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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey

The Huddle
WEEK 1
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket

Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday night
Sunday
Monday
updated

Prediction: PHI 27, GB 14

The Eagles come off yet another NFC East championship and bring back Donovan McNabb once again from injury status. The Eagles have upgraded the depth and added a new starting wideout in Kevin Curtis. The Packers ended 2006 with a surprising four game winning streak and that was enough to lure Favre back for at least one more year... that and the fact he can own every imaginable record with one more decent year.

The Eagles won 31-9 in week four last year when these teams met in Philadelphia.

Update: Greg Jennings pulled his hamstring in practice on Thursday and could not finish. It does not appear to be something that will keep him out this week but it can definitely limit him. I am lowering his projections and that of Favre who is running out of healthy receivers since Driver is still not 100% either. I have given a bump upwards for James Jones who is looking like the only healthy wideout to use.

Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @GB   -3 43.5
2 WAS 17-Sep MON 8:30 PM
3 DET 23-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
4 @NYG 30-Sep SUN 8:15 PM
5 BYE - - -
6 @NYJ 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 CHI 21-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
8 @MIN 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 DAL 4-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
10 @WAS 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 MIA 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @NE 25-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
13 SEA 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 NYG 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 @DAL 16-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
16 @NO 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 BUF 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
PHI at GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb     300,2
RB Brian Westbrook 50 60  
RB Correll Buckhalter 10,1    
TE Matt Schobel   30  
WR Reggie Brown   100,1  
WR Kevin Curtis   80,1  
WR Jason Avant   30  
PK David Akers 2 FG 3 XP 9 pts
Pregame Notes: The Eagles are little changed and why bother really? Even when McNabb is injured and it all looks dark they still win the division. With new players in Kevin Curtis and some rookie depth with Kevin Kolb and Tony Hunt, this team looks even stronger than it did last year.

Quarterback: Donovan McNabb hasn't played all 16 games in a season since 2003 but the Eagles looked towards the future with the selection of Kevin Kolb and are praying that they do not need him this year. McNabb was the #1 quarterback in the NFL by a large margin last year until going down in week 11. For seven straight weeks to open the season, he had at least two scores in every game and three or more over half the time. It's all a time bomb with McNabb - long as he remains healthy, this team is very hard to beat. His knee is not expected to be 100% until perhaps mid-season but that only means less running and more passing.

In week four of 2006, McNabb threw for 288 yards and two scores against the visiting Packers and added two more rushing touchdowns.

Running Backs: The only game that Brian Westbrook missed last year was when the Eagles played the Packers. What was rumored to be a degenerative knee condition apparently disappeared because Westbrook comes off a career best 1217 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. He also had 699 receiving yards as always,. Little chance that the Eagles will want to run Westbrook another 240 times this year but the interesting thing to watch here is how quickly or often the rookie Tony Hunt shows up on the field. Correll Buckhalter remains the primary back-up but the 233-pound Hunt may become the short-yardage and goal line back that has been missing the last couple of seasons.

Wide Receivers: Reggie Brown enters his third season and he's already claiming that he will have a breakout season. Brown already gained 836 yards on 47 catches last year with eight scores, so anything more than incremental will push him into an elite category. He is joined this year by Kevin Curtis who brings all the speed of Donte Stallworth without the constant string of injuries. This could be the best set of non-Owens receivers that McNabb has ever had. Add in Jason Avant who has won the slot and this unit should produce very well - as long as McNabb stays around.

Reggie Brown gained 63 yards on three catches against the Packers last year. Greg Lewis had his best game of the year when he had 75 yards on two catches - both for scores.

Tight Ends: Not all stories are happy ones and L.J. Smith starts the year with a serious groin problem not unlike the one that McNabb suffered a couple of seasons ago. Until Smith is clearly healthy, expect to see Matt Schobel not only fill in but play well. Schobel could be a crafty waiver wire pick up now if you have the depth. Smith could be bothered the entire season.

Smith gained 38 yards on two catches against the Packers in 2006.

Match Against the Defense: The Eagles start their year out against a team that they plastered in 2006 and the Packers are no better this time around. Granted they have solid linebackers and should be good against the run at Lambeau but the secondary remains the weak link that McNabb already exploited last year.

Look for only marginal gains on the ground by Westbrook but for McNabb to light it up with Brown and Curtis. McNabb will want to start out with a bang and the Packers cornerbacks are just the guys to let him.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 1 10 9 7 24 8
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 29 18 23 14 24 15
rankings reflect as of week 17, 2006

 

Green Bay Packers (8-8)
Homefield: Lambeau Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 PHI   +3 43.5
2 @NYG 16-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
3 SD 23-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
4 @MIN 30-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
5 CHI 7-Oct SUN 8:15 PM
6 WAS 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 BYE - - -
8 @DEN 29-Oct MON 8:30 PM
9 @KC 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 MIN 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 CAR 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @DET 22-Nov THU 12:30 PM
13 @DAL 29-Nov THU 8:15 PM
14 OAK 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 @STL 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @CHI 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 DET 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
GB vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre     210,2
RB Brandon Jackson 50 20  
RB Vernand Morency 20 10  
TE Donald Lee   20,1  
WR Donald Driver   30  
WR Greg Jennings   30  
WR James Jones   60,1  
PK Mason Crosby 2 XP   2 pts

Pregame Notes: The Packers ended last year on such a high note - a four game winning streak to secure a non-losing record - that they evidently figured they would stand pat on all the free agents available. They even allowed Ahman Green to leave and replaced him with Brandon Jackson. Randy Moss made overtures to come but was swayed east by Tom Brady and the specter of an actual playoff game. The Packers may have gotten lucky with wideout James Jones and Jackson but with so few moves to improve the offense, luck is something they need to rely on this year.

Quarterback: Brett Favre returns for 2007 after his annual "thinking... thinking... thinking... ". No surprise here, Favre simply has to return for one more season because he has to throw 136 pass attempts, seven more touchdowns and 3862 passing yards to surpass Dan Marino for the all-time best records in those categories. He also only needs two more wins to pass John Elway as the winningest quarterback ever. This season is all about the Favre drive for glory and if he only repeats 2006, he'll surpass all those records including the passing yardage by 23 yards. The Packers did not add any veteran receivers this year, but Favre will make do with what the team has given him this year. Look for that week 17 game hosting the Lions to be the cap on the yardage record.

Favre threw for 205 yards and two interceptions in Philadelphia last year.

Running Backs: The Packers opted to let Ahman Green leave in the offseason and only replaced him with Vernand Morency and the 2.31 pick rookie Brandon Jackson. Green was getting old and less than durable, which makes it ironic since Morency lost most of the training camp to a sprained knee and even Jackson sustained a concussion and missed time. The duo have to step up this year to keep the defenses from teeing off on Favre every play.

Morency has returned to practice but is limited and likely will not play any significant role this week. Jackson should take the start.

Morency ran for 99 yards on 26 carries with no scores against the Eagles last season.

Wide Receivers: While the Packers may not look stocked at wideout this year, they could prove to be at least adequate if not surprising given the big need for Favre to roll up some yardage. Donald Driver is the obvious star here but has been hampered by a sprained foot. He is back in practice for individual drills and may play this week but I am projecting him to be very limited. He's a safer start in week two, Greg Jennings has been grumbling that the offense has forgotten about him in camp but he will be very needed this season and should continue to figure in. Most of the buzz around camp this year was all about the San Jose State rookie James Jones who besides having a name you would leave at a quickie motel was one of the most productive wideouts in the league during the preseason. Hype aside, Jones has shown obvious talent that Favre will need but also remains raw in route running, hence Jennings safety in starting.

Jennings gained 86 yards against the Eagles last year while Driver only managed 50 yards and neither player scored.

Tight Ends: David Martin left for Miami and the Packers enter the season with Donald Lee as the primary tight end and Bubba Franks will be used as well. While Franks has declined in recent years from once being the end-zone king for the Packers, he has looked sharper than usual this summer and could see an increase.

Match Against the Defense: The weakness of the Eagles last year was against the run but this week that should not be too apparent with only banged up Morency and Jackson lining up against them. Expect the Eagles to get an early lead and gratefully force Favre to abandon the running game by the second half. Playing at home, Favre will connect with his wideouts and I really like the chance for Jones from the slot to score here. A second touchdown likely favors a tight end. Driver is limited and will mainly serve as a decoy.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 16 15 13 23 14 3
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 18 22 6 11 21 17

 

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