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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
WEEK 5
October 4, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday night
On Bye
BUF at CHI STL at GB KC at ARZ PIT at SD CIN, HOU
CLE at CAR TB at NO NYJ at JAX
Monday
ATL, SEA
DET at MIN TEN at IND OAK at SF BAL at DEN  
MIA at NE WAS at NYG DAL at PHI   updated

Prediction: BAL 9, DEN 16

The Ravens come to Denver as one of only four remaining undefeated teams thanks to squeaking past the visiting Chargers last week. The Broncos are tied for the AFC West lead with those Chargers and have been on bye preparing for this match-up for the last two weeks. Denver rested and at home versus the Ravens on the road who could only beat the Browns by one point? Another undefeated team bites the dust...

Baltimore Ravens (4-0)
1 27-0 @TB 10 --- @TEN
2 28-6 OAK 11 --- ATL
3 15-14 @CLE 12 --- PIT
4 16-13 SD 13 --- @CIN
5 --- @DEN 14 --- @KC
6 --- CAR 15 --- CLE
7 Open Bye 16 --- @PIT
8 --- @NO 17 --- BUF
9 --- CIN - THU MON
BAL at DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair 10 0 170
RB Jamal Lewis 50 0 0
TE Todd Heap 0 40 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 60 0
WR Mark Clayton 0 30 0
WR Demetrius Williams 0 30 0
PK Matt Stover 3 FG 0 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Ravens are feeling better and better about their place in the NFL pecking order after the defense held the fourth straight opponent to under 14 points and more importantly the offense showed life with a fourth quarter comeback drive to provide the winning score with just 34 seconds left. McNair is getting more comfortable in the offense and that's bad news for opponents who are already scared of the Baltimore defense.

Quarterback: Four games into the season and Steve McNair still only has one game over 200 passing yards but he has scored at least once in every game and twice against the Chargers. He's thrown three interceptions in the last two games but his role as a game manager now includes winning drives late in games and that level of offense will be needed this week.

Running Backs: The Ravens may be 4-0 but that didn't have much to do with Jamal Lewis who has only one touchdown on the year and has not gained more than 86 yards in any game this season. He is only averaging 3.7 yards per carry on the year and only managed around 2.1 yards against the Chargers last week.

Musa Smith is making headway into more playing time and had two carries for 14 yards against the Chargers. Mike Anderson remains in the mix though more as a pass catching third down back for some reason. He had three passes last week though he ended with no catches.

Wide Receivers: The sub-200 yard passing games have not been particularly kind to these wideouts and Derrick Mason's reunion with McNair has produced just one nice game (7-132) and three efforts with four catches for less than 50 yards. Mark Clayton is used less consistently though he had eight catches for 74 yards as a high game against the Browns and just 30 yards against the Raiders as a low. Demetrius Williams mans the slot in order to catch just one pass per game.

Tight Ends: Look no further than Todd Heap for why the offense has done well enough to win four games. Of the seven touchdowns scored by the Raven's offense, Heap has four. There has only been one passing score that did not go to Heap. His yardage has never exceeded 60 in a game but Heap leads the team with 19 catches. McNair has been a blessing for Heap who is the only tight end so far that has justified his draft spot this summer in fantasy leagues.

Match Against the Defense: The Ravens already struggled against the Browns and now have to face a defense that has only allowed one touchdown this season. Jamal Lewis is not running well but could get enough volume to end up with a moderate - at best - showing here with no likely chance of a touchdown.

McNair goes against a secondary that has only given up one touchdown (Brady). So far Holt has the best showing against them with only 80 yards so Mason is not likely to put up big numbers here though he's a better bet than Mark Clayton who will dance with Champ Bailey this week. The Broncos know how to hold down a tight end as well, limiting Gonzalez to just one catch. Look for the Ravens to find out what "the other side" has been feeling like for the last month. Denver's spent two weeks preparing for this game.

 

Denver Broncos (2-1)
1 10-18 @STL 10 --- @OAK
2 9-6 KC 11 --- SD
3 17-7 @NE 12 --- @KC
4 Open Bye 13 --- SEA
5 --- BAL 14 --- @SD
6 --- OAK 15 --- @ARZ
7 --- @CLE 16 --- CIN
8 --- IND 17 --- SF
9 --- @PIT - MON THU
DEN vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Plummer 10 0 190,1
RB Tatum Bell 60 10 0
RB Mike Bell 20 20 0
TE Tony Scheffler 0 10 0
WR Rod Smith 0 40 0
WR David Kircus 0 30 0
WR Javon Walker 0 60,1 0
PK Jason Elam 2 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Denver offense hasn't been exactly electric so far but they've remained good enough to win twice and get to stay at home for the next two weeks. The rushing game has been turned over to Tatum Bell (for now anyway) and Plummer finally showed some life against the Patriots in week three. The offensive struggles had better be over with the Ravens showing up and with only Oakland to play the next weekend, there is no looking past this important match-up.

Quarterback: After two weeks of no scores and five turnovers, Jake Plummer came up with a 256 yard effort against New England with two touchdowns and nary a lost ball. This is a chance for Plummer to show that his week three performance was not just because the banged up Pats secondary was in town. The Ravens will be motivated to bring out the same Plummer that prompted the Broncos to draft Jay Cutler.

Running Backs: Going against the Patriots, HC Mike Shanahan elected to give the full-time job to Tatum Bell who responded with 27 carries for 123 yards. That should be good enough to keep the job this week and keep Mike Bell on the bench for all but a handful of carries. Mike has the only rushing score for the Broncos though and since he is a bit bigger than Tatum, he may end up with some goal line duty against a tough defense this week.

Wide Receivers: The wily veteran Rod Smith has so far been the little-used veteran and has only 44 yards as a high game this year. Javon Walker has been more reliable for fantasy points with two recent games of 79 and 130 yards which included both touchdowns against the Patriots in week three. Walker has taken the long ball role left by Ashley Lelie and his best game came with only three catches. No doubt he'll attract plenty of safety attention from here on out.

Tight Ends: The Broncos are trying to involve their rookie tight end but so far Tony Scheffler hasn't gotten into the offense much. He's gone the last two games without a reception despite being thrown eight passes in that time. Stephen Alexander usually only has one catch but Scheffler is the one that want to get more involved.

Match Against the Defense: The Ravens have yet to allow a rushing score and they had not faced a decent rushing attack until last week when Tomlinson gained 98 yards on 27 carries. Look for a moderate game from Tatum Bell here which could end up a little lower if he gets stuffed enough early that Mike Bell gets some playing time just as a change of pace.

Plummer goes against a defense that has been very good against the pass so far but with only TB, OAK, CLE and SD so far, they have not been completely tested. Then again, Plummer has only one decent game this year. I like Plummer to manage to throw one score here that will favor Walker the most since he has the best speed of the group. This is a top notch secondary though so the game should have mainly shorter passes with the occasional deep ball.