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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
September 6, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
BAL at TB NO at CLE     SD at OAK

Prediction: IND 27, NYG 24

What a wonderful, wonderful game for the fantasy team owner - and Sunday night all by itself no less. The Colts (14-2) come off perhaps one of the biggest chokes in recent history after seeming to have a free pass to the Super Bowl (forgot to tell the Steelers evidently). The Giants (11-5) won the NFC East only to get shut out - at home no less - by the Panthers. This game is chock full of fantasy studs and pits the two teams that left 2005 on the worst of terms. Better than all that - it's brother versus brother with the Manning boys finally duking it out.

Indianapolis Colts (0-0)
1 --- @NYG 10 --- BUF
2 --- HOU 11 --- @DAL
3 --- JAX 12 --- PHI
4 --- @NYJ 13 --- @TEN
5 --- TEN 14 --- @JAX
6 Open Bye 15 --- CIN
7 --- WAS 16 --- @HOU
8 --- @DEN 17 --- MIA
9 --- @NE - - MON
IND at NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 270,2
RB Dominic Rhodes 70,1 20 0
RB Joseph Addai 20 30 0
TE Dallas Clark 0 20 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 80,1 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 90,1 0
WR Stokley/ Moorehead 0 20 0
PK Adam Vinatieri 2 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: It was all in place last year when the Colts sported the #2 ranking in points scored for and against. The greatest offense in the land and suddenly one of the most dominating defenses. But the Steelers came knocking and the Colts fell. As much as we have seen Peyton Manning in commercials this summer, it will be nice to actually see him in a game once again.

Quarterback: After coming off a monster 49 touchdown season in 2004, Peyton Manning started out last season slowly thanks to their new defense but by the end of the year he still ranked 5th in yardage (3762) and 2nd in scoring (28 touchdowns) and he didn't even play in the final week. With Edgerrin James now in Arizona, there's reasons to believe that Manning won't have the luxury of just handing off in these initial weeks this year. And thanks to living in the AFC South, he has one of the lighter schedules no less.

Running Backs: The Colts used their first round pick on a tailback as expected but with Bush, Maroney and Williams already gone, the best left was Joseph Addai. Any tailback in this system has to be considered a fantasy gem but Addai will have to show more than he has to make the leap to being a starter. He was only a full-time starter for one year in college and that was because of injury to the other running back. The jury is still out but man - what a great courthouse to be tried in.

Dominic Rhodes will take the initial start this season and may keep it all year - impossible to say until we see what Addai can really do. Rhodes turned in 1104 rushing yards and nine scores as a rookie covering for James in 2001 but he's had a knee injury in 2002 that may still be a factor. But until Addai shows up - this is Rhodes' golden opportunity. Both backs will play.

Wide Receivers: There is some thought that Marvin Harrison is slowing down now that he is 34 years-old and he has been on a four year decline in receptions. But he still ended with 82 for 1146 yards in 2005 and his 12 touchdowns tied Steve Smith for best in the NFL. His slow down still puts him above almost everyone else. Reggie Wayne enters his sixth season and comes off a bit of a down year when he only had 1055 yards and five scores after rolling up a dozen touchdowns and 1210 yards in 2004. With Manning at the helm and Harrison on the downturn (relative only to himself), Wayne's future can only be brighter.

Brandon Stokley suffered a high ankle sprain a couple of weeks ago and his status is still iffy for this week. He's not a safe play and could be replaced by Aaron Moorehead or Terrence Wilkins.

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark had a chance to turn in bigger numbers in 2005 when Marcus Pollard left but his 488 yards and four scores were almost identical to 2004. With Pollard gone, the Colts just turned to the rookie Bryan Fletcher as well (202 yards, 3 touchdowns). Clark figures in as the primary tight end, but he's not the only one.

Match Against the Defense: The Giants defense was only average against most fantasy positions last year and seemed better because of their ability to score points and get turnovers. But the Colts come in with a new rushing game that won't likely be as good as 2005 so expect only moderate numbers from Rhodes here who will have to share in some measure with Addai. Figure on Rhodes probably scoring once but no more than that.

Manning will throw for at least two scores and he has the same receivers as last year other than potentially Stokley if he is held out or limited. It's Manning and the opening to a new season after a bitter loss ended 2005. The Giants have swapped out CB Will Peterson and Will Allen to use Sam Madison and second year player Corey Webster. This will be a big test of the new secondary.

New York Giants (0-0)
1 --- IND 10 --- CHI
2 --- @PHI 11 --- @JAX
3 --- @SEA 12 --- @TEN
4 Open Bye 13 --- DAL
5 --- WAS 14 --- @CAR
6 --- @ATL 15 --- PHI
7 --- @DAL 16 --- NO
8 --- TB 17 --- @WAS
9 --- HOU - MON SAT
NYG vs IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 0 0 250,2
RB Tiki Barber 70 40 0
RB Brandon Jacobs 20,1 0 0
TE Jeremy Shockey 0 60,1 0
WR Amani Toomer 0 40 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 80,1 0
WR Sinorice Moss 0 20 0
PK Jay Feeley 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Giants were crushed 23-0 in the playoffs by Carolina but some of that was due to injuries. The same offense returns with the speedy addition of Sinorice Moss and the defense has added numerous players. The Giants open to a daunting schedule with road games to Philly and Seattle before their week four bye but this week will likely be their biggest challenge.

Quarterback: Eli Manning had his first full season as a starter in 2005 and ended with 3762 yards and 24 touchdowns - more yardage than his brother and tied for fourth best in passing scores in the NFL last year. But Manning's development is not complete by any means since he also mixed in a couple of sub-150 games and made a few bad decisions along the way. The talent is there and this year will show if he's going to be able realize his full potential. This is a harder schedule for the Giants and Manning must continue to improve.

Running Backs: Tiki Barber may be 31 years old but he's turned in two consecutive career best seasons and ended 2005 and the #2 rusher in the NFL with only 20 yards less than Shaun Alexander (1860). Barber may be smaller, but he carried the ball 357 times - third most. He also continues to matter in the passing game with around 500 yards and a couple scores there as well.

Brandon Jacobs only had 99 yards on 38 carries last year but he scored seven times and was very impressive in preseason play. He'll continue to supply short yardage and goal line duty this year but could figure in more just to rest Barber - time will tell.

Wide Receivers: Plaxico Burress moved to the Giants in 2005 and found just what he was looking for - a job as the primary wideout with 1214 yards and seven scores. Amani Toomer only had 684 yards but turned in seven touchdowns as well after not having any during Manning's rookie season. This is an effective set of wideouts that are now complemented with slot play from the ultra-fast brother of Santana. Sinorice Moss is likely not big enough to play every down duty but as a slot receiver he could be deadly on deep passes.

Tight Ends: With all that firepower already, Jeremy Shockey comes off a 891 yard season with seven scores as well. Shockey's 60 catches were second only to Burress for the Giants.

Match Against the Defense: The Colts were around the top ten best in almost all fantasy categories last year and should manage to keep Barber from exploding here. Look for a solid game from Tiki that should include enough passes to total him over the 100 yard mark though Jacobs is the more likely to score here.

Eli Manning goes against a sound secondary but the Colts will be likely be without CB Jason David which means the fill-in will likely be Marlin Jackson against Burress. Expect Eli to notice that. I like the chances that both Burress and Shockey reel in scores in this game that should be a definite must-watch.