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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
WEEK 6
October 11, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday night
On Bye
BUF at DET NYG at ATL KC at PIT OAK at DEN CLE, GB
CAR at BAL PHI at NO MIA at NYJ
Monday
IND, JAX
CIN at TB SEA at STL SD at SF CHI at ARZ MIN, NE
HOU at DAL TEN at WAS     updated

Prediction: SEA 20, STL 23

Here's a surprisingly important game for the NFC West. The division leading Seahawks Rams are a true surprise this season with only one loss that went to - 'gulp' - the 49ers. It would be very easy to argue that the Rams schedule has been incredibly kind this year and it has, but they did take down the Broncos to start the year. The Seahawks have been playing very inconsistently this season and at times look like their 2005 dominating self. At others - who are these guys? This is a bigger game than appears at first glance and one both teams will be highly motivated to win.

The Seahawks swept the Rams last year, winning 37-31 and 31-16.

Update: Bobby Engram is questionable to play because of an illness not yet completely diagnosed. They believe it has to do with his thyroid and he is lethargic this week. He has not practiced and it appears he will not play this week.

Seattle Seahawks (3-1)
1 9-6 @DET 10 --- STL
2 21-10 ARZ 11 --- @SF
3 42-30 NYG 12 --- GB
4 6-37 @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 STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck 0 0 260,2
RB Maurice Morris 60 10 0
TE Jeremy Stevens 0 30 0
WR Darrell Jackson 0 100,1 0
WR Deion Branch 0 60 0
WR Bobby Engram 0 30,1 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 40 0
PK Josh Brown 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: Losing the NFL's leading rusher from 2005 is never a good thing and that was rather apparent in Chicago back in week four. So far the Seahawks have been great while at home and scoring 63 points in just two games. And they have been anemic at best on the road where in two games they have only five field goals and no touchdowns. After spending two weeks preparing for this week, the fact remains - Alexander is the heart and soul of this offense and without him the dynamics change for the worse.

Quarterback: So far Matt Hasselbeck is a perfect example of the inconsistent play of the Seahawks this year. He threw for five touchdowns against the visiting Giants and has exactly one score in his three other games. More surprising than that is his new found penchant for throwing interceptions with seven over the last three games played. He's not helped out by a wide receiver crew that continues to drop passes in every game but the addition of Deion Branch makes this crew formidable - at least on paper.

Hasselbeck had games against the Rams of 316 and two scores in St. Louis and later 243 yards and one score back at home.

Running Backs: With Alexander out in the last game, Maurice Morris finally got his much-awaited starting shot and turned that into just 11 carries for 35 yards because his timing really sucked by playing in Chicago. Alexander will be out again this week, so Morris gets a chance at redemption and possibly the final start of his career in Seattle if the Seahawks have it their way.

Wide Receivers: What to think about these wideouts? They all looked good in week three against the Giants with five passing scores to distribute but other than the one game, this unit has been plagued by dropped passes. Darrell Jackson remains the lone consistent player here but has two games of around 60 yards as lows. Nate Burleson has never mattered outside of one touchdown catch and Deion Branch is still learning the offense. There is a ton of potential here to be sure, but it has only surfaced in one game so far. Look for more of Branch this week because the passing game will need to step up without Alexander in the lineup.

Darrell Jackson did not play in either game against the Cards in 2005.

Tight Ends: The big news here is the likely return of Jeremy Stevens this week. He is already back at practice for the first time this year and his absence has been felt in both the rushing and passing games. Stevens makes a great waiver wire pick-up for cheap this week that should be at least a decent bye week filler for your team. Without him the tight ends have done almost nothing this year but Stevens had five scores and 554 yards in 2005.

Match Against the Defense: The Rams rushing defense is nothing special and every opponent has scored against them using running backs. But Morris is a big step down from Alexander, so relying on him posting the 100 or so yards most get is tougher to do. Expect a moderate game from Morris here without a touchdown for the first time for the Rams.

Hasselbeck goes against a secondary that has allowed several big games for wideouts though only one team has scored more than once against them via the pass. The Rams have also been good at collecting turnovers which has been a problem area for Hasselbeck the last two weeks. This game should be an easy win for the Seahawks were it played in Seattle but the Rams are better at home. This could end up to be a shootout like happened when the Lions showed up in St. Louis. The Seahawks likely won't run as well as usual but will have all hands on deck in the receiving game. Hasselbeck should throw for some very nice yardage here and at least two scores - maybe three. It all depends on those wideouts catching the ball and not dropping it.

St. Louis Rams (4-1)
1 18-10 DEN 10 --- @SEA
2 13-20 @SF 11 --- @CAR
3 16-14 @ARZ 12 --- SF
4 41-34 DET 13 --- ARZ
5 23-20 @GB 14 --- CHI
6 --- SEA 15 --- @OAK
7 Open Bye 16 --- WAS
8 --- @SD 17 --- @MIN
9 --- KC - - MON
STL vs SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger 0 0 260,2
RB Steven Jackson 70 40 0
RB Tony Fisher 10 20 0
TE J. Klopfenstein 0 10 0
WR Torry Holt 0 90,1 0
WR Isaac Bruce 0 70,1 0
WR Kevin Curtis 0 20 0
PK Jeff Wilkins 3 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Rams stand alone atop the NFC West with a 4-1 record and there is little left to recall the old Rams - the defense is far better and Jackson is running strong. The biggest problem so far has been actually scoring touchdowns but in the process Jeff Wilkins has been enjoying a great year and has been the winning difference in every game. The opening win over Denver was sort of a trap game with a new unseen scheme by the Rams and since then they went 3-1 against SF, ARZ, DET and GB. Not exactly "top" contenders in the NFL. This week is a true progress report.

Quarterback: Marc Bulger started the season out slowly with only two scores in the first three games but he's turned it up the last two games with a total of five touchdowns thanks to facing Detroit and Green Bay. The amazing fact that signals what a difference a Linehan offense is making - Bulger has not thrown a single interception this year. He's not getting bashed constantly and the offensive scheme is starting to take hold.

Running Backs: Talk about consistency. Stephen Jackson has played in five games this year and remained between 22 and 24 carries in each. He may vary between two and six receptions, but his carries remain solid. Jackson started the year with two 100 yard games but has been more consistent around 80 or 90 yards and only has one score on the year. But his role in the passing game with up to 65 yards on receptions has given him even more fantasy value than expected.

Wide Receivers: The new Linehan scheme continues to benefit Torry Holt who comes off just 40 yards on three catches last week but he has scored a touchdown in each of the last four games and had two efforts over 100 yards this year. Isaac Bruce remains rock solid at around 80 yards each week and has one score so far. Bruce had an uncharacteristic game of 23 yards in Green Bay but he's been steady at five catches in all the other games. Kevin Curtis even had his first score on the year when he had three catches for 21 yards last week. He remains a little used slot player though and this offense doesn't often switch to more than Holt and Bruce.

Tight Ends: The rookie Joe Klopfenstein still only gets one catch per game though he scored a couple of weeks ago.

Match Against the Defense: This will be a big challenge for Jackson this week with the Seahawks who have only allowed one runner to score against them this year - in Chicago no less. No runner has topped 64 yards outside of the Bear's blowout and Jackson's traditional 22 carries could be tough to reach this week. Look for moderate yardage but for him to again be in the passing game. That has happened mostly at home and against tougher defenses.

Bulger goes against a secondary that has allowed each of the last three opponents to throw for more than 230 yards and at least one score if not as high as three. Holt goes against a team (and usually CB Marcus Trufant) that has not allowed more than one player (Berrian) to have a big yardage game against them. But six different wideouts have scored when opposing Seattle this year and on the road in a dome will favor Holt more. Expect at least a good game and as always, that could turn into a great one. Bulger should end with two scores this week and decent yardage.