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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 8
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Bye Week
CHI, MIN
Monday
DEN, GB
 
* updated

Prediction: TB 20, DAL 23

Update: Joey Galloway appears likely to get at least a little playing time against his former team but I am not adding him to the projections. Galloway was still limited in all practices this week. Warrick Dunn is listed as questionable after being limited this week until today when he had a full practice. His back is not expected to make him miss this week but will impact his playing time and effectiveness. I am lowering his stats. Ike Hilliard may also return this week but he is considered questionable and may not play.

The Buccaneers hit the road where they are only 1-2 to face off against the Cowboys who have lost three of their last four games, a starting quarterback, a safety and a defensive coordinator. The Tampa Bay defense has been dominating but only in home games while the Cowboys have gone from Super Bowl favorites to being 1-3 during the last month. This should be an interesting game since the Bucs are not great on the road but the Cowboys are struggling everywhere.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NO 20-24 +3.5

42.5

2 ATL 24-9 -8 38.5
3 @CHI 27-24 +3 35.5
4 GB 30-21 -1.5 43
5 @DEN 13-16 +3 48
6 CAR 27-3 -1.5 36.5
7 SEA 20-10 -11 39
8 @DAL - OFF -
9 @KC - - -
10 BYE - - -
11 MIN - - -
12 @DET - - -
13 NO - - -
14 @CAR - - -
15 @ATL - - -
16 SD - - -
17 OAK - - -
TB @ DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia     230,2
RB Earnest Graham 60 20  
RB Warrick Dunn 30 10  
TE Alex Smith   30  
WR Michael Clayton   40,1  
WR Brian Clark   20  
WR Antonio Bryant   80,1  
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers are tied with the Panthers for the NFC South lead and have two road games before reaching their bye week. They face the Cowboys at a very opportune time and then head to Kansas City for what should be no worse than a 6-3 mark. The rushing and passing games are both looking up lately and there's even a chance that there could be a Cadillac in their future.

Quarterback: Jeff Garcia comes off a 300 yard game against the Seahawks with his standard one touchdown. He has played in four games, he has four touchdowns. Garcia rarely passes for more than 200 yards in a game anymore but obviously is capable of more. Joey Galloway could be returning soon but Garcia has already developed nice chemistry with Antonio Bryant who will remain the starting split end.

Running Backs: After serving as the blocking fullback in week six, Earnest Graham was back to being the primary back with 23 carries for 52 yards against the Seahawks. He also scored his fourth touchdown on the season. On the road this season, Graham has not scored and averaged only 60 rushing yards.

Warrick Dunn went from his big game against the Panthers to only 37 yards on 13 carries last Sunday. This is a committee backfield and only the touchdowns that Graham scores in home games have made him fantasy relevant. Now the news is that Carnell Williams is back in practice though he is not on the active roster. HC Jon Gruden has been optimistic that Williams can figure in before the season is over.

Wide Receivers: Joey Galloway remains out with a foot sprain though he is getting closer to returning. When he does, Antonio Bryant remains the starting split end since he has both of the 100 yard receiving games this year. Ike Hilliard suffered a concussion against the Seahawks and was kept overnight. I will assume he misses this week and update if needed.

One interesting side note here. This is the first time that Bryant has faced his old team since he tossed a shirt into Bill Parcells face and soon found himself playing in Cleveland.

Tight Ends: There is minor fantasy value here but each week it changes. Alex Smith has two scores on the year but Jerramy Stevens has turned in two good games. John Gilmore also figures in. Smith is the most consistent tight end here but Stevens has the two best performances by a tight end.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys at home have been tough against the run and only two runners have scored against them this year. But run stopper Roy Williams is gone and the defensive coordinator has been fired. Wade Phillips has been promoted from Jerry Jones puppet to also running the defense but how that figures in with a squad that is wracked with injury remains to be seen. The Bucs do not run nearly as well on the road and they split up the duty anyway so expect no scores and only moderate rushing yardage.

Garcia faces a secondary that can be beaten but Galloway remains out and Hilliard may be as well. That would leave Bryant and Michael Clayton as the starters. Bryant may have a chip on his shoulders from the past but he's the only true threat of the Buccaneers passing attack and will be doubled. I like Garcia to throw for at least one score and likely two here. They should favor the wideouts with Bryant very favored to catch one and the other could be Michael Clayton's first for the year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 17 12 23 4 9 7
Preventing Fantasy Points    DAL 20 13 24 4 30 20


Dallas Cowboys (4-3)
Homefield: Texas Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CLE 28-10 -5.5 49
2 PHI 41-37 -7 47
3 @GB 27-16 -3 51
4 WAS 24-26 -11.5 46
5 CIN 31-22 -17.5 44
6 @ARZ 24-30 -5 50
7 @STL 14-34 -7 44
8 TB - OFF -
9 @NYG - - -
10 BYE - - -
11 @WAS - - -
12 SF - - -
13 SEA - - -
14 @PIT - - -
15 NYG - - -
16 BAL - - -
17 @PHI - - -
DAL vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Brad Johnson     240,2
RB Marion Barber 50 30  
TE Jason Witten   60  
WR Terrell Owens   60,1  
WR Patrick Crayton   40,1  
WR Roy Williams   30  
PK Nick Folk 3 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: It is certainly not all bad news in Dallas these days. LB DeMarcus Ware has recorded a sack in ten straight games to tie for the longest streak in NFL history. But the bad news is that Jeff Garcia has only been sacked once in the last three games. And everything else in Dallas is shaky at best. The one-time NFC favorites now have this game and a trip to New York before the bye week and that could easily mean a 4-5 team sill be stewing in week ten. The defensive coordinator has been removed and Phillips will call the defense and that won't hurt a defense that has allowed a total of 64 points to the Cardinals and Rams. Tony Romo remains out and Jerry Jones is starting to look like another face lift is needed. The rest of the schedule is manageable but not the way the Cowboys are playing now.

Quarterback: While rumors swirled to the contrary, the Cowboys never intended on using Tony Romo last week and even he admitted he had trouble holding onto the ball. Brad Johnson's first start did produce 234 yards and one score but he only completed 50% of his passes and threw three interceptions. And most of his production came late in the game. It required slop time in St. Louis for the Cowboys to produce any stats - there is a sting. Look for Johnson to start again this week though the Cowboys will call Romo a gametime decision. He could be further injured by playing and he won't be effective if he cannot grip the ball.

Running Backs: Life without Felix Jones wasn't good enough. Marion Barber was effective in rushing for 100 yards on 18 carries but the Cowboys were forced to abandon the run later in the game since Barber did not have the homerun ability that Jones brings. Jones remains out with a bad hamstring so Barber gets the full load again this week. Barber needs a good rushing game but may be more use as a receiver again this week against the stiff Buccaneers front line.

Wide Receivers: Johnson never did connect well with the wideouts last week who combined for only 104 yards on seven catches with no scores. Terrell Owens only had two receptions for 31 yards which gave him his second sub-40 yard game in a row. The addition of Roy Williams meant nothing since he missed his only passed. Last week should have been the softest defense the Cowboys faced to date but it ended up playing as the toughest. In fantasy terms, Johnson has killed the value of these wide receivers and Romo wasn't doing much with them lately anyway.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten had a season low six catches for 44 yards in St. Louis but the rookie Martellis Bennett gained 67 yards on two receptions and scored 34-yard touchdown at the end of the game.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys are back at home and the Bucs are on the road which should help but the Buccaneers have not allowed any rushing scores this year. None. This is an outstanding rushing defense that has only allowed one runner to gain more than 56 rushing yards and no one over 89. Barber will get some moderate yardage from sheer volume but should figure in as a receiver again since the Bucs gave up big receiving games to Reggie Bush and Matt Forte.

Johnson faces a secondary that plays weaker on the road where every opponent has scored at least once via the pass. In three road games, the Bucs have given up six scores so look for Johnson to toss two scores that will favor wideouts the most - Owens since they will move him around and he he doesn't get Ronde Barber anyway and then Crayton or Williams.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 4 5 10 1 23 20
Preventing Fantasy Points    TB 12 4 15 7 8 9

The Huddle
WEEK 8
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Bye Week
CHI, MIN
DEN, GB
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
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