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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 1
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday
Sunday Late
*updated

Prediction: JAC 20, TEN 16

Here's a chance for the Jaguars to pay the Titans back for last year. The season opener was between these two teams and had the Jags at home with the Titans winning 13-10. The Jags later won 28-13 in Tennessee. The Jaguars are into the second year of the offense directed by Dirk Koetter while the Titans have brought back OC Mike Heimerdinger (but not Steve McNair or Eddie George).

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0)
Homefield: J'ville Municipal Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @TEN - -3 37
2 BUF - - -
3 @IND - - -
4 HOU - - -
5 PIT - - -
6 @DEN - - -
7 BYE - - -
8 CLE - - -
9 @CIN - - -
10 @DET - - -
11 TEN - - -
12 MIN - - -
13 @HOU - - -
14 @CHI - - -
15 GB - - -
16 IND - - -
17 @BAL - - -
JAX at TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB David Garrard 20   190,1
RB Fred Taylor 60 10  
RB Maurice Jones-Drew 50,1 30  
TE Marcedes Lewis   20  
WR Dennis Northcutt   40  
WR Matt Jones   60,1  
WR Reggie Williams   30  
PK Josh Scobee 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Jaguars went 11-5 on the season last year and the shift to David Garrard was a resounding success. The team acquired Jerry Porter and Troy Williamson in an effort to upgrade the receivers (more Porter than Williamson) but the rest of the offense remains largely unchanged. The rushing game with Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew has posted top three numbers in yards and scores for the last two years.

Quarterback: Relying on David Garrard instead of Byron Leftwich proved a stroke of genius last year. A great defense and rushing game mostly needed a game manager and Garrard fit the bill with 18 touchdown passes against only three interceptions. He missed four games thanks to a high ankle sprain but was solid in all games played. He never developed a strong bond with any receiver other than tossing one score per game to Reggie Williams. No receiver in Jacksonville had more than 650 receiving yards last year.

Garrard started the season opener against the Titans last year and passed for 204 yards and one score. He was injured and did not play in the second meeting.

Running Backs: What's not to like about one of the most productive backfields in the NFL? Maurice Jones-Drew dropped back to nine rushing scores from the 13 he had as a rookie and dropped back to just 768 rushing yards but Fred Taylor remained steady at five scores and around 1200 rushing yards. That could increase this year though the schedule gets pretty rough in some spots.

Taylor rushed for only 16 yards on six carries in the opener against the Titans last year and later gained 45 yards on 16 carries with one score in Tennessee. Jones-Drew only gained 32 yards on seven runs in the opener but later had 101 yards on 19 carries and scored once in Tennessee.

Wide Receivers: The Jaguars tried to upgrade with Jerry Porter but he'll likely miss this week's game recovering from a hamstring injury. That leaves the old crew of Dennis Northcutt, Matt "sniffy" Jones and Reggie Williams who somehow had ten touchdowns last year on only 38 catches for 629 yards. It's more a game management when the Jaguars pass and even with Porter unlikely to featured in most games. Jones has been particularly inspired this summer but only after getting arrested with cocaine. He'll want to make good in this game.

No Jaguars wideout had more than 55 yards against the Titans last year.

Tight Ends: Marcedes Lewis has marginal fantasy value as a backup but only produced two scores and 391 yards last year. That was more than most wideouts on the team but he still has no reliable numbers every week.

Match Against the Defense: These teams know one another well but the Jaguars have the advantage with a successful offense hitting its second season. This should remain a lower scoring game but look for Garrard to have minor success and score once while the rushing game produces at least one touchdown.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points JAC 11 3 11 15 20 13
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 9 8 18 7 6 16
Rank Advantage (-31 to 31) JAC -2 5 7 -8 -14 3


Tennessee Titans (0-0)
Homefield: LP Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 JAX - +3 37
2 @CIN - - -
3 HOU - - -
4 MIN - - -
5 @BAL - - -
6 BYE - - -
7 @KC - - -
8 IND - - -
9 GB - - -
10 @CHI - - -
11 @JAX - - -
12 NYJ - - -
13 @DET - - -
14 CLE - - -
15 @HOU - - -
16 PIT - - -
17 @IND - - -
TEN vs JAC Rush Catch Pass
QB Vince Young 40   160
RB Chris Johnson 50 40  
RB Lendale White 30,1 10  
TE Alge Crumpler   20  
WR Justin Gage   50  
WR Justin McCareins   30  
PK Rob Bironas 1 XP 3 FG  

Pregame Notes: The Titans enter the season with an underrated defense and an offense that is just expected to not pass well. Vince Young has rarely had more than the occasional decent passing effort and the Titans have never given him more than what would be #3 wideouts on any other NFL team. Bringing in Alge Crumpler seems like an upgrade but he's playing on creaky knees and was hardly a hot free agent this year. The most notable change on the Titans could be the addition of Chris Johnson who will pair with LenDale White in the backfield and who could become a receiver. This offense needs a spark beyond Vince Young taking off on another run and Johnson is the best bet to be that guy.

Quarterback: Two seasons into his career and Vince Young seems remarkably unchanged as a passer. He did increase to 2546 passing yards last year but fell from 13 to only nine passing scores. He also dropped from seven to only three rushing touchdowns. Young is never going to be a pocket passer but he continues to offer marginal fantasy value thanks to his rushing ability. The problem for the Titans is that he is not improving as he goes.

Young passed for only 78 yards in Jacksonville last season but later had 257 yards and one score in the home meeting. He added 52 rushing yards in that game.

Running Backs: LenDale White was a nice surprise when he rushed for 1110 yards on 303 carries and scored seven touchdowns last year. He'll be joined by Chris Johnson this year in what is billed as a true Thunder and Lightning attack. White makes for a great pile driver, short yardage and inside runner. Johnson takes his 4.24/ 40 speed and terrifies the defense that knows he cannot be given any seam on the field or he is gone. There is the intention that Johnson becomes a viable receiver as well to get him the ball out in space. If Johnson can deliver, he can add an offensive spark here that Young has failed to ignite with his passing.

The season opener last year had Chris Brown rushing for 175 yards on 19 carries and White gained 66 yards on 18 runs in Jacksonville. The home meeting only saw White gain 12 yards on eight carries while Chris Brown was gone again.

Wide Receivers: Justin McCareins returns to the Titans and reunites with OC Mike Heimerdinger but that was back when Steve McNair was the starter. With Young as the starter, no wideout here has enough consistency or even occasional production to warrant being a fantasy starter in all but the largest leagues (think 32 teams big). It's just not here. Justin Gage returns and was the best weapon last year but his 750 yards only had two touchdowns scored.

Justin Gage had seven catches for 90 yards and a score in the home meeting against the Jags last year. No other wideout had more than 51 yards in either meeting.

Tight Ends: Bo Scaife is joined by Alge Crumpler but there are only so many poorly thrown passes to share. I will start the year projecting for Crumpler and change as needed.

Scaife never had more than 38 yards against the Titans last year.

Match Against the Defense: The only reliable part of this game is that Lendale White should have mediocre numbers that could include a touchdown and the world hopes that Chris Johnson can pump some excitement into this offense. These games are almost always low scoring so expect just mediocre numbers all around for the Titans.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points JAC 16 12 7 29 7 7
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 26 15 24 28 3 16
Rank Advantage (-31 to 31) JAC 10 3 17 -1 -4 -9
The Huddle
WEEK 1
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday
Sunday Late
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