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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 3
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday Late
*updated

Prediction: NO 24, DEN 34

This could be the most beautiful game of the weekend that will gladden many a fantasy football heart. The Saints are always going to be involved in shootouts because they have no defense but the Broncos passing game this year has been awe-inspiring. We can only hope this turns into the points bonanza that it potentially could be. This game could feature the two highest passing yards for the week.

New Orleans Saints (1-1)
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 TB 24-20 -3.5

42.5

2 @WAS 24-29 +1 42.5
3 @DEN - +5.5 51.5
4 SF - - -
5 MIN - - -
6 OAK - - -
7 @CAR - - -
8 SD - - -
9 BYE - - -
10 @ATL - - -
11 @KC - - -
12 GB - - -
13 @TB - - -
14 ATL - - -
15 @CHI - - -
16 @DET - - -
17 CAR - - -
NOS at DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees     300,3
RB Reggie Bush 40 70,1  
TE Jeremy Shockey   50,1  
WR Robert Meachem   30  
WR Devery Henderson   60  
WR David Patten   50,1  
PK Martin Gramatica 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: A solid win over the Buccaneers was followed by dropping the Redskins game by giving up a 24-15 fourth quarter lead. Losing Marques Colston is not going to make winning any easier this week and Brees showed what a big drop off there was when they went to Washington. The Saints still are in command of their destiny, but they cannot allow the winnable games to get away from them. They are not nearly that good yet.

Quarterback: After bombing the Buccaneers for 343 yards and three scores, the Saints went to Washington D.C. without Colston and all Drew Brees could get done was 216 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. The Skins pass defense is formidable this year though and the Saints were not favored but they had the lead before watching Jason Campbell do his impression of Brees and win the game. This should be a good week for Brees and while losing Colston hurts, it makes covering the rest that much harder since there is no favorite wideout now.

Running Backs: The Saints are not committing to the run this year and not having much success when they do try to stick with it. Reggie Bush has been great as a receiver and has 15 catches for 175 yards and a score but only gained 79 yards on 24 rushes this season. Pierre Thomas has been even less productive and will see his role being decreased as the Saints start to reintegrate Deuce McAllister back into the offense.

But this year there is no pretense - the Saints are not a rushing team.

Wide Receivers: David Patten took Marques Colston's spot in the starting lineup and led all wideouts with five catches for 55 yards last week. Notable too was the first playing time for Robert Meachem who only had one catch for 19 yards but scored his first NFL touchdown. Brees is really spreading the ball around now that Colston is out and that makes none of these wideouts attractive other than possibly Patten and Meachem if he can increase his workload.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey had a nice debut with six catches for 54 yards but against the familiar Skins, he only managed two catches for 22 yards and even lost a fumble. He still remains a preferred target, especially with Colston out.

Match Against the Defense: The Broncos have been decent against the run this season and the Saints don't rush much anyway. Expect most of the action to happen in the passing game including for Reggie Bush.

The Denver secondary has already given up five passing scores and Rivers just had 377 yards there last week. There could be an interception or two attached, but expect a good passing effort here from Brees that should result in up to three scores and close to 300 passing yards. Since the Broncos are likely to get up early, the Saints will stick with the pass for the majority of the game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 6 10 13 17 21 10
Preventing Fantasy Points    DEN 30 26 26 17 17 13


Denver Broncos (2-0)
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @OAK 41-14 -3 41.5
2 SD 39-38 +1.5 45.5
3 NO - -5.5 51.5
4 @KC - - -
5 TB - - -
6 JAX - - -
7 @NE - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 MIA - - -
10 @CLE - - -
11 @ATL - - -
12 OAK - - -
13 @NYJ - - -
14 KC - - -
15 @CAR - - -
16 BUF - - -
17 @SD - - -
DEN vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler     310,3
RB Michael Pittman 20,1    
RB Selvin Young 40 10  
TE Tony Scheffler   40,1  
WR Eddie Royal   100,1  
WR Brandon Stokley   40  
WR Brandon Marshall   110,1  
PK Matt Prater 4 XP 2 FG  

Pregame Notes: It didn't happen by much and maybe it was more than a little related to a blown call by Ed Hochuli, but the Broncos not only own a 2-0 record, they have what is suddenly the most productive passing attack in the entire NFL. Denver is Running Back University? Try Jay Cutler looking like the new Tom Brady. No one has more passing yards than he does and no one has more passing touchdowns. Guess what? The Saints are coming to town! Get a clean, new DVD to record this one.

Quarterback: Jay Cutler has just been nearly flawless and the secondaries of the Raiders and Chargers are not that bad by any means. But Cutler has caught fire in Denver and fueled by the returning Brandon Marshall and the rookie phenom Eddie Royal. Cutler has not passed for less than 300 yards in a game so far and the Saints showing up is not likely to end that streak.

Running Backs: It is a sign-o-the-times. Two weeks into the season and no Denver runner has more than 10 carries in a game. Four different runners have already played and the least successful in yards is Michael Pittman who leads with three rushing touchdowns. But with Cutler now winning games with the pass, the rushing game becomes secondary and not nearly as productive as in years past. I will project for two runners each week but how and who is a coin flip in some weeks.

Wide Receivers: Wow. Brandon Marshall marked his return from a one-game suspension by catching 18 passes for 166 yards and one score last week. It was somewhere around the 12th reception that the secondary noticed Marshall. They still could not stop him. His 18 catches set a team record and trailed only Terrell Owens 20 receptions as an NFL record. Marshall's return meant a big decrease for Eddie Royal but the rookie still had five catches for 37 yards and one score after his nine catches for 146 yards and a score to open the season.

Royal was injured when he caught the game winning two point conversion but so far nothing has been said about it. I will assume he is fine this week until practice reports say differently. He has to be there for this week. Just has to.

Tight Ends: The Broncos talked about how Tony Scheffler had lost his starting job and that he was demoted because his lack of blocking ability. So what? In week one he had one catch for 72 yards and against the Chargers caught six passes for 64 yards and two scores. Consider Scheffler the starter regardless what the depth charts say.

Match Against the Defense: It would be criminal to have the Broncos just rely on the run to beat the Saints and control the clock and keep them from the field, yada yada. But it could happen. The Saints have allowed over 100 rushing yards in both games this year and two rushing scores to Portis. But expecting that the Saints make a game of this, the Broncos will only have the same moderate level of rushing and perhaps one score.

Where this game should be a treat is against the cornerbacks of the Saints. Already a weakness, the Saints have both left cornerbacks injured from last week and strong safety Roman Harper has a hamstring injury. This is the defense that just allowed Jason Campbell to throw for 321 yards. Expect a very strong game here by Cutler and his three amigos - Marshall, Royal and Scheffler.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 1 8 2 1 12 24
Preventing Fantasy Points    NO 22 22 29 18 27 24

The Huddle
WEEK 3
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday Late
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
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