for 53 yards and one score last week. Franks has missed two games with a bruised knee and never practiced last week. I am assuming that he still is out and that Martin gets another start.

Match Against the Defense: The Packers are not rushing well and Ahman Green has a bruised knee. The Saints rushing defense has been fairly good this year anyway, so do not expect much from Green this week and likely even less if Davenport ends up getting the start. The poor line blocking has doomed anyone taking a handoff.

Favre knows that this will be the easiest game to win for the next month and he'll be bringing his best game at home. Expect some big numbers from the great one that will benefit Chatman or Ferguson more this week. Driver gets the matchup against CB Mike McKenzie that can be beaten but should entice Favre to look elsewhere enough to give the others more passes. The Saints are on the road again and Favre should see this as the last stand before the bye next week.