fantasy football     JOIN THE HUDDLE    


Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
December 6, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday Nite
BAL at KC NYG at CAR   SEA at ARZ *updated

Prediction: ATL 20, TB 7

The win over the Redskins has the Falcons at 6-6 which actually makes them a leader for a wild card in the NFC. The Buccaneers are just 3-9 and by now, even Gruden has accepted that this is a lost season. The Falcons are only 3-3 on the road this year but the Bucs are already making plans for the offseason.

The Falcons won 14-3 when they visited the Buccaneers in week two.

Atlanta Falcons (6-6)
1 20-6 @CAR 10 13-17 CLE
2 14-3 TB 11 10-24 @BAL
3 3-23 @NO 12 13-31 NO
4 32-10 ARZ 13 24-14 @WAS
5 Open Bye 14 --- @TB
6 14-27 NYG 15 --- DAL
7 41-38 PIT 16 --- CAR
8 29-27 @CIN 17 --- @PHI
9 14-30 @DET - MON SAT
ATL at TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Michael Vick 72,1 0 130,1
RB Warrick Dunn 60 10 0
RB Jerious Norwood 50 20 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 40,1 0
WR Ashley Lelie 0 20 0
WR Michael Jenkins 0 40,1 0
WR Roddy White 0 10 0
PK Morten Andersen 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The win in Washington ended a four game losing streak and Vick looked good in that relative way while the running backs took care of business and actually out rushed their quarterback. With Dallas, Carolina and Philadelphia waiting after this game, the Falcons have to take this win just to hope for a .500 finish for the season.

Quarterback: Michael Vick is only 71 yards short of a 1000 yard rushing season and he sits atop most fantasy leagues that reward rushing yardage higher than passing yardage. Vick has not scored much this year with only two touchdowns on the ground and 15 passing scores but his 1892 passing yardage gets a mighty bump from all the running.

Vick threw for just 92 yards and one score against the Buccaneers in week two but he gained 127 yards and a touchdown on 14 runs. Pretty standard Vick game.

Running Backs: Warrick Dunn ran for 87 yards on 21 carries last week - easily his best effort since week six in terms of yardage but he was overshadowed by Jerious Norwood who gained 107 yards on just nine carries and scored on a 69 yard jaunt that showed power and some big-time afterburners when he cleared the defense. Norwood gained 54 yards on seven carries the previous week as well and once Dunn steps down, the Falcons look like they'll be just as good with Norwood - and maybe better. The 31-year old Dunn is giving no hint of retirement but Norwood has run better in the limited opportunities he has been given.

Dunn ran for 134 yards on 21 carries when the Bucs came to Atlanta in week two. The fullback Fred McCrary had one catch for a touchdown in that game.

Wide Receivers: The limited passing numbers from Vick has stripped any fantasy value from this crew other than Michael Jenkins who has caught a score in five of the last seven games while no other Falcons wideout has scored this year. But Jenkins has never had more than 77 yards in any game and typically turns in less than 30 yards. If any wideout here does much in a game, it is only going to be Jenkins catching a touchdown with some marginal yardage attached. If it happens at all.

No wideout accounted for more than 22 yards in week two.

Tight Ends: After turning in limited numbers for the three previous games, Alge Crumpler finally had a touchdown catch and 62 yards last week though even that only came on two catches. Crumpler has not caught more than four passes for the last six games.

Crumpler had only one catch for 22 yards against the Bucs in week two.

Match Against the Defense: The Buccaneers defense have only allowed five rushing scores this year and Dunn's 100 yard game was one of only two given up this year. Look for moderate rushing yards that will be spread out between the three runners. With only 71 yards to the NFL's first 1000 rushing yard quarterback, that will likely happen here though it could end up finalized next week when the Cowboys visit Atlanta since most teams like records to happen in front of home town fans.

Look for Vick to throw for at least one touchdown and likely two because the Bucs have never allowed less this year and the last six opponents have scored at least two times via the pass. That has to favor Crumpler and Jenkins because no other receiver is familiar with the endzone.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 2 17 32 7 14 20
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 30 19 22 21 17 17


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-9)
1 0-27 BAL 10 10-24 @CAR
2 3-14 @ATL 11 20-17 WAS
3 24-26 CAR 12 10-38 @DAL
4 Open Bye 13 3-20 @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 vs ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Bruce Gradkowski 0 0 170,1
RB Cadillac Williams 40 10 0
RB Michael Pittman 10 20 0
TE Alex Smith 0 10 0
WR Joey Galloway 0 70,1 0
WR Maurice Stovall 0 20 0
WR Ike Hilliard 0 20 0
PK Matt Bryant 0 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers are #32 in scoring points this year with just 145 on the season. The rushing game is bogged down to mediocre numbers and the passing game would need improvement to be merely mediocre. This team is close to packing it up for the season and the lack of any offensive punch means they cannot even take advantage of opponents when they try to mail in the game.

Quarterback: Bruce Gradkowski is turning into a machine - if you like interceptions that is. The rookie has thrown eight over the last four games and lost two fumbles in those match-ups while scoring only three times. On the plus side, Gradkowski did throw for two scores in each of his two previous home games (WAS and NO). Gradkowski is a lock to throw for less than 200 yards, he's never been above that mark since he started nine weeks ago. As if his offensive line is not the source of enough problems, Gradkowski has receivers dropping passes such as the sure touchdown that Clayton let go through his hands last week.

There is a chance that the Bucs opt to replace Gradkowski as early as this week but nothing has been said officially. He is struggling and Tampa Bay may decide to give Tim Rattay a try since the Bucs are the lowest scoring team in the NFL - what do they have to lose?

Simms was still the quarterback in week two and had 313 yards and three interceptions in Atlanta.

Running Backs: Carnell Williams is struggling like everyone else on this offense and comes off one of his worst games in his career - just 27 yards on 11 carries against the Steelers last week along with a lost fumble. He has only scored once this year but at least his best efforts have all come at home including that one touchdown and a 122 yard game against the Redskins. But that's no guarantee that he'll have a decent game - he has been as bad as just 39 rushing yards in the home stand against the Saints in week nine.

Williams gained only 37 yards on 15 carries in Atlanta this year.

Wide Receivers: Michael Clayton suffered a sprained MCL on his left knee during the Steeler game and has been placed on injured reserve with a knee injury that will not require surgery. This should give more time to the rookie Maurice Stovall. So far the only player that matters in this group is Joey Galloway anyway and he comes off a 37 yard effort last week. But Galloway typically rings in with 70 or more yards in most games He's the only player that Gradkowski makes a big effort to find on pass plays.

Galloway reeled in nine passes for 161 yards in Atlanta this season while Clayton had 62 yards on five catches. And that was with Simms - not Gradkowski.

Tight Ends: Alex Smith missed week 12 but returned against the Steelers to catch just two passes for four yards. With Gradkowski around, Smith has no fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: The Falcons have a better than average rushing defense and the Bucs run game is clearly among the worst in the NFL. Expect just mediocre numbers from Williams with little chance he could actually score for the second time this year.

Gradkowski may not start and even if he does, there is a good chance that the Bucs throw in Rattay eventually just to look like they are still trying. There is a small chance that Galloway could score since he did so in the last two home games and he should avoid the match-up on DeAngelo Hall. If there is any touchdown in this game, it will go to Galloway.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 31 25 23 24 32 31
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 19 12 31 11 19 11