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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 4
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
DET, IND
Monday
MIA, NE
NYG, SEA
*updated

Prediction: GB 20, TB 24

The Packers took their first loss hosting the Cowboys last week while the Buccaneers stole one from the Bears. This is a coin flip game that will depend on whether the Packers make mistakes that turn into points for the Bucs.

Green Bay Packers (2-1)
Homefield: Lambeau Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 MIN 24-19 -3 38.5
2 @DET 48-25 -3 45
3 DAL 16-27 +3 51
4 @TB - +1.5 43
5 ATL - - -
6 @SEA - - -
7 IND - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 @TEN - - -
10 @MIN - - -
11 CHI - - -
12 @NO - - -
13 CAR - - -
14 HOU - - -
15 @JAX - - -
16 @CHI - - -
17 DET - - -
GB at TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 20   250,2
RB Ryan Grant 60    
TE Donald Lee   30  
WR Donald Driver   60  
WR Greg Jennings   100,1  
WR Jordy Nelson   40,1  
PK Mason Crosby 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: It may have been his first loss but Aaron Rodgers played a very good game against the Cowboys who proved too much for the defense to hold back. This road trip will be a challenge to win but the next two games should be victories and keep the Packers in the run for the division. Losing CB Al Harris for the rest of the season will be very hard to compensate for if he requires surgery on his spleen.

Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers comes off his first game without a passing score but he rushed in one touchdown and had 290 passing yards without any turnovers. He's been solid as a starter and still has not thrown an interception - how is that for a change from the old guy?

Running Backs: Ryan Grant is still not 100% recovered from his hamstring injury but had a credible game when he gained 54 yards on just 13 carries against the Cowboys. His fumble proved costly but he was healthy enough that Brandon Jackson was only given three rushes in the game. Grant still has not run more than 15 times or been thrown a pass in any game this year. He remains without a touchdown as well so his pace of 2007 remains far ahead of this season.

What is curious this season is the lack of passes thrown to the running backs. The tight ends have not seen any more work and yet the running backs have been almost excluded from the passing game.

Wide Receivers: Greg Jennings currently leads the NFL with 373 receiving yards and has 19 receptions through just three games. He has never had less than 91 yards in any game and yet no other Packers receiver has managed more than 76 yards in a game by Donald Driver. Rodgers has been good at spreading the ball around and hitting James Jones and Jordy Nelson as well but Jennings is always the first read.

Tight Ends: Donald Lee comes off a season high five catches for 41 yards but no tight end has scored for the Packers this year and Lee has only marginal fantasy value from a few catches per week.

Match Against the Defense: The Buccaneers have been very good against the rushing game and the ranking reflects the damage done by Reggie Bush and Matt Forte as receivers, not rushers. The Packers do not throw to Grant. Forte has the tops against them with 89 rushing yards but that required 27 attempts to get there and Grant never gets that many. Look for another mediocre game from Grants this week.

Rodgers has to succeed for the Packers to have a chance and the secondary is more suspect this year in Tampa Bay. Since the rushing game should be shut down, look for Rodgers to have at least a decent game throwing and it could turn into a big effort. Jennings is due for yet another good game and should see Jordy Nelson factor in from the slot as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 3 24 3 25 6 1
Preventing Fantasy Points    TB 28 18 25 6 21 11


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NO 20-24 +3.5

42.5

2 ATL 24-9 -8 38.5
3 @CHI 27-24 +3 35.5
4 GB - -1.5 43
5 @DEN - - -
6 CAR - - -
7 SEA - - -
8 @DAL - - -
9 @KC - - -
10 BYE - - -
11 MIN - - -
12 @DET - - -
13 NO - - -
14 @CAR - - -
15 @ATL - - -
16 SD - - -
17 OAK - - -
TB vs GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Brian Griese     230,1
RB Earnest Graham 80,1 10  
RB Warrick Dunn 40 20  
TE Jerramy Stevens   40  
WR Antonio Bryant   70,1  
WR Ike Hilliard   50  
WR Michael Clayton   40  
PK Matt Bryant 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers had a tremendous come from behind victory in Chicago and that win goes far to helping the Buccaneers keep pace in a tougher NFC South this year. It also cemented Brian Griese as the starter and explained why the team was not interested in renegotiating Jeff Garcia's salary in the offseason. And unlike any recent Tampa Bay quarterback, Griese did it without Joey Galloway.

Quarterback: Brian Griese had a bad start to the game last Sunday when he had thrown three interceptions and trailed by ten points in the fourth quarter but he rallied the team and put together a game winning drive in overtime. With Galloway out, Griese managed to light up every waiver wire that still held Antonio Bryant after connecting with him ten times for 138 yards and finding Jerramy Stevens fresh off a suspension for a critical touchdown. The glow may not last long but a Buccaneers quarterback just threw for 407 yards against the Bears in Chicago without Joey Galloway - that is job security.

Running Backs: Both Earnest Graham (12-16) and Warrick Dunn (5-31) had little work in Chicago last week but the duo have been productive in previous games and should enjoy this home game. Dunn comes off a season high four catches for 27 yards while Graham was used purely as a runner last week. Back at home should allow Graham much more running room and more carries.

Wide Receivers: Joey Galloway missed the fireworks of last Sunday with a sprained foot and the early prognosis is that he will likely miss this week as well. Updates as warranted.

In his place, Antonio Bryant excelled and caught ten passes for 138 yards. He looked very much like the young Bryant before his ego and attitude kicked him out of the NFL. Ike Hilliard had a season high 57 yards last week and did score but with 407 yards to spread around, everyone was getting some including Michael Clayton with five catches for 54 yards from the slot. The same roles will go this week since Galloway is likely to miss another game. Bryant has obviously bought himself more playing time anyway.

Tight Ends: After missing the first two weeks because of a suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, Jerramy Stevens is back and immediately made a difference when he had five catches for 61 yards and a score last week. Now that he has been snapped up in every league, realize that the headcase he has always had issues to deal with and can get suspended for much longer if he is again caught smoking the ganja violating the substance abuse policy. I will start to project for him for now but Alex Smith will still figure in and Stevens has a way of disappearing.

Match Against the Defense: The Packers rushing defense has been suspect this year and already allowed two runners to top 100 yards. Granted, Graham is not Barber or Peterson but he is at home in a game the Buccaneers will want to focus on the run. Look for a solid game from his with one score and even Dunn should produce marginal fantasy value this week.

Griese faces a secondary that has always allowed at least one passing score and there is no need or desire here to get into a shootout with Rodgers and the Packers. Expect a much lower game this week with one score that will most favor the faster Bryant likely facing the undrafted free agent cornerback Tramon Williams who will be replacing Al Harris. I also like a defensive score here by the Buccaneers.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 11 17 13 4 17 5
Preventing Fantasy Points    GB 26 17 23 24 24 5
The Huddle
WEEK 4
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
DET, IND
Monday
MIA, NE
NYG, SEA
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Tuesday Injury Report
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