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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: WAS 13, PHI 23

Update: Brian Westbrook is listed as questionable but he has practiced fully this week and is expected to play despite not being 100% yet. I am including him in the projections as splitting time with Correll Buckhalter since there is a chance that Westbrook won't be given a full load this week because of his sprained ankle. Kevin Curtis still has not practiced with anything more than the scout team and if he does suit up this week his role would be minimal at best. No need to add him to the projections. L.J. Smith has also been practicing fully and will play this week.

These teams traded road wins in 2007 with the Skins scoring 20-12 in Philly and later the Eagles winning 33-25 in Washington. Prior to that, it was usually the Eagles winning though the Redskins swept them in 2005. The Skins are still on the road after a huge, emotional win in Dallas while the Eagles are back at home after losing to the Bears. The Eagles have won both their home games and lost both road games.

Washington Redskins (3-1)
Homefield: FedEx Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NYG 7-16 +3.5 41
2 NO 29-24 -1 42.5
3 ARZ 24-17 -3 42
4 @DAL 26-24 +11.5 46
5 @PHI - +5 43
6 STL - - -
7 CLE - - -
8 @DET - - -
9 PIT - - -
10 BYE - - -
11 DAL - - -
12 @SEA - - -
13 NYG - - -
14 @BAL - - -
15 @CIN - - -
16 PHI - - -
17 @SF - - -
WAS at PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Jason Campbell 10   200,1
RB Clinton Portis 70 10  
TE Chris Cooley   30  
WR Santana Moss   90,1  
WR Antwaan Randle El   40  
WR Devin Thomas   20  
PK Shaun Suisham 2 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: HC Jim Zorn can honestly say he is the only Redskins head coach who will always have a winning record at Texas Stadium (since the Cowboys move next year). The Redskins played the Cowboys surprisingly tough and in doing so stamped their new coach and scheme with respectability. Though the team struggled all summer and even in the first game, those wins over the Saints and Cardinals were not just easy home match-ups, at least not anymore. This will be a tough week but then the schedule gets delightfully easy for three weeks going against STL, CLE and DET. At worst the Redskins will be 6-3 on their bye week and could be even better.

Quarterback: The Redskins are getting ready to pull out their wallet and extend Jason Campbell's contract. So far Campbell has thrown for at least one score each week and has yet to have a turnover - not one fumble or interception. He's only been sacked seven times in four games. He already has a 300 yard game this year and threw for two scores in both of the most recent games. Perhaps most importantly, he's getting it done using the wide receivers this year.

Campbell passed for 215 yards and three scores at home last year but only managed 209 yards and one touchdown in Philadelphia.

Running Backs: Clinton Portis comes off his best game of the year when he ran for 121 yards on 21 carries in Dallas. That ended a two game scoring streak but was his first time over 100 yards this season and it came in the most important game so far. Portis remains a solid fantasy option who rarely has a monster game but he's always been good for at least 85 yards each week. It is also apparent that the Redskins expect to run him around 21 times each week. No matter if Ladell Betts as few as one or as many as 11 carries, Portis always has right at 21 runs.

Portis rushed for 137 yards on 30 carries in Philly last year but only had 69 yards and one score in the home meeting.

Wide Receivers: Santana Moss finally had a game without scoring a touchdown but it was a season high eight catches for 145 yards. Moss has really taken to the new offensive scheme and gained tremendous chemistry with Campbell in the process. Antwaan Randle El has his first score of the season in Dallas but hasn't been much more than three or four catches each week. The Redskins are also looking to get Devin Thomas more playing time and more catches though the rookie only has two receptions on the year.

Moss caught six passes for 89 yards and no score in Philly last year.

Tight Ends: The new offensive scheme this year has excluded Chris Cooley from being an endzone target and the team leader in receiving scores from 2007 still has not scored this season. Notable is that he had 72 yards in both home games but on the road he never had more than 28 yards. Just not a factor and those two away games were against the other two divisional rivals (besides Philly this week).

Cooley scored a touchdown when the Eagles visited last year but only had two catches for 25 yards.

Match Against the Defense: This should prove to be the biggest challenge yet for Portis going against a defense that has not allowed more than 63 rushing yards and only one score to Marion Barber. This is the same defense that held Willie Parker to only 20 yards on 13 carries so look for a much lower production from Portis. He did surprise in Dallas to be sure, but this would be an even bigger surprise. The Eagles rank #1 against running backs for a good reason.

Campbell faces a secondary that has allowed three passing scores in both road games and yet at home, the Eagles have not allowed any passing touchdowns. Ben Roethlisberger only managed 131 yards playing in Philly. Campbell has been very good this year but will not be surprising opponents anymore after the Dallas game. Expect one passing score to happen that should favor Moss the most.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 12 22 9 12 14 26
Preventing Fantasy Points    PHI 13 1 7 31 11 13


Philadelphia Eagles (2-2))
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 20-24 -3 45
5 WAS - -5 43
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 vs WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb     250,1
RB Brian Westbrook 50 50  
RB Correll Buckhalter 30,1 20  
TE L.J. Smith   20  
WR Reggie Brown   60  
WR DeSean Jackson   70,1  
WR Jason Avant   30  
PK David Akers 3 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Eagles dropped a close one in Chicago and played tough considering it was a road game and Brian Westbrook, L.J. Smith and RG Shawn Andrews missed the game. The loss dropped the Eagles to only 2-2 but a win this week coupled with a schedule that will become lighter will keep them in the divisional hunt.

Quarterback: Donovan McNabb has been efficient this year but after a monster 361 yard, three touchdown game in the opener he has settled down to just one passing score per week and usually around 260 passing yards. He almost never runs any more and actually rushed for negative yardage in the last two games. In his favor, Reggie Brown has returned to the field and DeSean Jackson has been stellar for a rookie. And this week could see Kevin Curtis return from a sports hernia that had him out since training camp. Brown, Curtis and Jackson would be the most weapons that McNabb has ever had in Philadelphia.

McNabb passed for 240 yards and no scores when the Skins visited last year but later had 251 yards and four scores in Washington.

Running Backs: There is no argument that Brian Westbrook is central to this offense but he tested his ankle before the Chicago game and could not play. There is a chance he may play this week but until he is cleared I will assume that Correll Buckhalter will get the start after rushing for 66 yards on 16 carries and scoring once in Chicago on Sunday night. Buckhalter left the field with an undisclosed injury late in the game but has not been reported to still be injured. This game would be much easier for the Eagles if Westbrook suits up, but even without him the Eagles have enough other weapons for a home win.

Westbrook enjoyed huge games against the Skins last year. He had 152 total yards at home and later 183 yards and three scores in Washington.

Wide Receivers: Reggie Brown finally was involved in a game this year and came away with six catches for 79 yards in Chicago. DeSean Jackson not only had five receptions for 71 yards in that game, he scored once and he ran twice for 35 more yards as a threat the Eagles want to use. Adding back in Kevin Curtis soon will make this unit formidable though the Eagles have always tended to spread the ball around and having three valid options could result in none of them individually having a big game. I will assume that Curtis misses this week as well and update as warranted.

No wideout had more than 55 yards in either meeting with the Skins last year and only Reggie Brown managed to score a touchdown.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith injured his back in week three and never practiced last week. I will assume he is out again until he starts practicing again. In his place, Brent Celek had three catches for 21 yards - not much fantasy value.

Smith only had two catches for 12 yards against the visiting Redskins last year but later had a score and 49 yards on four receptions in Washington.

Match Against the Defense: The Redskins rush defense allowed 116 yards to Brandon Jacobs and 93 yards to Edgerrin James but completely shut down the Cowboys last week. The Eagles never run that much and with Westbrook possibly out there no reason to expect more than just moderate rushing numbers from Buckhalter though he could punch one in.

McNabb faces a secondary that just gave up 300 yards and three scores in Dallas but has otherwise been much better. Look for a passing score here that should favor DeSean Jackson the most . If McNabb can throw for two passing scores, the Eagles will win this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 8 10 7 21 7 5
Preventing Fantasy Points    WAS 23 6 26 16 14 5

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