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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 4
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday night
Monday
On Bye
JAX, NO
*updates
TEN, WAS

Prediction: PHI 20, NYG 24

Okay, just when we were coming to grips with the Eagles and Giants being NFC doormats this year, Philly ends up scoring 56 points in one game and the Giants pull off a nice defensive showing on the road to beat the previously undefeated Redskins. These teams traded road wins with the Giants winning 30-24 in Philly and then the Eagles won 36-22 in New York so at least there were plenty of points in the past even if both lost the games they were favored in.

Update: Plaxico Burress did not practice this week and his orthopedist said that he needs rest for his sprained ankle so that means he won't practice but will play - the injury came before the season started. No change to his projections. Brandon Jacobs has practiced most of this week but had stiffness in his knee. There is still a chance that he will play against the Eagles but even if he does it is almost certain he would only get very limited playing time to slowly get him back from his knee sprain. Unfortunately, Derrick Ward has also missed practice because of a sprained ankle but is expected to play on Sunday. I am slightly lowering the projections for Ward on the chance that Jacobs gets some carries and because Ward is not 100% anyway.

Westbrook has not practiced this week because of an abdominal strain he suffered last week and a lingering knee sprain that held him out of some practice last week. I am slightly lowering Westbrook's projections and be aware that his abdominal injury is new and is the issue that more affects his playing time and effectiveness this week. He's always been a gamer and this game is against a divisional rival, so I expect him to play. Check the news and inactives to be sure before using him but there has been no word suggesting that he will not play this week. With a bye waiting on the other side of this game, Westbrook would have time to heal for two weeks anyway, so that should also factor into his decision about playing.

Philadelphia Eagles (1-2)
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @GB 13-16 -3 43.5
2 WAS 12-20 +7 38.5
3 DET 56-21 -6.5 44.5
4 @NYG   -3 47.5
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 NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 10   270,2
RB Brian Westbrook 60 60  
TE Matt Schobel   10  
WR Reggie Brown   50,1  
WR Kevin Curtis   90,1  
WR Jason Avant   30  
PK David Akers 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: What a glorious difference a week makes! Or is that what a difference facing the Lions on the road makes? McNabb shrugged off his lethargic showings the first two weeks to look very back to form while Brian Westbrook cruised to yet another great game. Even the Eagle's defense looked back to dominating form. With only a bye waiting on the other side, the Eagles need this game to get back into contention in the NFC East and after scoring at will last Sunday, their confidence will be back as well.

Quarterback: What to think? Donovan McNabb could do nothing against the Packers and Redskins but then lays up 381 passing yards and four scores against the Lions. The reality in that was a McNabb who really did nothing different than he did in the first two games except one small factor - he discovered that Kevin Curtis could not be covered by the Lions and rang up 221 yards and three scores with just him. Westbrook threw in 111 receiving yards as well so 332 yards went to the two players and 49 yards were left over for everyone else.

McNabb had 350 passing yards and two scores when the Giants visited in 2006 but in week 15 in New York, Garcia was the starter and threw for 237 yards and one score.

Running Backs: Brian Westbrook has been nothing short of stellar this season but he suffered an abdominal strain last week and has a sore knee as well. While scans and x-rays have not shown anything too serious yet it could impact his this week or even force him out. Until later word in the week, I am assuming that Westbrook plays but is slightly limited. His rushing load has already been about 17 carries a game this year and that's likely the most he can handle for any length of time. Like last year, he appears banged up early in the year. I am projecting that he plays and is slightly limited. Updates later in the week. Westbrook is a gamer and hard to count out.

The rookie Tony Hunt finally had some playing time during the blowout last week and scored once though he only gained one net yards on four carries. He's no replacement for Westbrook so far but could dig into Correll Buckhalter's numbers more as the year progresses.

Westbrook ran for 68 yards and had 56 receiving yards in the home game against the Giants with one touchdown. In week 15, he ran for 97 yards and two scores while adding 40 receiving yards in New York.

Wide Receivers: If only for one week, Kevin Curtis appears to be a magic acquisition by the Eagles after recording 11 catches for 221 yards and three scores last week. Curtis only had 83 yards in the two previous games combined so his showing was obviously a surprise (to the Lions more than anyone). Reggie Brown? Who? Oh yes, the player that has only totaled 64 yards over three weeks and never more than two catches or 27 yards in a game. Even slot receiver Jason Avant has more yardage than Brown. This week should answer if the Detroit game was just a major aberration and if McNabb is truly back to form after discarding his knee brace. If Reggie Brown cannot show up against the Giants, then he just cannot show up at all.

Brown had good games against the Giants last year, scoring in each and gaining 77 yards in New York.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith missed last week because of his groin injury and was replaced by Matt Schobel who turned in the same pathetic receiving numbers as Smith would have. The tight ends have done nothing for the Eagles this season.

A healthy Smith gained 111 yards on seven catches at home against the Giants but later was held to 54 yards on four receptions in New York.

Match Against the Defense: This is a very tough to call game. McNabb has one great and two bad games and Westbrook is banged up with both abdominal and knee injuries. Throw in that the Giants defense has been equally as Jekyll and Hyde this year and anything could happen, particularly with the Giants at home this week. Westbrook will be a big component here if healthy enough and while his rushing yards will go down, his contribution as a receiver could be big.

McNabb so far has only one performance of note and almost all of that went to Curtis and Westbrook. No doubt that this should be a good match-up for Curtis this week and even Brown could - could - have a decent game though so far nothing says that will happen. As bad as the Giants pass defense has been so far, no receiver has managed to catch more than 87 yards against them. Last week Santana Moss was held to three catches for 82 yards. Both teams looked like maybe they had turned a corner last week but only one of them will still seem that way next week. Playing in New York against the Giants is different than at home against the Lions though. This looks like a coin flip game but could come up big for either team depending on which one really has returned to form.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 10 1 12 29 5 10
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 31 28 21 32 14 13

 

New York Giants (1-2)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @DAL 35-45 +5.5 44
2 GB 13-35 -2.5 38.5
3 @WAS 24-17 +3.5 40.5
4 PHI   +3 47.5
5 NYJ 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 @ATL 15-Oct MON 8:30 PM
7 SF 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 @MIA 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 BYE - - -
10 DAL 11-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
11 @DET 18-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
12 MIN 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @CHI 2-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
14 @PHI 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 WAS 16-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
16 @BUF 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 NE 29-Dec SAT 8:15 PM
NYG vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning     240,2
RB Derrick Ward 50,1 20  
TE Jeremy Shockey   60,1  
WR Plaxico Burress   70,1  
WR Amani Toomer   50  
WR Sinorice Moss   10  
PK Lawrence Tynes 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Giants enjoyed a much needed turn-around last week when they beat the Redskins in a road game and the pass defense finally did not self-destruct again. Eli Manning gutted out a shoulder injury and played while Derrick Ward gets a little better rushing each week. More importantly, the defense that had been a sieve in the secondary toughened up and produced a pass rush as well. With a softer schedule looking for the next five weeks, the Giants could actually reach their week nine bye with a 7-2 record if they have truly turned the corner. In retrospect, the two losses this year did go to teams that are both 3-0 on the season and they just beat the undefeated Redskins. The Eagles are the first team that they will face that has actually lost a game.

Quarterback: While Eli Manning suffered a slightly separated shoulder against the Packers, he managed to play last week and turn in 232 yards and a very critical score against the Redskins. Much of that came later in the game but Manning will be healthier this week and facing a defense that he knows very well.

Manning threw for 371 yards and three scores in Philly last year but only had 282 yards and no scores at home.

Running Backs: Derrick Ward has been more than solid as a replacement for Brandon Jacobs. He has never had less than 90 rushing yards in a game as a starter and adds four to six catches per game for maybe 30 yards in each. Last week saw Reuben Droughns come in for three carries and two short scores which decreases the fantasy value of Ward significantly but this week should answer if that goal line role will be repeated for Droughns who only has four carries for eight yards on the season.

Brandon Jacobs has missed the last two games but may be close to returning. Barring more on this later, I am assuming one more week of Ward playing. Ward did injure his left ankle last week but played through the injury. At this point he is expected to be okay this week.

Wide Receivers: So far this season, Plaxico Burress has been a touchdown machine with at least one score in each game even though his yardage varies from 32 to 144 yards each week. With Steve Smith out of the line-up, the Giants elected to bring up Sinorice Moss instead of Anthony Mix and Moss had just one catch last week. Amani Toomer has been shrinking in use over the last three weeks and only managed four catches for 24 yards in Washington on Sunday. Unlike earlier games, the wideouts did not record any drops last week.

Burress feasted on the Eagles in 2006, turning in games with 114 yards and a score at home and later 120 yards in Philly. Even Toomer had a big 137 yard game with two scores on the road against the Eagles though he did not play in the home game.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey continues his streak of five catch games even if it means he drops the occasional pass. He has yet to score this year but has averaged 60 yards per week.

Shockey had eight catches for 70 yards in the homestand against the Eagles last year.

Match Against the Defense: The Eagles rush defense has been very good this year and while two runners have scored, none have run for more than 69 rushing yards. Look for a moderate game here by Ward who will need to continue his role as a receiver to offer fantasy value this week. I like the chance for one rushing score but that could end up with Droughns if the Giants liked what he did last week.

Manning faces a secondary that gave him big games last year and that will likely be without CB Lito Sheppard who would have matched up on Amani Toomer. I like the Giants to throw for two scores in this game unless the defense comes up with a touchdown. Those have to favor Burress strongly and a decent chance that Shockey finally managed to hang one to one in the endzone.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 8 15 5 13 9 26
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 22 7 25 14 18 20

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