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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: MIN 17, WAS 23

The Vikings (9-7) ended strongly last year but not nearly enough to keep the team from dumping Mike Tice and hiring Brad Childress. The Redskins (10-6) return with all the same offensive stars and with a couple of additions in the passing game. But Washington has looked surprisingly inept in the preseason despite a multitude of reasons why it should have looked better. This week is the chance to show the meaning of "it's only the preseason".

Minnesota Vikings (0-0)
1 --- @WAS 10 --- GB
2 --- CAR 11 --- @MIA
3 --- CHI 12 --- ARZ
4 --- @BUF 13 --- @CHI
5 --- DET 14 --- @DET
6 Open Bye 15 --- NYJ
7 --- @SEA 16 --- @GB
8 --- NE 17 --- STL
9 --- @SF - MON THU
MIN at WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Brad Johnson 0 0 180,1
RB Chester Taylor 70,1 40 0
TE Jermaine Wiggins 0 30 0
WR Marcus Robinson 0 20 0
WR Troy Williamson 0 50 0
WR Travis Taylor 0 40,1 0
PK Ryan Longwell 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Vikings start the Brad Childress era this year after luring him from Philadelphia to serve as the new head coach. Darrell Bevell comes over from the Packers but Childress will be calling the plays. This team already bears no resemblance to the 2004 version and little to rekindle 2005. The team with no defense and a "go deep" offense now has become a very sound defense and a dink-n-dunk unit.

Quarterback: Brad Johnson starts the season off and while he has not had a lot of experience in the scheme of Childress, he's adept at not making mistakes and controlling the ball. He'll fit in fine but at the age of 38 he is no long-term answer.

Running Backs: Like Lamont Jordan last year, Chester Taylor has parlayed three years of back-up duty in Baltimore into a starting gig elsewhere. The Vikings have likely found a very good fit for the new offense since Taylor has averaged over 4.2 yards per carry during his career and turned in 41 catches for 292 yards and one score in 2005. He'll be relied on to fill that "Westbrook" role that should see him produce fantasy points, like Jordan, as much from the pass as from the run.

Mewelde Moore will serve as back-up and offer relief for Taylor but the initial plan is to use Taylor fairly heavily.

Wide Receivers: The Vikings wideouts once prompted "ooh's" and "ah's" but not mostly cause "who?" and "really?". Koren Robinson fell off the wagon again and this time the police were in pursuit at the time. He's gone and left second-year player Troy Williamson to step up into a #1 role "ready or not". Travis Taylor and Marcus Robinson remain the interchangeable #2 receiver and the recent addition of Todd Pinkston could come into play eventually as he already knows the offense better than any of the current receivers.

For this week, expect Williamson and Taylor to be the main receivers but expect Pinkston to make a showing sooner than later.

Tight Ends: Jermaine Wiggins had 68 catches for 568 yards last year and could maintain a role in the new offense that will use tight ends at least occasionally and more if they prove productive. He's a good one to keep an eye on that was somewhat forgotten after only scoring once last year. But if Taylor does grow into a significant role in the passing game as planned, that will more likely come out of what Wiggins could have done.

Match Against the Defense: The Redskins were top 5 against the pass last year but only average against the run. Look for Taylor to only manage moderate rushing yards but to add in enough receptions to give him fantasy value this week. It is a new offense and a fast dump off is always attractive.

Brad Johnson won't turn in anything more than average passing numbers and he may not manage that much against the Skins at home who always play tough. Don't expect more than one score and anything over 200 yards would be a surprise in this game. The cast of receivers is not even set yet so determining which one is most likely to score is a total crap shoot here this early in the year. CB Shawn Springs is out this week which should benefit Troy Taylor.

Washington Redskins (0-0)
1 --- MIN 10 --- @PHI
2 --- @DAL 11 --- @TB
3 --- @HOU 12 --- CAR
4 --- JAX 13 --- ATL
5 --- @NYG 14 --- PHI
6 --- TEN 15 --- @NO
7 --- @IND 16 --- @STL
8 Open Bye 17 --- NYG
9 --- DAL - MON SAT
WAS vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Mark Brunell 0 0 220,1
RB Ladell Betts 80,1 20 0
RB T.J. Duckett 20 0 0
TE Chris Cooley 0 50,1 0
WR Santana Moss 0 60 0
WR Brandon Lloyd 0 50 0
WR Antwaan Randle El 0 20 0
PK John Hall 3 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Redskins retooled the offense by adding Brandon Lloyd from the 49ers and Antwaan Randle El from the Steelers who will factor most into the return game. They also brought in Al Saunders from Kansas City to oversee the offense. While Don Breaux will serve officially as offensive coordinator, Saunders is expected to call the plays. Now all they need is a healthy Clinton Portis and this ship is ready to sail.

Quarterback: Mark Brunell stepped in during week one and never looked back in 2005. He ended with 3050 yards and a career high 23 touchdown passes. Brunell was not only productive with Santana Moss, he was always at his deadliest when he was going against divisional rivals. It's still enough to keep last year's first round pick Jason Campbell on the bench again this year.

Running Backs: Clinton Portis made an ill-advised tackle in the preseason opener against the Bengals and has been out since with a partially dislocated shoulder. He has not been ruled out for this week but it appears likely he won't play and would be very limited even if he did. The Skins feel good about having both Ladell Betts and T.J. Duckett on the roster and this is the very reason why. Look for opening week to be mostly Betts who already knows the offense and only cameo work by the newly acquired Duckett if that.

Wide Receivers: Santana Moss had a magic year in 2005 when he ended with 1483 yards - second to only Steve Smith. Moss scored nine times and single-handedly won a few games last year. But he was truly the only wideout to use - David Patten ranked second and had only 217 yards. No other wideout had even one touchdown. To cure an obvious imbalance and to actually free up Moss even more, the team added Brandon Lloyd for a great complement and snapped up Antwaan Randle El to help from the slot and to play special teams as a return man as well.

This should be a much upgraded unit from last year and one that means the secondary cannot triple cover Moss and forget the rest anymore.

Tight Ends: Chris Cooley turned in seven scores in 2005 - only Antonio Gates had more, His 774 yards ranked him 6th best in the league and now with Al Saunders (of Tony Gonzalez/ KC fame) directing traffic, Cooley remains in a good spot with his only limitation being a finite number of passes to distribute between he and the upgraded wideouts.

Match Against the Defense: The Vikings defense bears no resemblance to past years. This front four is as solid as they come and will cause problems for rushers starting with Betts this week. Expect only moderate yardage here but the chance for one score.

Brunell has not looked like he was in complete synch with all players during the preseason but will need to show he's still the same as last year only with better targets. The Vikings CB's of Antoine Winfield and Fred Smoot (from WAS) will play it well and likely force Brunell to fire up the Cooley plays again. This game should be a bit lower scoring and more defensive than future ones will with the absence of Portis and the Vikings trying to get their new schemes in place.