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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 14
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday
Monday
* updated

Prediction: PHI 20, NYG 31

Update: Correll Buckhalter will not play this week and Brian Westbrook is questionable after being held out of practice the last two days. But Westbrook has been ailing for many weeks and still played - if not very well at that. I am not changing his projections which assumed him banged up against a stout NYG defense but make sure he doesn't unexpectedly end up inactive on Sunday. This is an early game so you should know in time to replace him but Lorenzo Booker is a far less appealing fantasy start than Westbrook would be.

The Eagles finally come off a solid win but are a mere five games behind the Giants are at 6-5-1 are realistically already out of the playoff picture and are just 3-3-1 on the road. The Giants won 36-31 when the played in Philadelphia in week ten.

Philadelphia Eagles (6-5-1))
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 17-23 -5 43
6 @SF 40-26 -5 43
7 BYE - - -
8 ATL 27-14 -8.5 46.5
9 @SEA 26-7 -6.5 43
10 NYG 31-36 -3 43.5
11 @CIN 13-13 -9 42.5
12 @BAL 7-36 +1 38.5
13 ARZ 48-20 -3 47
14 @NYG - +8 44
15 CLE - - -
16 @WAS - - -
17 DAL - - -
PHI @ NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb     210,2
RB Brian Westbrook 40 40  
TE L.J. Smith   30  
WR DeSean Jackson   60,1  
WR Kevin Curtis   40  
WR Jason Avant   20,1  
PK David Akers 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: In what has to be considered Donovan McNabb's swan song in Philly, the final four games has the Eagles playing against the entire NFC again with the Browns thrown in as a treat. The bad part is that McNabb and the Eagles already lost to every team in the NFC East and two of these will be on the road this time. Last week was a very pleasant surprise that approached shock but this week should be more back to normal. And normal is not winning games in the NFC East.

Quarterback: After struggling for several weeks, Donovan McNabb was benched in week 12 and apparently the brief time off did some good. He completed 27 of 39 passes for 260 yards and four touchdowns with no turnovers for the first time since week five. McNabb even took off on four runs for 24 yards and had a nearly perfect game when he needed it most.

Before you decide that Donovan is back and all is well, consider that he played last week at home where he only had thrown two interceptions and 11 touchdowns. On the road, McNabb has seven touchdowns against eight interceptions and three lost fumbles. His last two home games totaled seven scores but on the road his last two had only one touchdown. He'll also be facing a far better secondary this week.

McNabb passed for 194 yards and three scores against the Giants in week ten.

Running Backs: Brian Westbrook only gained 26 yards on 13 carries and had three receptions for 33 yards against the visiting Giants this year. He was on a four game cold stretch until last week when he suddenly had two rushing scores and two receiving touchdowns. After weeks of mediocre rushing totals, Westbrook cranked out 110 yards on 22 carries and looked back to form at least until he injured his toe near the end of the game. His role as a receiver (3-20) still greatly lags the pace of all recent seasons.

Correll Buckhalter will likely not play on Sunday because of his knee injury that kept him out last week.

I will assume that Westbrook will heal up and be no worse than he was for the Cardinals.

Wide Receivers: Four different wideouts scored against the Giants last time though Jackson's touchdown was on a running play and Hank Baskett had only the one catch for seven yards. Both Jason Avant and Kevin Curtis only had 25 yards with their scores. That diversity of how wideouts are used still continues with DeSean Jackson being the only wideout with any amount of consistency and productivity. Jackson finally scored his second touchdown last week but he has been good for around 60 or more yards every week and has been used as a runner in almost every game as well.

There isn't much there that you can rely on, but overall the unit gets the job done most of the time.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith has only scored in three games this year and never has more than 40 yards in any game with most well under 30 yards. Smith caught three passes for 36 yards against the Giants.

Match Against the Defense: The Giants already handled the Eagles in Philly and this time in New York it should only be easier. Westbrook will have a tough time gaining rushing yards even if his knee, toe and ankle injuries are healed up. His lack of receiving catches and yards is particularly troubling since his fantasy value takes a dive in matchups like this without the 6 or 8 catches he would have last year.

McNabb managed three scores against the Giants before but that will tone down to no more than two scores and even that may be optimistic since there is at least a chance of snow on Sunday. Figure the game turns to trash time later on and McNabb manages to get moderate fantasy value once it no longer matters.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 7 12 6 19 4 3
Preventing Fantasy Points    NYG 9 1 24 2 2 3


New York Giants (11-1)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 WAS 16-7 -3.5 41
2 @STL 41-13 -8.5 41.5
3 CIN 26-23 -13.5 42
4 BYE - - -
5 SEA 44-6 -7 43.5
6 @CLE 14-35 -8 43
7 SF 29-17 -10.5 45
8 @PIT 21-14 +2.5 42
9 DAL 35-14 -8.5 41
10 @PHI 36-31 +3 43.5
11 BAL 30-10 -6.5 42
12 @ARZ 37-29 -3 49
13 @WAS 23-7 -3.5 41.5
14 PHI - -8 44
15 @DAL - - -
16 CAR - - -
17 @MIN - - -
NYG vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning     220,1
RB Brandon Jacobs 120,2    
RB Derrick Ward 40 40  
TE Kevin Boss   40,1  
WR Domenik Hixon   50  
WR Amani Toomer   50  
WR Steve Smith   30  
PK John Carney 1 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: Still on cruise control and passing every car on the highway, the Giants have not let up on the accelerator yet with two more important and winnable games next of the Eagles and Cowboys. The Plaxico Burress fiasco may shoot a hole in the offensive plans but they already have a leg up with Domenik Hixon and the team is playing so well as a team that Burress has not been a distraction before and likely won't be now. The Burress situation is a much bigger deal to the media than it will be to the Giants in how they play this out.

Quarterback: Eli Manning has scored in every single game this year and already has passed for 19 touchdowns and rushed on in as well. The 305 yards he pasted on the Redskins last week was uncharacteristically high (and yet without Burress no less) and he has been hiding below 200 yards in six of the most recent eight games. He had an average game when he passed for 191 yards and two scores in Philadelphia back in week ten.

Running Backs: The league's #1 rushing attack continues with Brandon Jacobs scoring in eight of the last nine games while gaining at least 70 yards in each. His 12 rushing scores lag only Lendale White and Michael Turner who both have 13. Derrick Ward maintains a valued position as the third down back and has four or five catches per week and around 40 or more yards as a receiver. When he steps in to spell Jacobs for around ten carries per week, he's often just as effective though has only scored twice on the season.

Jacobs rushed for 126 yards on 22 carries and scored twice against the Eagles this year. Ward rushed 17 times for 53 yards as well.

Wide Receivers: Losing Plaxico Burress to unmitigated stupidity an NFL suspension is not a positive, but it's not as big a negative as it may seem. Burress has been the leading scorer for the wideouts but he only has four touchdowns and just one since week seven. He did not have a game with more than 50 yards in those six weeks. Guess what - the Giants won all their games anyway. Had Burress pulled this last year, it would have been a much bigger issue but he's not been nearly as big a part of the offense this year anyway.

Domenik "go ahead and frisk me" Hixon has already indicated he is up to the task with 11 catches for 128 yards in the most recent two games while Burress did not play. When Burress missed week five, Hixon had 102 yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks. Hixon is not a Pro Bowl wideout yet, but he is not that big of a step down from Burress.

Burress has one catch for a 17-yard touchdown in Philadelphia this year and Toomer only had 53 yards on five catches.

Tight Ends: Kevin Boss continues to have an expanded role since the start of the season and has scored four times in the last six games while being good for around 40 yards in most of those weeks.

Boss turned in six catches for 69 yards and one score in Philadelphia as the lead receiver that day.

Match Against the Defense: The Giants at home have not scored less than 29 points since the season opener and the Eagles rushing defense that already had a problem in Philly will not be any better here. Look for another solid rushing game by the Giants with Jacobs leading the way.

Manning will throw for a score and moderate yardage that should favor Boss and Toomer the most. Look for Boss to score the touchdown and the passing yardage will divide up so that no receiver has a big game. I also like the chance of a defensive score in this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 13 1 12 16 1 9
Preventing Fantasy Points    PHI 12 5 14 29 16 17

The Huddle
WEEK 14
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday
Monday
 
Other Features
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Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
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