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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: Seattle 17, St. Louis 24

This will be phase one of the fight for the AFC West since neither Arizona or San Francisco look much like a contender this year. The Seahawks are following their normal track by losing every road game and winning all home stands, even if it means having Josh Brown kick field goals into the crossbar to prevent the win.

The is only the second home game for the Rams who beat the Titans and even added a road win in Arizona. This game will likely go to the Rams at home, but it should provide some good fantasy points from both teams along the way. The Rams swept the Seahawks last season, winning 33-27 and later 23-12 in St. Louis.

Update: This game is getting to be a mess. Both Bobby Engram and Darrell Jackson are considered doubtful to play and will likely sit this game out. Peter Warrick and Joe Jurevicius will take their spots as the starters but that is a significant step down. I am lower projections for all Seattle players since even Alexander should see a decrease thanks to being the focal point of eight defenders every play.

Brandon Manumaleuna has not practiced and is questionable to play as well. The newly re-signed Cam Cleeland will likely be the starting tight end this week.

Seattle Seahawks (2-2)
1 14-26 @JAC 10 Nov 13 STL
2 21-18 ATL 11 Nov 20 @SFO
3 37-12 ARI 12 Nov 27 NYG
4 17-20 @WAS 13 Dec 5 @PHI
5 Oct 9 @STL 14 Dec 11 SFO
6 Oct 16 HOU 15 Dec 18 @TEN
7 Oct 23 DAL 16 Dec 24 IND
8 Open Bye 17 Jan 1 @GBP
9 Nov 6 @ARI . MON SAT
SEA at STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck 0 0 230,1
RB Shaun Alexander 110,1 30 0
TE Jerramy Stevens 0 50,1 0
WR Darrell Jackson 0 80,1 0
WR DJ Hackett 0 40 0
WR Peter Warrick 0 40 0
WR Joe Jurevicius 0 50 0
PK Josh Brown 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Seahawks continue their road woes and had a chance to beat the Redskins slip away in overtime last week. The wideouts are all banged up and even Jeremy Stevens has a bad finger but as long as Alexander is there, the Seahawks can play with the best of them. They just cannot win on the road. A win in St. Louis would set up Seattle with an inside track to the division title but things are never that simple in the NFC West.

Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck has been very consistent this season, throwing for between 242 and 281 yards in every game so far and scoring a total of five touchdowns though only one in the last two games. With Alexander running so well this year, Hasselbeck doesn't usually start throwing earnestly until the fourth quarter in most games.

Hasselbeck threw for only 172 yards and no scores in St. Louis last year. He had 216 yards and two scores back in Seattle against them.

Running Backs: Shaun Alexander comes off a solid 98 yards on 20 carries in Washington D.C. - a five yard per carry average there is impressive and almost locked up a win. Alexander scored once last week but he still is never used in the passing scheme - he only had three catches for 15 yards total on the year.

Alexander had big games against the Rams in 2004, gaining 150 and 176 rushing yards but only scored once.

Wide Receivers: Darrell Jackson comes off his worst game of the season with only 55 yards on seven receptions but he still scored a touchdown with only 1:23 left in the game to tie the score. Oddly enough he only has scored in the two games where he had little yardage and yet was denied in the two match-ups that saw him gain over 125 yards. Bobby Engram cracked two ribs in the first quarter last Sunday and yet still turned in nine catches for 106 yards before finally taking himself out of the game late in the fourth quarter. This passing attack is not hard to figure out. It's either Jackson or Engram or nothing. Joe Jurevicius has only three catches for a total of 33 yards in the last two games.

Jackson was suffering from a sore knee last week, Engram cracked a couple of ribs and Peter Warrick did not play due to a hamstring strain. While Jackson should play this week, it appears likely that Engram won't be ready to go on Sunday. This leaves the Seahawks in a very tight spot with few healthy receivers. Peter Warrick may be healed enough to play but that remains to be seen at this time. The only other receiver on the roster is D.J. Hackett and recently signed Jerehme Urban. I am projecting for Warrick to play and Engram to sit and will update as warranted.

Jackson had 91 yards and a score in Seattle but was held to only 33 yards in St. Louis last year.

Tight Ends: After four games, Jerramy Stevens has exactly three catches in each with 31 to 49 yards gained. He has scored once but one out of four hardly is reliable. Catching three passes for about 40 yards is.

Stevens had a score in the first meeting with the Rams but did not score in St. Louis. He had about 35 yards in each match-up. This guy is a picture of consistency.

Match Against the Defense: The Rams had seemed tough against the run this year but they had hardly faced any teams with a good rushing attack. Last week they gave up 128 yards to Barber and Alexander ripped them up last year even though the Seahawks lost both games. Look for some nice numbers from Alexander that could once again get gaudy.

Hasselbeck has not had major success against the Rams recently but mostly because they just run Alexander for the entire game. If he chooses to throw and the wideouts are healthy, he could rack up good yards here as have literally all opponents. Expect a decent game from Hasselbeck that likely won't get too big since he'll be handing off to Alexander and likely working with a beat up cast of receivers anyway.

St. Louis Rams (2-2)
1 25-28 @SFO 10 Nov 13 @SEA
2 17-12 @ARI 11 Nov 20 ARI
3 31-27 TEN 12 Nov 27 @HOU
4 24-44 @NYG 13 Dec 4 WAS
5 Oct 9 SEA 14 Dec 11 @MIN
6 Oct 17 @IND 15 Dec 18 PHI
7 Oct 23 NOR 16 Dec 24 SFO
8 Oct 30 JAC 17 Jan 1 @DAL
9 Open Bye . MON SAT
STL vs SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger 0 0 280,2
RB Steven Jackson 80,1 30 0
RB Marshall Faulk 20 20 0
TE Cam Cleeland 0 10 0
WR Torry Holt 0 70,1 0
WR Dane Looker 0 30 0
WR Kevin Curtis 0 60 0
WR Shaun McDonald 0 50,1 0
PK Jeff Wilkins 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Rams were overpowered by the Giants last week but in true Ram's fashion, Bulger threw for a ton of garbage yards and there were some great fantasy numbers that came out of the game despite the loss. The Rams need to win this week with a tough stretch coming up until they reach their bye in week nine. A loss here to Seattle could end up dooming their shot for a division title only four games into the season. Or it could just end up like the normal AFC West where a tie breaker will be used to see which losing record advances to the playoffs.

Quarterback: The game against the Giants provided Marc Bulger with his biggest yardage of the year - 442 yards and two scores which gives him multiple touchdowns in three of four games. What sunk the Rams last week was in part the three interceptions that Bulger threw and he has yet to play a game without at least one turnover. Bulger is second only to McNabb for passing yardage on the year (1312 yards).

Bulger threw for 325 yards and three scores in Seattle but settled down to 262 yards and one score against the Seahawks in St. Louis.

Running Backs: Steven Jackson played with a painful chest bruise last week and he only turned in 17 yards on 10 carries. But he also rushed in one touchdown and added five catches for 42 yards and another score for nice fantasy production. Marshall Faulk was expected to get more playing time to rest Jackson but that never happened. Faulk only had three carries for 16 yards and added three catches for 24 more yards - about his standard as the relief player. Jackson is still looking for his first 100 yard rushing game this year

The Seahawks never saw a full dose of Jackson last year. He and Faulk split carries for 115 yards in Seattle and later Faulk turned in 139 yards in St. Louis. Jackson only had 47 yards in that game though he did score once.

Wide Receivers: Isaac Bruce did not play last week due to a bad case of turf toe and so far is likely to sit out this week as well - updates as warranted. Kevin Curtis took the start and had six catches for 78 yards. Torry Holt had extra attention with Bruce out and yet still ended with 84 yards and a score. The Rams finally trotted out the four man formation since they were so far behind and both Dane Looker (8-90) and Shaun McDonald (9-121) had their best games of the year. With Bruce still out, Curtis will continue to take the starting flanker role with help from McDonald and Looker only in multiple receiver sets.

Holt never fared well against the Seahawks last year. He had only 32 and 53 yards against them with no touchdowns. Bruce was successful though, gaining 78 and later 104 yards against the Seahawks.

Tight Ends: Roland Williams was likely lost for the season when he suffered a dislocated knee against the Giants last week. Other than the rare score, the tight end has never mattered in St. Louis since Mike Martz showed up. Brandon Manumaleuna will become the starter once again.

There were no tight end catches last year against the Seahawks in two games.

Match Against the Defense: The Seattle defense has improved from last year though on the road they have allowed opposing teams to throw for two scores with decent yardage. They have only allowed one rushing score this year though and no runner has done more than the 90 yards that Portis had last week. Expect some moderate yardage from Jackson this week but once again, he should fall short of the century mark.

Even without Bruce, there's no reason why Bulger at home should not throw at least two scores and possibly three. What plays well into this game (other than the venue) is that even taking Holt out of the equation will not slow down the passing game that can use up to four different wideouts well. Expect Holt to be doubled and tripled covered but still to manage at least moderate yardage. Curtis shouldn't have a huge game here but enough yardage to make him worthy of a fantasy start. The Seahawks will run as much as they can and should have some success doing so. That means the game goes faster and Bulger won't even come close to his record 62 passes last week.