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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday
Monday
*updated

Prediction: NO 21, CHI 27

The Bears have a shot at the NFC North title if they can make up a game deficit on the Vikings but short of that they are in the same boat as the Saints - sitting there with a calculator trying to prove it is not impossible to reach the playoffs, it is just highly improbable to get a wildcard with a current 7-6 record. But the Saints are only 1-5 on the road and the Bears are 4-2 at home. That is not in the favor of the Saints. Nor is playing outside in Chicago on a Thursday night with temperatures just below freezing.

The Bears won 33-25 when the Saints visited in the season finale last year.

New Orleans Saints (7-6)
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 TB 24-20 -3.5

42.5

2 @WAS 24-29 +1 42.5
3 @DEN 32-34 +5.5 51.5
4 SF 31-17 -6 48.5
5 MIN 27-30 -3 47
6 OAK 34-3 -7.5 47.5
7 @CAR 7-30 +3 44
8 SD 37-32 +3.5 47
9 BYE - - -
10 @ATL 20-34 PK 50
11 @KC 30-20 -5.5 51
12 GB 51-29 -1 51.5
13 @TB 20-23 +3.5 48
14 ATL 29-25 -3 52
15 @CHI - +3 44
16 @DET - - -
17 CAR - - -
NO @ CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees     310,2
RB Reggie Bush 30 40,1  
RB Pierre Thomas 80,1 30  
TE Jeremy Shockey   60  
WR Marques Colston   70  
WR Devery Henderson   30  
WR Lance Moore   60,1  
PK Garrett Hartley   3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The big win last week kept flickering hopes alive for the post season and at least served to give the upstart Falcons a small dose of humility. The problem is that the Saints at home have been very strong and when they hit the road, they almost always end up not quite good enough. Once this game is past though is a trip to Detroit and then a home game against what may be a Panthers team more interested in keeping players healthy for the playoffs.

Quarterback: Drew Brees is still leading the NFL in passing yardage with 4100 and is tied with Philip Rivers for #1 in passing touchdowns with 26. He's only failed to score in one game this year and has multiple scores in over half his games. The problem this week is that he has only passed for seven road touchdowns as opposed to 19 at home. He has a tendency to throw for less yards and scores in nearly every road game - hence the distinct difference in results in home versus away games.

Brees passed for 320 yards and three touchdowns in Chicago last year. He also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble.

Running Backs: Pierre Thomas enjoyed a career best game when he had 102 yards and a rushing score against the Falcons and added one catch for another touchdown. He also scored twice in week 12 against the Packers but both games - at home. On the road so far he has scored five times but follows the Saints trend of gaining much less yardage.

Reggie Bush came back in week 13 but only managed 32 yards in Tampa Bay but at home last week finally had a season high 80 rushing yards and tacked on three catches for 26 yards and one touchdown. Bush offers a valuable part of the attack but Thomas be becoming the meat and potatoes of this offense.

Thomas rushed for 105 yards on 20 carries in Chicago in the final game of 2007. He also added 12 catches for 121 yards and one touchdown. Bush did not play in the game.

Wide Receivers: Oddly enough the best yardage games by Marques Colston has come in road games and not at home. He has only scored once this year but has been a bigger factor away from New Orleans. Two weeks ago he had 106 yards in Tampa Bay. Lance Moore finally had a quiet game last week when the rushing was enough to take the win but he has been a major factor in every game for the last eight weeks. His eight scores easily lead all Saints receivers.

Colston had 94 yards on eight catches with two scores against the Bears last season.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey continues in his role of catching around five passes for 50 yards or so each week, no matter where the game is played, and then not scoring. His better games have come against the better defenses so he should see an uptick in use this week.

Match Against the Defense: Playing out side in the cold is not likely to help the Saints and the Bears know they have to win this game. Look for Thomas to have some success rushing as should Bush but to end with only moderate stats thanks to sharing. I like Thomas to rush in one score here.

Brees has been less effective in road games this year but faces a secondary that is the definite weak spot in the defense and that has allowed every visitor to pass for a score and most have two. Only one team had less than 250 passing yards so look for the yardage and around two scores in this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 1 3 5 4 15 19
Preventing Fantasy Points    CHI 17 15 25 18 20 12


Chicago Bears (7-6)
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @IND 29-13 +9.5 44
2 @CAR 17-20 +3 37
3 TB 24-27 -3 35.5
4 PHI 24-20 +3 45
5 @DET 34-7 -3.5 44.5
6 @ATL 20-22 -2.5 43.5
7 MIN 48-41 -3 38
8 BYE - - -
9 DET 27-23 -13 43
10 TEN 14-21 +3 38.5
11 @GB 3-37 +3.5 43
12 @STL 27-3 -9 43
13 @MIN 14-34 +3 42
14 JAX 23-10 -6.5 40
15 NO - -3 44
16 GB - - -
17 @HOU - - -
CHI vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Orton     230,1
RB Matt Forte 120,1 40  
TE Greg Olsen   40  
WR Marty Booker   20  
WR Rashied Davis   50  
WR Devin Hester   70,1  
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Bears are an outside shot to get the division title but they are in contention for the wild card regardless depending what happens with the Falcons and Cowboys. After this week is another home game against the Packers which should have been a big game but now the Pack is just in the way. A final game in Houston holds promise as well so the Bears can end up 10-6 but it all has to start this week.

Quarterback: Kyle Orton had an unusually good game last week when he passed for 219 yards and two scores. It was only the fifth time this year he had crossed the 200 yard mark in passing but he has throw for more than 280 yards in three different games (MIN, DET and ATL). Last week was his first time over 200 yards in five games.

Orton passed for 190 yards and two scores against the Saints in the season finale last year.

Running Backs: Matt Forte continues to provide a bruising rushing attack that has him taking almost every single carry. Forte has only topped 100 rushing yards three times so far but adding receptions and he has been over the century mark in all but three games for total yardage and two of those had touchdowns. Forte is hardly flashy but has become the workhorse for this offense that will be even more valuable as the weather turns.

Adrian Peterson rushed for 91 yards against the visiting Saints last year.

Wide Receivers: Always minimal fantasy value here unless Devin Hester catches a long pass or two. He has posted over 55 yards in four of the last five games but has not exceeded 90 yards this year and only has three touchdowns which is tops among all team wideouts.

Marty Book suffered a cracked rib last week and is not certain to play. I will assume he can and update if needed. His contribution has not been significant anyway.

Hester led the Bears' wideouts in the Saints game last year when he had two catches for 65 yards and one touchdown.

Tight Ends: Both Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark scored last week but that was Clark's first on the season and doubled the amount of tight end touchdowns this year. Both players will contribute and typically more Olsen who has around 40 yards in most home games.

Match Against the Defense: No doubt that Matt Forte scores a touchdown this week and it may be two of them. The Saints rushing defense is actually better than most think but it is less so on the road and the Bears will run Forte as much as possible.

Orton faces the weakest secondary yet other than the Lions but the last thing they want to do is get into a shootout with Brees. There should be mostly rushing here and Orton will only have moderate numbers because o fit. But if a shootout does happen, Orton can get that done too. It is just not as likely. I like a defensive score in this game as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 15 14 28 8 20 8
Preventing Fantasy Points    NO 29 17 31 12 27 7

The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday
Monday
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
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