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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 9
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
CAR
Monday
NO
SD
*updated
SF

Prediction: TB 20, KC 13

Update: Warrick Dunn hasn't practiced all week and is unlikely to play. That only means Graham has an even better shot at a big game. Ike Hilliard has been limited in practice all week but is still expected to play along with Michael Clayton who is listed as questionable but had two full days of practice.

The Buccaneers fall one game behind the Panthers after losing in Dallas and the Chiefs have high hopes that the Buccaneers try to mail this game in. Not going to happen and with only a bye week on the other side, the Buccaneers focus stays here.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-3)
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 9-13 +2 42
9 @KC - -8.5 37.5
10 BYE - - -
11 MIN - - -
12 @DET - - -
13 NO - - -
14 @CAR - - -
15 @ATL - - -
16 SD - - -
17 OAK - - -
TB @ KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia     190,1
RB Earnest Graham 110,1 20  
RB Warrick Dunn 20 20
TE Alex Smith   30  
WR Joey Galloway   40  
WR Ike Hilliard   20  
WR Antonio Bryant   50,1  
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers are only 1-3 on the road this season and have played each game to a win or loss margin of less than five points. But the Chiefs are not exactly in the same class as other opponents and the Bucs are starting to lose their margin of error thanks to the Panthers. The Tampa Bay defense has come up huge over the last month and there's no reason to expect less this week.

Quarterback: Jeff Garcia comes off his first game this year where he failed to score a touchdown. He has never had two in any game so far, but he had always managed the one score. Joey Galloway has returned so he has a full complement of wide receivers which bodes well for future games but Garcia has been less effective on the road this year along with the rest of the team.

Running Backs: Warrick Dunn played in Dallas with his pinched nerve in his back but he only had one carry and two catches. He's not safe to consider as a fantasy starter until his back improves. Earnest Graham continues to plug away and be only a fantasy factor when he is at home. He has scored in each of the four home games and yet never had a touchdown in the four trips away from Tampa Bay. His yardage has really waned in recent weeks as well. Since week four, Graham has not rushed for more than 59 yards in a game.

Carnell Williams has been taking part of practice lately but still is not a part of the 53 man roster and has not been taken off of the PUP list. HC Jon Gruden has mentioned that Williams is getting close but what that means remains to be seen.

Wide Receivers: Joey Galloway returned after missing six games but only turned in three catches for 38 yards in Dallas. Since he has been gone, Antonio Bryant has emerged as the go-to guy in this offense even though he only came up with 46 yards on seven receptions against his ex-employer Dallas. The Bucs do not pass as well on the road and so far have not had a touchdown in an away game but Bryant has been a bigger factor in road games because the Tampa Bay defense cannot control the game as well. Bryant has the only two games over 100 yards for the Bucs this season.

Tight Ends: The Buccaneers continue to mix in both Alex Smith and Jerramy Stevens. If their numbers were combined, they would almost be worthy of a fantasy start but the most consistent of the duo is Smith with only around 30 yards per week and two scores both in home games.

Match Against the Defense: This should be a great place for Earnest Graham to get his season high game and finally top the 100 yard mark away from Tampa Bay. The Chiefs rank dead last against running backs and Warrick Dunn is banged up and shouldn't horn in much on Graham's workload. The Chiefs have already allowed five runners to exceed 100 rushing yards and Graham has a great chance at being #6. Look for at least one score as well.

Garcia faces a secondary that statistically has fared well because all opponents are kicking the crap out of the rush defense instead. He always throws one score and the Chiefs can accommodate him. Look for Bryant or Galloway to end up with the score since the star receiver from each opponent is the guy that scores against the Chiefs.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 20 19 25 7 8 6
Preventing Fantasy Points    KC 6 32 10 4 27 21


Kansas City Chiefs (1-6)
Homefield: Arrowhead Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NE 10-17 +16.5 45
2 OAK 8-23 -4 34.5
3 @ATL 14-38 +5 36
4 DEN 33-19 +9.5 46.5
5 @CAR 0-34 +9.5 38.5
6 BYE - - -
7 TEN 10-34 +8 35.5
8 @NYJ 24-28 +13 38
9 TB - +8.5 37.5
10 @SD - - -
11 NO - - -
12 BUF - - -
13 @OAK - - -
14 @DEN - - -
15 SD - - -
16 MIA - - -
17 @CIN - - -
KC vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Tyler Thigpen     210,1
RB Kolby Smith 30 30  
TE Tony Gonzalez   50  
WR Mark Bradley   30  
WR Devard Darling   30  
WR Dwayne Bowe   60,1  
PK Nick Novak 2 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Chiefs stumble along and after losing big to the Broncos and Panthers, dropping a close one to the Jets hurts even more. For an offense that struggles in all games against a decent defense, facing the Buccaneers this week is not a likely spot for a second win. Thigpen was impressive last week but at 1-6 on the season it is hard to separate what is true progress and what is just a trap game that failed. The Jets still won anyway.

Quarterback: Tyler Thigpen comes off his career best game when he passed for 280 yards and two scores in New York which is almost exactly the combination of his previous two best games. The Chiefs almost won a trap game is all that can explain how Thigpen can go from never having more than 151 passing yards in a game to targeting Gonzalez and Bowe with apparent ease. This week will certainly be a huge test going against the Buccaneers defense and they won't likely be trapped either since they are coming off a loss themselves.

Running Backs: Larry Johnson was inactive last week because of a team decision and he is likely to be suspended by the league after being formally charged with simple assault. I will assume he misses this week and update as warranted on Friday. Most likely he does not play though.

Jamaal Charles hurt his ankle and could not finish the Jets game on Sunday after gaining 45 yards on five carries thanks to a 30-yard run. Kolby Smith was the primary back but only gained 15 yards on 11 carries. This after he only had 20 yards on ten carries against the Titans the previous week. Facing the Buccaneers this week will be no kinder. I will assume that Charles is out this week and that Smith will take the load unless there is a change during the week.

Wide Receivers: Dwayne Bowe comes off the first 100 receiving yard game by any Chief this year when he had six catches for 102 in New York, But he has remained remarkably productive considering the lack of offense around him. Bowe has been turning in around 85 to 90 yards in every home game and oddly enough his two touchdowns on the season both came in road games early in the year.

Mark Bradley had five catches for 42 yards and a score against the Jets as well but that was only his second active game for the Chiefs. Until that happened, all non-Bowe wide receivers had rarely had more than one catch or 20 yards in any game.

Tight Ends: Tony Gonzalez comes off his best game of the year with a touchdown and six receptions for 79 yards. That follows six catches for 97 yards and no score against the visiting Titans in week seven. Thigpen is relying on Gonzalez more in recent weeks and will help Gonzo maintain his status as an elite tight end.

Match Against the Defense: Here is a bad sign for this game. The Buccaneers have not allowed any rushing scores this year. The notion that Kolby Smith can be the first guy is mind boggling. Run away from this backfield this week if not every week without Johnson there.

Thigpen gets a much bigger test this week but the Buccaneers are softer in the secondary than front line and most opponents score once or more via the pass against them. I like Bowe to end up with a score here but they may need to move him away from Ronde Barber to get it. The Buccaneers have been solid against tight ends so far.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points KC 25 31 28 9 32 23
Preventing Fantasy Points    TB 10 4 11 7 8 9

The Huddle
WEEK 9
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
CAR
Monday
NO
SD
SF
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Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
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