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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: WAS 17, NYG 27

It's not enough that this game is between two long-time divisional foes, it now features the current NFL champion Giants and the Redskins who did not look like they were familiar with their own playbook this summer. These two teams typically play it close and traded road wins. The Giants beat the Skins 24-17 in Washington last year but then lost to the visiting Redskins 16-22 in week 15. The Giants are at home using the same offense with all the same players except for Jeremy Shockey who apparently was never needed anyway. The Skins can always surprise but this will be just a bit too tall an order.

Washington Redskins (0-0)
Homefield: FedEx Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NYG - +3.5 41
2 NO - - -
3 ARZ - - -
4 @DAL - - -
5 @PHI - - -
6 STL - - -
7 CLE - - -
8 @DET - - -
9 PIT - - -
10 BYE - - -
11 DAL - - -
12 @SEA - - -
13 NYG - - -
14 @BAL - - -
15 @CIN - - -
16 PHI - - -
17 @SF - - -
WAS at NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Jason Campbell 20   210,1
RB Clinton Portis 90,1 20  
TE Chris Cooley   40  
WR Santana Moss   60,1  
WR Antwaan Randle El   40  
WR James Thrash   30  
PK Shaun Suisham 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Skins ended 2007 with a four game winning streak and grabbed a wild card with their 9-7 record. But the coaching staff has all changed and Jim Zorn starts a new era along with offensive coordinator Sherman Smith. Being an ex-quarterback, the new HC Zorn is hoped to bring more spark to the offense that has never seemed to quite meet their expectiatons and potential. Unfortunately, perhaps no other team seemed to struggle this summer as much as the Redskins did. But playing for keeps in the regular season is always different and the Skins will get the benefit of popping a whole new offensive scheme on the Giants.

Quarterback: While Zorn has a lot more to do than mentor Jason Campbell, it is hoped that he will help direct Campbell's development to a large degree. But along with work on his mechanics and timing is the need for Campbell to remain healthy all year after missing three games last season. He's been a good manager with few mistakes, but Campbell needs to take the next step if the Skins are going to go any deeper into the playoffs. The team did draft receivers this year in the hopes of stocking the shelves but that may not pay off until 2009.

Campbell passed for 190 yards and a score against the Giants last year but did not play in the week 15 matchup when Todd Collins started.

Running Backs: After six years in the league, Clinton Portis is only 27 and in his prime. He comes off a season where he led the NFL with 325 carries and yet his 1262 rushing yards were only 6th best in the league. The new offense being installed is intended to present a balanced attack and with that a possible reduction in work for Portis who was a focal point when Al Saunders was directing the scheme. But he could be come more efficient and raise that 3.9 yards per carry average. Less work could actually equate to more production this year.

Portis rushed for 60 yards and one score with 37 receviing yards in the home matchup against the Giants. He later ran for 126 yards and a score in New York.

Wide Receivers: The Redskins haven't had a feared set of wideouts in many years and typically rely on Santana Moss eventually catching a long pass every few games. To address the fact that both Antwaan Randle El and Santana Moss are more adept for slot work instead of starting on the outside, the Skins drafted Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly. While they may both turn into valuable weapons, it doesn't appear likely to happen in 2007 since both struggled in camp with either the playbook, staying healthy or both. So back to the same lineup for at least a couple of weeks to start the year with Moss, Randle El and James Thrash.

Moss had 75 yards on three catches in New York last year and then 82 yards at home but no other wideout had more than 32 yards against the Giants.

Tight Ends: Chris Cooley was able to enjoy Pro Bowl years with Al Saunders helping to direct the offense but now that he is gone, Cooley may no longer have the role as the primary reciever for the Skins. He's always been the preferred target for Campbell anywhere near the endzone and that should continue even in the new scheme.

Cooley scored once at the home meeting with the Giants but only had 19 yards. The second meeting only had two catches for 34 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Skins are opening on the road and against a very familar team but the Giants will battle the natural let down from winning a Super Bowl and have lost Osi Umenyiora which should help keep Campbell safer on pass plays. They also lost Michael Strahan to retirement. They are really only an average defense this year but the Skins have looked so bad to this point that installing the new scheme has hardly been completed. Portis should have his normal decent game and Campbell will manage the offense but whatever the passing game does over an average 200 yard game will largely be due to using new plays and formations that the Giants have never seen before. Hard to rely on at best and the Skins passing game has never been much in fantasy terms.

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 NYG 17 15 17 21 9 20
Rank Advantage (-31 to 31) WAS -1 8 -8 15 -4 -5


New York Giants (0-0)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 WAS - -3.5 41
2 @STL - - -
3 CIN - - -
4 BYE - - -
5 SEA - - -
6 @CLE - - -
7 SF - - -
8 @PIT - - -
9 DAL - - -
10 @PHI - - -
11 BAL - - -
12 @ARZ - - -
13 @WAS - - -
14 PHI - - -
15 @DAL - - -
16 CAR - - -
17 @MIN - - -
NYG vs WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning     230,2
RB Brandon Jacobs 110,1 10  
RB Ahmad Bradshaw 50 20  
TE Kevin Boss   20  
WR Plaxico Burress   80,2  
WR Amani Toomer   40  
WR Steve Smith   40  
PK John Carney 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: No one ever accused Tiki Barber of having a good sense of timing. He left the team last year, had a few parting words about the coaching staff and Eli Manning and then watched his ex-team win the Super Bowl and Eli get the MVP. Yeah, could have timed that better. The Giants were the surprise team of 2008 and even that never started until the playoffs began. Evidently being without Barber and Jeremy Shockey was the key to winning everything. With that known, Shockey was shopped off to the Saints and the Giants get a chance to show the world that 2007 was no fluke. Then again, it begs the mental picture of a Giants huddle with Manning asking "okay guys, now who remembers what it was that worked so well last year? Anyone? What the heck did we do differently?"

One thing is for sure. No Super Bowl winner ever had a 3-5 record while playing at home.

Quarterback: Eli Manning won his Super Bowl and now has an official "back at ya" for both his brother and the New York media. But for all his postseason success, he still has yet to change his frustrating tendency of starting a season out well - usually a lot of multiple touchdown games - and then the second half of the year he struggles, throws less scores and more interceptions and the team slides down. The difference last year was that they still made the playoffs where magically everything just came together for them. Manning has proven himself to be sure, but in fantasy terms he needs to show more consistency during the season.

Manning passed for 232 and 184 yards during the two meetings with the Skins last year and had a touchdown in each.

Running Backs: With Tiki Barber gone, the Giants turned to Brandon Jacobs and had great results in the all too few games that he was healthy. Derrick Ward stepped in with nice production when needed though and by the end of the season Ahmad Bradshaw was showing up very well. What will be interesting to see is if the Giants continue that trend of the playoffs by giving Bradshaw a dozen carries per game which come at the expense of Jacobs. No doubt who gets the goal line work but the Giants had nice success mixing the two and won't likely change what succeeded. The Giants finally got their Thunder and Lightning to work, it just did not involve Tiki Barber or Ron Dayne.

When the Giants played in Washington, Derrick Ward rushed for 94 yards but in the home meeting it was Brandon Jacobs who gained 130 yards on 25 carries.

Wide Receivers: Plaxico Burress returns after spending the summer nursing a perpetually bad ankle and unhappy that his bank account was not bigger. But he has practiced finally and will play this week. He remains the only weapon of note in the passing game, especially now with Jeremy Shockey gone. Burress has been the preferred target in the endzone for Manning and that will never change. Amani Toomer returns as well but he's on the downside of his career and knows that Steve Smith is angling to replace him sooner than later. With Sinorice Moss and the rookie Mario Manningham, the Giants have a squad worth developing for whenever Toomer does step to the side.

Burress caught five passes for 86 yards and a score in the first meeting with the Skins but only had 35 yards on three receptions in the week 15 game at home.

Tight Ends: The loss of Shockey certainly was no hindrance to winning the Super Bowl but his departure will be felt. Kevin Boss was generally impressive replacing Shockey last year but never had more than 50 yards or four catches in a game. During the playoffs, he only reeled in five catches over the four games and never scored. He'll take time to come around and will never be the receiver that Shockey was. But the offense does like to rely on the position which should help Boss to produce average fantasy numbers.

Shockey had 79 yards on five catches in the road meeting with the Skins and later Kevin Boss scored once during his two catches for 31 yards in the second meeting. That was the final game that Shockey played as a Giant.

Match Against the Defense: The Redskins didn't much upgrade their defense this year and CB Carlos Rogers is coming off knee surgery and has to cover Burress. The Skins have also not faced the two man tandem of Jacobs and Bradshaw. The Giants struggled greatly in 2007 trying to win a home game but this week shouldn't pose too big of a chore. The Skins are still trying to come together as an offense and the defense is nothing special.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 17 5 19 13 19 7
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 24 4 6 17 13 15
Rank Advantage (-31 to 31) NYG 7 -1 -13 4 -6 8

The Huddle
WEEK 1
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday
Sunday Late

 

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Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
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