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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: DET 24, WAS 21

Take away that one loss to the Eagles and these Lions are better than they've been in years, maybe decades. The Redskins come rested off their bye week and had to stew over their loss to the Giants in the last game. This is a coin flip game since both teams are improved this year but those Lions are scoring more points than the Redskins every week.

Update: Calvin Johnson has been able to have limited practice so far this week and appears likely to play. He may still be limited from his sore back but made it to pregame warm ups last week before being inactive. It appears safe to start him but limit your expectations since we cannot know how his back will hold up.

Santana Moss is doubtful to play this week with a strained groin and has missed practices. James Thrash will take his spot if he cannot play and I am removing Moss from the projections. A dream match-up to miss, but it should help Randle El's numbers. But Brandon Lloyd is also questionable this week because of a shin injury he sustained in practice and if he cannot play, Reche Caldwell and/or Keenan McCardell will get their first playing time as a Redskin. Bad time for the receivers to be getting injured.

Clinton Portis is bothered by his knee but had a full practice on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. He is expected to be ready to play this week.

Detroit Lions (3-1)
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @OAK 36-21 +1 39
2 MIN 20-17 -3 42.5
3 @PHI 21-56 +6.5 44.5
4 CHI 37-27 +2.5 46
5 @WAS   +3.5 46
6 BYE - - -
7 TB 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 @CHI 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 DEN 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 @ARI 11-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
11 NYG 18-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
12 GB 22-Nov THU 12:30 PM
13 @MIN 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 DAL 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 @SD 16-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
16 KC 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 @GB 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
DET at WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna     270,2
RB Kevin Jones 50,1 10  
RB Tatum Bell 40 20  
TE Sean McHugh   20  
WR Roy Williams   70,1  
WR Mike Furrey   60  
WR Calvin Johnson   50  
WR Shaun McDonald   40,1  
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Lions rise to a lofty 3-1 on the season and the offense is getting better with the return of Kevin Jones even if the defense remains one of the worst in the league. That's nirvana in fantasy terms but will be their Achilles Heel same as it always is for a Mike Martz coached team. With just a bye week waiting on the other side, the Lions can take this game and spend their off week figuring out how to keep Kitna from being battered every week because once he goes down, this fantasy goldmine starts to run dry.

Quarterback: Jon Kitna is enjoying a pace for a career year with eight touchdowns in the first four games and usually at least 250 passing yards each week. The loss of Calvin Johnson last Sunday did not have an effect because there are so many receivers here to worry about that losing one can be easily compensated for. But... Kitna has been sacked 15 times over just the last two games and that sort of beating will eventually take a toll if something is not done quickly. Unfortunately, sacks and interceptions are the downside of a Mike Martz offense.

Running Backs: Kevin Jones played in his second game of the year when he gained 38 yards on ten carries with one touchdown against the Bears. That was an even split with Tatum Bell who also had 11 carries to gain 46 rushing yards but neither player had much in receiving yardage or catches which should increase in the coming weeks. The presence of more receiving targets for Kitna likely has an impact here this season but Jones was very effective in that role in 2006. If somehow an opponent can cover the wideouts, then Jones and Bell would see an increase in passes.

This should be the first week where Jones has more carries than Bell but there has been no intention of entirely phasing out Bell.

Wide Receivers: Calvin Johnson warmed up before the game but then decided not to play because of his sore back last week. But that didn't diminish what the Lions wideouts did, it only changed who was doing it. Since the Bears were all over Roy Williams (6-53), that only meant that Shaun McDonald (3-31, TD), Mike Furrey (5-91) and even Troy Walters (2-36, TD) filled in with nice efforts. I am assuming that Johnson can play this week with some limitation. He did make it to warm ups before opting out last Sunday and appears likely to return this week. Last week was the first one where Williams did not have big yardage and or a touchdown. He remains the centerpiece to this passing attack.

Tight Ends: Minimal use of Sean McHugh which is decreasing anyway with the greater rushing attempts by Bell and Jones.

Match Against the Defense: The Redskins defense is improved for 2006 and has only give up four touchdowns over the first three games. The rush defense is good but likely not as great as their ranking would suggest. Then again, the Lions are never going to be a run first team anyway so expect only moderate numbers from Jones and Bell this week at best though a chance that Jones runs in another score.

Kitna faces a solid secondary that has only given up two scores this year though that came against Trent Green in the opener, then the struggling McNabb and finally Eli Manning who had 232 yards and a score in a win. Look for two scores here by Kitna with decent yardage since the Redskins corners alone won't be enough for this multi-faceted passing attack. Both Burress and Chambers had around 90 yards playing in far less adept passing offenses than the Lions.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 3 25 1 29 13 1
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 2 8 2 10 13 2

 

Washington Redskins (2-1)
Homefield: FedEx Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 MIA 16-13 -3 35
2 @PHI 20-12 +7 38.5
3 NYG 17-24 -3.5 40.5
4 BYE - - -
5 DET   -3.5 46
6 @GB 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 ARI 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 @NE 28-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
9 @NYJ 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 PHI 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 @DAL 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @TB 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 BUF 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 CHI 6-Dec THU 8:15 PM
15 @NYG 16-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
16 @MIN 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 DAL 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
WAS vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Jason Campbell 20   230,2
RB Clinton Portis 90,1 10  
RB LaDell Betts 50 30  
TE Chris Cooley   40,1  
WR Santana Moss 110,1
WR Antwaan Randle El   80,1  
WR James Thrash   30  
WR Reche Caldwell   30  
WR Brandon Lloyd 20
PK Shaun Suisham   3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Skins come off their early bye week and prepare to face a schedule that gets tougher as the season progresses. The defense looked great the first two weeks but then let up against what should have been an injured Giants team. Going against the Lions this week should help invigorate the passing game unless the Skins prefer to run it as much as possible and keep all those Lions receivers off the field. Once this week is done, the schedule gets a lot tougher with five road games in the next seven weeks including trips to New England, Dallas and Tampa Bay.

Quarterback: Jason Campbell is turning in very similar games each week, the problem is that his performance has been almost divorced from game situation or team need. He has thrown for between 190 and 220 yards every week and usually one touchdown but nothing more. He usually adds about 20 rushing yards but the Skins passing game has not seen the up tick this year that was expected. The rushing game has been solid enough to win two games so far but Campbell's worst effort came at home in the loss to the Giants in a game that should have been his best match-up yet.

Running Backs: Clinton Portis has turned in nice fantasy numbers so far this year because he is scoring one rushing touchdown every week. But he has yet to run more than 17 times in a game and the rest goes to LaDell Betts even if that means he also gets 17 carries. Betts has not run with nearly the same authority or success as he did last year but Portis is gaining 4.7 yards per carry. After mid-season, the schedule gets far tougher and Portis alone won't be enough to keep this offense ahead on the scoreboard.

That all said, Portis is still bothered by the tendinitis in his right knee and was held out of practice on Monday. It is a situation that warrants attention for Portis owners. I am assuming that Portis is not limited this week but will update as needed.

Wide Receivers: Antwaan Randle El opened the season with a career high 162 yard effort against the Dolphins but hasn't produced more than 44 yards in a game since. Santana Moss has been better the last two games with 89 and 82 yards but neither he nor any other wideout on the team has scored a touchdown yet. Week one spawned optimism that the Redskins were finally changing. The last two games say that it is still Santana Moss or nothing.

Tight Ends: Chris Cooley was expected to see an up tick in production this year as the KC-style offense takes better shape and he has scored in each of the last two games - the only passing scores that the Redskins have this year. But he still has not had more than three catches or 25 yards in any game, so without those touchdowns, Cooley would be having a very down year. For what it is worth, Cooley started last year with similar low numbers before turning it up after week five.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions rush defense has been terrible this year and no doubt that the Redskins will want to exploit that to the fullest. Look for a very nice game here from Portis with a chance for at least one score and even Ladell Betts should turn in decent numbers as well.

Campbell goes against a very soft secondary but still likely won't throw much here because the Lions are also opportunistic - they have nine interceptions on the season already and nine sacks in just the last two games. Look for Moss to get his best shot at a big game this year and even Randle El should show up with decent numbers in this match-up but know that the Skins are going to run as much as they can this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 29 19 32 16 24 27
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 31 32 26 5 9 31

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