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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: WAS 13, NYG 23

Long-time divisional rivals square off and until recently, these teams used to swap home wins each season. In 2007, both visitors won and then last year was just the sweep by the Giants when the Redskins could never score more than seven points in either game. This could be a huge win for the Redskins if it happened but the Giants at home and at full strength will once again be nothing more than a nice way to start the season. Important to note - the last four meetings between these teams have never seen either score more than 24 points.

The Skins lost 7-16 when they opened the 2008 season with this exact venue. They later lost 7-23 in Washington during week 13.

Washington Redskins (0-0)
Homefield: FedEx Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NYG - - -
2 STL - - -
3 @DET - - -
4 TB - - -
5 @CAR - - -
6 KC - - -
7 PHI - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 @ATL - - -
10 DEN - - -
11 @DAL - - -
12 @PHI - - -
13 NO - - -
14 @OAK - - -
15 NYG - - -
16 DAL - - -
17 @SD - - -
WAS @ NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Jason Campbell 20   170,1
RB Clinton Portis 70    
RB Ladell Betts 20 30  
TE Chris Cooley   60,1  
WR Santana Moss   40  
WR Antwaan Randle El   20  
WR Malcolm Kelly   30  
PK Shaun Suisham 2 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes:

The Redskins enter the 2009 season with much the same cast in fantasy terms. The passing game remains unchanged though developments by the rookies of last year should shake up the depth charts a bit for receivers. Clinton Portis remains the player no one is happy about drafting and yet who never fails to turn in a good season. The only notable changes here could be the increased use of Ladell Betts and the addition to the defense. The Skins paid $100 million dollars for a seven year contract with DL Albert Haynesworth from Tennessee. Facing Brandon Jacobs in week one is exactly why Danny Snyder grabbed his checkbook.

The Skins ended 2008 with an 8-8 record and look to get back to the winning side of the standings.

Quarterback: Jason Campbell was the not-so-secret pick by the Redskins back in 2005 but they could have shouted it from the rooftops and it would not have mattered. Campbell has been a starter for three years and last season was when he finally lasted all 16 games. But he only passed for 3245 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has a ways to go just to become average. Jim Zorn installed his new offense last year and the expectation is that it will come to fruitition this season. But Campbell spent the entirety of 2008 chugging along with around 200 yards and one score each week. If Campbell is taking a next step, he has cloaked it really, really well.

Campbell had little success against the Giants last year. He threw only one score and passed for 131 yards in the season opener. He later had 232 yards and no score at home in week 13.

Running Backs: Clinton Portis seemed to wear down last season but that came after an impressive string of big games and he ended with 1487 rushing yards, and nine touchdowns for one of the best seasons of his career. The Skins have now said they are committed to getting LaDell Betts more work at the expense of Portis who had 342 carries and 28 receptions in 2008- fourth best in the league. That remains to be seen and the telling measure will be in real games when the decision has to be made to keep feeding the more talented Portis or bring in Betts.

This week should be an excellent view of what to expect this year because the third down role of Betts should be much used in New York. Portis will likely take a heavier load in the easier games but this week should see Betts getting about as much use as could be expected.

Portis had little success against the Giants last year. In New York for the opener, he ran for 84 yards on 23 carries and had no catches or scores. Later at home, he only managed 22 yards on 11 carries with one catch for 15 yards. Look for even less from Portis thanks to Betts.

Wide Receivers: Santana Moss had a slightly better season in 2008 when he caught 79 passes for 1044 yards and six scores for only his third time over the 1000 yard mark. But about 450 yards came in just three games and from mid-season onward he only scored once and never had more than 72 yards in a game. Antwaan Randle El has never been a true flanker type, just a miscast slot receiver but that could change this season. Malcolm Kelly has improved and now is angling to replace Randle El. HC Jim Zorn has been slow to name Kelly as the starter but it would be a surprise if he wasn't. Randle El just isn't good enough for an every down role and the passing game has long needed someone to take pressure off of Moss.

Devin Thomas was actually drafted first last year but has struggled to show any progress and will start the season as the #4 in an offense that never uses more than the two starting wideouts. Kelly is the new variable in this equation and is the one to watch on Sunday.

Moss had the only touchdown catch against the Giants last year but only managed 37 yards on five catches in the opener. He later gained 55 yards on four receptions. Antwaan Randle El had seven catches for 73 yards to open the year but never scored against the Giants. The Giants were weakest against wideouts in 2008 but the Redskins were hardly a top passing team. Expect no more than the stats from last year but at least Kelly should make it more interesting.

Tight Ends: The new offense in 2008 saw Chris Cooley reverse his trend. He became a primary passing target with 83 catches for a career best 849 yards. But he disappeared near the goal line with only one touchdown on the year - he averaged seven scores over his first four seasons. Cooley only caught one pass for seven yards in the home opener in New York but later managed 71 yards on six catches in the home meeting. His one catch came when the offense was brand spanking new though and by now he has become an integral part of the passing game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 25 20 21 12 25 31
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 6 9 22 1 3 3


New York Giants (0-0)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 WAS - - -
2 @DAL - - -
3 @TB - - -
4 @KC - - -
5 OAK - - -
6 @NO - - -
7 ARI - - -
8 @PHI - - -
9 SD - - -
10 BYE - - -
11 ATL - - -
12 @DEN - - -
13 DAL - - -
14 PHI - - -
15 @WAS - - -
16 CAR - - -
17 @MIN - - -
NYG vs WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning     200,1
RB Brandon Jacobs 110,1    
RB Ahmad Bradshaw 40 20,1  
TE Kevin Boss   20  
WR Steve Smith   50  
WR Domenik Hixon   30  
WR Hakeem NIcks   40  
PK Lawrence Tynes 3 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Giants ranked #1 in the league last year with 2518 rushing yards and an average of five yards per carry. The offensive line and all but Derrick Ward return but where the Giants are going to be renewed is with the receivers since both Plaxico "Bang" Burress and Amani Toomer are gone. That means the Giants have one of the youngest set of wideouts in the league and that could become an issue when the winds start whipping in December.

The Giants were 12-4 last season and won the NFC East.

Quarterback: Eli Manning enters his sixth season and has settled down these last three seasons to throw right around 3300 yards and 22 touchdowns. He may be hard pressed to repeat those numbers without any notable veterans as receivers but the Giants have been drafting replacements for the last couple of years and now get to see just how well they have compensated for the loss of Toomer and Burress.

Manning passed for 216 yards and no score in the first meeting with the Skins last year. He later had 305 yards and one touchdown in Washington. No doubt that the Giants will want to run most of the time and that should keep Manning more around the 200 yards/one score area that most opponents have when facing the visiting Redskins.

Running Backs: The rushing attack of the Giants was tops in the league last year and they pulled the ultra rare dual 1000 yard rushers with Brandon Jacobs (219-1089, 15 TDs) and Derrick Ward (182-1025, 2 TDs) both topping the mark. But Ward was sent packing since he's just another 29 year-old journeyman running back who enjoyed the Giants offensive line. Ahmad Bradshaw will become the #2 this season after only 67 carries for 355 yards and one score last year.

The role to watch for is Bradshaw as a receiver since Ward had 41 receptions last year. Danny Ware becomes the guy to get if Jacobs goes down but until that happens, it'll be plenty of Jacobs and Bradshaw. Their roles as pass catchers could see a slight uptick as well if all the new wideouts do not pan out as well as expected.

Jacobs rumbled for 116 yards on 21 carries when the Skins opened last year in New York. He later had 71 yards on 21 carries and scored once in the road match-up. The Redskins have tuned up their defense and added Albert Haynesworth in no small part to help stop Jacobs. But opening in New York you have to expect the very rested Jacobs to at least have a decent game here. He should score at least once and top the 100 yard mark in rushing.

Wide Receivers: Here is where the change happens and where there could a fantasy opportunities - or disappointments. Steve Smith (the lesser) has taken over the flanker role from Amani Toomer but that job hasn't produced much in the last several years. The split end vacated by Plaxico Burress has been taken over by Domenik Hixon but his grasp on the job is hardly that tight. Hixon has done little to impress the coaches while the rookie Hakeem Nicks has been favorably noticed by everyone in the organization. He's had big plays in camp and in preseason games but had a hip flexor injury in the third preseason game. I am assuming he is okay to play this week.

The depth chart still favors Hixon but that could easily change as the season progresses. This game is worth watching to see Smith and Hixon working as the starters and even more so if Nicks plays. He's the wildcard here and the lone hope for a stud-in-the-making. Sinorice Moss made the final roster as well and will be an occasional factor.

Tight Ends: Kevin Boss took over for Jeremy Shockey but he barely gets a couple of passes each week. He ended 2008 with just 33 catches for 384 yards and six scores. That's nice on the touchdowns but the minimal yardage makes him too risky for a fantasy start. Boss had no catches in the season opener against the Skins last year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 19 2 17 17 1 15
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 7 10 5 4 9 12

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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