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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 17
December 28, , 2005
Season Ticket
Sat 4:30 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM SEA at GB*
DEN at SD* ARI at IND CHI at MIN* NO at TB WAS at PHI*
Sat 8 PM BAL at CLE CIN at KC Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
NYG at OAK* BUF at NYJ* DET at PIT* HOU at SF* STL at DAL
Updated* CAR at ATL MIA at NE TEN at JAC* Times ET

Prediction: Chicago 17, Minnesota 9

The Bears won 28-3 when the Vikings came to Chicago in week six but this game has no meaning since Chicago has clinched a bye, cannot get the home field through out and the Vikings were dropped from playoff contention last week by the Ravens. Chicago is still too new to this playoff thing to realize they could tank this week but then again - what offensive stars are they going to rest anyway? This is a coin flip game since the motivations of either team is not clear and the Vikes come off a short week.

Update: Thomas Jones is likely to play only a limited role here with the playoff spot sewn up already. I am lowering his numbers and increasing Adrian Peterson's production.

Chicago Bears (11-4)
1 7-9 @WAS 10 17-9 SFO
2 38-6 DET 11 13-3 CAR
3 7-24 CIN 12 13-10 @TBB
4 Open Bye 13 19-7 GBP
5 10-20 @CLE 14 9-21 @PIT
6 28-3 MIN 15 16-3 ATL
7 10-6 BAL 16 24-17 @GBP
8 19-13 @DET 17 Jan 1 @MIN
9 20-17 @NOR . . .
CHI at MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Rex Grossman 0 0 190,1
RB Thomas Jones 40 10 0
RB Adrian Peterson 60,1 10 0
TE Desmond Clark 0 10 0
WR Muhsin Muhammad 0 60,1 0
WR Justin Gage 0 30 0
WR Bernard Berrian 0 70 0
PK Robbie Gould 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: No matter that the Bears have nothing to win here, their defense is going to play well because they never play any other way. The only loss in the last ten games has been in Pittsburgh and the defense still ranks as one of the stingiest in NFL history. Add in that Rex Grossman is reviving the passing game and these Bears are no less dangerous.

Quarterback: Rex Grossman only threw for 166 yards and one score last week versus the Packers and he only completed 11 of 23 passes. But he just looked much sharper in his first game back than Orton had in 14 starts. There is a chance of course that the Bears may rest Grossman at some point in the game but then again, he needs the work to sharpen his skills for a playoff run.

Orton threw for 117 yards and two scores in the week six meeting with the Vikings.

Running Backs: Thomas Jones finally comes off a 100 yard game for the first time in eight games and he has now scored in each of the last three games. The addition of a passing game to respect can only be a help to this running game.

Jones ran for 89 yards and two scores in the previous meeting with the Vikings.

Wide Receivers: Muhsin Muhammad had five catches for 58 yards and one score last week which was actually his second best fantasy showing of the year - that in just the first game with Grossman. The speedster Bernard Berrian also comes off his best game of the year with three catches for 93 yards against the Packers. That deep ball is something that hasn't been seen in Chicago all year long and will provide a huge benefit for the entire offense by forcing the defenses to adjust for it.

Muhammad had five catches for 48 yards when the Vikes came to Chicago in week six.

Tight Ends: Desmond Clark has not caught a pass in the last two games. Clark had his best game of the year in week six when he had four catches for 19 yards and two touchdowns against the Vikings. Seems a long time ago.

Match Against the Defense: This time around there is no Culpepper and the Vikings are not teetering on collapse as they were back in week six. Look for a decidedly closer game this time around that should keep Thomas Jones under 100 yards though he will likely score once.

Grossman won't throw any more than he needs to and the Vikes have been completely remade in the secondary since week six. Expect only moderate yardage here with one score possible but not likely more since pressing against this secondary will just cause bad things to happen for the rusty Grossman.

Minnesota Vikings (8-7)
1 13-24 TBB 10 24-21 @NYG
2 8-37 @CIN 11 23-20 @GBP
3 33-16 NOR 12 24-12 CLE
4 10-30 @ATL 13 21-16 @DET
5 Open Bye 14 27-13 STL
6 3-28 @CHI 15 3-18 PIT
7 23-20 GBP 16 23-30 @BAL
8 13-38 @CAR 17 Jan 1 CHI
9 27-14 DET . . MON
MIN vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Brad Johnson 0 0 170
RB Michael Bennett 20 0 0
RB Mewelde Moore 30 10 0
TE Jermaine Wiggins 0 40 0
WR Koren Robinson 0 30 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 10 0
WR Marcus Robinson 0 20 0
WR Troy Williamson 0 30 0
WR Travis Taylor 0 20 0
PK Paul Edinger 3 FG 0 XP -

Pregame Notes: After a surprising winning streak of six games, the Vikings have now dropped their last two match-ups and end the season with a chance to have a winning record. At worst they'll be .500 and that alone should be considered as a major success for Mike Tice and the rest of the team. The problem this week is that the Vikings have not fared well in any game against a decent defense, let alone the best one.

Quarterback: Brad Johnson apparently only has two modes. He either throws for around 140 yards and no scores or he has 250 yards and two scores with really no middle ground in the last six games. Since Chicago has only allowed two passing scores total over the last 11 games, figure on the former happening and not the latter.

Running Backs: And back to Mewelde Moore. Michael Bennett only had one run last week for a one yard loss while Mewelde Moore resumed primary back duties and turned in 49 yards on ten carries. But Moore ran for only 57 yards on 14 rushes against the Bears this year. This week it is likely that neither Moore or Bennett have an fantasy significance.

Wide Receivers: This unit is a mess in terms of forecasting. There is no primary receiver and there is no player here that you can rely on performing in two straight weeks. What is worse is that the lead wideout for the team usually remains below 50 yards anyway, so even when you guess correctly you still get it wrong.

No wideout had more than 41 yards back in week six against the Bears.

Tight Ends: Jermaine Wiggins played on a sprained ankle last week and still had seven catches for 43 yards and one score - his first on the season. Wiggins turned in ten catches for 68 yards in Chicago this year.

Match Against the Defense: The only certainty here is that the Vikings will not run well and have moderate passing that will favor no one player other than some yardage for Wiggins. Hopefully this changes by next year because the Vikings passing game has all the diversity of the Patriots with only a fraction of the productivity.