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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: NYJ 0, NEP 105 NYJ 3, NEP 45

Update: I am not changing projections but there several factors here to take into account. Both Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles have been limited in practice this week - as they were last week - but both are expected to play and Cotchery had a fine game last week anyway. Neither are particularly attractive fantasy plays this week anyway.

Now the issue is the weather. What was once forecasted to be ice pellets is now expected to be rain but neither of those would likely depress numbers too much. But there is a 15 mile an hour wind expected that could be a problem with the passing which obviously would impact Brady, Moss, Welker, etc.. The temperature should hover right around freezing which is not really so much an issue but a cold, wet field with wind affects even the best. I am not changing the projections because I still think the Patriots will win big here and really the only two players with extraordinary numbers are Moss and Brady who anyone outside of a mental institution would be starting anyway. But keep an eye on the weather anyway.

Why does this feel like a kid ratted out a bully and got him suspended to start the school year and now has to sit next to him at the back of the bus on a long field trip? "Mrs. Kowalski? May I have a minute with you about the seating assignments? PUH-LEEZE?"

This is a rather classic scenario and the Jets were already on the outs with the Pats even before Eric Mangini started pointing knowledgeable fingers across the field. Cheatgate set off what could only be described as the biggest NFL bully in recent memory and potentially for all time. Football is not about winning, it is about humiliation and intimidation and sending season ticket owners home in a huff with every road game. It's like Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader only this Luke doesn't have the force and this Vader is out a half million bucks. Oh yeah, I am your daddy...

The weather is forecasted for around freezing with ice pellets but weather can change by Sunday. The worse the weather, likely the better it will be for the Jets. The Pats have wisely said this is just another game. Everything they have done up until now says they are just pissed and now can take it out on the right team. Most of the viewing audience expects the coin flip to begin with the referee saying "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here..."

The Patriots won 38-14 on the road against the Jets in the season opener.

New York Jets (3-10)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NE 14-38 +6.5 40.5
2 @BAL 13-20 +9.5 33
3 MIA 31-28 +3 35.5
4 @BUF 14-17 -3 37.5
5 @NYG 24-35 +3 41
6 PHI 9-16 +4.5 43.5
7 @CIN 31-38 +5.5 46.5
8 BUF 3-13 -3 37
9 WAS 20-23 +3.5 35.5
10 BYE - - -
11 PIT 19-16 +9.5 40.5
12 @DAL 3-34 +14.5 47
13 @MIA 40-13 +1 38.5
14 CLE 18-24 +3.5 47.5
15 @NE   +24.5 50.5
16 @TEN 23-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
17 KC 30-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
NYJ at NEP Rush Catch Pass
QB Kellen Clemens     200
RB Thomas Jones 50 10  
TE Chris Baker   30  
WR Laveranues Coles   50  
WR Jerricho Cotchery   60  
WR Justin McCareins   20  
PK Mike Nugent 1 FG    

Pregame Notes: "Okay guys, just curl up in the fetal position and protect your vital areas until the authorities show up, assuming that they will show up."

Seriously, this would have been a bad beat without any of the drama and subplots. The Jets are only 3-10 which includes two wins over the Dolphins and they are 0-4 on the road ignoring Miami (which you should). The offense struggles to score touchdowns against bad teams and the offense is run by a rookie quarterback who has never scored more than once in any game and a running back who has only scored once ever in a Jets uniform. This could be so slanted that it would almost be a bigger slap to see the Pats obviously not try hard and still win the game. Of course, that will not happen. For the last 13 weeks, other teams have been asking, "what did we ever do to you?" Now someone has a reply.

Quarterback: Since Kellen Clemens became a starter nine, he has never had more than one score in any game or less than one interception. Or less than three sacks. He comes off a career best 286 passing yards last week against the Browns but failed to toss a touchdown against the weakest secondary of them all. Clemens has already been named starter for this week and for once, Chad Pennington probably said " Have at, buddy".

Pennington passed for 167 yards and two scores in the first loss of the Patriots this year. Clemens also came in and had 35 passing yards and one sack.

Running Backs: Thomas Jones has been improved as of late with two 100 yard efforts over the last four games and his first and only touchdown in week 13 in Miami. But Jones on the road has never had more than 67 rushing yards outside of Miami and his average game away from New York has been 18 carries for 53 yards and a 2.9 yards per carry average. This is no week to expect that to change.

Jones only gained 42 yards on 14 carries versus the Pats this year.

Wide Receivers: On the plus side, Jerricho Cotchery played last week despite a finger injury that had him missing portions of practice and ended up with five receptions for 119 yards against the visiting Browns. Cotchery still has only one score on the year and has been very inconsistent.

Laveranues Coles only had seven catches for 48 yards last week and was clearly hampered by his lingering ankle sprain that forced him out of the game at times. Coles is a warrior though and should play this week, but he still will not be 100% healthy.

Coles scored twice and had seven receptions for 59 yards in the first meeting with the Patriots while Jerricho Cotchery turned in six catches for 57 yards.

Tight Ends: Chris Baker has been quietly having a decent year with around 30 or 40 yards in most of the recent five games with Clemens as the starter, He only has one score since week three but he is an outlet that Clemens relies on four or five times a game.

Baker had two receptions for 29 yards against the Pats this year.

Match Against the Defense: How this matches up is hard to call with the potential motivation that the Patriots may have this week. Regardless, Jones is a poor play on the road and should once again sputter and not score this week.

Clemens has never been better than one score per game and that may not even happen with the Jets down to Cotchery with a bad finger and Coles hopping around on one leg. Neither player is an attractive start this week though Coles could get a lot of short passes if he is healthy enough. There could be considerable trash time here, but the Patriots may not elect to let it be trash time.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYJ 21 31 17 23 12 24
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 14 13 7 10 2 1

 

New England Patriots (13-0)
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NYJ 38-14 -6.5 40.5
2 SD 38-14 -3 47
3 BUF 38-7 -16.5 41
4 @CIN 34-13 -7.5 54
5 CLE 34-17 -15.5 48
6 @DAL 48-27 -5 52.5
7 @MIA 49-28 -17 51
8 WAS 52-7 -16 48
9 @IND 24-20 -5.5 56.5
10 BYE - - -
11 @BUF 56-10 -15.5 46.5
12 PHI 31-28 -22.5 50.5
13 @BAL 27-24 -20.5 51.5
14 PIT 34-13 -10.5 51
15 NYJ   -24.5 50.5
16 MIA 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 @NYG 29-Dec SAT 8:15 PM
NEP vs THEM Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady     320,5
RB Laurence Maroney 50 10  
TE Ben Watson   30  
WR Randy Moss   120,3  
WR Jabar Gaffney   60,1  
WR Wes Welker   80,1  
PK Stephen Gostkowski 1 FG 6 XP  

Pregame Notes: "Who is that at the door? Why look, it is the guy that I used to support who turned around and cost me $500,000 and embarrassed me and the franchise in front of the entire league. Gosh, what can I do for you?"

This could be a major beatdown and we all know it. While reason says that most teams in such a position would just take the high road and win solidly and walk away. Then again those teams do not leave in their starting quarterback so that they can deliver blowouts like 56-10 or 52-7. Why would the Pats not roll up this score, weather permitting? Short of driving snow and high winds, the passing game should still work and besides, the worse the weather the shorter the field for the offense anyway. Fortunately for every Moss, Brady and Welker owner out there, the Pats are still on track for a 16-0 season and the Colts keep winning so the Pats actually need this game to wrap up the #1 seed. Or the next one. Or the final one. But why in the world not this one?

Quarterback: Tom Brady already leads the league in passing yards with 4095 - over 300 yards ahead of Brett Favre and Tony Romo. His 45 passing touchdowns are ten more than #2 Romo and 14 more than any quarterback totaled in 2006 over 16 games - not just 13 games. Brady only needs five more scores to surpass Peyton Manning's single season record. If he passes for at least five scores, it would only be the fourth time this year he has done it. Wouldn't setting the record in this home game be just appropriate?

Brady passed for 297 yards and three touchdowns in New York this year.

Running Backs: One of the greater mysteries of 2007 is what ever happened to the Patriots rushing game? Laurence Maroney has only scored twice this season and never had more than 44 rushing yards in the last four games. He has never had more than 13 carries in that time. Brady is on fire to say the least but if the weather ever became truly bad - say like in January against the Colts for the AFC Championship in a driving snow storm in New England, wouldn't having Joseph Addai with some carries under his belt be an advantage over rarely used Maroney?

Maroney ran for 72 yards on 20 carries against the Jets this year. Heath Evans rushed in a score on his only carry.

Wide Receivers: Donte Stallworth has diminished over the last six games to where he only had one catch for nine yards last week. He has not scored since week seven. Instead, Jabar Gaffney is back with a touchdown in each of the last three games and a season high 122 yards on seven catches against the Steelers #1 pass defense (at least it used to be). Wes Welker ended his three game scoring drought last week and has seven touchdowns on the season and he is just 26 yards short of his first 1000 yard season.

Oh yes, and Randy Moss leads the league with 19 touchdowns - five more than #2 Owens. The two are locked around 1270 yards for tops there as well.

Moss had his debut as a Patriot when he caught nine passes for 183 yards and one score versus the Jets in week one. Welker turned in six catches for 61 yards and a touchdown as well.

Tight Ends: Ben Watson has settled down to around 20 or 30 yards per game which would be great on most teams but doesn't even get you a seat at the lunch table in New England.

Watson only had two catches for nine yards against the Jets this season but scored once.

Match Against the Defense: Let's see, Brady went against the #1 pass defense last week and had 399 yards and four scores. Jets on the road and Patriots still still steamed and Belichick still remembers writing a check for $500,000 for nothing in return. It is not a question of if, when or why, it is just how will the Patriots do this. I truly love the idea that Brady throws for the all-time single season touchdown record in this game and it is hardly a stretch as long as the weather doesn't get in the way. And that means even less running by Maroney. And more fun for the owners of Brady, Moss and Welker. Here is another angle - Moss is only three scores away from breaking Jerry Rice's all time single season scoring record of 22 touchdowns but he would need four to reach that and there is still one more home game next week with the Dolphins showing up. That can wait.

Oh yes, and one defensive score here as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 1 12 1 12 2 3
Preventing Fantasy Points NYJ 8 29 10 17 27 22

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

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