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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 3
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday night
Monday
*updated

Prediction: ARI 13, BAL 20

The Cardinals come into this week at 1-1 after winning and losing a game by three point margins. The offense sputtered on the road but came to life back at home. Now they just need to bring some of that mojo with them on the plane because the Ravens at home will be trying to take their milk money and send them home crying. At 1-1 on the season, the Ravens already trail the Steelers so home games against average opponents cannot be overlooked.

Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SF 17-20 +3.5 45
2 SEA 23-20 +2.5 42.5
3 @BAL 23-Sep +7.5 35
4 PIT 30-Sep SUN 4:15 PM
5 @STL 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 CAR 14-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
7 @WAS 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 BYE - - -
9 @TB 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 DET 11-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
11 @CIN 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 SF 25-Nov SUN 4:05 PM
13 CLE 2-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
14 @SEA 9-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
15 @NO 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 ATL 23-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
17 STL 30-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
ARI at BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Leinart     210,1
RB Edgerrin James 60 10  
TE Leonard Pope   30  
WR Anquan Boldin   50,1  
WR Larry Fitzgerald   80  
WR Bryant Johnson   30  
PK Neil Rackers 2 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: Week one was a minor cause for alarm when the passing game apparently disappeared along with Denny Green but facing the Seahawks last Sunday showed that the new scheme is starting to take shape. The defense has already been playing well and the offense has taken the first step upwards. Unfortunately they now have to play in Baltimore but it will be a good test to see how much they can replicate from last week.

Quarterback: After a horrible opener in San Francisco, Matt Leinart bounced back last week against the Seahawks when he completed 23 of 37 for 299 yards and one score with just one interception. Leinart was back to using both Boldin and Fitzgerald in heavy doses but this year they have to share with the tight end Leonard Pope and even Edgerrin James a bit. Leinart looked much better at home but in Baltimore will likely struggle again.

Running Backs: The new offense obviously is committed to getting the running game going and Edgerrin James has turned in very nice efforts for both weeks so far. He's averaging 110 rushing yards and 25 carries per game with a couple of catches each week. James has also scored in both and now the running game is the main focus of this offense to the delight of everyone that drafted James this summer. As long as he remains healthy, there's no reason why he won't post solid stats this year and possibly even in the top ten.

Wide Receivers: Larry Fitzgerald was held to only three catches in San Francisco but stepped up to seven catches for 87 yards against the Seahawks - no worries about him being left out of the game plan. Anquan Boldin had four catches in each week but stepped up to 83 yards last Sunday. This new scheme won't typically be using both wideout for double-digit catches in any week but the ability is there when needed. Bryant Johnson is back to being invisible again in this offense.

Tight Ends: While this position has never done much in Arizona, Leonard Pope caught a 30-yard touchdown last week and had three catches in the opener. He's not replacing a wideout by any means but is offering at least some production each week.

Match Against the Defense: James has looked sharp so far this season but playing in Baltimore is never a treat. So far this year, the Ravens have not allowed more than 67 rushing yards to an opponent so expect a very moderate effort here.

Leinart will be the one to fight this battle and the Ravens have given up three passing scores so far this year. But two went to Carson Palmer and Leinart "is not there yet". Expect just moderate numbers here that should include a couple of interceptions and one score that favors Boldin slightly.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 21 6 20 9 11 25
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 18 1 25 15 13 27

 

Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CIN 20-27 +3 40.5
2 NYJ 20-13 -9.5 33
3 ARI 23-Sep -7.5 35
4 @CLE 30-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
5 @SF 7-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
6 STL 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 @BUF 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 BYE - - -
9 @PIT 5-Nov MON 8:30 PM
10 CIN 11-Nov SUN 4:05 PM
11 CLE 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @SD 25-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
13 NE 3-Dec MON 8:30 PM
14 IND 9-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
15 @MIA 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @SEA 23-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
17 PIT 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
BAL vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair     190
RB Willis McGahee 90,1    
TE Todd Heap   40  
WR Mark Clayton   20  
WR Demetrius Williams   50  
WR Derrick Mason   60  
PK Matt Stover 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Ravens climbed back into the win column against the visiting Jets last week but the offense only posted 20 points and the Jets made it much more of a game than expected. Only some very opportune drops by Jets receivers helped to secure the win for the Ravens. With what should be a very light schedule for the next five weeks the new passing game needs time to come together and for all players to heal up.

Quarterback: Steve McNair is expected to start this week after sitting out with strained groin. With three fumbles, one interception and no scores against the Bengals, that may not be an upgrade from Kyle Boller who had two scores and 185 yards last week with no turnovers... Wait. did I just write that?

Running Backs: The addition of Willis McGahee has been an upgrade from Jamal Lewis (at least before last week) but the improvement has only proven to be incremental so far and injuries to the offensive line do not bode well for McGahee. At home against the Jets, McGahee gained 97 yards but needed 26 carries to get there (3.7 YPC). McGahee did score his first touchdown as a Raven but it came on a short pass. To his benefit, the team did not use Musa Smith much last week unlike in the opener when they let Smith score a touchdown and he had five carries for 30 yards.

Wide Receivers: Demetrius Williams got a second straight start since Mark Clayton is still hampered by his toe injury but Williams bruised his arm in the game and only ended with one catch for 13 yards last week. Derrick Mason has been surprisingly effective and has 15 catches on the year but only 130 yards and no scores. Just mainly short possession receptions. I will assume that Clayton remains limited and Mason shares the workload mostly with Williams.

Tight Ends: It didn't take Boller long to remember who his favorite receiver is. Todd Heap had seven catches for 76 yards and a score last week but only four receptions for 29 yards with McNair during the first week.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals defense has definitely improved from last year but has only gone against the Seahawks and 49ers. Both previous opponents had rushing scores though neither Gore nor Alexander were able to gain more than 70 rushing yards. With a superior defense in Baltimore, look for McGahee to come close to cracking the century mark and to score once.

The Cardinals pass defense has also stepped up but hasn't gone against a great quarterback yet. The same will be true this time next week. With McNair in, look for a lower passing game that should definitely favor a wideout. The Cardinals should hold the passing down to pedestrian numbers in a game destined to be low scoring. I like the chance for a defensive score in this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 24 9 28 7 14 10
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 8 16 22 1 21 6

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