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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 6
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
BUF
Monday
KC
PIT
*updated
TEN

Prediction: JAX 17, DEN 24

The Broncos are 4-1 (3-0 at home) this season and host the Jaguars who are only 2-3 and trailing the Titans by three games in the AFC South. The dominating rushing game of the Jaguars has disappeared this year but so has the ability to ring up big scores by the Broncos lately. The Jaguars need this game desperately but Denver at home will be too much.

Denver won 23-14 when the Jaguars came to town in week three last year.

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3)
Homefield: J'ville Municipal Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @TEN 10-17 -3 37
2 BUF 16-20 -6 38
3 @IND 23-21 +5.5 42
4 HOU 30-27 -7.5 42
5 PIT 21-26 -4 36
6 @DEN - +3.5 48
7 BYE - - -
8 CLE - - -
9 @CIN - - -
10 @DET - - -
11 TEN - - -
12 MIN - - -
13 @HOU - - -
14 @CHI - - -
15 GB - - -
16 IND - - -
17 @BAL - - -
JAX at DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB David Garrard     180,1
RB Fred Taylor 60 20,1  
RB Maurice Jones-Drew 30,1 20  
TE Marcedes Lewis   10  
WR Dennis Northcutt   20  
WR Jerry Porter   30  
WR Matt Jones   60  
PK Josh Scobee 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: Tough loss on Sunday night that leaves the Jaguars with a losing record on a trip into Denver. The schedule clears nicely once the Jags return with games against the Lions, Bengals and Browns but the Titans are already three games in the lead for the AFC South. These Jaguars games are always hard fought - every matchup has been decided by seven points or less.

Quarterback: Five weeks into the season and David Garrard still has not found the same level of success that he enjoyed in 2007 when he passed for 19 touchdowns in only 12 games played. He currently only has three passing touchdowns and an average of just under 200 passing yards each week. Unfortunately, Garrard throws around the same yardage each game regardless of the success of the rushing or how badly the Jaguars need to move the ball. Going to be around 200 yards and no more than one score. This week in Denver will need more than that and Garrard should have the opportunity to post better stats - but he hasn't done it yet this year.

Garrard passed for 154 yards and one score in the week three game in Denver.

Running Backs: Other than the one game against the Colts non-existent rushing defense, the Jaguars have not been productive in the rushing game despite the entire offense revolving around just that. Fred Taylor hasn't scored this year and excluding week three, he hasn't rushed for more than 49 yards in any game this year. Maurice Jones-Drew has scored in three of the last four games to salvage his fantasy value but he too has remained below 50 yards each game other than the Colts.

Taylor is averaging only 3.4 yards per carry while Jones-Drew hangs onto a 4.0 average.

Taylor rushed for 84 yards on 17 carries while Jones-Drew only gained 37 yards on 15 runs in Denver last year.

Wide Receivers: Two weeks of Jerry Porter back have resulted in two passes thrown to him for one catch of six yards. That's all. Last year's touchdown machine Reggie Williams has disappeared and is being replaced by second-year player Mike Walker who has finally started coming into his own after being drafted in the third round of 2007 and then not having a catch until three weeks ago. Against the Steelers, Walker turned in 107 yards on six catches to lead the team. Unfortunately he sprained his MCL and may not play this week.

Matt Jones remains the most productive wideout with the lone touchdown caught by a wideout and around 60 yards per week on average. But he had only two catches for 25 yards against the Steelers for a season low. There are no reliable wideouts here in a fantasy sense but at least Walker appears to be improving and can be watched since everyone else here has already proven that they are never going to be fantasy studs.

No wideout had more than 44 yards against the Broncos last year. Reggie Williams had one score.

Tight Ends: Marcedes Lewis finally caught a touchdown last week but he rarely has more than one catch per game and never any yardage.

Match Against the Defense: The Denver rushing defense is nothing special to be sure and should allow at least some success by Taylor and Jones-Drew. Expect moderate yardage and at least one rushing score by Jones-Drew.

Garrard goes against an equally soft secondary that has allowed at least one passing score every week and good yardage for those teams that know how to take it. Garrard won't have a big game here because he never has a big game anywhere but he should end up with his best game of the year so far. Expect nice yardage and at least one passing score that should favor a running back the most.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points JAC 19 16 27 28 16 16
Preventing Fantasy Points    DEN 25 28 14 22 22 7


Denver Broncos (4-1)
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @OAK 41-14 -3 41.5
2 SD 39-38 +1.5 45.5
3 NO 34-32 -5.5 51.5
4 @KC 19-33 -9.5 46.5
5 TB 16-13 -3 48
6 JAX - -3.5 48
7 @NE - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 MIA - - -
10 @CLE - - -
11 @ATL - - -
12 OAK - - -
13 @NYJ - - -
14 KC - - -
15 @CAR - - -
16 BUF - - -
17 @SD - - -
DEN vs JAC Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler     300,2
RB Michael Pittman 30,1 20  
TE Daniel Graham   40  
WR Darrell Jackson   50  
WR Brandon Stokley   60,1  
WR Brandon Marshall   100,1  
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Broncos made up for losing to the Chiefs by squeaking past the Buccaneers last Sunday but the schedule has them against the Jaguars this week and then in New England before the week eight bye. That should be tough but they already have a two game lead over the Chargers for the division and then an easier stretch on the other side with games of MIA, @CLE, @ATL and OAK.

Quarterback: Jay Cutler continues his breakout season with 1502 passing yards to rank #2 in the NFL and average just over 300 yards per game. He's already scored ten times and has not been blanked in a game yet. Against the Buccaneers he had a season low 227 yards and one score but has otherwise never fallen below 264 yards. The rushing game continues to lag previous seasons so Cutler has to make the difference every week.

Cutler passed for 222 yards and one score against the Jaguars last season.

Running Backs: The lethargic Denver rushing attack took a hit when Selvin Young injured his groin last week and could not finish the game. Young has not been particularly impressive but he has been the most productive back for the Broncos this year. I will assume he is out until he practices.

Michael Pittman would likely see more action if Young cannot play but he has never had more than seven carries in a game so far and he hasn't scored since week three. This is a sad unit compared to the production over the last decade. Ryan Torain is expected back from his elbow injury in week nine and he has a good chance at becoming the primary back if only because everyone else has proven to be inadequate.

The Broncos only rushed for 50 yards against the Jaguars last year.

Wide Receivers: Eddie Royal left the game on Sunday with a sprained ankle but it is reported to be just a sprain - not a high ankle sprain. But I will not project him to play until he has practiced. That will move up Brandon Stokley most likely though Darrell Jackson could get some playing time here as well since missing four games because of a calf injury. These projections may change by Friday.

Brandon Marshall finally had a bad game when he only managed to catch three passes for 25 yards against the Buccaneers. He had scored in the three previous starts with good yardage in all. The loss of Royal doesn't help the attention that Marshall will be getting either.

Marshall caught seven passes for 133 yards against the Jaguars last season.

Tight Ends: After two down weeks, Tony Scheffler leads the team with four catches for 65 yards on Sunday and if there is any key to his performance, it is that he doesn't contribute much in easier matchups and then has his best efforts in the toughest games as the passing option that Cutler reaches more often. Scheffler is suffering from a strained groin that will likely keep him out this week. I will project for Daniel Graham to take the start.

Match Against the Defense: The Jaguars rushing defense has been pretty good this year without allowing any 100 yard rushers though they have give up six scores to running backs. With the mishmash state of the backs in Denver - and now with Young ailing - stay away from all but Michael Pittman who could have one touchdown here but likely only moderate yardage and even then he needs Young to not play.

Cutler faces a secondary that has always allowed a score in every game and most recently Schaub and Roethlisberger both had three touchdowns against them with over 300 passing yards. That has to happen again for Cutler who is up to the task. Look for scores to Marshall and Scheffler at the least.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 4 20 3 3 2 24
Preventing Fantasy Points    JAC 28 20 18 25 12 6

The Huddle
WEEK 6
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
BUF
Monday
KC
PIT
TEN
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
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