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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
*updated

Prediction: ATL 6, TBB 34

Update: Roddy White has been held out of practice to rest a sprained knee but interim head coach Emmitt Thomas said that he expected White to practice on Friday and play without limitation this week. Joey Galloway was held out of practice on Wednesday because of a "team decision" but returned and is not expected to be on the injury report.

This is the rematch of when the Buccaneers won 31-7 in Atlanta back in week 11. The Falcons have not won a game since then while the Buccaneers are 5-1 at home and already thrashed their divisional rivals once this year. The switch to Chris Redman did nothing to change the fortunes of the Falcons but at least it gave the announcers something to discuss besides Michael Vick. On Monday, Bobby Petrino had one of those epiphanies and said "screw it" and quit to go coach in Arkansas. Now what happens to a ship without a sail or a rudder?

Atlanta Falcons (3-10)
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @MIN 3-24 +3 36
2 @JAC 7-13 +11 34.5
3 CAR 20-27 +4 37.5
4 HOU 26-16 +2.5 39.5
5 @TEN 13-20 +8 41
6 NYG 10-31 +4.5 43
7 @NO 16-22 +9 43
8 BYE - - -
9 SF 20-16 -3 37
10 @CAR 20-13 +4.5 36.5
11 TB 7-31 +3 35
12 IND 13-31 +12 45
13 @STL 16-28 +4.5 42
14 NO 14-34 +4.5 42.5
15 @TB   +10 39
16 @ARI 23-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
17 SEA 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
ATL at TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Chris Redman     180
RB Warrick Dunn 30 10  
RB Jerious Norwood 20 30  
TE Alge Crumpler   20  
WR Joe Horn   10  
WR Michael Jenkins   40  
WR Roddy White   50  
PK Morten Andersen 2 FG    
Pregame Notes: Just more of the same for the beleaguered Falcons. The offense still sputters and stalls out around 14 points per game while the defense gives away about four touchdowns every week because DeAngelo Hall actually cannot play the entire field at once. The passing game remains Roddy White and little else and the rushing game has yet to account for much of anything this year. To make matters worse, the Bucs end with two road games and then at home against the Seahawks who they will pray that sits all their playoff bound players. On the bright side, the draft pick in April will be a nice one but there are so many holes to fill, where do they start?

Quarterback: Going with Chris Redman didn't score any more points than usual, but at least he passed for 298 yards and two scores. He also threw one interception that was returned for a score but compared to Byron Leftwich and Joey Harrington, he was certainly no worse and maybe a little better. Then again - he went against the Saints so a nice showing was expected. No doubt that will be the high water mark for Redman since the Bucs, Cards and Seahawks will be sporting much better defenses.

Leftwich and Harrington split 245 passing yards in the first meeting with the Buccaneers and Harrington passed for one score.

Running Backs: Once again, HC Bobby Petrino said he would get Jerious Norwood more involved and then used mostly Warrick Dunn in the first half when the score mattered. Dunn only gained three yards on his six carries while Norwood ended with six runs for 17 yards but added 57 yards on two catches. Six runs? Even the fullback Jason Snelling was given three carries for nine yards, so never, ever believe the Falcons about wanting to use Norwood more. There is simply no reason to believe the Falcons are doing anything but planning on a house cleaning in the offseason.

Dunn only gained 32 yards on 15 carries against the Bucs this year.

Wide Receivers: Roddy White only had three catches on Monday but gained 75 yards and scored once - almost twice for the want of a yard. But he has been so dominant as "the man" for the Falcons that he was blanketed on Monday on every play which allowed Michael Jenkins to turn in nine catches for 83 yards and a score as a season best. Laurent Robinson was a big target in the game as well but only ended with three receptions for 48 yards. It appeared they were trying to involve Robinson more which makes sense for next year. Ex-Saints wideout Joe Horn only had two catches for eight yards and looks like he was the winner of the "play a game in the NFL" contest held at the nearby retirement community.

White was held to only four catches for 28 yards against the visiting Bucs this year.

Tight Ends: Alge Crumpler only had three catches for 16 yards with Redman at the helm though he was targeted six times and dropped at least one of them. Still no fantasy value to remind anyone of previous years.

Crumpler only had 28 yards on three catches versus the Bucs this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Buccaneers already swallowed up this offense four weeks ago in Atlanta and it isn't like it has been improved since. Plus now the the Falcons are on the road and the Bucs have to win games to lock down the division this week. Expect much the same as the last thrashing only a little worse thanks to the road venue.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 24 27 16 25 28 29
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 2 19 3 2 4 8

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SEA 6-20 +6 41
2 NO 31-14 +3.5 41.5
3 STL 24-3 -4 38.5
4 @CAR 20-7 +3 39
5 @IND 14-33 +9 45
6 TEN 13-10 -2.5 37
7 @DET 16-23 +1.5 43
8 JAC 23-24 +4 32.5
9 ARI 17-10 -3.5 37
10 BYE - - -
11 @ATL 31-7 -3 35
12 WAS 19-13 -3.5 37.5
13 @NO 27-23 +3 42
14 @HOU 14-28 +1 40.5
15 ATL   -10 39
16 @SF 23-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
17 CAR 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
TBB vs ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia     160,1
RB Earnest Graham 120,2 30  
TE Alex Smith   20  
WR Joey Galloway   50,1  
WR Ike Hilliard   20  
WR Maurice Stovall   20  
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: The loss in Houston was a minor setback for the Bucs but then again, hitting the road with Luke McCown as the starting quarterback wasn't exactly the way to ensure the win. Garcia is expected back this week and a win here can wrap up the NFC South against one of the weakest opponents that the Buccaneers face this season. In case that game was any problem, there are still the 49ers and Panthers left to beat anyway. The defense has been a strong point this year as has the rushing game with Graham and the addition of Garcia back ensures that at least one playoff game will happen in Tampa Bay.

Quarterback: HC Jon Gruden has said that Jeff Garcia will play this week and that they never intended on using him in week 14 despite overtures that he would play. And Gruden also wonders if the NFL is going to make it an issue since the Bucs were clearly being misleading with the injury report. Then again, it's just Garcia and the Bucs and the NFL has bigger fish to fry.

Garcia passed for 159 yards and two scores in Atlanta four weeks ago.

Running Backs: Earnest Graham is the 2007 version of Ladell Betts. He has scored in each of the last five games and topped 100 rushing yards three times. He's even taken to stepping up as a receiver with 13 catches for 82 yards over the last two games. He's a very strong play this week since Graham rushed for 102 yards and a score on 17 carries in Atlanta this year.

Wide Receivers: Ike Hilliard suffered a stinger and did not finish the game last week but Gruden says he expects him to play against the Falcons. No big deal in the fantasy world since Hilliard hasn't been better than 44 yards for the last month. Joey Galloway has been turning in healthy yardage lately but hasn't scored since he had two catches versus the Falcons that gained 63 yards and scored one touchdown. No other wide had more than one catch in the game.

Tight Ends: Alex Smith comes off one of his better games when he caught two passes for 39 yards in Houston and he did score once on his three catches for 51 yards in Atlanta. Jerramy Stevens may have won the Saints game, but he was never thrown a pass again last week.

Match Against the Defense: Same song, second verse. Look for Graham to turn in a very solid game here with over 100 rushing yards and at least one score - possibly two. It depends on game situation but in the worst case Graham should produce nice fantasy numbers this week and could be monster stats.

Garcia is returning but the Bucs can handle this one without much intervention from the passing game. He may score once via the pass but the defense and rushing game will be plenty to take the win here. Plus no reason to subject his sore back to any more potential hits than necessary. I like a defensive score in this game as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 19 8 20 17 21 23
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 16 26 16 26 15 29

The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
*updated
 

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