Tuesday - Jan 15, 2019

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The Prognosticator – Week 11

Welcome my fantasy brethren to another edition of The Prognosticator.  May it be your lead blocker.   

A couple of notes before we move on.

“Aussie, Aussie, Oi!, Oi!, Oi!”  That’s right Poker fans, Australian Joe Hachem walks away as the the 2005 World Series of Poker Champion with a cool $7.5M in his pocket.  He earned the title holding a 7-3 to A-3 and flopped a straight when 6-5-4 fell.  A brilliant win and if that wasn’t news enough for my fellow country men, the Qantas Socceroos qualified for a bid to the 2006 World Cup in Germany with a 4-2 thumping of the Uruguay team in a penalty shoot out. 

The Aussie’s haven’t qualified for a World Cup since 1974.  That’s 31 years for the mathematically challenged.  Good on ‘ya mates.

Week 11 Fantasy Projections

Team

Rushing

Passing

Opp

ARI

116

222

STL

ATL

143

166

TB

BAL

85

186

PIT

BUF

90

215

SD

CAR

93

187

CHI

CHI

110

143

CAR

CIN

95

195

IND

CLE

128

190

MIA

DAL

106

200

DET

DEN

173

193

NYJ

DET

100

190

DAL

GB

80

260

MIN

HOU

120

165

KC

IND

147

221

CIN

JAX

123

209

TEN

KC

155

220

HOU

MIA

117

203

CLE

MIN

106

179

GB

NE

144

186

NO

NO

90

151

NE

NYG

90

248

PHI

NYJ

110

223

DEN

OAK

106

212

WAS

PHI

108

273

NYG

PIT

125

152

BAL

SD

123

219

BUF

SEA

161

195

SF

SF

108

134

SEA

STL

136

217

ARI

TB

99

211

ATL

TEN

108

195

JAX

WAS

126

194

OAK


Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons Sunday 1:00p

The Falcons run the ball. ’nuff said. By now you’re starting Warrick Dunn with no questions asked. He’s a poor man’s Tiki Barber and that’s no slouch with the season Tiki is having.

I liked what I saw out of Chris Simms last week. He has stepped into the Buccaneers offense, picked up right where Brian Griese left off and now this team is his.  Griese will be elsewhere as he hasn’t completely given up on the idea of being a starting QB in the NFL, especially after his last year and a half. Someone will give him a shot but I don’t see it being with the Bucs. I particularly liked the way Chris Simms utilized Joey Galloway and you don’t need me to tell you that Galloway is a must start at WR weekly. I know I’ve been starting him everywhere I have him, with great success to boot. Look for the Bucs to keep this up top even though the word on the street is that the Falcons can be run on.

Prediction: Atlanta 31 – Buccaneers 24


Oakland Raiders at Washington Redskins Sunday 1:00p

It sounds like Randy Moss can go and a healthy Moss will open things up for the Raiders. Look for the Raiders to work the Redskins secondary with all their weapons — including Jerry Porter.

Have you been waiting patiently for Clinton Portis to have a big day at the office? Good, because your reward is at hand. The Redskins will work the Raiders interior all day and Portis will deliver. Santana Moss is still the main target and will be available to help move the chains when needed, but the Sunday game plan will be to drive the ball up the gut and Portis will be the beneficiary.

Prediction: Redskins 28 – Raiders 24


Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears Sunday 1:00p

The Bears and the Panthers today, have the two best defenses in the league. As stated a few weeks ago, you wanted to run out and grab the Jaguars D for your stretch run, as they were freely available in a lot of leagues waivers. I know I picked them up everywhere I could get them and played them last week for some big gains. Even so, the Bears and Panthers are playing some solid D.

The Panthers will pass and the Bears will run, none of that changes. Inclement weather is predicted for this game which could turn this into a first one to score wins the game type of contest. 

Fantasy wise I’m not a big fan of anyone in this contest as the scoring won’t be coming from the traditional key fantasy player positions though Stephen Davis always attracts my interest for my lineup due to his TD ability and he will get opportunity here.

Prediction: Panthers 21 – Bears 11


Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams Sunday 1:00p

The Cardinals get their offense on track a little this week as they look pretty good against the Rams, a team they know well. The Cardinals have a potent passing attack and with Anquan Boldin back, which is sounding like a potential, that will bolster their chances. I still think it will be next week that we see Boldin back in pads but for now the early news is that he may play this week. The Cardinals are aware that their running game is the pits and they also know full well that the primary reason they aren’t winning football games is that lack of a running game. Look for them to really focus on running the football in practice this week and try to bring JJ Arrington along. He will have a few more opportunities this week than usual.

The Rams will be almost back at full strength and at home on the fast track, that will pay well. They will be able to pass the ball with efficiency but expect the star of the offense to be Steven Jackson as he finishes a top 5 fantasy RB for Week 11.

Prediction: Rams 30 – Cardinals 23


Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants Sunday 1:00p

This is a tricky play for the Eagles and Donovan McNabb couldn’t have gone down at a worse time with this game on the card. The Eagles have focused so much on their running game and trying to get Brian Westbrook‘s hands on the ball, that they may have tilted their ship a little too far over to starboard against the Giants. The Giants can stop a running game cold but they are very susceptible to a passing game and McNabb could have worked the Giants corners something old school. Mike McMahon, while showing flashed of brilliance in another life, just isn’t quite prepared to win this one for the Eagles. He’ll have a solid day as most backup Eagles QB’s do when they’re called in to replace McNabb, but not enough to be a winner.

The Giants will rest their fortunes on the arm of Eli Manning and he will be the catalyst for a Giant victory. It is excruciatingly tough to run on the Eagles, even with a stud back like Tiki Barber. Against most teams, the Eagles have success because they can take away the running game with surgical precision but the Giants and Tiki are a little different in that they can easily sacrifice rushing yards by dumping the ball to Tiki in the flat, in a screen, etc. Eli Manning will also be able to find Plaxico Burress wide open as well as Jeremy Shockey (check the injury report) but what pushes Manning over the top is the extra passing yards to Tiki Barber as they work around the Eagles punishing center. Not everyone can work around the Eagles but the Giants are one of those teams that can.

Prediction: Giants 27 – Eagles 21


New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots Sunday 1:00p

With the Saints, there are two sides to fall on in this game. One school of thought is that they will continue their implosion and stink up the joint due to a complete lack of effort and the other is that they will tool the Patriots secondary like even I could. This is a great potential get back in the saddle game for Aaron Brooks as the Patriots give up the short, medium and long passing play like no one else can. Give me the 49’ers or the Patriots secondary? I’m taking the 49’ers. It’s that bad. Something tells me however that the Saints are done for the season. Wide open players in the middle of the field could be running around with their hands waving (and this will happen) but the Saints will still manage to do something silly. This will be a winnable game for them but they won’t want to win it.

The Patriots are fighting for their division lives and should handle this one with ease. Expect them to focus on the running game and if Corey Dillon can’t go, look for Heath Evans to once again come through in a big way for the Pats.

Prediction: Patriots 30 – Saints 17


Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns Sunday 1:00p

When thinking about this game for some reason I conjured up an image of a plain, clear, plastic jug of room temperature water sitting on it’s own on a wooden crate in the middle of a dusty empty room. What does that say?

Reuben Droughns the only real play here. Oh, and as I’ve mentioned, I buy into the Braylon Edwards hype. He would have actually had a number of big games already if he had a QB that could deliver the ball down field to him. Edwards is getting separation and hustling down field, it’s Trent Dilfer that hasn’t been able to make the throw.

Prediction: Browns 20 – Dolphins 17


Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys Sunday 1:00p

The Lions will have a tough day on the ground and will have to make up for it in the air. Joey Harrington played well last week but it sounds like Mooch has already decided that Harrington will never be his guy. Getting their receiving group back healthy will certainly be an enormous boost to this teams chance quotient to winning football games.

When a team wins like the Cowboys did last week against the Eagles, they feel invincible and that will carry over into this game as they play good football for four solid quarters. The Cowboys are becoming a fantasy wasteland, as they spread the ball around to everyone. Boo! Come on Parcells, even you have to see that fantasy is starting to drive the NFL. Look for players to start adding more statistical clauses to their contracts as fantasy football takes hold as players and agents begin to realize that their notoriety and subsequent advertising deals can all be traced back to how many fantasy owners have them on their team and how well he is performing that season. Think that’s a reach? It’s not far off and Jimmy Kimmel along with Phil Simms can go eat duck soup because they completely do not get it. Simms is old school football but football has never seen anything so revolutionary for their game than fantasy. No sports in the history of sports has ever seen anything as influential, potent and powerful. Mark my words, fantasy will drive the NFL. If you’ve had your eyes open, you’ve already seen the writing on the wall.

Prediction: Cowboys 24 – Lions 20


Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans Sunday 1:00p

The Jaguars D is on your team right?  After my insistence you drop anyone but the Bears for them right? Good.

I know I’m riding them all the way to the playoffs. The Jaguars roll in this with solid days from everyone involved. It sounds like Fred Taylor can’t go again but don’t look now, the Jaguars seem to have receivers busting out of the seams. 6’6” Matt Jones just bust out of the gate to join Ernest Wilford and Jimmy Smith pushing Reggie Williams even further back in the depth chart. Heck, RB Alvin Pearman is just two receptions shy of Reggie Williams. While we’re on Reggie Williams look for his time to be short with the Jaguars but expect him to catch on somewhere else and actually enjoy success with his next team, whomever that may be. With all these receivers, Byron Leftwich keeps looking better and better as a QB for your stretch run.

Are the Titans still playing? They’ll have average days on the ground and in the air, nothing to write home about and certainly nothing to be proud of. In a pinch, you can look at the Titans for some help this week but with all the bye weeks over, you probably don’t need to look here.

Prediction: Jaguars 27 – Titans 17


Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens Sunday 1:00p

The question in the air is what direction the Steelers will go with RB and their three headed monster. The answer is Willie Parker. Bettis is fine for pounding it between the pipes but this is his last year (or at least I’m declaring it quits for him) and Duce Staley is a Bettis type runner with the pounds he has put on. They really don’t need two pounders that can’t break away. Willie Parker is a game breaker and expect him to get the majority of the carries while the rest are split between Bettis and Staley. Willie Parker will continue to be a very solid RB3 for you, possibly the best RB3 in fantasy football. The story this Sunday for the Steelers is running, running and more running.

The Ravens won’t be able to run the ball one bit until “you know what” happens. There, I didn’t say it. But they will want to try and get some passing established and will force the issue, which will drive some stats up top. Derek Mason has a chance in this.

Prediction: Steelers 24 – Ravens 14


Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers Sunday 4:05p

Shaun Alexander. The rest exist to break it up a little so that the opposing defense can’t lock in 100% of the time on Alexander. The 49’ers? Shaun Alexander? Oh the humanity.

The 49’ers are going to surprise a little and score. Even with Ken Dorsey <shudder> back behind center. The 49’ers are going to start to get Frank Gore going as he has run very well for them when given the chance. He is still green, makes mistakes, misses assignments and generally plays like a rookie but he has shown burst and that has translated to a decent yard per carry average. He has skills, they just need refining and look for the 49’ers to see what they have in Gore for 2006.

Prediction: Seahawks 30 – 49’ers 21


New York Jets at Denver Broncos Sunday 4:15p

Jets? Hmmmm .. yeah, the Jets. While Herm Edwards can be a sneaky SOB at times I respect the guy as do his players. Things went south fast in Jet land once it was apparent that Chad Pennington wasn’t going to be able to shoulder the load this season. Naturally, you could have asked us in fantasy land and we would have been able to quite easily predict the debacle that is the Jets but why ask us? You go right ahead and keep thinking we know nothing and you know everything. Go ahead. Enjoy.

With that said the Jets are going to surprise a little in the air as the Broncos have been giving up the big play in the air. Perhaps a Justin McCareins sighting this weekend as Laveranues Coles should be busy fighting off Champ Bailey most of Sunday.

The Broncos will run, and this week it will be Tatum Bell‘s spot to shine, as the game situation and Jets defensive personnel translate better to Bell than Mike Anderson. Rod Smith is almost a lock for a score and Ashley Lelie is a almost a lock to go for over 75 yards on only 3 touches.  Brilliant aren’t I?

Prediction: Broncos 34 – Jets 20


Buffalo Bills at San Diego Chargers Sunday 4:15p

As of this writing I don’t know who will start for the Bills. I tried this guessing game with Kerry Holcomb before when we didn’t know whether he or Tim Couch in Cleveland would get the start. I tended to guess wrong as the Browns were idiots back then. Complete and utter idiots. If Holcomb gets the start then I like Eric Moulds, if JP Losman gets another shot then I think Lee Evans becomes the focal point. Either way, the Bills will be able to throw on the Chargers but will have trouble kick starting their running game.

The Chargers will be effective just about anywhere they want to be. All facets of their offense will be clicking and there will be decent numbers from all your usual starter suspects. Do not be afraid to play any of them as LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, Antonio Gates and Keenan McCardell will get in on all the reindeer games.

Prediction: Chargers 28 – Bills 21


Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals Sunday 4:15p

Everyone is pointing to this game as the battle of the Titans. A lot of commentary has been written about this being the game of the week, the game of the season, the game of the decade! Come on now. The Colts will roll in this. Edgerrin James in particular will be dominant but the passing game with Peyton Manning and friends will also be spitting fire. The Colts defense is sick of being questioned about strength of schedule and being accused of not having played anyone yet. They’ll make a statement game out of this. The Bengals will still make some plays up top as they are talented in that aspect but the Colts will be knocking Carson Palmer around most of the day.

Prediction: Colts 35 – Bengals 24


Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans Sunday 8:30p

Which Kansas City Chiefs will show up this Sunday? Larry Johnson is licking his chops at the prospects this game brings to his contract incentives and from a fantasy stand point, the Chiefs in general will bring good stats. Tony Gonzalez and even Eddie Kennison will catch more that his obligatory 5 balls for 50 yards. A solid day all around for the ‘Chefs’ in the fantasy department.

The Texans will try to establish a running game with probably Jonathan Wells if Domanick Davis can’t go and then slowly work David Carr into the game. The Texans have the worst offensive line in football which means they have to keep the TE in to block which hurts because they could use a dump off guy. Quick, name the Houston Texans starting TE. Bet you can’t?

It’s ex long-time Steeler, Mark Bruener.

The Texans will start to have a chance when they get both Andre Johnson and Domanick Davis on the field simultaneously, though look for a mini-surprise out of Jonathan Wells this week as he catches a lot of balls and pushes the Texans on top!  That’s right!  We’ve gome completely in-sane!

Prediction: Texans 24 – Chiefs 23


Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers Monday 9:00p

Anytime there’s a Vikings/Packers game and the spread is greater than 3 points, like this game is — take the underdog. The Vikings won’t be lighting the world on fire with their poor offensive line but they will show flashes and will play well enough to stay in this game, if not win it outright. Michael Bennet’s numbers were abysmal last week and not all that was his fault. It took me a while to figure out what exactly is wrong with the Vikings and their running game as they went from being one of the top offenses in the league to this. After much study and deliberation I have the answer. Mike Tice is an idiot! Well that and the Vikings never changed their offensive playbook. You’ll notice that they still call all the same plays as if Randy Moss is still on the team. They’re using the same system and didn’t modify it to adapt it to the skills of the players they currently have on the field. Who’s the FB for Michael Bennett or Mewelde Moore? More times than not it’s no one. They run their RB’s with 2 TE’s at the line which is more a pass protect scheme. The Vikings base offense was a 2 TE set with 2 WR’s back when Randy Moss was on one side. With Moss, yes, you can create a running game with 2 TE’s. Without? You need to scale it back to 1 TE and pick up a good blocking FB that can lead the way for the RB’s, punch some holes and add some vision for the half backs. That’s what’s wrong with the Vikings and their offense. They’re doing it all wrong!

The Packers apparently have found themselves a new RB? Sam Gado is his name and he’s the hottest fantasy commodity since the Reuben Droughns run of last year. He will save your season! He is the M-A-N! Hmmm .. let’s go against the grain and state that this weekend, Mr. Gado will prove why he was sitting so low on the depth chart to begin with.

Expect a big day from Brett Favre and Donald Driver.

Prediction: Packers 23 – Vikings 21


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