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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: MIN 21, NO 27

Update: Sidney Rice is still not healthy from spraining his knee and was limited in all practices this week but should play as he did last week. He'll just not be 100% again. A surprise was Bernard Berrian who injured his knee in practice on Thursday and was limited on Friday and was added to the injury report as questionable for this game. Berrian was noticeably limping in the open portion of Friday practice so I am lowering his projections and he is not a safe start this week. That's unfortunate since this will be one of his best matchups but both starting wideouts for the Vikes are not healthy.

As expected, both Marques Colston and David Patten will miss this week

The Vikings have dropped to 1-3 and have lost both road games this year. The Saints are 2-2 with both wins coming while at home. This could end up to be a nice little shootout but the Saints have a far better passing game to take the win.

Minnesota Vikings (1-3)
Homefield: Metrodome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @GB 19-24 +3 38.5
2 IND 15-18 +2 43.5
3 CAR 20-10 -3.5 37
4 @TEN 17-30 +3 36
5 @NO - +3 47
6 DET - - -
7 @CHI - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 HOU - - -
10 GB - - -
11 @TB - - -
12 @JAX - - -
13 CHI - - -
14 @DET - - -
15 @ARZ - - -
16 ATL - - -
17 NYG - - -
MIN at NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Gus Frerotte     230,1
RB Chester Taylor 20 20  
RB Adrian Peterson 120,2 30  
TE Visanthe Shiancoe   50  
WR Bernard Berrian   40  
WR Bobby Wade   60,1  
WR Sidney Rice   30  
PK Ryan Longwell   3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Vikings are back on the road this week after losing in Tennessee and the team remains a little too devoted to the running game despite switching to Gus Frerotte. What's been worse this year is the defense that has not had the turnovers of 2007 and a rushing game that while good still has not been as impressive as last year. OT Bryant McKinnie returns from a four game NFL suspension and that should start to immediately upgrade the offensive line blocking.

Quarterback: Gus Frerotte suffered a cut on his left hand last week and needed two stitches but that isn't his throwing hand and it is not expected to be an issue. In two starts, Frerotte has thrown for a total of 470 yards but only one touchdown. As a reminder of why the switch happened, Tarvaris Jackson came into the game when Frerotte was having his hand looked at and threw one pass while getting sacked on two other plays,. The job remains Frerotte's and this week will be the weakest secondary he has faced so far.

Running Backs: The schedule has not been kind to Adrian Peterson who has not topped 100 rushing yards since week two thanks to the Panthers and Titans. But Peterson did add two rushing scores last week and has been used as a receiver for up to four receptions so he has been very productive in all but one game this year. When the going got rough against the Titans, Chester Taylor was only given one carry. Peterson should be due for some bigger stats going against the Saints and Lions next.

Wide Receivers: Bernard Berrian has reaped the rewards of Frerotte as the starter. AFter only three catches for 38 yards in two games with Jackson, Berrian has turned in eight catches for 157 yards in these last two weeks with Frerotte. Sidney Rice missed week three with a knee sprain but returned to limited duty last week and had just one catch. He will continue to improve but will be limited again this week.

Bobby Wade comes off a season high seven catches for 75 yards but has been mired in sub-40 yard games in all other weeks. The passing game has been lethargic even under Frerotte but should show up these next two weeks.

Tight Ends: Though the increase is meager, Visanthe Shiancoe has improved his numbers with Frerotte under center and has 84 yards on six receptions and one score in the last two games.

Match Against the Defense: The Saints have not allowed a 100 yard rusher this year but that will change this week with Peterson showing up. Look for healthy rush yards and at least one score if not two.

Frerotte faces a secondary that has always given up at least one passing score and never less than 220 passing yards. Look for this to be one of Frerotte's best weeks of the year (until next week when the Lions show up) with at least one passing score and decent yardage.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 22 18 28 8 9 15
Preventing Fantasy Points    NO 21 16 29 21 26 22


New Orleans Saints (2-2)
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 32-34 +5.5 51.5
4 SF 31-17 -6 48.5
5 MIN - -3 47
6 OAK - - -
7 @CAR - - -
8 SD - - -
9 BYE - - -
10 @ATL - - -
11 @KC - - -
12 GB - - -
13 @TB - - -
14 ATL - - -
15 @CHI - - -
16 @DET - - -
17 CAR - - -
NOR vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees     310,2
RB Reggie Bush 30 60  
RB Deuce McAllister 40,1 10  
TE Billy Miller   30  
WR Lance Moore   80,1  
WR Devery Henderson   40  
WR Robert Meachem   70,1  
PK Martin Gramatica 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Saints remain at home for two more games and since they are 2-0, there is hope that they can reach their week nine bye with a winning record - but it won't be easy. Deuce McAllister showed up in full force last week running like he wasn't coming off knee surgeries and gave balance to the offense even if it came at the expense of Reggie Bush and killed all fantasy value for Pierre Thomas. This week will be a good challenge for the Saints who have three of the next four games at home but all of them are against above average defenses.

Quarterback: Drew Brees has followed an odd trend where his two road games both only had one passing score and yet both his home games have each had three touchdowns. He hasn't had less than 340 passing yards in a home game as well which bodes very well for this home-heavy stretch of the schedule. Losing Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey is no help but at least other wideouts have been stepping up.

Running Backs: Reggie Bush was having a great fantasy season with three scores and between 100 and 150 yards per game for the first three weeks. But in week four against the 49ers, Bush only ran 20 times for 31 yards and had five catches that only covered seven yards - his worst effort so far by a large margin. Part of that came with the return of Deuce McAllister who suddenly assumed the role as the primary ball carrier for the first time since blowing out his knee again early last season. McAllister gained 73 yards on 20 carries and scored one touchdown.

Pierre Thomas had been scoring each week but only had one carry for one yard last week. He returns to the bench with the return of McAllister who has also dug into the workload of Bush. Not to worry - Bush remains the best receiver on the team.

Wide Receivers: WIth Marques Colston still out and David Patten ailing, the other wide receivers are stepping up nicely in their absence. Patten did play in the first half last week but aggravated his groin injury and left the game. But Lance Moore had a career best seven catches for 78 yards in Denver and then last week upped it once more with seven more catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Robert Meachem had his career best 99 yards on just two catches with one score as well. Devery Henderson still has never had more than two catches in a game but for the second time this season, he turned in just one catch and it was 80+ yards.

This is a high-powered passing offense and while Colston is the primary and most productive wideout, the passing game doesn't really struggle without him. It just makes Brees rely on different people. I will assume that Patten cannot play until he is cleared in practice from his groin injury. Last week the Saints opened with Moore as the split end and Henderson as the flanker.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey had surgery last Tuesday to repair a sports hernia and was replaced by Billy Miller who had just three catches for 30 yards. Miller will see an uptick in use with Shockey out but nothing like being a 1:1 replacement for Shockey in the passing game.

Match Against the Defense: The Vikings rush defense has been very good against yardage but has allowed five rushing scores already. Expect one touchdown here by McAllister but limited rushing yardage for he and Bush who will have to add in receiving yards to prop up his fantasy value this week.

Brees goes against a secondary that was trashed by the Colts. Brees has been on a roll lately anyway so look for that 300+ yard game again this week with two passing scores likely. Those should favor both Moore and Meachem.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 2 3 4 13 24 11
Preventing Fantasy Points    MIN 12 15 12 6 12 20

The Huddle
WEEK 5
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
CLE
Monday
NYJ
OAK
STL
 
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
Tunnel Vision
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