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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
October 4, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
On Bye
MIA at NE WAS at NYG DAL at PHI   updated

Prediction: DET 17, MIN 20

The Lions are still searching for that elusive first win and head to Minneapolis where the Vikings are stewing over their last two losses. This is a coin flip game since the Vikings offense and the Lions defense just have not been working lately.

The Vikings swept the Lions last season, winning 27-14 at home and 21-16 in Detroit.

Detroit Lions (0-4)
1 6-9 SEA 10 --- SF
2 7-34 @CHI 11 --- @ARZ
3 24-31 GB 12 --- MIA
4 34-41 @STL 13 --- @NE
5 --- @MIN 14 --- MIN
6 --- BUF 15 --- @GB
7 --- @NYJ 16 --- CHI
8 Open Bye 17 --- @DAL
9 --- ATL - - THU
DET at MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna 0 0 250,1
RB Kevin Jones 50,1 30 0
TE Marcus Pollard 0 10 0
WR Roy Williams 0 100 0
WR Mike Furrey 0 60,1 0
WR Az-Zahir Hakim 0 40 0
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The good news is that each week the Lions offense improves and scores more points. The bad news is that each week the defense gets worse and still gives up an insurmountable amount of points. If that defense from week one could just show up, the Lions would have a chance but so far two road games have seen opponents score 34 and 41 points.

Quarterback: Jon Kitna has been successful running the offense the last couple of games but turnovers have been killers. Kitna had two scores in each match-up and around 300 yards in each but has three interceptions and one lost fumble during that time. The new Martz-offense is starting to click though and the running game is coming to life to help balance the attack. Kitna has yet to throw for less than 229 yards in a game this year.

Running Backs: Kevin Jones has quietly been having a good year. While he rushed for only 35 and 44 yards in the first two games, he had 45 and 38 receiving yards in those match-ups. Against the Packers he had 81 rushing yards and a touchdown with 44 yards on five catches. Just last week he had a season high 93 yards on 19 carries and scored twice. What's just as nice - he is not sharing more than one or two carries in any game so far.

Wide Receivers: The Lions are using the Martz-offense now but while that relied on #3 and #4 wideouts for contributing, that's not the case in this unit. Roy Williams had been a stud so far and comes off two straight games with more than 130 yards and eight catches in each. Mike Furrey was the darling of the fantasy world last week with 82 yards on eight catches with two touchdowns though he had not previously scored this year or had more than six catches for 67 yards in any game. Az-Zahir Hakim is becoming more of a factor with seven passes last week though he only had three catches for 21 yards.

Tight Ends: While Marcus Pollard has yet to matter this year, Dan Campbell had been turning in some minimal production this year but even he only had one catch last week. This unit primarily serves to block.

Match Against the Defense: The Vikings have been tough against the run this year and no opposing runner has managed more than 78 rushing yards though three have scored once. Look for a step back for Jones this week but with a decent shot at one score.

Kitna faces a good secondary that has only allowed two passing scores on the year. But they also have not faced any teams that were throwing well other than Chicago and they had 278 passing yards. Look for a decent passing game there with one score that will continue to rely on the two primary wide receivers to contribute far in excess of any other players. I like Furrey slightly better to score this week but Williams will obviously get the bulk of passes and with that a good chance to score as well.

Minnesota Vikings (2-2)
1 19-16 @WAS 10 --- GB
2 16-13 CAR 11 --- @MIA
3 16-19 CHI 12 --- ARZ
4 12-17 @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 vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Brad Johnson 0 0 250,2
RB Chester Taylor 70 20 0
TE Jermaine Wiggins 0 30,1 0
WR Marcus Robinson 0 40 0
WR Troy Williamson 0 110,1 0
WR Travis Taylor 0 40 0
PK Ryan Longwell 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: After two big wins over the Redskins and Panthers, the Vikings have lost to the Bears and the Bills - last week being a particularly disappointing loss. The defense continues to be solid but the Minny offense has struggled the last two weeks to get the ground game going and the passing attack by Johnson was never meant to be more than a ball control scheme to hold on to a lead.

Quarterback: After four games, Brad Johnson only has two passing scores on the year with three interceptions. Last week he had a season high 267 yards but so far this attack hasn't scared anyone. With the running game stalled the last two weeks, Johnson has not been able to make the difference in games.

Johnson threw for 136 yards and 256 yards against the Lions in 2005 with two scores in each game.

Running Backs: Chester Taylor had a big start to the season with games of 127 and 128 total yards but he only managed 74 yards on 20 carries against the visiting Bears and even worse had only 23 yards on ten carries last week in Buffalo. Taylor has been running far better at home though, at least when the league leading Bears are not in town. Taylor continues his every game trend of catching exactly three passes and those have been only good for around 15 total yards the last three weeks.

Wide Receivers: The Vikings much prefer to use Troy Williamson as the primary receiver but he's been taken away the last couple of games by the secondary and only has six catches for 66 yards in that time. Marcus Robinson showed up for five catches and 78 yards with one score last week but he had no catches in the previous game. Robinson leads the Vikings with two touchdowns on the year. Travis Taylor fell to only 27 yards on two catches last week after two decent games. This passing attack has struggled lately but that should be healed this week against the Lions.

Tight Ends: Jermaine Wiggins finally had a big game with 59 yards on six catches last week but he had roughly that many yards in the three previous games combined.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions rush defense has been rather good this season, allowing only one rushing score and holding all opposing runners to 80 yards or less. Look for a decent game here from Taylor that could be far better if only they would throw him more than three receptions per game.

Johnson has to show up this week. He goes against a defense that has allowed at least three passing scores in each of the last three games with never less than 289 passing yards during that time. Williamson has a shot at a very big game here with a score. Expect Johnson to look much better this week against a very soft secondary but he's not going to explode here since the offense is not designed that way.