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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: Washington 17, Philadelphia 13

The Skins clipped the Eagles 17-10 in week nine in Washington and this game is a must-win for the Redskins if they are to reach the playoffs this season. A loss here coupled with a likely win over the Rams by Dallas will leave the Skins at home in January. The Eagles are just playing out their nightmare season but have remained competitive in all but the Seattle fiasco. The Redskins are only 3-4 on the road this year though and this will be the Eagles superbowl this year. At least as close as they get.

Update: Mark Brunell has not practiced this week and Patrick Ramsey has been taking all the first team snaps, but Brunell is now listed as probable to play with his sprained knee and the team is optimistic that he can play. At this point, it still seems likely that Ramsey will play some role if not be the starter, but realize that there is a risk that Brunell does play for some or even all of the game - at least until the score is in hand. If you have to chose one of these, and I would not want to be in your shoes, Ramsey is still the lower risk play this week. I am not changing the projections but wanted to note this possibility.

Washington Redskins (9-6)
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 17-13 @ARI
6 21-28 @KCC 15 35-7 DAL
7 52-17 SFO 16 35-20 NYG
8 0-36 @NYG 17 Jan 1 @PHI
9 17-10 PHI . MON SAT
WAS at PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Patrick Ramsey 0 0 220,1
RB Clinton Portis 80,1 20 0
TE Chris Cooley 0 60,1 0
WR Santana Moss 0 80 0
WR Taylor Jacobs 0 30 0
WR James Thrash 0 30 0
PK John Hall 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: After a mid season slide, these Redskins have won their last four games including big wins over divisional rivals Dallas and New York. The defense has been stepping up every week and the offense continues to click though Mark Brunell's injury could see him miss this game with a sprained MCL. That could put a definite kink in the game plan.

Quarterback: Mark Brunell sprained his MCL in the game against the Giants last Saturday and he'll be questionable to play here. Patrick Ramsey came off the bench to complete five of seven passes for 104 yards which included a 72 yard score to Santana Moss (that was mostly thanks to Moss). I assume Ramsey will be the starter here until Brunell is cleared to play.

Brunell threw for 224 yards and no scores in the previous meeting with the Eagles.

Running Backs: Clinton Portis is hitting his stride at the right time of year. He has topped 100 yards in each of his last four games and scored four touchdowns in that time. Portis ran for 67 yards on 21 carries and scored once against the visiting Eagles in week nine.

Wide Receivers: Santana Moss had a season best game when he caught five passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns last week against the Giants, a but better than the mere 34 yards he had on the road to New York earlier this year. The monster game stops his eight game trend of less than 80 yards a week and was only his second game with a score since week seven. Moss turned a slant into a 72 yard touchdown to provide the big yardage last week but he already had two scores in the game by that point. Moss had seven catches for 79 against Philly this year. No other wideout had a catch.

Tight Ends: Chris Cooley had five catches for 41 yards against the Giants with one touchdown reception and another score on his first NFL pass. Like Portis, Cooley has really turned it on recently with five scores over the last four games.

Cooley turned in seven catches for 85 yards against the Eagles in week nine.

Match Against the Defense: The Philly offense has been devastated by injury, but the defense has fared much better this season, more limited now due to being left in worse situations and a lot more plays to defense thanks to the diminished offense. Portis could only gain about three yards per carry in week nine when the Skins hosted this game and in Philadelphia, it'll be hard do much more. The Eagles already held Portis to his second worst game of the year but Portis is running much better as of late. Expect at least moderate numbers here from a higher number of carries but as always, a chance that Portis breaks a run or two to rack up some good yardage.

The Eagles have already held Moss to 79 yards in week nine and that's been right at what Moss has done almost every week in the second half of the season. Cooley enjoyed success against them before and should again since tight ends have been a weaker spot for the Eagles. If Ramsey plays, the numbers will be lower but even with the immobile Brunell, those Eagle blitz packages will be a problem.

Philadelphia Eagles (6-9)
1 10-14 @ATL 10 20-21 DAL
2 42-3 SFO 11 17-27 @NYG
3 23-20 OAK 12 19-14 GBP
4 37-31 @KCC 13 0-42 SEA
5 10-33 @DAL 14 23-26 NYG
6 Open Bye 15 17-16 @STL
7 20-17 SDC 16 21-27 @ARI
8 21-49 @DEN 17 Jan 1 WAS
9 10-17 @WAS . MON SAT
PHI vs WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Mike McMahon 20,1 0 150
RB Ryan Moats 40 0 0
TE L.J. Smith 0 10 0
WR Greg Lewis 0 20 0
WR Reggie Brown 0 70 0
WR Billy McMullen 0 40 0
PK David Akers 2 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The season from hell is almost over and the chance to derail the playoff hopes of the Redskins gives this final home game a reason to play hard. The Skins barely nipped the Eagles in week nine in Washington and may be without Brunell. But that was back when McNabb was still playing and there's been no confusion about Mike McMahon being a big step down.

Quarterback: Mike McMahon ran in two scores last week and with that he likely found the one niche that he could provide to the team. McMahon still struggles to reach even 150 yards in most games and has never thrown for more than one score.

McNabb played his final full game against the Skins and had 304 yards and one score.

Running Backs: Okay, so maybe Ryan Moats is not going to turn in a big scoring run every week. He only gained 13 yards on nine carries last week in St. Louis. Cinderella has gone back to the pumpkin and the Eagles only ran for 33 yards on 20 carries against the Skins in week nine and that was with Westbrook.

Wide Receivers: Billy McMullen had the lone touchdown pass last week but he has never had more than two catches or 46 yards with McMahon under center. Greg Lewis is a starter but was blanked last week and in three of four games with McMahon has only caught one pass for 10 yards or less per week. The rookie Reggie Brown has fared better with a couple of games around 70 yards and he had five catches for 94 yards and one score against the Skins in week nine.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith has lost all fantasy value now. He has only one catch in each of the last three games. The more blockers, the better since McNabb left. Smith only had one catch for 10 yards in the previous meeting with the Skins.

Match Against the Defense: The Eagles back at home is where Moats had his success so there is still a chance he could break another long one but on an every down basis, he never gets more than a dozen runs per game and does little with them - other than busting a long gainer once or twice. Expect minimal yardage here against an even better defense than Moats has faced.

McMahon cannot be expected to throw for more than 150 yards here and he could score once since it is a home game and Brunell may not play - that should give more plays to Philly to use on offense. There is no significant weakness to the Redskins defense to exploit and even if there were - the Eagles would be hard pressed to take advantage of it.