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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
October 25, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
On Bye
BAL at NO SF at CHI NYJ at CLE NE at MIN  
HOU at TEN TB at NYG PIT at OAK   updated

Prediction: IND 16, DEN 17

Easily the best game to watch this week, long as you can stand no one scoring too much. The undefeated Colts head into Denver where the only thing struggling more than the Denver offense is every single opponent. The Colts have the 4th best scoring offense and Denver has the #1 defense to prevent scores. Indy scored 36 points last week? That's more than the last three opponents in Denver have scored combined. This really should be interesting because more than a couple of scores by the Colts probably won't get matched by Denver but no one has hardly managed those couple of scores. When was the last time the Colts were in a game that had an over/under of 38 points?

Indianapolis Colts (6-0)
1 26-21 @NYG 10 --- BUF
2 43-24 HOU 11 --- @DAL
3 21-14 JAX 12 --- PHI
4 31-28 @NYJ 13 --- @TEN
5 14-13 TEN 14 --- @JAX
6 Open Bye 15 --- CIN
7 36-22 WAS 16 --- @HOU
8 --- @DEN 17 --- MIA
9 --- @NE - - MON
IND at DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 240,1
RB Dominic Rhodes 40 10 0
RB Joseph Addai 30 20 0
TE Dallas Clark 0 30 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 60 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 90,1 0
WR Aaron Moorehead 0 10 0
PK Adam Vinatieri 3 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Colts have continued their winning ways but only by the slimmest of margins. They beat the Jets by three points and the Titans by just one. And next week is another trip out to New England. The Colts are 6-0 but they have gone through the easier part of their schedule already and Manning alone is not going to be enough to keep winning games.

Quarterback: After three weeks with sub-220 yard games and just two touchdowns in each, Peyton Manning finally came back to his old ways when he had 342 yards and four scores against the Redskins last week. The Colts have not been a dominating road team by any stretch but remain just good enough thanks to Manning. With a defense that allows the run again and yet a lesser rushing game themselves, the Colts passing game is going to have really come to life to sustain the winning streak.

Running Backs: The duo of Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes continue to share carries nearly evenly but last week Addai had 11 runs for 85 yards while Rhodes only gained 26 yards on 13 carries. Addai is a bigger factor in the passing game as well though it typically only accounts for two or three catches per week and maybe 20 yards. Addai has been the more effective runner as of late but the team has yet to give him anything close to a starting spot. Against the stout defense of Jacksonville, Addai had three carries for 15 yards while the Colts stuck with Rhodes for 14 runs and 48 yards. That despite Addai being far more effective the previous week. When the opposing defenses get tougher, the Colts appear to be leaning more towards Rhodes as the safer hands.

Wide Receivers: After waiting around for four games, both Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne have scored in each of the last two contests though both were at home. On the road, neither has scored this year. Brandon Stokley may be able to practice this week but I'll hold him out of the projections until clear word is given that he will play. Aaron Moorehead has replaced but when Stokley is out, literally all the catches are made by Harrison and Wayne.

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark comes off his best effort of the year with two catches for 41 yards and a touchdown last week. His other catch brought the ball down to the one yard line as well. Even Ben Utecht had four catches for 52 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Broncos have not allowed an opposing runner to score in any game this year and other than Larry Johnson back in week two, no runner has gone over 60 yards against Denver in the last four games. Expect the split to make both Addai and Rhodes even worse than usual and neither to score.

Manning has to post the points here and goes against a secondary that has only allowed two passing scores on the entire season - none in Denver. The best so far by any quarterback in Denver has been just 189 yards. If Manning is to succeed in the playoffs, he needs to do more here than has happened so far. Both Holt and Moss had over 80 yards and both match up on Darrent Williams - not Champ Bailey who draws Marvin Harrison unless the wideouts are moved around - very likely at least some of the time. I like Manning to show that he is one of the best with a better game but still to end with 250 yards or less and to score only once. Since Denver is not likely to rack up a ton of points, there will be less reason for Manning to air out too much.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 2 11 8 3 5 19
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 1 5 1 16 8 10


Denver Broncos (5-1)
1 10-18 @STL 10 --- @OAK
2 9-6 KC 11 --- SD
3 17-7 @NE 12 --- @KC
4 Open Bye 13 --- SEA
5 13-3 BAL 14 --- @SD
6 13-3 OAK 15 --- @ARZ
7 17-7 @CLE 16 --- CIN
8 --- IND 17 --- SF
9 --- @PIT - MON THU
DEN vs IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Plummer 0 0 170,1
RB Tatum Bell 100,1 20 0
TE Tony Scheffler 0 10 0
WR Rod Smith 0 50 0
WR David Kircus 0 20 0
WR Javon Walker 0 70,1 0
PK Jason Elam 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Broncos have won five in a row now and the defense has never been better - a good thing too since the offense has never been worse. The Broncos have not allowed a single touchdown during their three home games this year but only scored two themselves.

Quarterback: For a guy likely to get replaced next year, Jake Plummer is not playing like he wants to be a starter elsewhere. He has only thrown four touchdowns this year against seven interceptions and other than in the New England game, he has not topped 210 yards in a game. Worse than that is his completion percentage of just 52%. So far, his abysmal performance hasn't mattered when the opponents cannot score at all but could come back to haunt the Broncos if Manning succeeds posting two or more scores.

Running Backs: Tatum Bell has continued to run well lately, feasting on weak opponents like OAK and CLE for two scores and almost 2000 rushing yards over the last two weeks. Bell has been hampered by a turf toe but has been able to play through it so far. Considering the lower passing effort this year, Bell has almost single handedly been keeping the Broncos in the win column. Tatum rested some last week to get his toe taped and allowed Mike Bell to run ten times but he only gained 25 yards.

Wide Receivers: Rod Smith comes off his best game of the year when he had six catches for 69 yards last week but he had never had more than 44 yards in any other game this year. Javon Walker commands almost all the attention of Plummer and had 75 yards on four catches against the Browns. He's never dipped below 41 yards this year which is almost a miracle given some of the passing efforts.

Tight Ends: The Colts drafted Tony Scheffler to help the passing game but Plummer's down performances have made this position not only worthless in fantasy terms, no tight end here has had a catch in the last two weeks.

Match Against the Defense: The Broncos just lost LT Matt Lepsis which won't help the running game or especially keep Freeney out of the backfield on passing downs. But the Colts have only played in two road games this year and in both, the opposing runner scored at least once if not twice. Trying to keep Manning off the field, expect a heavier than usual load on Tatum Bell if his toe holds up and a good game that could turn into a great one potentially. The Colts have lost S Mike Doss but could be getting back S Bob Sanders which will help the run support.

Plummer faces a secondary that is really only average in most games but that doesn't describe Plummer this year. Expect one passing score here that would favor the tight end on teams that actually use them but for Denver, Walker always has the best chance from sheer attention by Plummer.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 32 21 27 32 20 25
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 19 26 4 21 2 4