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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
December 7, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
CLE at CIN* OAK at NYJ SF at SEA MIA at SD* Mon 9 PM
IND at JAC TB at CAR BAL at DEN Updated* Times ET

Prediction: Washington 17, Arizona 13

The Redskins finally reversed their losing streak when they took down the Rams in St. Louis last week but the damage is already done. The Cardinals also ended their own losing ways when they finally got another match-up with the 49ers. Back at home the Cards are just 2-4 with wins over only SF and TEN while the Redskins are just 2-4 on the road. But they just took down the Rams in an away game and this week the lack of diversity of the Cardinals offense will haunt them. To throw a little more adversity the Cardinals way, Neil Rackers injured his calf and may not be back for this game as well.

Update: James Thrash still is bothered by his hamstring and has not practiced this week. I have removed him from the projections.

Washington Redskins (6-6)
1 9-7 CHI 10 35-36 @TBB
2 14-13 @DAL 11 13-16 OAK
3 Open Bye 12 17-23 SDC
4 20-17 SEA 13 24-9 @STL
5 19-21 @DEN 14 Dec 11 @ARI
6 21-28 @KCC 15 Dec 18 DAL
7 52-17 SFO 16 Dec 24 NYG
8 0-36 @NYG 17 Jan 1 @PHI
9 17-10 PHI . MON SAT
WAS at ARZ Rush Catch Pass
QB Mark Brunell 0 0 170,1
RB Clinton Portis 110,1 20 0
TE Chris Cooley 0 40 0
WR Santana Moss 0 70,1 0
WR Taylor Jacobs 0 20 0
WR James Thrash 0 20 0
PK John Hall 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Redskins passing attack still remains largely AWOL but at least the running game has been picking up with Portis. Washington has been specializing in losing close games this year but may be over the hump with the win in St. Louis last week. With homestands against the Cowboys and Giants still remaining, at least the Redskins are still in mathematical contention.

Quarterback: Mark Brunell has lost all magic. He started the year red hot and made a star of Santana Moss but last week against a terrible secondary he still only had 156 passing yards and one score. Brunell has not topped 200 yards in a game in the last three weeks and only has four passing touchdowns in the last six games.

Running Backs: Since the fiasco in New York back in week eight, Clinton Portis has been running well and gained at least 90 yards and or a touchdown in each game. He comes off a 136 yard, two touchdown effort last week and has seven scores on the year. Even Rock Cartwright got into the act when he ran for 119 yards against the Rams but he's rarely been over 15 yards in any game this year.

Wide Receivers: Santana Moss remains near the top of NFL wideouts this year but that all stems from his performances in the first half of the year when he had five touchdowns and four games over 100 yards. Since week seven, he has only one touchdown and has never been over 80 yards in any game. The worse news is that he is realistically the only wideout that the Redskins have. Taylor Jacobs is starting now and he only had one catch for a one yard loss against the #30 pass defense last week.

Tight Ends: Chris Cooley remains one of the better receiving tight ends in the NFL and the only target for Brunell outside of Moss. Cooley had 58 yards and a score last week against the Rams and over half his weekly efforts net over 50 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals rushing defense has not fared so well against runners like Portis and he should be a lock for a nice game here with a chance for a monster game. Expect 100 yards and a score and realize it could be more if the Skins are successful in holding down the Cards passing attack.

Brunell faces a secondary that has been holding most opponents to under 220 passing yards and Brunell has evidently forgotten how to throw for more than that anyway. He should manage one passing score here and no need to flip a coin. Moss should score since Cooley goes against a defense that has not allowed a passing score to a tight end this year.

Arizona Cardinals (4-8)
1 19-42 @NYG 10 21-29 @DET
2 12-17 STL 11 38-28 @STL
3 12-37 @SEA 12 17-24 JAC
4 31-14 SFO 13 17-10 @SFO
5 20-24 CAR 14 Dec 11 WAS
6 Open Bye 15 Dec 18 @HOU
7 20-10 TEN 16 Dec 24 PHI
8 13-34 @DAL 17 Jan 1 @IND
9 19-33 SEA . . SAT
ARZ vs WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Kurt Warner 0 0 260,1
RB J.J. Arrington 40 20 0
RB Marcel Shipp 20 0 0
TE Adam Bergen 0 10 0
WR Anquan Boldin 0 80 0
WR Larry Fitzgerald 0 100,1 0
WR Bryant Johnson 0 40 0
PK Nick Novak 2 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals thankfully played the 49ers last week and were able to win 17-10. But the only win outside of the division has come against the visiting Titans and the Cards have just this week managed to do something impressive. They only really use two wideouts and yet have the #1 team for fantasy scoring by wideouts. And yet, they are now the #32 team for fantasy scoring by running backs. They are also the #1 team for kicking points. So - if you can cover at least one of Boldin and Fitzgerald, all opponents have to do is stay ahead of Rackers who is likely out this week.

Quarterback: Kurt Warner was only signed for one year but he's likely to get a contract extension in the offseason. Warner has been throwing for 300 yards in almost every game this year but amazingly only has nine touchdowns in eight games. It's like all the passing yardage of any quarterback in the league coupled with the scoring ability of Kyle Orton. Warner already has five games over the 300 yard mark this year.

Running Backs: J.J. Arrington is taking over the primary runner role and he comes off his best game of the year but that only meant 59 rushing yards against the 49ers. Arrington does have the only two rushing scores by the Cardinals this year and both came in road games with minimal rushing yards.

Wide Receivers: The combination of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin has been as good as any set of wideouts in the league for fantasy purposes. Basically, the entire offense is predicated on throwing to the duo with little left over for any other player. Boldin has five scores and six 100 yard games in ten games while Fitzgerald has seven touchdowns and six 100 yard games. There has only been one other wideout score this year for the Cardinals.

Tight Ends: While there have been two scores to tight ends this year, in most games there is only one catch for less than ten yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Redskins rushing defense has been only average at best but that is mainly huge games going to great opponents and then stuffing the lesser teams. Arizona is a lesser team - actually the "lesserest" of them all. No soup for Arrington this week.

The Redskins pass defense also ranks as one of the better ones and only one team has managed to score more than once via the pass. Given the high volume of passes that both Fitzgerald and Boldin receive, they should both end up with moderate games here with Fitzgerald the slightly better odds for the score.