Welcome my fantasy brethren to another edition of The Prognosticator. May it leave you truly concerned for my sanity.
There are two fantasy offenses that jump off the page this week. The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. If you have players in either on of these offenses feel good about your chances!
The Packers are going to surprise in the air with their reduced WR staff. Ricky Williams and the Viking rushing committee will perform well. The Giants are going to rock and roll in the air and Amos Zereoue is going to pump it out on the ground. Read on for more!
All times are Eastern
|Initial Bankroll: $500 Geoffrey Dollars.
Current Bankroll: $600 Geoffrey Dollars.
Last Week: Won $100 on NYGiants -1 over the Rams.
Off to a winning start early with the Giants win over the Rams. We’re staying right where we are till the Rams prove us wrong.
This Week: $110 to win $100 on San Francisco over Saint Louis.
|Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers – Sunday 1:00pm|
The Lions had a lot of trouble getting their running game going last week with Olandis Gary the only back to have one decent run. Look for Gary’s role to increase in this offense as he learns it. The Packers D knows they have to step it up this game to help their offense out and step it up they will. The Lions offense still has a long way to go, so expect them to struggle with the occasional big play. I would start rookie WR Charlie Rogers as my #3 as the sheer volume of passes thrown his way will translate into an above average day.
The Packers lost both Donald Driver and Robert Ferguson in the same game. A blow to this pass first offense. Boy do I wish I had Bubba Franks as a TE in a league because his role is about to be expanded. Young WR Javon Walker, just because he has Brett Favre throwing the football, should be scooped up in your Waivers this week. He should be good for a score a game till Driver returns.
I was a little shocked to see the line at 7, because I thought having your #3 WR as your #1 and bringing in Antonio Freeman to help out wouldn’t exactly give the odds makers confidence but they agree with me. The Lions aren’t there yet and the Packers intangibles will pay dividends.
Prediction: Packers 28 – Lions 20 (Packers -7)
|Washington Redskins at Atlanta Falcons – Sunday 1:00pm|
Patrick Ramsey, Laveranues Coles and the Redskin rushing game made everyone think twice about their offense. They look to be the real deal. Do not give up on Rod Gardner quite yet. NFL teams like to show different looks from week to week, especially Spurrier. If Gardner disappears one week that just means he’ll be a big part of the game plan coming up soon. Look for the Redskins to continue to mix up their offense with a healthy dose of running. Unfortunately for us, it’s going to be a mixed bag of RB’s but the bag as a whole will perform very well. If the NFL keeps this up, us fantasy addicts are going to have to just play the “Team RB” position.
The Vickless Falcons played pretty well and took care of business last week against the Cowboys. As I stated last week, I’d rather have Doug Johnson as my QB than Quincy Carter and now you see why. Johnson is the best, unknown backup QB in football. There are better known backups but he has had my vote for best unknown the past two years running. The Falcons will mix it up with no heavy statistics for anyone in their lineup. They’re going to play a little more conservatively, focus on minimizing mistakes and just grind the game out first down at a time, while keeping the ball close to the vest. Warrick Dunn had a heavier load than people expected last week. If that continues, he’ll be a diamond in the rough from your draft and very well could be the difference maker between playoffs or not for you. The Progno has always been a Warrick Dunn fan.
Falcons grind and keep grinding till the Redskins relent. Resistance is futile.
Prediction: Falcons 28 – Redskins 17 (Falcons -3)
|San Francisco 49’ers at Saint Louis Rams – Sunday 1:00pm|
The 49’ers posted high score of the week as they steam rolled. All parts of their offense clicked and it turned into an unstoppable machine as defenders just didn’t have the hats to cover everyone and keep Terrell Owens contained. The 49’ers are going to surprise this week and focus on their running game. Their running game you say? The Rams corners are awful Tony. Jeff Garcia, Terrell Owens, Tai Streets? Those names ring a bell jam face? Yes, I’m familiar with their work. What’s this crazy talk about featuring the running game then? It’s like this see. The 49’ers know they can pass all over the Rams all day long. That’s great, except for the fact that the Rams can throw a pretty mean ball as well. If you try and play the score for score game you never get a chance to put the other team away. That is why the 49’ers are going to want to play as much ball control as they can, because they know the air will be there for the taking for the tough yards. Expect a solid day from Garrison Hearst.
As mentioned last week. The Warner/Bulger debate was about to begin after Week 1 and here we are. Marc Bulger starting for the Rams and the Rams saying this could be permanent. The Rams know only one way to play football and that is to turn the game into a track meet. Throw the ball as much as possible, then throw it some more. Bulger, Faulk and Holt on track for nice days all around.
The Rams are not what people seem to think. The Rams are favored in this one but the 49’ers, coming off score of the week and a lot of weapons in tow, will be victorious. I just don’t see how the Rams will be able to stop the 49’ers offense.
Prediction: 49’ers 27 – Rams 15 (Rams -3)
|Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars – Sunday 1:00pm|
The Bills did what? I think I read somewhere last week that Drew Bledsoe was not going to beat his old mates quite yet. Who was that guy? Does no one pay attention to the game anymore? I mean .. oh wait. That was me. What I didn’t factor in was the trading of Lawyer Milloy and him playing the entire game. I never expected a guy to be traded to a new system two days before and step into it immediately. What a boon for the Bills as Sam Adams just owned the line of scrimmage and Lawyer Milloy owned the secondary. Their defense is going to be a good one as long as those two guys stay healthy. The Bills game plan looks like a bang for Travis Henry this season. He will have a tremendous year with a solid defense and games closer than they were.
The Jags are going to have a harder time of it this week in the air. Yes Mark Brunell was near flawless, but he gets like that in a game. He finds the zone some weeks and just buries himself in it. Then other weeks he loses his touch. He still is a fine NFL QB and perhaps the most underrated starting QB playing today. The Jaguars will try to feature Fred Taylor and that is about all you are going to see.
The difference in this contest will actually be the much reveled (in this column anyway) Jaguars Defense. They’re a unit that have received less coverage than any other on the field, yet they will be the force to be reckoned with and will cause some problems for the Bills. Look for the Jaguars to get a lot of opportunity from Bills turnovers as the Bills play a sloppy game of football. Jaguars as an underdog at home take that as an insult and get it done.
Prediction: Jaguars 27 – Bills 20 (Bills -2.5)
|Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts – Sunday 1:00pm|
On the surface this looks like a drubbing, or at least I thought it did. The Titans fresh off a national beating of the AFC Champs and the Colts fresh off a bottom of the 9th, walk off, 3 run shot. Titans should play well in this right? The Titans always win football games with their lines and Steve McNair. That won’t change. I was wrong about Eddie George last week laying down a big game but I’m going to pick it again. If he burns me here, I will be gun shy to pull the trigger again, but the numbers add up for him.
The Colts won’t get their running game on track against this unit. It all comes down to Peyton Manning in this one and home field. This will be a football game and no one will get the best of the other. It will be a back and forth war but the Colts offense will get the job done with no one on either side of the ball having a truly big day. A lot of contributions from a blend of players will yield a fantasy drought but the Colts steal one.
Prediction: Colts 23 – Titans 21 (Colts -1.5)
|Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints – Sunday 1:00pm|
*** LOW SCORE OF THE WEEK AWARD ***
I just had to smile when I saw the Texans/Dolphins score flash across the screen. I mean, how psyched were they that they showed up? For some reason I like David Carr and the Texans as a whole. I’m happy for them when they have success and expect it when they don’t. They’re in a great spot when the only direction is up. It’s OK to start Stacey Mack in a pinch but the rest of this team I wouldn’t touch yet.
The Saints and Aaron Brooks had decent fantasy stats even though they didn’t put the scores on the board to match. Playing catch up ball will have a funny way of doing that. I am still not sold on the Saints. They have holes in their offense and defense and those holes will appear at inopportune times. An average day on tap for the Saints as the Texans D is better than a lot will give them credit for.
Prediction: Saints 24 – Texans 13 (Saints -7.5)
|Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs – Sunday 1:00pm|
There are just a handful of great games this weekend and this is one of them. This one will come down to the final play to decide the winner, as both teams match up well. The Steelers have put together a solid offering at offense. Amos Zereoue will be the greatest benefactor this weekend but Tommy Maddox, Plaxico Burress and Hines Ward should be locked in as must starts for you unless you have a Donovan McNabb or Daunte Culpepper as your starting QB. The Steelers offense will find opportunity in the better than people think, Chiefs defense, because the Steelers offense is that good.
The Chiefs also boast a serious offense now that the Priest Holmes riddle has been solved. Trent Green and company should slide up your starter list because of it. If everything clicks, the Chiefs will be extremely hard to beat week in and week out. Tuck WR Johnnie Morton away on your watch list. He is an on again, off again type of player from season to season and the preliminary look at him is favorable. He could be a deep sleeper for you to help you in a stretch run.
Prediction: Chiefs 28 – Steelers 27 (Chiefs -3)
|Miami Dolphins at NY Jets – Sunday 1:00pm|
*** HIGH SCORE OF THE WEEK AWARD ***
*** RB OF THE WEEK AWARD: Ricky Williams ***
Dolphins win my: “Last locker room I’d want to be in” award after they lost to the Texans. The Dolphins walked in expecting the Texans to be nothing more than an extension of their preseason and got something a lot different. I think Dave Wannstedt is a terrific coach and the Dolphins one of the best organizations in football but the blame falls squarely on the coaching staff for that loss. Their players weren’t prepared to play and it’s the coaching staff that are responsible for that. End of story. Against the Jets, the Dolphins are going to run Ricky and pass later with difficulty. The Jets Defense can cause havoc up front and get in Jay Fiedler’s face which will limit some of what they do.
Look for the Jets to routinely win the turnover war in most games they’re in. This one is no exception. I know the Jets were simply awful last week, but this is the team that won the division last season and was a playoff team that played well in the playoffs. There is a lot of pride in this organization and a lot of players that can play. It never came together for them last week but in New Jersey in an intra divisional game, a little better cohesion will be the story. The Jets fans are rabid and you don’t want to piss off the J-E-T-S white fire hat wearing dude with a poor showing.
Prediction: Jets 31 – Dolphins 24 (Dolphins -2.5)
|Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens – Sunday 1:00pm|
The Browns had a very blah day and look for that to continue against this Baltimore defense that can and will play. Statistically the Browns will have better balance but they have a very unique problem to solve that is causing them grief. They have too many people to hand off or pass the ball to. Kelly Holcomb is better at reading a defense than Tim Couch but I think the Browns are trying to do too much with their offense too early. As soon as they “Dumb it down” some, they will see better results. Keep it simple guys to start with! I know you feel the pressure to win now, but forcing it isn’t going to get it done. Let your young guys play together a little more first.
The Ravens will run Jamal Lewis till his legs drop off. Please bring back Chris Redman. Please? There were whispers of playoffs for this team till they inserted Kyle Boller at QB. I don’t get it. Perhaps a certain head coach shouldn’t be allowed to make QB decisions anymore because they’ve been a string of disastrous decisions.
Even though I’m poo-poo’ing what the Ravens are doing I like them at home to win with their running and their Defense. The Browns have a much better team, they just don’t know how to harness it and I’m not sure they ever will.
Prediction: Ravens 23 – Browns 19 (Ravens -2)
|Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals – Sunday 4:05pm|
*** QB OF THE WEEK AWARD: Matt Hasselbeck ***
I’m sticking with the Seahawks as one of the scary offenses in the league right now and am going to continue to ride Matt Hasselbeck as a stud QB. His numbers were solid, but not spectacular, as the Seahawks spread the ball around a lot in their win over the Saints last week. Against a weak Cardinal defense this will be a cake walk for the Seahawks offense. Play them all with reckless abandon. A big day on tap for all of them.
The Cardinals behind the arm of Jeff Blake and rookie WR Anquan Boldin with his gaudy 200+ receiving yards are the kind of numbers that just aren’t repeatable week to week in the NFL. Sure Boldin is worthy of a pick up but don’t expect 200 yards again. Heck, I wouldn’t expect 100 but in the off chance he has some freakish skills, he’s worth a spot on your bench for a few weeks.
|Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sunday 4:05pm|
The Panthers tossed Jake Delhomme in which is the right move for them. The problem for Delhomme as a fantasy QB is the system he’s in and the WR talent around him. The Panthers are all about their defense and running the ball. It will be an uphill battle for Delhomme all season long because he’ll be fighting the system he’s in for fantasy points. Any day now Muhsin Muhammad will self destruct but I wouldn’t be afraid to use him if you have him, maybe next week, for this week, the Panthers are watching film on the Bucs/Eagles game and that is going to be a long trip down to Tampa with those images fresh in the Panthers heads. Stephen Davis should ride pine unless you have no other option. In fact, listen up folks for this will help you win a game or two. Break out a schedule and mark on it anywhere your players are going up against the Bucs. Treat it as a bye week and make sure you’re not stuck starting someone against the Bucs because they’re for all intensive purposes, the same thing.
I was wrong. I thought the Bucs D was a top 5 D but I wasn’t giving them the preseason #1 billing they clearly deserve. Slide the Bucs D up to #1 and leave them there. Sorry about that. You know what? Brad Johnson makes a very serviceable backup QB as his receivers are various. When Warren Sapp is lining up for a ball that is pushing it a little but is was darn hysterical!
Prediction: Bucs 27 – Panthers 17 (Bucs -9.5)
|New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles – Sunday 4:15pm|
Week 2 and neither team has scored a point yet. That’s not good! I’m not sure the Patriots could have looked any worse and now they have to go into Philadelphia and play a stung top team in the NFL? That is a tall order. Too tall. The Patriots are going to have another frustrating day as they have difficulty getting anything going which will light up sports radio in Boston on Monday morning. The Patriots are better than an 0-2 team but that is where they will be looking up from. No real statistical pluses for the Pats in this game. The Patriots like to spread it around and like to employ a lot of smoke, mirrors and trickery in both their offense and defense which minimizes fantasy scoring in general from them.
The Eagles were embarrassed on Monday night as they had a tough time with the Bucs D. Trust me, they can’t wait to get their hands on the Patriots. They will emphasize their running game but the Pats D did show they can pseudo contain a running game. The Eagles will rely on McNabb to make magic happen and that happens more than it doesn’t.
Prediction: Eagles 27 – Patriots 20 (Eagles -5.5)
|Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers – Sunday 4:15pm|
Look for an offensive explosion from the Broncos and particularly Clinton Portis. He is so the man it’s not funny. In the FantasyShark forum we were making some comments today about how Jake Plummer is like our golf game. Most of the time it’s dog awful but every once and a while you get a hold of one and just rip it. That’s Jake Plummer. He’ll actually look decent this weekend.
The Chargers have some problems. This is an intra division rivalry and the Broncos and Chargers always play each other tough and tight but till I see something of value from the Chargers, I’m lowering my projections on all of them, including LaDainian Tomlinson. Though don’t confuse that as a sell or bench message because it’s not. Tomlinson is a workhorse and you’re lucky to have him if you do. I’m just suddenly wishing I had Priest Holmes or Clinton Portis instead is all.
Prediction: Broncos 26 – Chargers 21 (Broncos -3)
|Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders – Sunday 4:15pm|
I still like the Bengals passing game because they’re talented and they’re going to be playing from behind in just about every game they’re in. Chad Johnson gets the automatic start every week but the wall Corey Dillon hit last week is not a good sign. The Bengals O Line looks to be a poor one and that does not bode well for Mr. Dillon’s long term chances at dominating the league this season. One problem with the Bengals style of crappy football is they turn the ball over a lot.
Before you go counting the Raiders out. Watch this game. They still will have a rusty flare to them but they’ll be able to make this one look easy, even though there won’t be any huge fantasy statistics for one particular guy. They’re going to surgically dismantle the Bengals a play at a time. The Raiders Defense is in for a big day.
Prediction: Raiders 32 – Bengals 17 (Raiders -12.5)
|Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings – Sunday 8:30pm|
Aye Carumba. The Bears really do stink. Never mind that drivel I was spouting last week about Kordell. Whoa. Run screaming from this train wreck.
Culpepper and Moss are going to be the top QB – WR duo in football this season and both are primed for huge seasons. The Vikings are going to run the ball with authority with or without Michael Bennett but if it were I, and Michael Bennett is available in your waiver pool, I’d pick him up. He will be sitting for a while but he could be clutch in your stretch run.
A one sided offensive explosion in Minnesota as the Vikes roll.
|Dallas Cowboys at NY Giants – Monday 9:00pm|
Amazing what Bill Parcells can do for national Television exposure. When the Cowboys played the Falcons we saw Dan Reeves maybe twice and the rest of the game the camera was on Bill Parcells. I think a football game took place as well but I wasn’t sure because all I did was watch Bill. Weird. And here we are on Monday Night and what do Al and Madd want second on their card? Bill Parcells against the old LT/Bill Parcells New York football Giants. Whatever.
The Giants will be able to contain the Cowboys rushing as Troy Hambrick continues to look not so good. The noteworthy item is the play of Joey Galloway. Galloway has always run pour routes as he rarely put the effort in. He has been a great burner and on a streak is almost unstoppable if they have a QB that can get the ball deep to him but you know what? For the first time in his career I saw Joey Galloway run crisp routes. His timing was excellent and his fundamentals were uncanny. This could be the Bill Parcells influence but keep an eye on Galloway. He could be a very nice surprise for you on a team that will be playing from behind a lot.
All systems are go for the Giants. Tiki will run wild, Collins will be passing the ball around. Another walk in the park for them.