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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 5
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday night
On Bye
CIN, MIN
Monday
OAK, PHI
*updated

Prediction: CHI 16, GBP 23

My how the tables have turned in just 12 months. The Bears only win on the season was a home game against the Chiefs while the Packers have yet to lose a game. The Packers are due for a loss and the Bears should get a win soon, but this divisional game is just too good for Favre to pass up.

These teams traded road wins, with the Bears shutting out the Packers in week one 26-0 and then the season closing with a meaningless week 17 game when the Packers won 26-7 in Chicago.

Chicago Bears (1-3)
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SD 3-14 +5.5 42.5
2 KC 20-10 -12 34.5
3 DAL 10-34 -3 41
4 @DET 27-37 -2.5 46
5 @GB   +3 41
6 MIN 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 @PHI 21-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
8 DET 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 BYE - - -
10 @OAK 11-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
11 @SEA 18-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
12 DEN 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 NYG 2-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
14 @WAS 6-Dec THU 8:15 PM
15 @MIN 17-Dec MON 8:30 PM
16 GB 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 NO 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
CHI at GBP Rush Catch Pass
QB Brian Griese 10   220,1
RB Cedric Benson 50 20  
TE Desmond Clark   50  
WR Bernard Berrian   70,1  
WR Muhsin Muhammad   30  
WR Rashied Davis   20  
PK Robbie Gould 3 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Bears are not in desperation mode quite yet but perhaps they should be. At 1-3, they are already three games behind the Packers in the NFC North and there's little reason to expect a quick turn around with so many injuries to the defense and so little production from the offense. Most amazing of all is that the Bears have given up 71 points over the last two games. They only allowed 23 in their first four games of 2006 and 71 points are more than they allowed in the first eight games of last year.

Quarterback: The switch to Brian Griese did produce season highs in yardage (286) and touchdowns (2). But it also came along with three interceptions and a season high six sacks. Oh yes, and they were playing the Lions defense that ranks as one of the worst in the league. Griese gets at least another week to right the sinking ship but goes against a far better defense this weekend.

Griese was the starter in week 17 last year when the Bears were saving Grossman for the playoffs and he threw for just 124 yards and a score against the Packers. Grossman had 262 yards and one touchdown in the season opener in Green Bay.

Running Backs: The Bears had the game in Detroit won before their fourth quarter collapse and even though they led through three quarters, Cedric Benson only was given 15 carries and gained just 50 yards. The Bears also took to using Adrian Peterson for six carries (17 yards) and even Garrett Wolfe ran three times for three yards. This running game just doesn't work like last year and Benson is not showing the ability to make anything happen on his own. If the hole is there, he can hit it. Too often the hole is closed and Benson goes down far easier than a first round pick should. That makes three of the last four games played by Benson end up with 50 rushing yards or less.

Benson gained 107 yards on just 13 carries against the Packers last year but both efforts by Thomas Jones only netted three yards per carry in common games last year.

Wide Receivers: The switch to Griese did help this unit last Sunday but much of that could be more about the Lions secondary than any spark given by Griese. Muhsin Muhammad caught his first touchdown of the season and his 49 yards on five catches was more than his first three games combined. Bernard Berrian had eight receptions for 99 yards and has been at least good for five catches and 65 yards in every game this year but still has not scored. Griese may not help this group but at least he is not hurting them and for the first time this season, Muhammad did more than wear a uniform while running wind sprints on the field during the game.

Muhammad had 102 yards on six catches in the season opener against the Packers last year but only had one catch in the final meaningless game. Bernard Berrian only had one catch in each game but scored once in Green Bay.

Tight Ends: The best aspect of Griese was using Desmond Clark for seven catches that gained 44 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season. Greg Olsen never had a pass thrown to him though. This week should show if Clark's nice game was just a function of playing against the Lions or if Griese just prefers his tight end. Clark was targeted 10 times - more than any other receiver other than Berrian.

Desmond Clark gained 77 yards on five receptions in Green Bay last season.

Match Against the Defense: The Packers rush defense has not allowed a touchdown this year but they have allowed numerous runners to gain a solid four yards per carry. Problem is that Benson is not playing like even an average runner this year and he seems stuck at the 50 yard mark with fewer carries each week. Expect only moderate numbers here at best with a better chance of less than more.

Griese faces a secondary that has always given up a passing score every week but only once more than one. The Packers are not the Lions when it comes to defense and racked up six sacks in the last two games. Look for decent numbers here from Berrian who is the only constant and for Clark to have a decent game once again since the Packers are softer against tight ends. Still - anything more than one touchdown pass would be sign of exceeding expectations here. The Packers will be plenty motivated in this game and the Bears are reeling.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 26 28 25 11 23 4
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 19 14 20 21 21 6

 

Green Bay Packers (4-0)
Homefield: Lambeau Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 PHI 16-13 +3 43.5
2 @NYG 35-13 +2.5 38.5
3 SD 31-24 +5 43
4 @MIN 23-16 -1 38
5 CHI   -3 41
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
GBP vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre     260,2
RB DeShawn Wynn 30 20  
RB Vernand Morency 20 30  
TE Donald Lee   50  
WR Donald Driver   70  
WR Greg Jennings   40,1  
WR James Jones   50,1  
PK Mason Crosby 3 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: Brett Favre may have never had this much fun before. Everyone loves him, the media cannot get enough of him and the Packers keep winning even though Favre can only explain it with a shrug of his shoulders. The Packers have almost no rushing game to speak of - convenient when your quarterback is chasing records and the defense has stepped up this year to make a difference. With only two home games left before the bye week, it is entirely possible that the Packers are 6-0 and giggling like a pack of little girls when week seven rolls around.

Quarterback: Last year the Packers were losing badly and many were critical of Brett Favre for his off-season decision making needs and that he only came back to get his records while the team suffered. Now the Packers are 4-0 and you'd think the Lombardi Trophy will be renamed "The Brett". He's gone from being a has-been who hung on too long to being a near saint in the media and he is playing for the most magical team of all (note - "magical" means we cannot explain exactly why they are winning).

Favre has thrown for eight scores in the last three games and been good for no less than 286 passing yards during that stretch. He has no running game to concern the defense and wideouts that are questionable other than Driver and yet it all works. Sort of like this was scripted... 'shrug.'

Favre only threw for 170 yards and no scores against the visiting Bears last year but ended the year with 285 yards and a touchdown in the final game.

Running Backs: This is just bad. No getting around it. Brandon Jackson was deactivated for the last game because if a shin injury he sustained in practice and he had never gained more than 40 rushing yards in any game anyway. After 38 carries, he only has 97 rushing yards. DeShawn Wynn was the starter and he turned in a big 20 yards on ten carries. Vernand Morency returned after missing the first three games with a sprained patellar tendon and he had one carry for two yards and three catches for 33 yards. The only player with any stats at all was Ryan Grant who gained 17 yards on three carries but since he was productive, they stopped using him and asked Favre to pass more.

The only back in this bunch with worthy of any interest is Grant and only because he has not been given enough carries to prove he is just more of the same.

Wide Receivers: Donald Driver comes off his worst game of the year but he still had seven catches for 58 yards and has the only 100 yard game by any Packer this year. Greg Jennings has played in just two games so far and has scored in each though he only managed three catches for 43 yards last Sunday. He is the long ball catcher for the team and is still not completely healed from his hamstring injury. James Jones scored his first NFL touchdown last week and continues to turn in fantasy relevant numbers every week. Even Ruvell Martin had two catches for 52 yards last week though he typically will not have a catch in a game. This unit gets it done mainly with Driver as the central player and Jones and Jennings adding in their parts.

Driver turned in seven receptions for 96 yards when the Packers hosted the Bears last year but then only managed three catches for 23 yards in Chicago though he scored once.

Tight Ends: Donald Lee comes off his best game of the year when he had four receptions for 66 yards against the Vikings last week. His numbers won't challenge the wideouts but he remains a constant in this offense even if it usually means four catches for about 40 yards. He has caught exactly four passes in every game so far.

Match Against the Defense: Forget about a Packer runner suddenly coming to life in Chicago this week. One may punch in a short score but there won't be any yardage attached.

Favre faces a secondary that has been ravaged by Romo and Kitna these last two weeks thanks in part to so many injuries on the defense. While some may return this week, they won't all be 100% and CB Nathan Vasher is not expected to play so Jones or Jennings will enjoy the lesser coverage. Look for two passing scores here that could turn into three if the game goes really well. With all the coverage that Driver will get, I like both Jones and Jennings to record a touchdown here but don't be surprised if Donald Lee scores instead of one of them.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 6 20 6 6 7 14
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 13 21 11 31 7 32

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