fantasy football     JOIN THE HUDDLE    


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: TB 10, NYG 27

The Buccaneers have now won two games in a row but at 2-4, they are still in the NFC South cellar and three games out of contention for the division. The Giants come off a monster win in Dallas that catapults them into sole possession of the NFC East thanks to the Philly loss. It's a short week for the Giants to prepare but the Buccaneers have hardly been a powerhouse this season anyway.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4)
1 0-27 BAL 10 --- @CAR
2 3-14 @ATL 11 --- WAS
3 24-26 CAR 12 --- @DAL
4 Open Bye 13 --- @PIT
5 21-24 @NO 14 --- ATL
6 14-13 CIN 15 --- @CHI
7 23-21 PHI 16 --- @CLE
8 --- @NYG 17 --- SEA
9 --- NO - MON THU
TBB vs NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Bruce Gradkowski 0 0 180,1
RB Cadillac Williams 50 10 0
TE Alex Smith 0 20,1 0
WR Joey Galloway 0 60 0
WR Michael Clayton 0 50 0
WR Ike Hilliard 0 40 0
PK Matt Bryant 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: You have to love winning a game on a last second 62-yard field goal but the reality is that the Buccaneers were only in that game thanks to two interception returns for a touchdown and only had three field goals offensively. Amazingly, the Bucs couldn't beat anyone and now come off wins over the Eagles and Bengals but there's one notable caveat there - both wins came at home. And either could have easily been a loss.

Quarterback: While Bruce Gradkowski had opened with two very nice games - not unlike Matt Leinart - his string of two touchdowns per game ended when the Eagles came to town. The Buccaneers won that game but it had nothing to do with Gradkowski who only completed 13 of 26 passes for 104 yards and no scores. Joey Galloway was held without a catch but at least Gradkowski did not turn over the ball for the first time as a starter. With a sample of three games now, it appears Gradkowski - like Leinart - has just enough game film on him to let defenses prove he is still just a rookie.

Running Backs: Though he only has one touchdown on the season, at least Carnell Williams is turning in decent rushing yardage for the last three weeks when he has averaged just over 90 yards in each game and been good enough for two or three catches in each. He still only has one game over 100 rushing yards and surprisingly that came on the road in New Orleans.

Michael Pittman remains nothing more than an occasional breather for Williams and typically turns in around 30 yards each week and no scores. The Buccaneers as a team only have two rushing scores on the season.

Wide Receivers: Joey Galloway led the NFL last Sunday when he had six passes and yet no catches - no other reception-less receiver came close in the number of targets that he had. But Galloway turned in 67 yards on seven catches in week six against the Bengals and had 110 yards and a score in Gradkowski's first start. The passing offense shuts down when Galloway is a nonfactor and regardless, any other wideout on this team has almost no fantasy value that can be relied on. Michael Clayton has the only touchdown that wasn't caught by Galloway. After two nice opening weeks for Gradkowski, it's obvious that he wants to hit Galloway and the defenses are taking him away. That leaves just a sub-par performance for the Tampa Bay offense.

Tight Ends: While Alex Smith scored in each of Gradkowski's first starts, he only had one catch for six yards last week. He's not being used for any real yardage gains but remains an endzone target and has two of the four scores by the rookie quarterback this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Giants may only rank average against running backs but that stems from giving up four rushing touchdowns this year - never more than one per opponent. The only player to exceed 68 rushing yards against the Giants was Warrick Dunn and that mostly came on one long gainer. Carnell hasn't been scoring this year anyway and the Giants at home won't likely let him run much either. Chances are high that the Bucs will be pushed into the passing game sooner than later in this match-up.

Gradkowski has the chance here for some nice passing numbers but realize that the Giants have only played two home games and in those only allowed one touchdown and around 200 passing yards. That will likely be the upper limit for Gradkowski this week who is becoming more predictable now since he relies so heavily on Joey Galloway.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 27 20 23 14 32 16
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 31 14 13 28 10 15


New York Giants (4-2)
1 21-26 IND 10 --- CHI
2 30-24 @PHI 11 --- @JAX
3 30-42 @SEA 12 --- @TEN
4 Open Bye 13 --- DAL
5 19-3 WAS 14 --- @CAR
6 27-14 @ATL 15 --- PHI
7 36-22 @DAL 16 --- NO
8 --- TB 17 --- @WAS
9 --- HOU - MON SAT
NYG vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 0 0 230,2
RB Tiki Barber 120 40 0
RB Brandon Jacobs 30,1 0 0
TE Jeremy Shockey 0 30,1 0
WR Amani Toomer 0 40,1 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 80 0
WR Tim Carter 0 40 0
PK Jay Feeley 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The win in Dallas was a sign that the Giants are underrated and their brutal opening of the season is about to ease up with home games against TB and HOU. The Giants defense had been considered soft but with opening weeks against IND, PHI and SEA, that was pretty much to be expected. There's a chance the Giants could suffer a letdown this week since it is short and they come off a tough two game road trek against ATL and DAL, but they won both those games and now face their easiest game of the year so far.

Quarterback: Eli Manning has thrown for at least two touchdowns in all but one game this year though his yardage has been waning the last two weeks with Tiki Barber running well. Since Manning won't likely have to mount any comeback this week, his numbers should remain moderate. Then again, all it takes is one bomb to Burress to pump the numbers up on any given play.

Running Backs: While Tiki Barber had low games in PHI and SEA when the Giants had to throw to stay in the game, he's been back to his gold standard the last three weeks with consecutive 100+ yard rushing games. Barber also remains a threat via the pass but has one unfortunate characteristic this season - he never scores a touchdown. When he tops 140 total yards per game lately, that doesn't really matter and Brandon Jacobs has scored in both the last two match-ups with 40 or more yards in each. This offense is clicking again.

Wide Receivers: Plaxico Burress has four touchdowns on the season already and comes off a 94 yard game in Dallas that showcased his deep ball ability. Amani Toomer is just a possession receiver again with little production each week though nearly as many passes as Burress gets. With Shockey and Barber there to share in the bounty, the wideouts here don't consistently deliver outside of Burress and most of his numbers come from one or two big catches per game - and almost every game at that.

Tight Ends: While Jeremy Shockey hasn't been much this year for yardage and has a season high of only 59 yards (week one), he continues to provide Manning with a redzone threat that has already turned into four touchdowns this year and three in the last two weeks.

Match Against the Defense: The Buccaneers defense ranks fairly well against running backs but most of that stems from allowing only two rushing scores this year. They have already allowed three 100 yard runners this season and two of those came in their only two road games of the season. Look for a nice yardage total here from Barber who could do well via the pass as well and one score from Brandon Jacobs.

Manning goes against a secondary that has never failed to allow at least one touchdown and McNabb ripped them for three last week. Figure too that the Bucs have faced teams that have been beating them via the run and defense and opponents hadn't needed to throw a lot until the last two weeks when Carson Palmer had 260 yards and McNabb had 302. The Giants won't need to press to win this game and that should result in lower passing numbers than could have been. Toomer could have a better game here with a weaker match-up but Shockey seems to catch the scores and Burress gets the bombs anyway.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 6 8 3 9 7 5
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 30 27 7 19 17 19