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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Unconventional Wisdom - Week 3
Fritz Schlottman
September 22, 2006

FAVORABLE CONDITIONS

Denver at NEW ENGLAND  

Denver has not looked good in their first two games of the season. The Broncos once powerful offense has looked feeble this season with QB Jake Plummer, who enters this game short on confidence and shorter on fantasy production, looking like a deer in the headlights of the oncoming defense.  If you don’t follow coaching changes in the off-season, this is a great example of why you should.  You have to wonder how much the loss of former OC Kubiak has affected the offense and Plummer in particular.

I would be a lot more concerned for Denver if the Bronco defense wasn’t playing well.  The “D” in Denver hasn’t allowed a touchdown in the first two games.  But New England has a better offense that either KC (without QB Trent Green) or 0-2 St. Louis and Brady and company will challenge the Orange Crush defenders this week.

New England hasn’t looked great either, coming from behind to beat the Bills and doing enough to keep the Jets in the game last week. Denver beat the Patriots twice last season, including a playoff game, and a three-peat against a team as well-coached as New England doesn’t seem probable.  Given the choice between Brady and Plummer, my guess is that Brady gets it together this week.  New England gets an easy win here.

Washington at HOUSTON

You hate to use the term “must win” in Week 3 but the Redskins have to get it done this week.  Philadelphia has gotten off to a great start (other than inexplicably failing to put the nail in the coffin against the Giants last week) and both Dallas and NY Giants have looked better than the Redskins to start the season.  Houston isn’t in the same class as Minnesota and Dallas so this figures to be a get well game for the Redskins.

Houston's offense looked better last week in Indianapolis, but going against two of the leagues top defenses and playing well is probably too much to ask. The Texans' still haven’t showed they’ve improved significantly on defense and the Redskins are pretty solid on that side of the ball.

Washington has to make a statement here or it may be all over for the season.  Washington should win big.

N Y Giants at SEATTLE

I’ve been riding the Giants the first two weeks and I’m riding that pony in the ground again this week.  The G-men are coming off an emotional 17 point comeback at rival Philly last week to get an overtime win. That may have been one of those statement games that the team will rally around all season.

Seattle defeated Arizona last week but their offense has not been as explosive as it was in 2005 (as fantasy owners can tell you). That has to be concerning as Seattle may be preoccupied with thinking about the Super Bowl  runner up let down others have had in recent seasons.

These teams met in Seattle last season, a game won by Seattle in OT.  The G-men should have won the game but the kicking game bit them in tail that day.  NYG is easily the best team the Seahawks have played all season, so I expect this to be a tight, high-scoring game.   Giants have the better offense right now and unless Seattle’s offense steps it up this week, New York goes on the road and gets the victory.  Start all your Seahawks and Giants.

UNFAVORABLE CONDITIONS

Chicago at MINNESOTA

Both teams have improved this off-season.   Chicago has discovered a little more offense with QB Rex Grossman now healthy and Minnesota now has two field goal victories over two 2005 playoff teams. 

The Vikes have won four in a row at home over Chicago including a meaningless game for the Bears to end last season. Minnesota's offense will be tested by the Bears defense. At the same time the Minnesota defense has played much better allowing less than 275 yards to each of their first two foes, defending the run and the pass equally as well.

This should be a hard-fought low-scoring game. As much as I like what I’ve seen from the Bears I think the Vikings will be sky-high for their home opener and a game that could determine the NFC North Division Championship. This is one of those old black-and-blue division games that should come down to a field goal.  Unless you are starting defenses, it’s probably a good week to look for other fantasy options.

Baltimore at CLEVELAND

The Ravens defense has eaten up the first two opponents, surrendering only six points total this season.  The Browns can’t run the ball and I sure don’t want to back Cleveland’s passing offense (how many Browns are on your fantasy team, after all).  I think the Browns will be lucky to score a touchdown.  Baltimore rolls again this week.

Carolina at TAMPA BAY

Two 0-2 football teams trying to find something on offense facing nasty opposing defenses usually means a low-scoring football game.  Carolina looks lost on offense without WR Steve Smith in the line-up.  The Panthers have been reduced to three yards and a cloud of dust football and Tampa Bay can’t even manage that as the Bucs offense has been held to a measly 2.2 yards per rush.

Carolina has owned this series recently winning six of the last seven meetings.  I don’t love the Panthers, but I sure don’t want the Bucs.  Unless you’re starting either team’s defense, probably a game you want to stay away from.