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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 16
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
*Updated

Prediction: PHI 24, NOS 21

Update: Eric Johnson has missed practice and remains out. Billy Miller will replace him. Reggie Bush has not practiced but he is still not officially considered out this week. While there may be a small chance he gets some playing time, it would not be enough to warrant a fantasy start or even including in the projections.

As expected, Brian Westbrook has sat out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday but is expected to return on Friday and play as he always does. Both L.J. Smith and Matt Schobel will miss this week and Brent Celek will take his first NFL start. Reggie Brown was held out on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday to rest his shin and knee but is still expected to play this week. Check on his pregame status to be certain but he is likely to play and will have a very nice match-up if he does.

The Redskins and Saints are not out of playoff contention thanks to advance math and wild optimism so this game has meaning to both teams. The Eagles come off a big win in Dallas to help settle an earlier score and are 4-3 on the road while the Saints are only 3-4 at home. The defense for the Eagles has played very well these last two weeks divisional rivals but the Saints have been scoring very well for the last month. This should be a close game depending on how well the Eagles defense can play for the third week in a row.

The Saints won 27-24 when the Eagles visited in week six of last year.

Philadelphia Eagles (6-8)
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @GB 13-16 -3 43.5
2 WAS 12-20 +7 38.5
3 DET 56-21 -6.5 44.5
4 @NYG 3-16 -2.5 47
5 BYE - - -
6 @NYJ 16-9 -4.5 43.5
7 CHI 16-19 -4.5 40.5
8 @MIN 23-16 -1 37.5
9 DAL 17-38 +3 46
10 @WAS 33-25 +2.5 37.5
11 MIA 17-7 -10 40.5
12 @NE 28-31 +22.5 50.5
13 SEA 24-28 -3 43
14 NYG 13-16 -3 42.5
15 @DAL 10-6 +10.5 48
16 @NO   +3 46
17 BUF 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
PHI at NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb     290,2
RB Brian Westbrook 80,1 70  
TE Brent Celek   30  
WR Reggie Brown   70,1  
WR Kevin Curtis   90,1  
WR Jason Avant   20  
PK David Akers 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The offense has done little in the last couple of games but a win in Dallas puts a positive spin on 2007 at the end of a disappointing season. Donovan McNabb's most recent comments suggests he expects to play elsewhere next year and we may have already seen the best he has to offer in years past. The team is still all about Brian Westbrook but the defense is stepping up lately.

Quarterback: After missing two weeks, Donovan McNabb has been back for two games and turned in similar results in each with around 200 yards and one score against both the Giants and Cowboys. Thanks to the defense that was enough in Dallas but McNabb has only managed more than one score twice this year and not since week ten. If McNabb is to play elsewhere in 2008, then these final games are his resume.

McNabb passed for 247 yards and two scores in New Orleans last year.

Running Backs: Brian Westbrook received a knee contusion in Dallas but after the obligatory "taking it easy" in practice he is expected to play without limitation on Sunday. He's been a fantasy superstar again this year and in leagues with reception points, he is solid gold with at least five catches in almost every game this year. He has totaled over 90 yards in every game this year and scored 12 times. Correll Buckhalter is expected back this week which could take away a short-yardage score.

Westbrook gained 72 yards on 16 rushes but only had three catches for three yards in New Orleans last season.

Wide Receivers: Reggie Brown scored only his third touchdown on the season but only had 35 yards on four catches in Dallas. He has been rarely good for more than 50 yards in the last seven games but should enjoy the lack of coverage that the Saints usually have. Kevin Curtis has been very quiet in these last two games with McNabb back and actually was more productive when A.J. Feeley was starting for two weeks.

Brown gained 121 yards on six catches and scored on both a catch and a rush in New Orleans last year.

Tight Ends: The Eagles may be down to Brent Celek for starting tight end since Matt. Schobel is very questionable after getting a concussion in Dallas. He had 50 yards on three catches though for the best game of his career.

Smith gained 48 yards on four receptions and scored once against the Saints last season.

Match Against the Defense: The Saints rushing defense has been very good this year and has allowed only two scores by running backs in the last 11 games. They have allowed only one runner to top 100 rushing yards but Westbrook is such a dual threat there is no concern here. He'll add plenty of receiving yardage this week but shouldn't score more than once.

McNabb faces the worst secondary in the league against wideouts and one that routinely allows more than one passing score even if that is out of the norm for McNabb. This has to be a nice game for Curtis and Brown because it just doesn't get any better than facing the Saints cornerbacks. Look for at least two passing scores and healthy yardage.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 12 3 14 29 20 31
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 30 5 32 26 21 6

 

New Orleans Saints (7-7)
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @IND 10-41 +6 51.5
2 @TB 14-31 -3.5 41.5
3 TEN 14-31 -4 45
4 BYE - - -
5 CAR 13-16 -4 43
6 @SEA 28-17 +6 43
7 ATL 22-16 -9 43
8 @SF 31-10 -2.5 40
9 JAC 41-24 -3.5 40
10 STL 29-37 -12 46
11 @HOU 10-23 -1 47
12 @CAR 31-6 -3 41
13 TB 23-27 -3 42
14 @ATL 34-14 -4.5 42.5
15 ARI 31-24 -3.5 49
16 PHI   -3 46
17 @CHI 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
NOS vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees     270,2
RB Aaron Stecker 40,1 50  
TE Billy Miller   40  
WR Marques Colston   80,1  
WR Devery Henderson   50,1  
WR David Patten   50  
PK Martin Gramatica   3 XP  

Pregame Notes: At 7-7 on the season, the Saints need the Vikings to lose their final two games while winning out against the Eagles and in Chicago. Unlikely. But the team has made big strides this year after a horrible 0-4 start and done so without the benefit of either Deuce McAllister or Reggie Bush lately. There is a chance that Bush returns this week but it wouldn't be in a fulltime role. It's all about passing with the Saints and Brees has recovered from his own bad start.

Quarterback: Drew Brees is currently ranked #4 in the NFL with 3819 passing yards and with two games to play, he's on track to end up near his league leading 4418 yards of last year. Brees is also only one score short of his 26 touchdowns of 2006 which is remarkable considering he only scored once in his first four games. Brees has passed for two or more scores in all but one of his last ten games and topped 290 passing yards five times this year. The passing game has returned to 2007 levels but unfortunately, so has the Saints defense.

Brees passed for 275 yards and three scores against the visiting Eagles last year.

Running Backs: HC Sean Payton is optimistic that Reggie Bush could play this week after missing only two games with a torn PCL. What that likely means is that if Bush can play, he will only receive a few carries and that Aaron Stecker will remain the primary. It sounds more like a ploy to make the Eagles prepare for something that will not happen.

Stecker has been more than serviceable in the last two games with 100 rushing yards in Atlanta and two scores against the Cardinals last week. But those were the Falcons and Cardinals and all Bush could do is reduce what Stecker might accomplish this week. Stecker has been a bigger factor as a receiver when the opponent has a decent defense which could come into play this week with the blitz happy Eagles coming to town.

Wide Receivers: Marques Colston has been back to form as well with 85 yards or more in all but one of the last eight games which includes four efforts over 100 yards. He has nine touchdowns this year and three in just the last two weeks. While Devery Henderson and David Patten are inconsistent on a week to week basis, Colston has been good for at least seven catches per week lately. Patten has managed to score in each of the last two games but has minimal yardage in the three previous games.

Colston only had four catches for 40 yards but scored once against the Eagles last year. Joe Horn had a freak big game with 110 yards and two scores.

Tight Ends: Eric Johnson was inactive last week because of his injured groin and Billy Miller took the start and produced 39 yards on three catches. I will assume that Johnson remains out this week but regardless, he's lost all fantasy value this year anyway.

Match Against the Defense: The Eagles have been solid against the run this year though they have given up six rushing scores since week nine. Unlikely for Stecker to turn in big rushing yardage here but his role as a receiver could be considerable unless he stays in to block. That will be the key to his fantasy value this week and it all depends on how the Saints decide to handle the Philly blitzes. There is a chance that LB Takeo Spikes misses this week which would be beneficial. Stecker could bang in one short score this week.

Brees goes against a secondary that has been playing great in the last two weeks against divisional opponents but could be due for a down game after four straight tough games. I like Brees to score twice via the pass and those have to favor Colston the most but Henderson could show up this week as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 5 13 7 14 31 19
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 9 4 22 9 15 20

The Huddle
WEEK 16
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
*Updated

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