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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: SEA 16, PIT 27

The Seahawks come into this week after a dominating road win over the 49ers but the Steelers are at home following their upset loss to the Cardinals and much of their old coaching staff. The Steelers may stumble on the road but at home will teach the Seahawks the vast difference between San Francisco and Pittsburgh. The irony in this game is that both teams would be 4-0 on the season were it not for that pesky road trip to Arizona.

Update: Hines Ward has not practiced this week and looks like he will miss another game. If he can practice on Friday, then he may be able to play and if he doesn't, the bye week means he has two additional weeks to heal up before playing. I am not adding him into the projections but he has not been officially ruled out yet.

Seattle Seahawks (3-1)
Homefield: Qwest Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 TB 20-6 -6 41
2 @ARI 20-23 -2.5 42.5
3 CIN 24-21 -3 50
4 @SF 23-3 -1.5 40.5
5 @PIT   +6 39
6 NO 14-Oct SUN 8:15 PM
7 STL 21-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
8 BYE - - -
9 @CLE 4-Nov SUN 4:05 PM
10 SF 12-Nov MON 8:30 PM
11 CHI 18-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
12 @STL 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @PHI 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 ARI 9-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
15 @CAR 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 BAL 23-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
17 @ATL 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
SEA at PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck     200,1
RB Shaun Alexander 60 10  
TE Marcus Pollard   20  
WR Deion Branch   60  
WR Bobby Engram   50  
WR Nate Burleson   50,1  
PK Josh Brown 3 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: Four games into the season and the Seahawks are locked into scoring around 24 points each week and nothing more. This week will be the first real test to see if the passing game really is as good without Darrell Jackson and of the defense can continue to make the plays when they are needed. After this week are home games against the Saints and Rams, so effectively the Seahawks get a month off once they leave Pittsburgh.

Quarterback: Four games into the season and Matt Hasselbeck has been solid, scoring each week and never turning in less than 220 yards in any game. His seven scores this year have gone to five different receivers and he's been able to get Deion Branch to look a lot like Jackson used to look. But on the road to face the Steelers will be his biggest challenge so far.

Running Backs: It may not be as good as 2005, but at least Shaun Alexander is running better than the did last year. In four starts he has gained 353 yards on 91 carries for an acceptable 3.9 yard average and he has scored twice this year. It's like Alexander-lite compared to his big years but he manages to offer a solid rushing effort. He's just lost the spectacular part of it. And most of the touchdowns.

Wide Receivers: Maybe Hasselbeck forgot about Deion Branch in week one, but he has certainly remembered him every week since. In the last three games, Branch has twice caught seven passes for 120+ yards and scored once. Bobby Engram has also scored in each of the last two weeks and turns in a consistent 60 yards each week. While Nate Burleson had been scoring for two weeks, he came up with just two catches for ten yards and no score against the 49ers. Branch is turning in very nice yardage each week now and all three wideouts have scored at least once this year. There is no monster receiver in Seattle, but there are several very good ones that give Hasselbeck some flexibility on passing downs.

Tight Ends: Marcus Pollard came through with a touchdown catch last week but it was his only of the year and he's only had 27 total yards in the last three games.

Match Against the Defense: Shaun Alexander hasn't really been tearing up the turf this year and now plays in Pittsburgh where no runner has yet scored and no runner yet has topped 64 rushing yards. Look for only moderate rushing numbers here at best and no score. Seattle draws a bad time to come to town with the Steelers coming off a loss. What is to Alexander's detriment is that NT Casey Hampton and S Troy Palomalu were injured last week but are expected to be ready for this game. Palomalu in particular ensures runs do not get very far.

Hasselbeck goes against an outstanding secondary that has only give up three passing scores and never more than 209 passing yards in a game. Expect that to be his ceiling this week - around 210 yards and one score that will have to end up with an unusual target since the only wideouts to score have been Taylor Jacobs and Jerheme Urban. Branch and Engram should be covered all game long.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 10 12 5 21 8 9
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 8 4 10 12 5 15

 

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CLE 34-7 -4.5 37
2 BUF 26-3 -10 37.5
3 SF 37-16 -9 35.5
4 @ARI 14-21 -6 42.5
5 SEA   +6 39
6 BYE - - -
7 @DEN 21-Oct SUN 8:15 PM
8 @CIN 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 BAL 5-Nov MON 8:30 PM
10 CLE 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 @NYJ 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 MIA 26-Nov MON 8:30 PM
13 CIN 2-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
14 @NE 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 JAC 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @STL 20-Dec THU 8:15 PM
17 @BAL 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
PIT vs SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger     200,2
RB Willie Parker 120,1 10  
TE Heath Miler   40,1  
WR Cedrick Wilson   10  
WR Santonio Holmes   90,1  
WR Nate Washington   40  
PK Jeff Reed 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: Oops. It was all going really well for Mike Tomlin's first season until stumbling in Arizona. Same thing happened to the Seahawks and now the Steelers are at home where they have not won by less than 21 points so far this year. With only a bye week on the other side and a loss still stinging, there's no reason why the Steelers won't head off into their bye week with a 4-1 record.

Quarterback: Four weeks into the new offensive scheme and Ben Roethlisberger is still improving and getting comfortable. He has yet to have a game without at least one passing score and oddly he has two games with 160 passing yards and two with 240 passing yards. But he has solved his interception problem of last year (last week's two not withstanding) and he connecting well with both wideouts and his tight end. When supported by a good ground game, this offense under Roethlisberger is deadly.

Running Backs: Willie Parker fell back into a bad habit from last year. At home he has been unstoppable with games if 126 and 133 rushing yards. He opened the season on the road in Cleveland and still had 109 yards but facing a decent defense on the road he flops - just like last year. Parker only gained 37 yards on 19 carries in Arizona and was instrumental in the loss.

Wide Receivers: Hines Ward was inactive last week with a knee sprain and was replaced by Nate Washington. According to Ward, "It's one game and we are 3-0". Well now the Steelers are 3-1 and Nate Washington only had two catches for 18 yards. But Santonio Holmes showed why he has such promise by turning six catches into a career high 128 yards and two scores. I am projecting for Ward to miss this week as well but will update as needed later in the week. Ward is usually only good for around 50 yards per game this year but plays a crucial role in all facets of the offense.

Tight Ends: Heath Miller may only have one score on the season but he's been a constant factor in the passing attack every week with 30 to 40 yards. Matt Spaeth has two scores and even Jerame Tuman has one but only Miller matters for yardage every week.

Match Against the Defense: Back at home this week, expect Parker to return to his productive ways against a defense that gave up 128 yards and a score to James in Arizona. Everything works better with Parker plowing for big yards and this week should be no exception.

Roethlisberger will throw in proportion to how well the rushing game is going and the Seattle secondary looks much better statistically than they should thanks to playing against Garcia, Leinart and Dilfer this year. Look for solid numbers from Big Ben who should manage scores to both Holmes and Miller this week (unless some no-name tight end takes it from Miller). If Ward could play healthy, he would be a good play for one score as well. The success of the rushing game will open up the passing.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 11 13 16 5 2 3
Preventing Fantasy Points SEA 7 16 15 4 16 8

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