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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: STL 10, DAL 34

This really is not shaping up to be pretty. The Rams can hardly score a touchdown and just lost Steven Jackson so they take their 0-3 record on the road to Dallas where the Cowboys are 3-0 with the highest scoring offense in the NFL so far. Sadly these sort of match-ups do not typically produce nearly as many fantasy points as it seems they should because the better team (Dallas) knows they do not have to prepare or play too hard to win.

St. Louis Rams (0-3)
Homefield: Edward Jones Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CAR 13-27 +1 42
2 SF 16-17 -3 44
3 @TB 3-24 +4 38.5
4 @DAL   +12 46
5 ARI 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 @BAL 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 @SEA 21-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
8 CLE 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 BYE - - -
10 @NO 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 @SF 18-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
12 SEA 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 ATL 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @CIN 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 GB 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 PIT 20-Dec THU 8:15 PM
17 @ARI 30-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
STL at DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger     260,1
RB Brian Leonard 60 30  
TE Randy McMichael   20  
WR Torry Holt   70,1  
WR Isaac Bruce   70  
WR Drew Bennett   40  
PK Jeff Wilkins 1 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: It just gets worse. The Rams not only have lost Steven Jackson for at least this week or longer, Marc Bulger is playing with broken ribs and the offensive line couldn't a band of blue-haired ladies riding Hover-Rounds. To make it just a little worse, the offensive line that was already decimated with injuries to Orlando Pace and Todd Steussie just lost guard Mark Stetterstrom with a torn ACL. The defense hasn't yet faced anything like Dallas yet and this game just looks like a lost cause.

Quarterback: The Rams came out and admitted this week that Marc Bulger has been playing with two broken ribs and a sprained knee. He had no problem throwing for 368 yards against the 49ers in week two but in his first road trip of the year he only turned in 116 passing yards against the Buccaneers. Getting sacked six times by the 49ers may have contributed to that. Bulger is expected to start this week but with a likely big need to throw, he'll be exposed to more hits on Sunday - and that is not good. If you have Bulger, you might want to consider grabbing Gus Frerotte just in case.

Running Backs: While it is always exciting to see a rookie running back get a shot to start for the first time, Brian Leonard will do so in Dallas this week against a good defense and without the benefit of the same offensive line that started the season. Leonard can catch the ball well though and could prop up his fantasy value this week via short passes out of the backfield. Steven Jackson finally had a decent game last week and that evidently angered the Gods of Fate since he suffered a partial tear of his left groin. Leonard may get several starts out of this.

Wide Receivers: The injuries to Jackson won't help the passing game at all and with Bulger also banged up, the fortunes of this group may not be looking up other than feasting on what should be trash-filled second halves of games. Torry Holt hasn't slipped too far with at least five catches every week but he still has not had more than 74 yards in a game and his first two touchdowns of the year came at home with none last week in Tampa Bay.

Isaac Bruce had an apparent mild concussion last week but returned to the game. He ended with only three catches for 14 yards though and had just one reception for no gain after the smack to the noggin. He is expected to play this week without limitation unless later information comes out. Drew Bennett was needed last week with Bruce ineffective but he only had one catch for no gain. This is hardly the big time passing game of the Martz years though without an offensive line to give Bulger time, it isn't the fault of the wideouts.

Tight Ends: Randy McMichael has only added two catches per week and he may not get that much with the need to block now that the offensive line is slipping backwards.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys rushing defense at home has not allowed any runners to score and the Rams will be relying on Brian Leonard. Figure that Leonard may actually end up with decent total yardage if they use him as a receiver and run him in the second half when they have fallen behind and the Cowboys are just worried about the wideouts. He's not a great start this week but thanks to trash yards could have a decent game.

Bulger goes against a soft secondary but it will all depend on how healthy he feels and how well the offensive line keeps out the blitzes. Since this game smacks of plenty of Dallas scoring, the Rams will need to throw and Bulger could turn in some decent yardage though less likely to have many touchdowns.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 24 29 17 24 22 22
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 26 12 27 12 20 3

 

Dallas Cowboys (3-0)
Homefield: Texas Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYG 45-35 -5.5 44
2 @MIA 37-20 -3.5 40.5
3 @CHI 34-10 +3 41
4 STL   -12 46
5 @BUF 8-Oct MON 8:30 PM
6 NE 14-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
7 MIN 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 BYE - - -
9 @PHI 4-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
10 @NYG 11-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
11 WAS 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 NYJ 22-Nov THU 4:15 PM
13 GB 29-Nov THU 8:15 PM
14 @DET 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 PHI 16-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
16 @CAR 22-Dec SAT 8:15 PM
17 @WAS 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
DAL vs STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo     270,2
RB Julius Jones 70 20  
RB Marion Barber 90,2 10  
TE Jason Witten   40  
WR Terrell Owens   100,2  
WR Patrick Crayton   40  
WR Sam Hurd   50  
PK Nick Folk 2 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: With 116 points scored this year, the Cowboys currently have the highest scoring team in the NFL and facing the Rams at home should not change that much unless Dallas takes a week off. With the Cowboys new to early season success like this, they likely cannot resist having good points again and could very well score defensively this week as well. The opening schedule ended up much less challenging than it seemed in August and now all football fans are looking toward week six when the Patriots come to town since it should be a battle of unbeatens then. There is no doubt that the Cowboys can win this game, the interesting aspect is how big of a win they bother to get.

Quarterback: Tony Romo not only got out of Chicago alive last Sunday, he left with 329 passing yards and two scores against what typically is a very stingy defense. To his benefit the Bears suffered several defensive injuries during the course of the game but Romo now has thrown for eight touchdowns this year and never less than two in any game. The new offense has turned largely into Terrell Owens and Jason Witten as the primary receivers - almost to the point of being exclusively used - but the offense has scored points and this week won't be nearly as challenged.

Running Backs: Julius Jones isn't so much the starting tailback for the Cowboys, he's just turned into the opening act for Marion Barber. Not unlike last year, Jones opens the game with less than impressive running and eventually Barber comes in to take all the spotlight. Barber now has four rushing and one receiving score on the year including two in Chicago last week. He has run for 256 rushing yards on 40 carries for a 6.4 yard average. By comparison, Jones only had 124 yards on 39 carries for a 3.2 yard average. The only thing missing is for Jones to take a microphone to midfield before the second half kickoff and announce "and now the running back you have all been waiting for..."

May not make a lot of sense, but the Cowboys are winning. Jones has suffered two concussions this year already though and that won't make him any more likely to improve.

Wide Receivers: Terrell Owens was finally held to no touchdowns last week in Chicago but he still had a season high eight catches for 145 yards. With Terry Glenn out, Patrick Crayton hasn't stepped up much though he hasn't really needed to do more than the occasional catch. He only had six receptions on the year with 78 yards. Sam Hurd as the slot player does even less. Owens is the story here and when he is covered, Romo turns to Jason Witten the most.

Crayton is playing with a small cast on his broken finger and had a terrible drop last week. He will play this week just the same but until he has that cast removed, he may drop yet more passes.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten is certainly enjoying the best start to a season in his career. He already has two scores and two efforts with at least 90 yards. He only had two catches for 27 yards in Miami but reeled in six receptions in the other two games.

Match Against the Defense: What will happen in this game is less about match-ups and more about game situation and what the Dallas coaches want to see. The Rams are so banged up this week that their defense could be on the field for a huge chunk of the game and that should spell for decent yardage for both Jones and Barber. Expect at least one score from Barber and maybe two though this would be a nice spot to give Jones more playing time.

Romo faces a secondary that has not given up much this year because Jeff Garcia and Alex Smith faced them. Jake Delhomme had three scores in the season opener. Look for a solid game here by Romo who should throw at least two scores but likely no reason for a huge yardage game. The Cowboys defense could end up scoring in this game very easily and that would likely come out of the passing scores if it happens.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 2 2 10 1 3 4
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 5 31 12 4 15 14

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