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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: JAC 13, IND 27

These two teams always play this game oddly. Three of the last four meetings went to the road team including both games last year. The Jaguars won 23-21 at Indianapolis while the Colts outscored them 31-24 in Jacksonville. The best part is that the last three times, both sides have scored at least 21 points. Playing in Indy certainly favors the Colts but that didn't matter last year.

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0)
Homefield: J'ville Municipal Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @IND - - -
2 ARI - - -
3 @HOU - - -
4 TEN - - -
5 @SEA - - -
6 STL - - -
7 BYE - - -
8 @TEN - - -
9 KC - - -
10 @NYJ - - -
11 BUF - - -
12 @SF - - -
13 HOU - - -
14 MIA - - -
15 IND - - -
16 @NE - - -
17 @CLE - - -
JAX @ IND Rush Catch Pass
QB David Garrard 20   170
RB Maurice Jones-Drew 110,1 40  
TE Marcedes Lewis   10  
WR Torry Holt   50  
WR Troy Williamson   30  
PK Josh Scobee 2 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Jaguars went 5-11 last year to secure the AFC South cellar and while changes were in order to be made, what they've done is interesting. They have retained David Garrard and Maurice Jones-Drew but otherwise will have a new look. They did not replace Fred Taylor unless you can count the seventh round rookie Rashad Jennings. For wideouts they brought in Torry "Twilight" Holt and hope to cobble together enough games from the others to get the job done. Unless you can consider Torry Holt an upgrade, the Jags pretty much just moved to starting their second string from 2008 instead of replacing players.

Quarterback: David Garrard finally did make it for all 16 games without getting injured last year which was his first full season as a starter in his seven year career. He passed for 3620 yards but only 15 touchdowns and his 13 interceptions equaled what he did in the previous three years combined. What Garrard did do well was to increase his role as a runner with 73 carries for 322 yards and two touchdowns. Doesn't seem much hope here for improvement and a 5-11 season usually wants to see the direction reversed.

Garrard passed for just 167 yards and no scores at Indy last season. He had 329 yards and one touchdown in the home meeting in week 16.

Running Backs: Fred Taylor left and by the time all the player cuts were done, all that was left standing were Maurice Jones-Drew and Rashad Jennings. Plus fullback Greg Jones. This will be a heavy dose of Jones-Drew this year without a doubt but the Jaguars typically run 350 to 400 times per season. Someone has to help at least some. Greg Jones has been named as the #2 for now but even he admits he is not the runner he once was before shredding his knee a couple of years ago. That makes Jennings seem important but he's been mostly a nonfactor in training camp after initially impressing some coaches.

The Jags ran wild on the road at Indy last year. Fred Taylor gained 121 yards on 26 carries while Jones-Drew added 107 yards on 19 runs and one score with four receptions for 59 more yards. Jones Drew also gained 91 yards on 20 carries in the home meeting with an additional 71 yards on seven catches.

I will project stats for Jones-Drew by himself and involve Jones or Jennings in the future as warranted. Jones-Drew has a bruised shin that kept him out of some practice but appears fine for this week.

Wide Receivers: Matt Jones, Dennis Northcutt and Reggie Williams - all gone. In their place is Torry Holt who insists that he is not washed up at the age of 33 and that his knees are not the problem that people make them out to be. But Holt has been on the decline statistically for a few years and hey - it sure looked like Holt had lost a step or three. He will be joined by players not good enough to start last year but somehow making the grade in 2009. Mike Walker will attempt to play two consecutive games without a season ending injury and Troy Williamson becomes the #3 (and #2 when Walker is out) after being a flop in Minnesota. And in Jacksonville last year. Proof is in the pudding but this recipe does not mirror others which have been successful.

Sorry - update. Mike Walker is nursing a high ankle sprain and will not play this week. We were so close.

Adding to the problem is facing the Colts pass defense which is tops in the league. Do not touch any Jaguars receiver this week an maybe a lot more weeks to come.

Tight Ends: Marcedes Lewis has marginal fantasy value with last year netting 41 catches for 489 yards and two scores. He'll be there for your bye week needs and you can throw him back for someone else to use when you are done. Like Catch and Release tight ends.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points JAC 13 12 24 22 29 27
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 2 25 2 7 23 5


Indianapolis Colts (0-0)
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 JAC - - -
2 @MIA - - -
3 @ARI - - -
4 SEA - - -
5 @TEN - - -
6 BYE - - -
7 @STL - - -
8 SF - - -
9 HOU - - -
10 NE - - -
11 @BAL - - -
12 @HOU - - -
13 TEN - - -
14 DEN - - -
15 @JAC - - -
16 NYJ - - -
17 @BUF - - -
IND vs JAC Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning     250,2
RB Joseph Addai 60 30  
RB Donald Brown 50,1    
TE Dallas Clark   50,1  
WR Reggie Wayne   80,1  
WR Anthony Gonzalez   40  
WR Pierre Garcon   20  
PK Adam Vinatieri 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: Sure, the team has Jim Caldwell as a head coach and Clyde Christensen has moved up as the offensive coordinator from his post as the receivers coach since 2002. This is the first time that Peyton Manning will not have OC Tom Moore but the changes should be minimal. If there was any quarterback who didn't need to rely on a coordinator, it would probably be Manning anyway.

This year looks to get the Colts to a more balanced attack. While the Colts ranked in the top five in almost every passing category, the rushing attack fell apart and the Colts were only 30th in attempts (370), 31st in yards (1274) and dead last with a 3.2 yards per carry average. That's why Donald Brown was selected and why Reggie Wayne dropped slightly in your fantasy draft.

Quarterback: Quarterbacks come and go, they have monster years and disappear. And all the while, Peyton Manning just chugs along spitting out 4000 yards seasons with around 30 touchdowns while knowing he is the single reason why Brett Favre freaks out each time he tries to retire. He just does the math on Manning's career and then puts his helmet back on. "Leave my records alone!"

Manning only passed for 216 yards one score against the visiting Jags last season. He later rolled up 364 yards and three scores in Jacksonville. This time around he should have more success but not need to throw as much as the second meeting. The running game should take a little pressure off the Colts.

Running Backs: All the fantasy interest for the Colts is pretty much focused here since Joseph Addai sputtered last year and played with a strained hamstring and sprained shoulder. Over 12 games played, he only had 544 yards on 155 carries for a 3.5 yard per carry average. It was a steep drop from his roughly 1400 yards in each of his two first seasons and 2007 saw him score 15 times. HC Jim Caldwell has insisted that Addai remains the primary back in this offense despite burning a first round pick on Donald Brown.

That could still all work out and keep everyone happy if it reverts to 2007 when Addai was at his best and had 261 carries to Kenton Keith's 121 runs. That's a model that would work. As a rookie, Addai carried the ball 226 times to 187 from Dominic Rhodes. The blend always favored Addai but it took a pretty easy matchup for Addai to come up big. Expect a sharing scenario and this week will be a good indicator of what the season will hold. Brown has looked very sharp so far but he'll need to outplay Addai when the games are real.

Addai rushed for 78 yards on 16 carries and scored twice when the Jaguars visited last season.

Wide Receivers: Reggie Wayne remains the #1 receiver and Anthony Gonzalez finally gets to inherit the flanker spot for good with the release of Marvin Harrison. Wayne actually had a slightly down year in 2008 when he only had 82 catches for 1145 yards and six scores but he remains the safest option on this team. Gonzalez won't replace Harrison 1:1 because both Harrison and Wayne were dual #1 wideouts. Gonzalez is a true #2 on this team and so far has only managed 664 yards and four scores though he enters his third season perhaps primed for a breakout. Since Dallas Clark also commands his share of the passes, Gonzalez is likely to just remain a solid #2 wideout with moderate fantasy value at best.

Wayne caught three passes for 74 yards in the home meeting with the Jags and later turned in seven receptions for 108 yards and one score in Jacksonville. Anthony Gonzalez never had more than 40 yards in either game.

Tight Ends: The Colts use up to five different tight ends in a season but only one matters - Dallas Clark. In 2007, he became the touchdown machine with 11 touchdowns but then last season he fell back to only six scores while turning up his receptions to 77 for 848 yards. He's a bona fide tight end stud now and consistent as any in the league.

Clark had four catches for 47 yards against the visiting Jags last season and then turned in an eye-popping eight receptions for 105 yards and one score in Jacksonville.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 7 22 10 5 23 14
Preventing Fantasy Points JAC 27 19 20 27 22 18

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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