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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
WEEK 15
December 13, 2006
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday Late
SF at SEA CLE at BAL NYJ at MIN DEN at ARZ KC at SD
Saturday
DET at GB PIT at CAR PHI at NYG
Monday
DAL at ATL HOU at NE TB at CHI MIA at BUF CIN at IND
  JAX at TEN WAS at NO STL at OAK *updated

Prediction: STL 24, OAK 14

The Rams come off their worst defensive showing of the year which is saying something since five teams had already scored more than 30 points against them. The Rams are only 2-4 on the road this year but the Raiders have lost their last seven games and are only 2-4 at home. Marc Bulger said that there were some players for the Rams that no longer cared what happens but that means there were some that actually still did. Hard to say that the Raiders can claim even that much.

Update: Randy Moss is questionable this week because of a sprained ankle and nothing in the last 13 games says Moss will bother to play injured. I am removing him from the projections even though he has not officially been ruled out. The Raiders re-acquired Doug Gabriel this week and he could have a limited role since he already knows the offense.

St. Louis Rams (5-8)
1 18-10 DEN 10 22-24 @SEA
2 13-20 @SF 11 0-15 @CAR
3 16-14 @ARZ 12 20-17 SF
4 41-34 DET 13 20-34 ARZ
5 23-20 @GB 14 27-42 CHI
6 28-30 SEA 15 --- @OAK
7 Open Bye 16 --- WAS
8 24-38 @SD 17 --- @MIN
9 17-31 KC - - MON
STL at OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger 0 0 270,2
RB Steven Jackson 70,1 50 0
TE J. Klopfenstein 0 10 0
WR Torry Holt 0 100,1 0
WR Isaac Bruce 0 60 0
WR Kevin Curtis 0 50,1 0
PK Jeff Wilkins 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The St. Louis offense is back on track in the last two games but now the defense has gone south in the last two home games. The season is officially over for the Rams and Scott Linehan's debut as a head coach has been ruined by Bulger's sore ribs and a defense that just declines as the season continues. There is still a chance that the Rams could end up at .500 with a winning streak but at least the final game in Minnesota will make that tough.

Quarterback: After struggling for three weeks with sore ribs, Marc Bulger is back to his old self with the last two weeks coming up with games of 314 and 356 passing yards and a total of five scores. Bulger looked particularly sharp against the Bears last week despite being banged around for most of the game. Bulger still has the fire to win and the Rams have the offense. And with that poor defense, Bulger will need to continue to post big fantasy points to keep the Rams in the game.

Running Backs: While the rest of the team has languished at least in part this year, Steven Jackson has been a major contributor in all but one game this year. He has rushed for at least 81 yards in six of the last seven games and has scored eight touchdowns on the season. Last week was his first with two scores when he finally ended a pass in the endzone and he ranks second in receiving yardage in the NFL among running backs. For the last three weeks, he has been the target of more passes than any other Ram besides Holt.

Wide Receivers: While Torry Holt had a slow down in mid-season, he has been back to form the last two weeks with 190 yards on 13 catches for three scores in those games. His ten passing touchdowns lead all wideouts in the NFL. Isaac Bruce is on autopilot most weeks to catch 60 yards or so and not score while Kevin Curtis showed up last week with a season high 77 yards on four catches. Bulger is playing like he is healthy again and it has benefited the wideouts - particularly Holt.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: The Raiders have one of the worst rushing defenses that should provide a very nice game here to Jackson in combined yardage. Look for one touchdown most likely on the ground. The Rams will be far more motivated than most visitors to Oakland and do not have the luxury of mailing in a game.

Bulger faces the #1 pass defense in the NFL - "gasp!" - but that's just a statistical outcome of most teams knowing they are going to win and not bothering with the pass. Consider their last opponent - Carson Palmer threw 20 of 28 for 297 yards and two scores. Bulger and the Rams are not going to be happy with just handing off the ball to gain a 17-10 win so expect a better passing game here than rankings suggest.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 10 13 6 26 4 21
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 1 26 3 7 24 32

 

Oakland Raiders (2-11)
1 0-27 SD 10 13-17 DEN
2 6-28 @BAL 11 13-17 @KC
3 Open Bye 12 14-21 @SD
4 21-24 CLE 13 14-23 HOU
5 20-34 @SF 14 10-27 @CIN
6 3-13 @DEN 15 --- STL
7 22-9 ARZ 16 --- KC
8 20-13 PIT 17 --- @NYJ
9 0-16 @SEA - MON SAT
OAK vs STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Brooks 0 0 190,1
RB Justin Fargas 60 10 0
RB Reshard Lee 10,1 0 0
TE Courtney Anderson 0 10 0
TE Randal Williams 0 30 0
WR Randy Moss 0 30 0
WR Doug Gabriel 0 20 0
WR Alvis Whitted 0 40 0
WR Ronald Curry 0 70,1 0
PK S. Janikowski 0 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The season from hell is drawing down and the Raiders are still searching for their third win on the season. After seven straight losses - it may be next year before they reach the "W" column again.

Quarterback: Aaron Brooks has returned the Raiders passing game to an almost mediocre level, so that should ensure that he keeps his job until whatever happens in the off-season (there has to be something). Brooks has never thrown more than one score in any game but has managed to post a single touchdown in three of the last four games while only throwing seven interceptions in that time.

Running Backs: In three weeks as the starter since Jordan left, Justin Fargas has only scored once and gained no more than 52 rushing yards in any game though all have been on the road other than week 13 against the Texans - when he had his only touchdown on the year. This week could be better after the Raiders had faced four road games in the last six weeks with home games against Denver and Houston. But the incoming Rams are not much different than the Texans defensively and Fargas only gained 49 yards on 14 carries in that game.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss left the game on Sunday in the second quarter because of an ankle injury and did not return. But it was no big loss since Moss has not scored in the last seven games and not been above 44 yards in a game since week 10. Ronald Curry comes off his best game of the year with eight catches for 99 yards and a touchdown but that was his first touchdown on the season and he turns in 80+ yard games roughly every five games so the next one may not happen until 2007. There is no reliable fantasy value in this crew anymore.

I am projecting for Moss to play this week and while he could be limited, it would be genuinely hard to notice based on his usual stats per game.

Tight Ends: Brooks has used the tight ends but that includes three per game and none of them have any reliable fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: The Rams rank badly against running backs but the Raiders were already one of the worst rushing teams even before they lost Jordan for the year. Look for one rushing score here that could go to one of three runners and only moderate rushing yardage for Fargas.

Brooks faces a secondary that has allowed at least one passing score to every opponent since week one but few teams have topped just 200 passing yards (mostly because they were running so well). Expect one passing score here by Brooks that would likely go to Curry as much as any other wideout.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 32 30 31 11 31 10
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 8 31 24 9 23 26