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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
November 22, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
  CIN at CLE NYG at TEN   Updated

Prediction: TB 7, DAL 28

The Bucs ended their three game losing streak with a close win over the Redskins but at 0-4 on the road this year, reaching .500 is all but impossible. The Cowboys come off their biggest win of the year when they took down the previously unbeaten Colts and now get to remain at home on a very short week to play a weak road team. Happy Thanksgiving to the greater Dallas area indeed.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7)
1 0-27 BAL 10 10-24 @CAR
2 3-14 @ATL 11 20-17 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 3-17 @NYG 17 --- SEA
9 14-31 NO - MON THU
TBB at DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Bruce Gradkowski 0 0 170,1
RB Cadillac Williams 40 10 0
RB Michael Pittman 10 20 0
TE Anthony Becht 0 10 0
WR Joey Galloway 0 60 0
WR Michael Clayton 0 40,1 0
WR Ike Hilliard 0 20 0
PK Matt Bryant 0 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers have only scored 13 points over their last two road trips but at least the running game appears to be coming to life. At least at home against a weak opponent. Gradkowski is playing much like a late-drafted rookie quarterback would be expected. The best bet for these Buccaneers is that they find the Cowboys a bit tired from their big win and they can hope to sneak one past. The three wins this year have all come by three points or less, so a big defensive showing has to happen for them to have any real chance.

Quarterback: Bruce Gradkowski comes off his fourth two-touchdown game but on the road he's been far worse with only one score and four turnovers in the last two games away from home. Safe bet that he'll remain under 200 passing yards this week since he has not been higher than 185 yards in the last eight games.

Running Backs: After five weeks of sub-100 rushing yards, Carnell Williams finally got back over the century mark last week when he ran for 122 yards on 27 carries against the Skins. Problem here is that he has only two such efforts on the season and has a grand total of just one touchdown this year. His last two road games only had him gaining 20 and 44 rushing yards.

Wide Receivers: This unit is nothing more than Joey Galloway and the rest. Galloway caught a score last week and has five touchdowns on the season but only one score came in a road game back in week five in New Orleans when Gradkowski had his first start. Galloway has been all over the map this year with games as high as 161 yards (week two with Simms) and as low as no catches. Michael Clayton and Ike Hilliard rarely have more than a couple of catches for minimal yardage and both have just one score on the season.

Tight Ends: Alex Smith had already tailed off to just two catches for less than 20 yards over the last month and now he has a high ankle sprain and will be out three or four weeks. That leaves Anthony Becht who is just a blocker.

Match Against the Defense: Bad news for Carnell - the Cowboys in Dallas have only allowed one running back to score this year and other than Tiki Barber, no opposing runner has turned in more than 50 rushing yards. Expect another minimal effort here.

Gradkowski faces a secondary that has allowed two scores to each of the last couple of visiting quarterbacks but since his name is not Bruce Manning, chances are much better than he is more akin to the first two visitors who never scored or had more than 200 passing yards. No doubt that Galloway will be the focus of the defense and he does draw the softer side with CB Anthony Henry but for a passing attack that is a one-trick pony, chances are that he won't score. Look for no more than one passing score here that will favor some freak play.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 25 25 21 21 32 29
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 15 7 13 24 8 25


Dallas Cowboys (6-4)
1 17-24 @JAX 10 27-10 @ARZ
2 27-10 WAS 11 21-14 IND
3 Open Bye 12 --- TB
4 45-14 @TEN 13 --- @NYG
5 24-38 @PHI 14 --- NO
6 34-6 HOU 15 --- @ATL
7 22-36 NYG 16 --- PHI
8 35-14 @CAR 17 --- DET
9 19-22 @WAS M THU SAT
DAL vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 0 0 250,2
RB Julius Jones 80 10 0
RB Marion Barber 30,1 10 0
TE Jason Witten 0 50,1 0
WR Terrell Owens 0 110,1 0
WR Terry Glenn 0 50 0
WR Patrick Crayton 0 20 0
PK Mike Vanderjagt 0 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys come off a big win and coupled with losses by the Eagles and Giants, suddenly the Boys are looking more like the team to beat in the NFC despite only having a 6-4 record. So far Dallas has done the one thing that no one else in the division has - avoid injuries to offensive stars. Romo is becoming a cult hero in Dallas and the two-headed running game is working even if it is halves the fantasy value of either Jones or Barber. Playing at home on a very short week will favor the more talented Cowboys who get their annual Turkey day advantage. Just hope it doesn't come down to a Vanderjagt field goal attempt.

Quarterback: After five starts, Tony Romo finally turned in a game with no scores and he had his first interception in three weeks but beating the Colts was plenty good enough. Romo has never thrown for less than 225 yards in any game so far and will finally get a home game against a softer opponent after only facing the Giants and Colts so far.

Running Backs: The dual backfield has been working well enough that there's no reason to change any roles. Julius Jones handles the first two downs with yardage runs and rarely a score. Jones is due for a bigger yardage game since his last two efforts at home have been against good opponents and only resulted in 30 and 79 rushing yards. Jones has not topped 100 yards in a game since week six. Marion Barber comes off his second game of the year with two touchdowns and now has nine scores this season. He has scored in all but three games and once the Cowboys get inside the ten-yard line, he's on the field.

Wide Receivers: Terrell Owens only had four catches for 70 yards last week but he has scored six times in the last six games and that was his lowest yardage total in a game since Romo took over. Terry Glenn was able to return to play last week after missing time with a knee problem described as "bone-on-bone". Glenn seemed perfectly healthy against the Colts when he had six catches for 78 yards and his return drained all the production from Patrick Crayton. The assumption is that Glenn plays again this week in good heath but his knee condition could be an on-going problem if it swells. Always check the game inactives before using Glenn until there is a reason to believe that he is over a problem which appears to be more chronic than temporary.

Tight Ends: With the game plan slanted towards running the ball last week, Jason Witten only had three catches for 25 yards in his worst game since Romo started. The four previous efforts had all been over 50 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys face a defense that is average at best and that is when they have had a full week to prepare and are playing at home. This week expect a nice rushing effort here that should net Jones close to 100 yards and at least one score for Barber.

Romo goes against a weaker secondary that has allowed opponents to score at least once via the pass every week if not more. Ronde Barber will usually line up on Owens but Dallas is starting to freely swap all three wideouts around to gain better match-ups so it doesn't really matter which defenders play where. In a big national Turkey day game it has to be expected for Owens to show up big here. The Bucs haven't been able to prepare much and that should spell big trouble. I like the chance for a defensive score in this game as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 6 5 7 14 10 3
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 27 20 14 20 13 16