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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: SEA 27, DET 20

The Seahawks (13-3) come off a NFC championship season that ended with the loss in the Superbowl. The scary thing here is that they could be even better this year in a division that rivals the NFC North as the worst in the league. The Lions (5-11) went through an implosion last year and start a whole new era with a new head coach and quarterback. The addition of Mike Martz as offensive coordinator should provide a sorely needed spark to the offense that crumbled last year.

Seattle Seahawks (0-0)
1 --- @DET 10 --- STL
2 --- ARZ 11 --- @SF
3 --- NYG 12 --- GB
4 --- @CHI 13 --- @DEN
5 Open Bye 14 --- @ARZ
6 --- @STL 15 --- SF
7 --- MIN 16 --- SD
8 --- @KC 17 --- @TB
9 --- OAK - MON THU
SEA at DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck 0 0 190,1
RB Shaun Alexander 110,2 20 0
TE Itula Mili 0 10 0
WR Darrell Jackson 0 50 0
WR Bobby Engram 0 40 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 60,1 0
PK Josh Brown 2 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Seahawks cruised through 2005 despite having injury woes for wide receivers much of the year. Evidently having a tailback run for more yards and scores than any other team tends to make the passing game less a need anyway. Holmgren will be calling the plays again this year and the Seattle defense should be even better. With their schedule, Seattle should be scary good again this year.

Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck has hit his groove the last three seasons, ending with around 24 touchdowns a year and 3400 passing yards or so. His 24 scores last year tied for 4th best in the league and that was without Darrell Jackson for most of the year. Not only is Jackson slated to play this week, the team has added Nate Burleson to replace the departed Joe Jurevicius. And it all pretty much comes down to how many touchdowns Shaun Alexander doesn't personally score.

Running Backs: No need to waste ink here. Shaun Alexander's 1880 rushing yards led the NFL last year and his 27 rushing touchdowns were tops in running back history. Since he became a starter in 2001, he's never done worse than 16 touchdowns in a season. His only downside, if such exists and it probably doesn't, is that he has lost one of his pro bowl guards and he appears on Madden 2006. The fantasy world is hardly running away in fear.

Wide Receivers: Darrell Jackson has just now shown back up in practice after missing all of the off-season and preseason while recovering from knee surgery. His durability is a concern but his production never has been. Figure Jackson to post lower numbers at the start of the season as he eases back into game shape but he'll be a gem later on if he remains healthy. Sadly, he now carries an "if" each season.

The Seahawks added Nate Burleson during the offseason and that gives the team a legitimate #2 wideout that could contribute for many years. Bobby Engram turns 34 in January and is obviously not the future in Seattle but he's a solid #3 during his five seasons in Seattle and had 778 yards last year when pressed into more duty with the injury to Jackson. Hasselbeck in this system is deadly when needed and this crew can get the job done. Once Jackson is completely back to normal and Burleson has learned the offense and gained chemistry with Hasselbeck, this could be a very good unit indeed.

Tight Ends: Just when everything was looking good for this year, Jerramy Stevens tore the meniscus in his left knee and will be out for about the first month of the season. Itula Mili was also hobble but is expected to be back for the season opener.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions ranked around average against the fantasy positions last year but have added HC Rod Marinelli from Tampa Bay and it is more than certain that he will get more from this unit than Mariucci could. Opening week is always hard on defenses and even more so for a new scheme being installed. Expect the standard wonderful game from Alexander here with at least one score if not two.

Hasselbeck's numbers won't likely be flashy this week with a decent secondary in Detroit and the fact that the Seattle defense should delight in going against a Martz offense that is still only in its infancy. Hasselbeck won't be able to resist throwing for at least one score but anything above that will only be gravy. This assumes that Jackson starts the year slowly though he roared back quickly late last year.

Detroit Lions (0-0)
1 --- SEA 10 --- SF
2 --- @CHI 11 --- @ARZ
3 --- GB 12 --- MIA
4 --- @STL 13 --- @NE
5 --- @MIN 14 --- MIN
6 --- BUF 15 --- @GB
7 --- @NYJ 16 --- CHI
8 Open Bye 17 --- @DAL
9 --- ATL - - THU
DET vs SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna 0 0 250,2
RB Kevin Jones 50 20 0
TE Marcus Pollard 0 10 0
WR Roy Williams 0 90,1 0
WR Mike Williams 0 50 0
WR Corey Bradford 0 60,1 0
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Lions fell apart last year and Mariucci left mid-season in what became the answer to "how can it get worse than 2004?". The ex-DC Rod Marinelli now brings his tough brand of "my way or the highway" to the team along with some much needed discipline. Many felt Mariucci lost the team last year and there was a void of leadership on all levels. While the Lions may once again falter, at least there will be no question who is in charge from here on out. Marinelli also brought on Mike Martz as offensive coordinator and with that the promise of a high-powered offense. If the team can end up with a Marinelli-quality defense and a Martz offense, this team could actually advance from the mediocrity of the last many years.

Quarterback: While there was initially speculation that Jon Kitna and Josh McCown would duke it out to become the new starting quarterback, the reality was that Kitna's nine years of experience would easily win the day and his final season as a starter in Cincinnati produced 26 touchdowns. Playing in a pass happy offense now, Kitna could surprise this year if the wideout situation settles down and becomes reliable.

Running Backs: One of the most befuddling situations last year was the Detroit backfield where Kevin Jones came off of an encouraging rookie year with 1133 rushing yards on 241 carries and then he only had a mere 186 totes for 664 yards in 2005 while Artose Pinner was given 106 very slow carries for just 306 yards. Why Pinner was used so much last year will be one of those questions akin to "who really shot Kennedy". Marinelli has already improved the backfield when he released Pinner last week. Jones has promise once again and now playing in a Martz offense, the expectation is that he will become more involved in the passing game as well. Jones only had around 24 catches in each of his first two seasons.

The Lions also drafted Brian Calhoun and added Arlen Harris as the primary back-up. Still early for Calhoun to do much but he could end up as a very good third down back due to his size and speed.

Wide Receivers: A Mike Martz offense considers wide receivers like pretty girls near the San Diego Naval Base. Just cannot have enough and they all get used eventually. Roy Williams is the only wideout with a locked down slot as the split end and new acquisition Corey Bradford mans the flanker at least for now. Mike Williams remains in the mix and Charles Rogers was finally released since Marinelli had nothing to prove by keeping him on the roster. Mike Furrey has also turned a few heads in training camp.

This first game will be worth watching to see how the wideouts are used outside of Roy Williams who now takes the "Holt" role.

Tight Ends: The aging Marcus Pollard returns for his 12th NFL season and at the age of 34 and now playing in a Mike "we have tight ends?" Martz offense, his stock is dropping faster than the price of Madden 2005.

Match Against the Defense: The bad news for Kevin Jones is that he will face the #1 defense against running backs in 2005. Expect only mediocre numbers that could rise to moderate if Jones catches a few passes.

Kitna gets to unveil a new offense that will have been very hard to prepare for by Seattle and it's reasonable to expect at least trash time yards in this game. He'll likely have a few turnovers along the way but look for a solid yardage game here with the chance for a couple of passing scores that will most favor the wideouts of Roy Williams and Bradford though in a new Martz scheme, they could go anywhere.