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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 8
October 26, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
ARI at DAL JAC at STL* WAS at NYG* TB at SF* BUF at NE
CHI at DET* MIA at NO* Sun 4 PM On Bye: Mon 9 PM
CLE at HOU MIN at CAR* KC at SD* IND, NYJ BAL at PIT*
GB at CIN OAK at TEN* PHI at DEN ATL, SEA *Updated

Prediction: Oakland 24, Tennessee 23

This was the greatest matchup of all time last year. This was the game that the Raiders won 40-35 in week 15 that produced 862 passing yards and nine passing scores. Coming in the final week before most fantasy championships, it is a game of legend and awe. We may never again see a game so devoid of any defense or rushing offense. We are richer for having seen it and poorer for knowing it will not happen again. 'Sniff'... I loved that game. I really miss it...'honk'... "memories... like the corners of my mind...'

Update: Brandon Jones is questionable to play and has not practiced this week with a knee injury. He has not been ruled out of the game yet but he is not a lock to play either. I am removing him from the projections even though he may still play just from the risk. This matchup would have been nice with the injuries to the Oakland secondary but it appears that Jones may miss the opportunity. Chris Brown has recovered from his shoulder injury and is expected to play but will share with Travis Henry this week.

Oakland Raiders (2-4)
1 20-30 @NE 10 Nov 13 DEN
2 17-23 KCC 11 Nov 20 @WAS
3 20-23 @PHI 12 Nov 27 MIA
4 19-13 DAL 13 Dec 4 @SDC
5 Open Bye 14 Dec 11 @NYJ
6 14-27 SDC 15 Dec 18 CLE
7 38-17 BUF 16 Dec 24 @DEN
8 Oct 30 @TEN 17 Dec 31 NYG
9 Nov 6 @KCC . THU SAT
OAK at TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Kerry Collins 0 0 270,2
RB Lamont Jordan 80,1 30 0
TE Courtney Anderson 0 10 0
WR Randy Moss 0 80,1 0
WR Jerry Porter 0 60,1 0
WR Doug Gabriel 0 60 0
PK S. Janikowski 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Raiders rise to 2-4 with the win over the Bills that saw Lamont Jordan suddenly develop into a punishing rusher while Randy Moss made the ultra-rare trip from doubtful to catching a touchdown. That means the Raiders are 2-2 at home but only 0-2 on the road this season. Playing in Tennessee will be a good test to see if the team really has hit a higher level of mediocrity or if the one game was just "one of those games".

Quarterback: Kerry Collins finally had a touchdown throw after a two game drought but he only had the one. He stands with only seven touchdowns on the season and only two have gone to their pricey new toy of Randy Moss. If the rushing game can remain intact with Lamont Jordan, it will only help Collins to become more efficient and effective as a passer but that hasn't happened on the road yet.

Collins threw for 371 yards and five touchdowns against the Titans last year. It was a career best game.

Running Backs: Lamont Jordan turned in a huge game last week with 162 yards and three touchdowns. He could have had four but the coaches elected to let Zack Crockett to run in one score instead. That means that Jordan has scored six times in the last three games and he has scored in each of the last five outings. What plays into this game is that his worst two games of the year - and only ones without a rushing score - came during the only road games so far. On the road to Tennessee, Jordan can show that he truly has turned into a formidable back with a big game here. Anything less - he'll look like just a home stadium phenomenon. The schedule gets much rougher from here on out and while he had four home games against only two away games so far, he's facing five road trips in the next seven weeks.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss was listed as doubtful last week with bruised ribs, a strained groin and a bruised pelvis. He suited up and played anyway, gutting it out in the hopes of sparking the team in a rather surprising move for the normally indifferent Moss. He only had three catches for 43 yards but scored the only receiving touchdown in the game. He was mostly replaced by Doug Gabriel who turned in 101 yards on only five catches while Jerry Porter remains a constant around 40 or 50 yards a week regardless of what is happening. Porter has never had less than 40 yards and never more than 68 yards. He never scores. He just plugs in with about 50 yards a week.

Jerry Porter had 148 yards and three touchdowns in the week 15 game against the Titans in 2004. Doug Gabriel added 52 yards and a touchdown as well.

Tight Ends: Not happening here. Since week three, there is no action more than a catch or two for inconsequential yardage.

Match Against the Defense: The Titans are drifting into desperate waters to get a win since they have lost four of their last five games. The rush defense has only allowed three scores this season and only one during the three games at home. Jordan can crack 100 yards here since both Parker and Davis were able but it will take his first good game away from Oakland to accomplish. What should work out for Jordan is that the Titans have allowed three scores and lots of yardage to backs catching the ball. That alone should ensure that Jordan has at least a decent showing here with total yardage.

Collins faces a secondary that has always allowed at least one passing score every week and more than one in most games. Expect Moss to catch a score here with another one probable that should favor either Jordan out of the backfield or Porter. The Titans have been torched by their opponent's primary receiver in most games and that spells big numbers for Moss - if he is healthy enough to take advantage of it.

Tennessee Titans (2-5)
1 7-34 @PIT 10 Open Bye
2 25-10 BAL 11 Nov 20 JAC
3 27-31 @STL 12 Nov 27 SFO
4 10-31 IND 13 Dec 4 @IND
5 34-20 @HOU 14 Dec 11 HOU
6 23-31 CIN 15 Dec 18 SEA
7 10-20 @ARI 16 Dec 24 @MIA
8 Oct 30 OAK 17 Jan 1 @JAC
9 Nov 6 @CLE . . SAT
TEN vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair 0 0 240,2
RB Chris Brown 40 0 0
RB Travis Henry 40 0 0
TE Ben Troupe 0 40,1 0
TE Erron Kinney 0 60 0
WR Tyrone Calico 0 70,1 0
WR Courtney Roby 0 40 0
WR Brandon Jones 0 60,1 0
PK Rob Bironas 3 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Titans have dropped to 2-5 on the season and the magic that once was Billy Volek did not appear last week. What did show up was a concussion for Volek while Matt Mauck showed why he remains the #3 quarterback for the Titans. Chris Brown also sat out the second half with a neck stinger in Arizona but this week will welcome back Travis Henry just to make the backfield even harder to predict for the Titans.

Quarterback: While Billy Volek was incredible last season in relief of McNair, he only had 198 yards and one score against one interception in Arizona. He also lost a fumble when he was leveled by a blitzer that also knocked him out of the game with a concussion. Steve McNair did not make the trip as he was given the week off to recuperate his lower back soreness and a sprained ankle but he is expected to play this week. McNair had been good for one or two scores a week before finally being blanked in the Cincinnati game.

Last year this matchup is when Billy Volek was going nuts and he threw for 492 yards and four touchdowns in week 15. Ah, the memories...

Running Backs: Chris Brown had a neck stinger that made him leave the Cardinals game in the second quarter when he had only gained 37 yards on ten carries. Jarrett Payton stepped in but only managed 30 yards on 12 carries. Pending practice reports, I am assuming that Brown can play this week with minor limitations so that he can get hurt again. Travis Henry returns after his four game suspension and he had been splitting time with Brown back in the first couple of weeks of the season. Most likely this duo will both play and reduce what either could have done alone.

Wide Receivers: With Drew Bennett out last week, the load fell to Brandon Jones (2-50, 1 TD) and Tyrone Calico (6-51) but Jones had all his catches and score early in the game and suffered a sprained knee that required icing on the sideline. He is expected to be good to play this week. The other rookies both contributed as well, with Roydell Williams catching five passes for 43 yards and Courtney Roby catching one pass for 31 yards. The combined 172 yards by wideouts was actually a high for the unit this season and did not include Bennett.

Drew Bennett had 13 catches for 160 yards and two scores against the Raiders last year while Derrick Mason only chipped in 121 yards and one score.

Tight Ends: Though quarterbacks were changed last week, the scheme remained the same - use the tight ends. Erron Kinney had his standard five catches for 60 yards and both Bo Scaife and Ben Troupe had a couple of catches for about 15 yards each. With Bennett out, it appears that Kinney is getting a slight uptick in passes though it was only one game.

Ben Troupe scored one touchdown and had 75 receiving yards against the Raiders in 2004.

Match Against the Defense: How well the Titans rush depends on the health of Brown and if Henry shows any rust from spending the last month playing X-box instead of football. The Raiders rushing defense has been adequate this year and has been dinged only by the better backs which do not exist in Tennessee. Expert a moderate game at best from either Brown or Henry with a better chance of a lower game than a decent one.

McNair is expected to start and he faces a secondary that has already been lit up this season and that was before CB Charles Woodson broke his leg and SS Derrick Gibson dislocated his wrist. That helps soften the secondary more and should allow McNair to hit at least one touchdown pass and likely two as have most opponents of the Raiders. The tight ends go against a defense that has allowed only one passing score to the position and has faced Witten, Gonzalez, Gates and L.J. Smith this season - only Gates scored and he only had 20 yards that week.

Charles Woodson will be probably be replaced by first round pick Fabian Washington which gives Tyrone Calico a much needed advantage. Expect the Titans to explore how good the rookie is in coverage with several passes to Calico. The Titans passing offense is much different than most with the use of multiple tight ends, so matching 1:1 with a secondary means much less, but one thing is certain - the Raiders have lost players in their secondary that was not that great to begin with and that will give McNair more opportunities this week.