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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: PHI 23, CHI 17

Update: Both Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook are listed as questionable but McNabb was held out on Wednesday and Thursday and returned for a full day on Friday and is expected to start and not be limited by his chest bruise. Westbrook was held out all this week and while he has not been ruled out and may be a game time decision, I am not going to add him into the projections and you should make other moves since this is the Sunday night game and unless you are holding Buckhalter or have a Monday night player, you have no way to make an adjustment and Westbrook won't be near 100% healthy in the best case. He misses at least one game per year and this looks like the one.

Devin Hester is also likely to be a gametime decision and is not worth a fantasy start in any case. And Brandon Lloyd is going to be a gametime decision this week because of a hip injury that held him out of practice on Thursday and then kept him limited on Friday. I am lowering his projections and he is not a safe start this week.

This late game on Sunday could be interesting thanks to injuries on the Eagles side. Though they were clipped by the Cowboys in week two, there is no doubt that the Eagles are back to being an elite team the NFC - if healthy. The Bears started the year with an impressive win over the Colts but have dropped their next two games and cannot afford another loss. Check back on this game by Saturday for updates because the Eagles may not be at full strength.

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1))
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 STL 38-3 -7 44
2 @DAL 37-41 +7 47
3 PIT 15-6 -3 45
4 @CHI - - -
5 WAS - - -
6 @SF - - -
7 BYE - - -
8 ATL - - -
9 @SEA - - -
10 NYG - - -
11 @CIN - - -
12 @BAL - - -
13 ARZ - - -
14 @NYG - - -
15 CLE - - -
16 @WAS - - -
17 DAL - - -
PHI at CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 20   250,2
RB Correll Buckhalter 30 40  
WR Reggie Brown   20  
WR DeSean Jackson   90,1  
WR Hank Baskett   80,1  
PK David Akers 3 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Eagles defense has been back to form this season despite the setback in Dallas. They squashed the Steelers last week and won that game without the services of Brian Westbrook. Now he and L.J. Smith appear likely to miss this week and even McNabb is nursing a bruised chest. The defense stepped up nicely but the question is if they can do it in a road game?

Quarterback: Donovan McNabb missed a few plays last week with what is termed a "chest contusion" but he is not expected to miss time this week and will play without limitation. McNabb started the season with a bang against the Rams but has only tossed one touchdown in each of the next games. His only road game has been to Dallas where he has 281 yards and one score though that went to Westbrook who may not play this week.

If Westbrook does miss the game, it is 100% on the shoulders of McNabb and he'll be doing it with an ever decreasing set of receivers.

Running Backs: HC Andy Reid says that Brian Westbrook only has an ankle strain and that x-rays and an MRI have not shown any damage. Westbrook is considered "day to day" but there has been word that it is closer to being a high ankle sprain which could linger. Westbrook is a huge part of this offense and I will count him out until it is likely that he will play, Check updates on Friday night for a better idea.

In his place, Correll Buckhalter had a nice game against the Steelers with ten rushes for 43 yards and six receptions for 44 yards and a score. Buckhalter will get the start if Westbrook cannot go.

Wide Receivers: DeSean Jackson finally had a quiet game when he only managed 40 yards on five catches against the Steelers but Hank Baskett stepped up again to lead the team with eight receptions for 85 yards. Reggie Brown finally returned to the field but he was only in for eight plays and could not catch any of the three passes thrown his way.

With Westbrook and L.J. Smith likely out, these wideouts will have to step up and make the difference.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith had a lower back injury last week and is likely to miss this week. Brent Celek will likely take his place but is not worth projecting.

Match Against the Defense: The Bears rushing defense has been outstanding and the Eagles won't have a healthy Westbrook anyway, don't expect Buckhalter to catch fire in this game though he could have enough receptions for fantasy value in a PPR league. The Bears secondary can certainly be beaten as Brian Griese showed last week when he had 407 passing yards there. Look for a couple of passing scores in this game and decent yardage too that will be distributed among the wideouts. I like Jackson to have a nice showing here.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 5 9 5 19 7 4
Preventing Fantasy Points    CHI 21 8 24 20 19 18


Chicago Bears (1-2)
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @IND 29-13 +9.5 44
2 @CAR 17-20 +3 37
3 TB 24-27 -3 35.5
4 PHI - - -
5 @DET - - -
6 @ATL - - -
7 MIN - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 DET - - -
10 TEN - - -
11 @GB - - -
12 @STL - - -
13 @MIN - - -
14 JAX - - -
15 NO - - -
16 GB - - -
17 @HOU - - -
CHI vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Orton     150,1
RB Matt Forte 80,1 30  
TE Greg Olsen   20,1  
WR Marty Booker   30  
WR Brandon Lloyd   30  
WR Rashied Davis   20  
PK Robbie Gould 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Bears are playing great football, they just are not playing it for the entire 60 minutes since they have now blown a double-digit lead for the second week in a row. What was even worse was giving up 407 yards and a game winning drive to the quarterback they traded off in the offseason while they were still pulling petals from a daisy saying "Grossman, Orton, Grossman, Orton..." The rushing game remains a pleasant surprise but the defense is getting a little worse each week. If they can just keep a handle on Charles Tillman after the whistle blows, perhaps the Bears can win a game.

Quarterback: Kyle Orton the game manager was forced to become the pocket passer and had a season high 268 yards and two scores last week though he had two interceptions - his first of the year. Orton also took off on six runs for 21 yards against an aggressive Buccaneers defense and that is bound to be happening again with the Eagles bringing their blitz package to town.

Running Backs: Of the many rookie running backs getting playing time this year, perhaps none has been such a wonderful surprise as Matt Forte who has been rock solid every week. He has never rushed for less than 89 yards and he added seven receptions for 66 yards and a score last week. Kevin Jones gets a token carry here and there but Forte has had no less than 23 rushes in every game this year. He is a pounder that the Bears envisioned when they drafted Cedric Benson. It just took a few years and a few million dollars to get there with someone else.

Wide Receivers: As expected, the Bears have no wide receiver of any note with one glaring exception - Brandon Lloyd. While no other Chicago wideout has managed more than 37 yards in a game, Lloyd had 66 yards in Carolina and then 124 yards and a score against the Buccaneers last week. Orton does not throw much and he rarely throws deep but Lloyd is the player he looks for most and is showing a nice chemistry between the two. With 11 catches over the last two games, he's by far the busiest receiver in Chicago.

Tight Ends: Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen have both had exactly two catches every week with no scores and no real yardage.

Match Against the Defense: The Eagles rushing defense has been very god and even Marion Barber only had 63 yards on 18 carries against them. Forte has been golden so far though and he has never played anything but a tough defense so expect at least a moderate showing here with a good chance of one touchdown and decent yards as a receiver as well.

Orton faces a defense that just sacked Roethlisberger eight times and that will be sure to rattle Orton who had two interceptions just last week. I like Orton to end with just one passing score that should favor a tight end the most or it could end up with Forte like it did last week. The wideouts will be more challenged this week and Lloyd is the only real concern for the secondary.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 21 8 25 20 15 8
Preventing Fantasy Points    PHI 15 2 7 30 14 19
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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