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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
WEEK 3
September 20, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday night
On Bye
CAR at TB JAX at IND BAL at CLE DEN at NE DAL, KC,
CHI at MIN NYJ at BUF NYG at SEA
Monday
OAK, SD
CIN at PIT TEN at MIA PHI at SF ATL at NO  
GB at DET WAS at HOU STL at ARZ   updated

Prediction: JAX 16, IND 24

Yet another must see game this week! The Colts come in 2-0 as expected and the offense is clicking right along like last year. But the Jaguars are also 2-0 and took down the Cowboys and Steelers in the process. The shutout of Pittsburgh may be one of the best defensive efforts in the history of the Jaguars franchise and on Monday Night Football no less. If the Jaguars want to stamp themselves as legit, a win here would provide the team with a major step to the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Colts don't really care to play along.

The Colts swept the Jaguars 10-3 and 26-18 last year.

Update: Matt Jones has missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with a groin injury and is listed as questionable to play. I am downgrading his projections and he may not play. Check the inactives on Sunday but if he doesn't practice on Friday consider him as a very likely scratch this week.

Adam Vinatieri remains questionable with a groin injury as well and has not practiced. But the Colts have not signed another kicker yet so they're waiting to see how Vinatieri feels on Friday and Saturday before making that decision. If they do not sign a kicker by Saturday, then expect that Vinatieri will play. Brandon Stokley remains questionable as well but hasn't practiced and appears unlikely to play this week with his re-aggravated ankle sprain.

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-0)
1 24-17 DAL 10 --- HOU
2 9-0 PIT 11 --- NYG
3 --- @IND 12 --- @BUF
4 --- @WAS 13 --- @MIA
5 --- NYJ 14 --- IND
6 Open Bye 15 --- @TEN
7 --- @HOU 16 --- NE
8 --- @PHI 17 --- @KC
9 --- TEN - - MON
JAX at IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Byron Leftwich 20 0 240,1
RB Fred Taylor 60 10 0
RB Maurice Drew 10 20 0
TE George Wrighster 0 30 0
WR Reggie Williams 0 70.1 0
WR Ernest Wilford 0 60 0
WR Matt Jones 0 40 0
PK Josh Scobee 3 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: Two big wins over quality opponents but both were at home and at least last week it was against the Steelers that had a rusty Roethlisberger. Not to diminish the feat at all, but the Jaguars hit the road for the first time this year where heat and humidity is not going to be their ally. Even with a loss here, it's still entirely feasible that they could be 5-1 when they head to Philly for their next biggest test.

Quarterback: Byron Leftwich has never looked better than after he lost his best receiver in Jimmy Smith - go figure. Now instead of locking on Smith, he's reading the field more and taking the open receiver that has been one of three different wideouts and none who have been so dominant as to be considered the primary guy. Leftwich has turned in games of 247 and 219 yards with a total of five touchdowns. He's getting over the hump it appears and now just needs to avoid his other defining characteristic - injuries.

Leftwich only threw for 198 yards and no scores in week two against the Colts and was injured in the week 14 meeting.

Running Backs: Fred Taylor has been surprisingly effective in running for 74 yards and a score against Dallas and then 92 yards against the Steelers. And unlike recent years, he's not sharing the load other than a couple of token carries to Maurice Drew. Taylor has his own lengthy injury history as well but so far - the season is starting out better than anyone could have expected.

Taylor ran for 81 yards on 16 carries in Indianapolis last year but only managed 19 yards on ten carries at home in week 14.

Wide Receivers: The Jaguars are using three receiver sets and mixing up the wideouts regularly with great results so far. The trio of Ernest Wilford, Matt Jones and Reggie Williams has not individually excelled really but collectively they have posted 186 and 195 yards against two of the toughest secondaries in the league. Both Matt Jones and Reggie Williams are averaging around 70 yards per game. Sadly there is no big fantasy value here unless you use team wideouts (and don't) but each one has provided fantasy significant numbers each week.

Tight Ends: George Wrighster has an expanded role this year but that still ends up about three catches for 25 yards each week.

Match Against the Defense: Fred Taylor has not been very effective against the Colts in the past and even with his surprising play of late, he still has yet to top 100 rushing yards. At around four yards per carry, he'll be lucky to net 70 in this game and could go much lower if the Colts take a lead and force Leftwich to pass more.

Leftwich has been effective recently but not really all that productive since he only has one passing score against two interceptions. But the Colts secondary has allowed both Eli Manning and even David Carr to throw for multiple touchdowns this season. Problem is that the Jaguars defense should keep the scores reasonable so that there won't be any trash time to use. Expect one touchdown to Matt Jones but only moderate numbers individually.

Indianapolis Colts (2-0)
1 26-21 @NYG 10 --- BUF
2 43-24 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 vs JAX Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 280,3
RB Dominic Rhodes

30

10 0
RB Joseph Addai 30 20 0
TE Three Amigos 0 40,1 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 100,1 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 80,1 0
WR Aaron Moorehead 0 20 0
PK Colts kicker 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Colts had to hang on for the win over the Giants but the Houston game was the standard bombing that we have all come to know and love. This is easily the toughest game for the next month and a must win for control of the division.

Quarterback: While Peyton Manning had a slow start to 2005, no such problem in 2006 when he comes off a 400 yard, three touchdown effort last week. Manning only had 122 yards and no score in the week two meeting with the Jaguars last year but later turned in 324 yards and two scores as a visitor.

Running Backs: The winds of change may be blowing earlier than expected. While Dominic Rhodes was the primary back in week one, neither runner distinguished themselves and Rhodes and the lone score. But against the Texans, Rhodes only gained 37 yards on 14 carries while Joseph Addai had 16 runs for 82 yards and added two catches for 22 yards and a score. Then again - it was only the visiting Texans. This is the week that Addai needs to show up to prove he is for real.

Wide Receivers: As always, Marvin Harrison racked up 127 yards last week and ranks third in receiving yardage in the NFL - though without a score year. Reggie Wayne comes off a big 135 yard game after only managing 67 yards against the Giants. Brandon Stokley was able to play last week, came in for one ten yard touchdown catch and then re-injured his ankle on the play. I am not projecting for Stokley until he is cleared to play this week.

Harrison had 137 yards and two scores in Jacksonville last year while Wayne turned in 81 yards and no scores. Neither player had much in the home game in week two.

Tight Ends: In Manning's never ending quest to keep you guessing, the correct tight end last week was Bryan Fletcher, not Dallas Clark or Ben Utecht but thanks for playing "Guess That Tight End!" Utecht had a concussion last week but should play here. Coming soon - Ben Hartsock with his healing hamstring!

Match Against the Defense: This is an interesting match-up between a defense that has been very impressive and THE offense of the NFL. The Jaguars on the road will be a different cat but they should still manage to hold a diminished Colts running game down. Expect Rhodes and Addai to play more like in the Giants game and less like the Texans game. No score, mediocre rushing numbers.

Manning knows this defense well and he's already playing at the highest level. Look good yardage thanks to a less than stellar rushing effort. The Cowboys were able to get 80 yards and one score from Glenn and Owens visiting Jacksonville so Harrison and Wayne are safe plays at home this week. Compounding matters this week is the groin injury to Adam Vinatieri that will be updated when more is known. With a chance that the kicking game will be shakier this week, I like Manning to press for the entire game and end with three scores.