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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 8
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
On Bye
ARI, ATL
BAL, DAL
KC, SEA
*updated

Prediction: CLE 24, STL 23

Remember when this game would be a blowout by the high-powered Rams offense against an always bumbling Browns defense? Well the times they are a' changing, eh? This contains the two most surprising offenses this season though each for very, very different reasons.

Update: Jamal Lewis is still not a lock to play this week and has been limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday. They are optimistic that his foot injury will allow him to play so I am leaving him in the projections but be aware that Lewis could be a scratch or could play and still share carries with Jason Wright and even Jerome Harrison pitching in again. HC Romeo Crennel said that he intended on dressing all three running backs on Sunday so even if all three are active, it is no guarantee that Lewis takes over and plays well or that he even has significant play.

Cleveland Browns (3-3)
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 PIT 7-34 +4.5 37
2 CIN 51-45 +7 41.5
3 @OAK 24-26 +3 40.5
4 BAL 27-13 +4 40
5 @NE 17-34 +15.5 48
6 MIA 41-31 -4 45
7 BYE - - -
8 @STL   -3 43.5
9 SEA 4-Nov SUN 4:05 PM
10 @PIT 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 @BAL 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 HOU 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @ARI 2-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
14 @NYJ 9-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
15 BUF 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @CIN 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 SF 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
CLE at STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Derek Anderson     250,2
RB Jamal Lewis 70,1    
TE Kellen Winslow   90,1  
WR Braylon Edwards   100,1  
WR Joe Jurevicius   40  
WR Josh Cribbs   20  
PK Phil Dawson 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: This is the chance for the Browns to finally break their trend of winning and losing and winning and losing... One of the keys here has been that over the last five games, they have won all their home venues and lost each time on the road. It definitely won't be any easier on the road this year than to go to St. Louis and a win gives them their first winning record of the season. The schedule gets brutal fast with pending games like @PIT and @ BAL, so taking this may be their only chance for a road win this year. It is certainly the best one coming off a bye week rested.

Quarterback: One of the "where was this hiding?" players has definitely been Derek Anderson who has already thrown for 14 touchdowns this season and rushed in two more. He has always scored at least twice in every game as a starter and with few exceptions has thrown for 250 yards in each game. It's like the Cleveland version of Kitna and Palmer with Brady Quinn sitting on the bench.

Running Backs: Jamal Lewis has used the bye week to heal up from his sprained foot and is expected to play this week. But Lewis has added very little to the rushing attack other than his one big game against the Bengals. In his three other games played, Lewis has only gained 155 yards on 49 carries. He has scored three times on the season but never on the road.

Jason Wright replaced Lewis in the last two games and had back-to-back 59 yard rushing efforts which is probably nothing more than what Lewis would have done. But they also gave Jerome Harrison his first playing time of the year against the Dolphins and he responded with 57 yards on only eight carries and had one catch for 15 yards. His success in that game with numerous impressive runs could grant him some relief work this week. Watch for Harrison this week to see if anything is developing here with a third down back situation since Lewis is hardly tearing up anything more than his chance to revive his career.

Wide Receivers: Braylon Edwards continues to breakout this year with three touchdowns scored against the Dolphins and seven scores on the year. Since Anderson took over, Edwards has scored at least once in all but one game and he still had 110 yards in that match-up. He is receiving almost no help from any other wideout and Joe Jurevicius has yet to gain more than 44 yards in any game this year. Edwards is the man here and with Winslow serving as a de facto wide receiver, Edwards is fast becoming one of the elite fantasy wideouts in the NFL.

Tight Ends: While Kellen Winslow may be perpetually playing injured, that hasn't stopped him from being one of the most productive tight ends in the league. He has only scored twice this year but has five games with over 80 receiving yards and has even broken 100 yards once this year. His 17.4 yards per catch not only blows away other tight ends, it is higher than most wide receivers. There are not a lot of tight ends that are considered deep threats.

Match Against the Defense: The Rams have given up seven rushing scores this year but no runner has topped 100 yards yet against them - though many are close to the mark. Look for a moderate game by Lewis in yardage if only by his volume of carries and a decent chance for one rushing score.

Anderson faces a secondary which has been toasted when facing a good passing attack - CAR and DAL both had three passing scores against them. That may be a little high side against a team that is bound to rise up in one game this year but the Browns take no one lightly so look for two scores and decent yardage.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 3 19 5 6 8 27
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 19 26 16 11 27 30

 

St. Louis Rams (0-7)
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 7-35 +13 47
5 ARI 31-34 +3 40.5
6 @BAL 3-22 +9 36.5
7 @SEA 6-33 +9 40
8 CLE   +3 43.5
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 vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger     230,2
RB Steven Jackson 60 10  
RB Brian Leonard 30 20  
TE Randy McMichael   40,1  
WR Torry Holt   90,1  
WR Isaac Bruce   50  
WR Marques Hagans   20  
PK Jeff Wilkins 3 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Rams returned Marc Bulger and Isaac Bruce to the starting line-up last week which resulted in a 33-6 loss in Seattle. This team has been nothing short of horrible on the road but back at home they tend to score more points and lose games by lesser margins. Steven Jackson is expected to return after missing the last four weeks but this team is floundering so badly that even all hands on deck may not be enough. This game and the home game against the Falcons in week 13 are the two best chances for an actual win this year... let's hold out hope for week 13.

Edward Jones stadium has become the first NFL venue that supplies barf bags on the back of all seats. It is just easier on the custodial staff.

Quarterback: Marc Bulger gutted it out and returned last week to throw for 225 yards and three interceptions with two lost fumbles. In five starts this year, he has only scored two touchdowns though both came in home games (and were the first two games of the year). He even had a season high seven sacks in Seattle so those ribs are just going to stay tender for a while. It's not that Bulger has lost any talent, it is just that he lacks the super-human speed to get rid of the ball by the time the pass rush arrives.

Running Backs: Steven Jackson is expected to play this week after missing four games due to a partially torn groin muscle. His last game played did have 115 rushing yards but on 30 carries against the Buccaneers. He still has not scored this year and only averaged 3.4 yards per carry. He also was largely removed from the passing scheme as well. I will assume that Jackson will play but be somewhat limited after the lengthy layoff. In his place, Brian Leonard never had more than 58 rushing yards in any game and also was rarely used as a receiver.

Wide Receivers: Isaac Bruce returned last week but only caught two passes for 52 yards. Other than his one big game in week two against the 49ers, he's been less productive than many tight ends in the league. Torry Holt is playing with a chronic knee condition but still has around 70 yards in most games and his three touchdowns on the season each came at home, He has never scored on the road and never failed to get a touchdown at home. He has three of the four wideout touchdowns this year for the Rams.

Drew Bennett was held out last week because of a hamstring strain and likely will miss this week as well. I will project for Marques Hagans until Bennett shows up in a full practice.

Tight Ends: Randy McMichael is hardly a savior for this team but he has turned in around 30 or 40 yards every week and has one score so far.

Match Against the Defense: The Browns bring in a very bad defense this week so the Rams have as good a chance to look good again as they have had this year. The return of Jackson will help if he can contribute much after his four week layoff but the safest bet is that the has moderate yardage here and that Leonard continues to pitch in.

Bulger should connect at least once with Holt this week since he has scored in each home game and the Browns are the worst against the pass in the league. While it seems a huge stretch, I like Bulger to throw for two scores in this game against such a soft secondary and the Rams are back at home after two terrible road games.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 29 31 21 18 24 24
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 32 20 30 32 29 17

The Huddle
WEEK 8
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
On Bye
ARI, ATL
BAL, DAL
KC, SEA


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