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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WILDCARDS
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Saturday
Sunday
   
   

Prediction: PHI 17, MIN 24

Update: L.J. Smith remains questionable to play this week and was limited in all practices this week as was Brian Westbrook who is much more likely to play.

The Eagles lay claim to the wildcard ticket thanks to thrashing the Cowboys and squeaking past the 9-7 Bears thanks to the tie against the Bengals. The Eagles are only 3-4-1 on the road this year and the Vikings are 6-2 at home. Both teams won in week 17 to secure the playoff spot. The Eagles are considered the hotter team but figure on the Vikings at home wanting to have a say about that.

Philadelphia Eagles (9-6-1))
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 20-14 +8 44
15 CLE 30-10 -14 39
16 @WAS 3-10 -5 38.5
17 DAL 44-6 -3 44
18 @MIN   -3 41.5
PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb     240,2
RB Brian Westbrook 60 60,1  
TE Brent Celek   40,1  
WR DeSean Jackson   50  
WR Kevin Curtis   30  
WR Jason Avant   20  
PK David Akers 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Eagles dismantling of the Cowboys was a great send-off to the regular season but this is also the same team that lost 3-10 the previous week in Washington. The last four road trips include the win over the injury depleted Giants and then a bad loss to the Ravens and a tie with the Bengals. It's not quite as hot as it may seem disregarding the Cowboys which apparently we should have this year.

Quarterback: No question that Donovan McNabb has played better since being benched in week 12. In the next five games, he passed for nine touchdowns and rushed in one as well. But... that five game stretch only had two road games and those combined for only one touchdown and never more than 230 passing yards. Arizona, Cleveland and Dallas were rather giving visitors but on the road, McNabb has not fared nearly so well.

Running Backs: Brian Westbrook has been a feast or famine player this year. In six games, he has scored a total of 14 touchdowns and only one of those had just one touchdown. But in the other ten games this year, he has not scored at all. He has never rushed for more than 61 yards in those games, He either has a monster game or a moderate showing with no scores. Nothing in between. His last three games had no scores and only had around 50 rushing yards in them.

Correll Buckhalter figures in but normally only in the easiest of games.

Wide Receivers: The Eagles regularly use five different wideouts so that none of them have reliable fantasy numbers - or particularly significant ones as well. DeSean Jackson has been the only wideout worthy of a fantasy start this year but even he has not scored since week 13 and only had three touchdowns on the year. He started out with two games over 100 yards but since has been much lees productive. This until will combine for decent yardage but it comes from so many that none are worthy of note.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith may miss this week with shoulder and knee injuries and was inactive in week 17. In his place, Brent Celek had three catches for 30 yards and scored his first touchdown of the year against the visiting Cowboys.

Match Against the Defense: This could be a famine week for Westbrook who has been very quiet for the last three weeks and now is on the road against the #4 defense against running backs. No visiting runner has topped 100 yards in Minnesota and only four of them have rushed in a score - all of those big guys (Addai, Stewart, Grant and Turner). Westbrook will figure in as a receiver no doubt but looks unlikely to rush in a score though he may log one as a receiver. The Vikes hope to get Pat Williams back this week to bottle up the line.

McNabb faces a good secondary that should limit him to moderate passing and no more than two passing scores if that. Only three quarterbacks have thrown for two scores and no one has had three touchdowns against the Vikes.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 8 13 9 20 3 1
Preventing Fantasy Points    MIN 8 4 9 16 16 31


Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
Homefield: Metrodome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @GB 19-24 +3 38.5
2 IND 15-18 +2 43.5
3 CAR 20-10 -3.5 37
4 @TEN 17-30 +3 36
5 @NO 30-27 +3 47
6 DET 12-10 -13.5 47
7 @CHI 41-48 +3 38
8 BYE - - -
9 HOU 28-21 -4.5 47
10 GB 28-27 -2.5 45.5
11 @TB 13-19 +4 39.5
12 @JAX 30-12 +2.5 40
13 CHI 34-14 -3 42
14 @DET 20-16 -9.5 46
15 @ARZ 35-14 +3 48.5
16 ATL 17-24 -3 43
17 NYG 20-19 -6.5 41
18 PHI - +3 41.5
MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Tarvaris Jackson     200,1
RB Chester Taylor 30 20  
RB Adrian Peterson 120,2 10  
TE Visanthe Shiancoe   50,1  
WR Bernard Berrian   50  
WR Bobby Wade   60  
WR Sidney Rice   10  
PK Ryan Longwell 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Vikings not only sneak into the playoffs, they get to host this round and avoid any bad weather. The switch back to Tarvaris Jackson has not seemed to be a major detriment yet and the Vikings defense always plays better at home. The Vikings have won five of their last six games but beat the Giants by only one point despite facing their B team.

Quarterback: Tarvaris Jackson hasn't killed the Vikings yet but there's 60 minutes worth of playing time on Sunday to do it. In fairness, Jackson has only thrown one interception in four games and had eight touchdowns. Then again, playing the Lions, Cardinals, Falcons (a loss) and the Giants (who did not care last week) wasn't the same as a motivated Eagles blitzing defense this week. Jackson is pivotal this week. He plays to recent form - the Vikes can win. He reverts to his 2007 ways, the Eagles advance. It is that simple.

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson ended up with a league leading 1760 rushing yards with ten touchdowns for that rare 100+ yard rushing average per game. He topped the century mark nine times in all and six times in home games. He also rushed in a score in four of the last five home stands as well. Peterson is the one constant on this team and is a lock to be the most coveted player in drafts next summer.

Chester Taylor will figure in this week but he only produces notable stats when the game goes really well for the Vikings and Peterson has plenty of slop to share.

Wide Receivers: These last three games with Jackson as the starter has been encouraging since he links up with a wide out for a touchdown at least once each week. Bernard Berrian has scored twice but those sandwiched a horrible 18 yard effort against the Falcons in week 16. Bobby Wade scored in Arizona and then had a season high 98 yards last week. Sidney Rice remains limited to just the one catch per game though four times this year they were touchdowns.

The wideouts are just there to block downfield for Peterson. Berrian has the only reliable numbers and even that is a bit questionable.

Tight Ends: Vishante Shiancoe has a monster 136 yard, two touchdown game in week 16 but those were surrounded by games with only one or two meaning less catches. To the benefit of this week, Shiancoe's big week was against the tough Falcons defense.

Match Against the Defense: The Eagles defense has been top notch against the run this year but there have been exceptions like road games against Portis (145, 1 TD) and Jacobs (126, 2 TD). Now they face the best runner in the league on his turf. Look for no less than 100 and a score with a shot at much more.

Jackson will be a function of what ever the rushing game cannot accomplish but figure on moderate numbers at most here with a chance for Shiancoe to get involved again.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 20 10 22 9 10 8
Preventing Fantasy Points    PHI 3 3 6 25 8 10

The Huddle
WEEK 17
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
 
CAR at NO
DEN at SD
MIA at NYJ
SEA at ARZ
 
CHI at HOU
DET at GB
NE at BUF
STL at ATL
CLE at PIT
JAX at BAL
NYG at MIN
TEN at IND
DAL at PHI
KC at CIN
OAK at TB
WAS at SF
Other Features
Playoff Player Rankings
Fantasy Statistics
Tuesday Injury Report
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