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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
 
The Huddle
Wildcard
~ 2007 ~
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Prediction: WAS 17, SEA 20

While the Seahawks are 7-1 at home this year and come in as a division winner, there is no team that has been as big a surprise lately as the Washington Redskins who have won their last four games which included road games in Minnesota and New York (Giants). And won decidedly in those match-ups. The Skins may not have as much pure talent as Seattle but they are playing with more emotion and determination than likely any other team. Even if they lose this week, they will have already honored their ex-teammate of the late Sean Taylor. Possible rain could affect this game.

Washington Redskins (9-7)
Homefield: FedEx Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 MIA 16-13 -3 35
2 @PHI 20-12 +7 38.5
3 NYG 17-24 -3.5 40.5
4 BYE - - -
5 DET 34-3 -4 44.5
6 @GB 14-17 +3 40.5
7 ARI 21-19 -7 37
8 @NE 7-52 +16 48
9 @NYJ 23-20 -3.5 35.5
10 PHI 25-33 -2.5 37.5
11 @DAL 23-28 +10.5 47
12 @TB 13-19 +3.5 37.5
13 BUF 16-17 -5.5 37
14 CHI 24-16 -3 37.5
15 @NYG 22-16 +4.5 40
16 @MIN 32-21 +7 40
17 DAL 27-6 -7.5 39
P1 @SEA   +3.5 40
WAS at SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Todd Collins     210,1
RB Clinton Portis 80,1 30  
TE Chris Cooley   40  
WR Santana Moss   70,1  
WR Antwaan Randle El   30  
WR Reche Caldwell   20  
PK Shaun Suisham 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: Since December 3rd when the Redskins attended Sean Taylor's funeral, the Redskins have won all four games and are playing on emotion. As tragic as Taylor's death was, it is a testament that his teammates have dedicated their games to his memory and are playing at a higher level than they had all season. The Redskins had an improbable streak to reach the playoffs and they may not be done.

Quarterback: Todd Collins has started for the last four weeks and the results have been good - the Skins have won every game. But his best performance so far has been 254 yards and two scores at Minnesota and he has only passed for five scores in those four efforts. But just as importantly, he has yet to throw an interception and has been completing around 75% of his passes other than the bad weather game in New York. Jason Campbell remains out and even if the Skins win this week, there's no reason to swap out the quarterback during a hot winning streak.

Running Backs: Clinton Portis has caught on fire in these recent weeks with at least one rushing score in each of the last three games and an average of about 100 rushing yards in each game. He comes off a win over the Cowboys where he was the only runner to top the century mark against Dallas this year and has just kicked it up a notch in these recent weeks. Perhaps no other player has stepped as nicely as Portis has in these recent games. When it mattered most, Portis was at his best.

Wide Receivers: Not unlike Portis, Santana Moss has enjoyed three of his best games of the year when he ended the year with 75, 71 and 115 yards in the final three games. He even even scored in each of the last two games after only scoring once in the first fourteen weeks. Antwaan Randle El has fared nearly so well but he did manage his only touchdown on the season during the game in Minnesota. Randle El rarely has more than 50 yards in a game and has even been blanked once this year (as was Moss). Reche Caldwell has been showing up in box scores lately but only for around 30 yards per week.

Tight Ends: While Chris Cooley is the leading scorer for the Skins receivers with eight touchdowns, he's the one player that has fallen off since Todd Collins took over. In the last five games, Cooley only scored once and in the last three games never had more than 42 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Seattle defense has been fortunate in that they have faced so very few top defenses, but still they have been impressive in only allowing three running backs to score against them in Seattle. No runner has totaled more than 89 yards and the Seattle rush defense has been much better at home than on the road. The play of the Redskins has been inspired in these recent weeks and with that Portis could certainly score a touchdown but topping 100 yards is unlikely this week.

Collins faces one of the better secondaries in the league and Seattle has only allowed seven passing scores in eight home games. The Skins are not going to win this game by passing and Moss has been the only wideout with much promise anyway. And Cooley goes against a secondary that has only given up one touchdown to a tight end visiting Seattle this year and none have gained more than 43 yards. The Skins have been winning with a balanced game and great defensive play. Only paper, this game should be a fairly easy win by Seattle but the Skins are just so focused and inspired now that it makes it far more difficult to call. The Seahawks are great at rushing the passer so Collins will face his biggest test so far. The forecast for the game of 43 degrees and rain will likely depress the offenses.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points
WAS
18
7
25
6
13
25
Preventing Fantasy Points
SEA
6
22
14
13
8
4

 

Seattle Seahawks (10-6)
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 0-21 +6 41
6 NO 17-28 -6 43
7 STL 33-6 -9 40
8 BYE - - -
9 @CLE 30-33 +1 47
10 SF 24-0 -10 39.5
11 CHI 30-23 -5.5 37.5
12 @STL 24-19 -3 44.5
13 @PHI 28-24 +3 43
14 ARI 42-21 -7 44.5
15 @CAR 10-13 -7 38
16 BAL 27-6 -10 40
17 @ATL 41-44 +2.5 38
P1 WAS   +3.5 40
SEA vs WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck     240,2
RB Shaun Alexander 50    
RB Maurice Morris 40 20  
TE Marcus Pollard   20  
WR Bobby Engram   60,1  
WR D.J. Hackett   60,1  
WR Deion Branch   50  
PK Josh Brown 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: Seattle cruised to a division win playing what seems like an easy schedule every year. And they only lost one game at home which was back in week six when the Saints surprised them (and everyone else). Seattle has plenty of post-season experience. As it worked out though, they only played two teams with a winning record on the season. They beat the Buccaneers back in the season opener and they were shutout by the Steelers in Pittsburgh in week five. Otherwise - no other team they faced this year have a winning record. Even this week still is not a winning record with the Skins at 8-8.Seattle hasn't really been tested much since winning a close game in Philadelphia in week 13 and that was when A.J. Feeley was the starting quarterback.

Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck injured his wrist last week against Atlanta but remained in the game, An X-ray did not reveal any problems and Hasselbeck has been making all his passes in practice this week. He'll start and work on what has been a productive streak at home with two more more scores in the last seven home games. Hasselbeck has only passed for ten touchdowns away from Seattle but had 18 when at home. He's enjoyed a career best year and even has D.J. Hackett back in the line-up.

Running Backs: The Seattle rushing attack has been lethargic at best and reliant on Maurice Morris at worst. Shaun Alexander started the year with three good games but plummeted in productivity since then. He only has four touchdowns on the season and recent weeks have been only mildly encouraging like when he gained 73 yards on 13 carries against the visiting Ravens in week 16. In the most recent games, both Alexander and Morris have been splitting the load but the Seahawks also had the luxury of playing a couple of very bad defenses and knew they had the division anyway. The Seahawks as a team only have eight rushing scores - this has been the year of the pass. In the rain this week, that could come back to haunt them.

Alexander is still nursing sore ribs from last week but is expected to play.

Wide Receivers: Deion Branch was inactive with an injured calf last week and he was replaced by D.J. Hackett who only had four catches for 41 yards. That was Hackett's first game since week 12 and the first time he had played a full game this year without stellar results. Branch is expected to play this week and will be only the second time all year that both he and Hackett have played together in a game. Hasselbeck rarely uses tight ends or running backs as receivers so the biggest chunk of passing will go to the wideouts. Bobby Engram has been rock solid this year and even Nate Burleson will show up big every now and then. As long as Hasselbeck is healthy, this unit will produce fantasy points and it's only a question of which player gets the big numbers that day.

Tight Ends: Marcus Pollard is rarely any factor in a game and only scored twice this season. The Seahawks have moved away from using the tight end as a receiver and Pollard rarely sees more than two catches per game.

Match Against the Defense: The Redskins have been outstanding against the run this year and only 4 runners have scored against them. Most teams fail to have a runner top 50 rushing yards. Given that the Seahawks are splitting duties between Morris and Alexander and neither have proven to be even average this year, look for only moderate total yardage and likely no score. If it rains hard enough to affect the passing, it could help the rushing just from an increase of carries.

Hasselbeck faces a secondary that ranks well but that's largely thanks to facing some very bad quarterbacks. Tom Brady and Tony Romo faced them as visitors and each had at least three passing scores with around 300 passing yards. The rain could depress this and typically the Redskins corners do a nice job against the starting wideouts but Seattle will be using all four. Look for a couple of touchdowns by Hasselbeck that should favor Engram in the slot the most.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points
SEA
7
19
5
29
6
5
Preventing Fantasy Points
WAS
24
4
6
17
13
15

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