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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
WEEK 8
October 25, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday night
On Bye
ARZ at GB JAX at PHI STL at SD DAL at CAR BUF, DET
ATL at CIN SEA at KC IND at DEN
Monday
MIA, WAS
BAL at NO SF at CHI NYJ at CLE NE at MIN  
HOU at TEN TB at NYG PIT at OAK   updated

Prediction: NE 17, MIN 10

The Patriots sit alone atop the AFC East, of course and have only the one loss to the Broncos preventing them from being undefeated this year. The Vikings return home with a two game winning streak after impressively beating the Seahawks in Seattle - which wasn't supposed to be possible. The Vikings have broken their scoring woes the last two weeks but but there are reasons to believe that was just temporary. The Patriots could be caught looking last this to the Colts, but the Vikes present enough of a problem to warrant attention and preparation. This is the Monday night game and a chance for both teams to showcase themselves.

Update: This game is a bit messier now and unfortunately it is the Monday night game so the final decision on all players cannot be known until then. Marcus Robinson is bothered by his back and getting a second opinion. He is almost certain to miss this week and could miss more depending on what doctors find. I am removing him from the projections.

Troy Williamson has been downgraded from probable to questionable with the after effects of a concussion he received last week. Williamson says that he will play though he was held out of practice on Thursday. Bethel Johnson has a hamstring strain but is expected to play and Travis Taylor also had a concussion last week but will likely play. I am lowering Williamson's projections now but be aware of his situation. A downgrade is not good, but he does have until Monday night to get over his concussion.

New England Patriots (5-1)
1 19-17 BUF 10 --- NYJ
2 24-17 @NYJ 11 --- @GB
3 7-17 DEN 12 --- CHI
4 38-13 @CIN 13 --- DET
5 20-10 MIA 14 --- @MIA
6 Open Bye 15 --- HOU
7 28-6 @BUF 16 --- @JAX
8 --- @MIN 17 --- @TEN
9 --- IND - - MON
NEP at MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 0 0 210,1
RB Corey Dillon 40,1 10 0
RB Lawrence Maroney 40 10 0
TE Ben Watson 0 50 0
WR Doug Gabriel 0 50,1 0
WR Reche Caldwell 0 30 0
WR Troy Brown 0 30 0
PK Stephen Gostkowski 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Patriots are enjoying a rather light schedule this year thanks to matching against the NFC North, AFC East and AFC South. It doesn't get a lot better than that. With coming challenges from IND, CHI and JAX, there is a very realistic chance that the Patriots could end up 12-4 or better this year. And that's easily enough to take the division crown yet again. The way it looks, the bigger concern is if all Patriot players will be starting in week 16 fantasy playoff games or already resting for the playoffs.

Quarterback: The yardage is definitely lacking from last year and Tom Brady hasn't thrown for more than 195 yards for the last three games. However, he has tossed two touchdowns in each of those match-ups while throwing only one interception overall. Brady enjoys his new rushing game this year and until he is forced into throwing - as he was in week three against Denver when he had 320 yards - he's not going to need to gain much yardage with his arm.

Running Backs: Corey Dillon comes off his first two touchdown game of the year when he left Buffalo with 14 carries for 47 yards. He still shares far too much to rack up any significant yardage in any given week but he's at least turning in around 50 yards and scoring every other game.

Laurence Maroney's hot start has truly cooled now with two straight games of less than 40 yards and no scores. Maroney is having success in the return game but you're probably not getting any fantasy points from that. The Patriots as a team has been rushing for less yardage the last couple of weeks

Wide Receivers: By design, there are no wideouts here that turn in any significant yardage and the season high was just 65 yards by Doug Gabriel. But at least Gabriel has already become a trusted target for Brady and leads the team with three receiving scores which have come in just the last four games. Chad Jackson scored last week but only had one pass. There's no real rhyme or reason to this group from week to week other than none are doing much and Gabriel scores more touchdowns than anyone, few as they are.

Tight Ends: The best receiver of all last week was actually Ben Watson with five catches for 60 yards and he offers about the only consistency in the passing game since he turns in at least 30 yards each week with a high of 66 yards but he still hasn't scored in 2006.

Match Against the Defense: The Vikings defense is better than average and more so when they play at home. The duo of Dillon and Maroney go against a defense that has not allowed more than 78 yards to any runner and in most cases not even 50 yards. This is a very solid rushing defense that should continue to depress the rushing numbers. I like the chance for one rushing touchdown here but no more.

Brady faces a secondary that has allowed just one score in each of the last four games and rarely more than 220 passing yards per week. Look for around that from Brady since it is his average and one score that has to favor Gabriel slightly but could easily go anywhere. The Vikings will be up for this home game on Monday night and won't make it easy for the Patriots.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 20 3 21 10 26 23
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 9 4 17 3 25 5

 

Minnesota Vikings (4-2)
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 26-17 DET 14 --- @DET
6 Open Bye 15 --- NYJ
7 31-13 @SEA 16 --- @GB
8 --- NE 17 --- STL
9 --- @SF - MON THU
MIN vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Brad Johnson 0 0 190
RB Chester Taylor 70,1 40 0
TE Jermaine Wiggins 0 30 0
WR Marcus Robinson 0 40 0
WR Bethel Johnson 0 30 0
WR Troy Williamson 0 30 0
WR Travis Taylor 0 20 0
PK Ryan Longwell 2 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Vikings played great defense last week to win in Seattle and no opponent has scored more than 10 points against them this year. The Vikings offense has sputtered mostly this year but the last two weeks have seen the rushing game come to life and win the game. Since Brad Johnson will never be more than a game manager, the Vikes need a good rushing effort and sound defense to continue to compete.

Quarterback: Brad Johnson has thrown a score in each of the last three games but he only has four scores on the season and the yardage has been getting even worse each week with the rushing game taking care of the scoreboard more. Johnson is no savior when the need arises, but he's not been a problem either with turnovers or bad decisions. This is likely the most boring play of a quarterback in the entire league - but safe.

Running Backs: Chester Taylor has more than made amends for just gaining 23 yards in Buffalo three games ago. He's racked up two straight games over 150 total yards and scored last week on a franchise record 95 yard run. Not only has Taylor ran better the last two weeks when the Vikings have had their biggest scoring games, he's been more involved in the passing scheme with nine catches for 50 yards during that time.

Wide Receivers: This passing attack has made the wideouts almost worthless in fantasy value. Marcus Robinson had 77 yards and a touchdown last week but he only had 25 yards in the previous game. Troy Williamson had 102 yards in week two and just 95 yards in the next four games combined. He suffered a concussion last week and left the game but should be back this week for another disappointing effort. The only wideout of any value here continues to be Robinson and that is with him either scoring and getting moderate yardage in a game or just disappearing for the week. He does that every other week and this is a "disappear" week by trend.

Tight Ends: Jermaine Wiggins turned in his first touchdown of the season last week but he only had one catch for 15 yards and that makes all but one game less than 30 receiving yards.

Match Against the Defense: Chester Taylor has been excelling lately but he goes against a defense that has not allowed any runner to gain more than 70 yards other than Tatum Bell during the only loss of the year. This is a Monday night game though and at home the Vikes will be plenty motivated. I like Taylor to score once and turn in moderate to good yardage considering his role in the passing game as well.

Brad Johnson is more machine than man, but the dial is never set to more than one score so expect that to be his upper limit. I actually like the Patriots to hold Johnson scoreless though as they have each opposing quarterback for the last three games. Since neither team will want to make any mistakes, that alone will ensure that Johnson won't have a big game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 30 14 20 17 6 3
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 5 7 19 6 9 6