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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 1
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday
Sunday Late
*updated Sat
*updated

Prediction: BUF 10, NE 34

Saturday Update: Wes Welker has been limited in practice the last couple of days but the Patriots never divulge the status of an injury and they are not required to designate what category an injury is (probable, etc.) until Saturday since they play on Sunday. Welker is a slight risk since he is a Patriot but he is likely to play on Monday. All you can do is check the inactive on Monday but only then if you have another option.

Here's all you need to know. The Patriots have won this matchup the last ten times they played the Bills. It probably goes back further but why dig any more? In the last nine times they have played, only once did the Bills score more than one touchdown (2006 they had two). The Pats are going to win and it is only a question of how motivated they are to make the Bills look bad. On national TV Monday night and with a need to show the league that Tom Brady is back and they need to be feared once again - expect the blowout.

The Patriots swept the Bills last year, winning 20-10 at home and later 13-0 in Buffalo

Buffalo Bills (0-0)
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
AstroTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 SEA @NE - -
2 @JAX TB - -
3 OAK NO - -
4 @STL @MIA - -
5 @ARZ CLE - -
6 BYE @NYJ - -
7 SD @CAR - -
8 @MIA HOU - -
9 NYJ BYE - -
10 @NE @TEN - -
11 CLE @JAC - -
12 @KC MIA - -
13 SF NYJ - -
14 MIA @KC - -
15 @NYJ NE - -
16 @DEN @ATL - -
17 NE IND - -
BUF @ NEP Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Edwards     180,1
RB Fred Jackson 50 10  
TE Derek Schouman   10  
WR Lee Evans   50,1  
WR Terrell Owens   60  
WR Josh Reed   30  
PK Rian Lindell 1 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: This is not starting well.

The Bills released offensive coordinator Turk Schonert just last week and quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt will take over. The Bills were going to implement a no-huddle offense this year to keep defenses guessing and to hopefully free up Terrell Owens but the first team offense has only scored one field goal over 15 series this preseason. The no-huddle will be kept apparently but Schonert was run out by a consortium of players who complained to head coach Dick Jauron.

Not to be silent, Schonert later said that Jauron wants to run a "Pop Warner" offense and that his scheme was not simple enough for Jauron. This was a conservative offense already and now that Van Pelt and Jauron control it, expect even less sizzle. Of course the team brought in Terrell Owens who is looking like an even bigger mismatch now. This could be worth watching purely from a soap opera standpoint.

Quarterback: Trent Edwards enters his third season and now has two legitimate weapons with Terrell Owens and Lee Evans. That has to be a positive fort a player that only managed 2699 passing yards and 11 touchdowns last year. Edwards has been going higher in fantasy drafts thanks to the Owens addition but never as a fantasy starter. There is optimism and then there is just plain dumb. Edwards should be better this year. But he won't likely sniff the top ten regardless of Owens.

Not much success for Edwards against the Patriots last year. Playing on the road, he threw for only 120 yards and one score and at home he only managed 128 yards and no scores. The improved receiver corps should help but not nearly enough.

Running Backs: Marshawn Lynch was a big disappointment last year when he only had 1036 rushing yards and nine touchdowns since he had a wonderfully light schedule and no one to really challenge his workload (or so we thought). To top off a bad year, Lynch got himself suspended for the first three games thanks to living out his gunslinger fantasy and Fred Jackson takes the reins this week and the next two. Starting out in New England? Not a treat. Lynch and Jackson combined for only 60 yards on 18 carries in New England last year and Jackson took the whole load in the meaningless week 17 game.

The Bills also released Dominic Rhodes at the cut down which makes Xavier Omon the #2 back until Lynch can return.

Wide Receivers: This is make or break year. Lee Evans already flashed big time ability in the past and now Terrell Owens limps in to take the bulk of secondary focus. No question that Owens still has the talent, the question is if he has the toes. And knees. Ankles. Unbroken fingers. Owens has lost three weeks in training camp to a two injury he wisely blamed on THOSE DAMN SHOES AGAIN. Let's be serious, Owens is in the twilight of his career even if his mouth doesn't realize it. The best he could get was to land on a team that plays in driving snow with a hard-ass disciplinarian for a head coach. Owens is like the old Firebird down the street. At the right price, you'd buy it even if it didn't run because it looks cool in the driveway and it reminds you of watching Smokey and the Bandit when you were young.

In all seriousness, Owens health will be an issue even with the one year pass he always gets when he changes teams. Evans is the one more to watch since he'll likely get single coverage for the first time in his career. This week it won't much matter though. Evans only had 22 yards on two catches in the road game in New England.

Tight Ends: There's no fantasy value in this position since the best last year was Robert Royal and his 33 catches for 351 yards and one score. Owens should swallow that up and make the tight ends devoid of any fantasy significance.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 21 18 25 23 13 18
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 21 7 26 19 2 16


New England Patriots (0-0)
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 BUF - - -
2 @NYJ - - -
3 ATL - - -
4 BAL - - -
5 @DEN - - -
6 TEN - - -
7 @TB - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 MIA - - -
10 @IND - - -
11 NYJ - - -
12 @NO - - -
13 @MIA - - -
14 CAR - - -
15 @BUF - - -
16 JAC - - -
17 @HOU - - -
NEP vs BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady     280,3
RB Laurence Maroney 40    
RB Fred Taylor 50,1    
TE Chris Baker   20  
WR Randy Moss   120,2  
WR Wes Welker   80,1  
WR Joey Galloway   30  
PK Stephen Gostkowski 2 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Patriots experienced that wave of nausea last year when Tom Brady went down in week one and took with him the chance for the Pats to hold onto their dominance. Sure, they mostly mopped up the AFC East - who wouldn't? But they allowed the Miami Dolphins to take the division title with a similar 11-5 record and leave the Pats oddly at home for the playoffs. No doubt this year is all about getting back to the same form of 2007 when the Pats were torching the league and the record books.

Quarterback: Matt Cassell proved that it is a very good system in New England that can make almost any average quarterback look good. And that anything short of Tom Brady will never be great or enough to drive this bulldozer through the league. Brady gave everyone another scare when he was crunched on his shoulder during a tackle in the preseason but he appears to be as fine as someone can be on a Bill Belichick team can let on. The last thing you want is for Brady to be banged up and then having to play the guessing game of "is he really hurt" with your first or second round draft pick. Looks like we dodged that bullet at least for now.

Cassell passed for 234 yards but no scores when they hosted the Bills. The previous year saw Brady destroy the Bills with 311 yards and four scores when they visited. There's your Brady difference. I like Brady to start the year on an intimidating note.

Running Backs: This is no less a mess than it ever has been and maybe even more since Fred Taylor joined the dark side and hits the running back rotation which randomly spits out Sammy Morris, Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk as well. Morris was absent from the preseason with an undisclosed™ injury but is expected back.

I am going to faithfully pursue the folly by projecting for the running backs but we should all know it is an exercise in futility. Taylor will figure in to be sure but Maroney could as well. And then there is Morris... man this team gives me a headache. For now and only if someone is holding a gun to your dog's head and screaming he wants to know the order of importance of the NE backs - Taylor, Maroney, Morris and then Faulk. But that is only valid for this week up until game time.

The Patriots rushed for 105 yards on 26 carries and got one rushing score from... can you guess? Nope. it was BenJarvus Green-Ellis that week. Psych.

Wide Receivers: Imagine that the Patriots actually got an upgrade here. Randy Moss and Wes Welker remain one of the most productive duos in the league and that was even with Cassell at the helm. But the Pats have brought on Joey Galloway as well. Sounds great in a "five years ago" sort of way. The reality is that Galloway hasn't showed up much in camp and has struggled getting timing down with Brady. There is speculation that he could lose out to Greg Lewis for the #3 role but it really doesn't matter. Moss and Welker are going to drain so much of the value here that not enough is left over to make any #3 particularly attractive in fantasy terms. Welker was #2 in the league with 111 catches for 1165 yards and three scores last season while Moss only managed 69 receptions for 1008 yards but scored 11 times. Now Brady is back.

Moss only had five catches for 53 yards while Welker produced nine receptions for 107 yards in the home meeting with the Bills last year. This should be a big opening week for these wideouts on Monday night. This was tailor made for Moss to have a big game.

Tight Ends: The tight end has faded from use once Welker and Moss showed up and Benjamin Watson led his position with only 22 catches for 209 yards and two scores last year. He's now been passed by Chris Baker but no reason to expect anything more to happen.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 11 6 6 28 2 28
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 12 14 14 10 24 22

The Huddle
WEEK 1
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Early Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
Tunnel Vision
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