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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 5
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
CLE
Monday
NYJ
OAK
*updated
STL

Prediction: BUF 20, ARI 24

Update: Anquan Boldin has been ruled out this week after being blasted last Sunday and will be replaced by Steve Breaston as expected. Leonard Pope is also banged up and is questionable but still could play. Since he has minimal fantasy points anyway I will just leave him alone.

The Bills are 4-0 for the first time since 1992 and while they haven't all been blowouts, this Bills team is the best one since those early 90's AFC champions. The Cardinals come off a tough loss and had fears that Anquan Boldin had serious damage but he's okay and the head coach has already forgiven Warner for giving the ball away to the Jets again and again and again and again and again and again. But the Cardinals at home are always a much tougher bird and the Bills are due for a loss.

Buffalo Bills (4-0)
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
AstroTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 SEA 34-10 -1 39
2 @JAX 20-16 +6 38
3 OAK 24-23 -9.5 36.5
4 @STL 31-14 -8 41.5
5 @ARZ - +1 45
6 BYE - - -
7 SD - - -
8 @MIA - - -
9 NYJ - - -
10 @NE - - -
11 CLE - - -
12 @KC - - -
13 SF - - -
14 MIA - - -
15 @NYJ - - -
16 @DEN - - -
17 NE - - -
BUF at ARZ Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Edwards     180,1
RB Marshawn Lynch 60,1 30  
TE Robert Royal   10  
WR Lee Evans   70,1  
WR Josh Reed   40  
WR James Hardy   10  
PK Rian Lindell 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Bills are for real this year but won't play a divisional foe until week eight. The offense has been good in all facets without being great in any but the defense is the main reason why this team has yet to lose a game. The passing offense is still one-dimensional with only Lee Evans as a weapon but that's one more than they had last year. The Bills already are a surprise team in the AFC and they are only just starting...

Quarterback: Trent Edwards has been solid in his second season and has thrown exactly one touchdown every week with an average of 233 passing yards every week. The biggest change this year is that Lee Evans has become an every week player and the lead receiver here by a huge margin. Evans had settled for a long catch about every four games in the past. This year it is every week that he is producing first down making yardage.

Running Backs: Another second year player that matters is Marshawn Lynch who has already scored five rushing touchdowns but he has totaled just 275 yards on 79 carries for just a 3.5 yard average. He supplements that now with around 25 or 30 receiving yards but his scoring is what has propped up his fantasy value. Lynch was a disappointment when he went to St. Louis and only rushed for 57 yards on 19 carries. He hasn't exceeded 83 rushing yards in a game yet.

Fred Jackson came in last week and stole the rushing score of Lynch would have maintained his pace.

Wide Receivers: If nothing else, Trent Edwards deserves to start for finally making Lee Evans into a star wideout. Evans is averaging about four catches for 83 yards per game and finally had his first touchdown just last week. That dwarfs all other wideouts on this ream though Josh Reed has been consistent with around 50 yards per week.

The rookie James Hardy has been slow in developing so far with only two catches this season.

Tight Ends: Robert Royal has been slightly more productive this year but there is a simple key to it. At home for two games he has 10 catches for 86 yards and one score. On the road twice, he totaled just one catch for eight yards. He is on the road this week.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals rushing defense has been solid this year with no runner topping 100 rushing yards yet and just three scores allowed to opposing tailbacks. The Cardinals have only played one game at home so far and shut down the Dolphins. Expect just mediocre numbers again from Lynch with a chance he could score once if Jackson doesn't steal it again.

Edwards faces a secondary that was just torched for six scores by Brett Favre but that had only allowed two scores in the three previous weeks. This will be interesting too since the Cards are very week against tight ends but Royal has always disappeared in road games. I only like one passing score here just as Edwards always does so Evans has the best chance at it since he'll have more than all other receivers combined.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 16 13 14 20 10 9
Preventing Fantasy Points    ARI 24 13 23 29 17 27


Arizona Cardinals (2-2)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SF 23-13 -2.5 41.5
2 MIA 31-10 -7 38.5
3 @WAS 17-24 +3 42
4 @NYJ 35-56 +3 45
5 BUF - -1 45
6 DAL - - -
7 BYE - - -
8 @CAR - - -
9 @STL - - -
10 SF - - -
11 @SEA - - -
12 NYG - - -
13 @PHI - - -
14 STL - - -
15 MIN - - -
16 @NE - - -
17 SEA - - -
ARI vs BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Kurt Warner     230,2
RB Edgerrin James 70 10  
RB Tim Hightower 20,1 20  
TE Leonard Pope   10  
WR Steve Breaston   70,1  
WR Larry Fitzgerald   80,1  
WR Jerheme Urban   30  
PK Neil Rackers 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals have lost their last two games after starting the year with a couple of wins but the schedule was never better than at the start of the season. The Jets pasted the Cardinals last week mainly because Kurt Warner's hand would involuntarily open and drop the ball whenever a defender was near. These next two home games will both be tough and then the bye is in week seven. This week is the best chance the Cardinals have of a reaching a 3-3 record for the bye.

Quarterback: After three games where Kurt Warner only had one interception against six touchdowns, it was a surprise to see him fall apart against the Jets when he had three interceptions and three lost fumbles - most of them all coming in just the second quarter. To his credit, Warner stuck with it and by the end of the game he wasn't able to keep pace but he did direct 35 offensive points while throwing for two scores and 472 passing yards. Warner is back at home this week where his only game this year produced 361 yards and three scores.

Running Backs: Edgerrin James scored his first two touchdowns of the season last week in New York but only ran for 29 yards on nine carries thanks to the incredible game by Brett Favre. James has been little more than what he has always been in Arizona - just a mediocre yardage guy with a rare touchdown. Tim Hightower also scored once last week making it three of his first four NFL games having a touchdown.

The rushing game here is mainly just to support the passing game and to get the shorter first downs and goal line carries. James had topped 20 carries only once this year.

Wide Receivers: It was a very scary moment when Anquan Boldin was knocked unconscious last week and was brought to the hospital in an ambulance. He is now reported to not be seriously injured and that he has not been ruled out for this weekend. He will be evaluated as the week progresses to determine if he can play. Until he is cleared, I will assume that Steve Breaston will fill in for him. Losing Boldin for any amount of time will hurt, but Breaston has the confidence of the coaching staff and did turn in nine catches for 122 yards in New York.

Larry Fitzgerald has just plain been on fire for three weeks with every game over 100 yards and two scores on the season. If Boldin doesn't play, Fitzgerald will get a bit more attention by the secondary but he's excelled with that in the past anyway. Look for Jerheme Urban to move into the slot if Boldin does not play.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: The Bills have an outstanding defense that has had no problem stopping the run until last week when Steven Jackson tacked 110 yards on them. Before that no runner had topped 55 yards against them. And the Bills have only allowed two passing scores this year as well with no one having more than 236 yards. But one thing to remember here - the Bills have only faced the visiting Seahawks when they were ravaged by injury, hosted the Jaguars who had their offensive line decimated by injury, the visiting Raiders who very nearly beat them and the Rams.

That's Hasselbeck, Garrard, Russell and Trent Green. That is not Warner and Fitzgerald. Look for at least two passing scores here by the Cardinals who play tough in the desert and the Bills to have a minor let down this week after four wins.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 4 17 1 29 23 19
Preventing Fantasy Points    BUF 7 12 10 4 13 8

The Huddle
WEEK 5
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
CLE
Monday
NYJ
OAK
STL
Other Features
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Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
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