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The Prognosticator – Week 3

Welcome my fantasy brethren to another edition of The Prognosticator.  May it be your pimped out ride through the fantasy football jungle. I saw an interesting poll on some football show this evening that made me think.  This show polled their audience with one question:

 

Who would you rather throw the game winning TD too?  Randy Moss or Terrell Owens?

 

My knee jerk answer was of course, Randy Moss.  They then tossed up a graphic and Moss won with 60 something % to TO’s 30 something %.  Then they proceeded to break the voting down by state like they do the reds and blues in a presidential election, which I thought was very interesting.  TO took 3 states out of the 47 and they were, Utah, Delaware and Pennsylvania.  My first reaction was UTAH?  What the heck?  They watch football in UTAH??  I then followed that up with DELAWARE?  People actually live in Delaware of all places?  I just thought everyone incorporated in Delaware and all the payment-processing houses had warehouses full of people, opening credit card payments 24 hours a day.  It never occurred to me that people might actually LIVE in Delaware. 

 

Then I hit on the fact that Pennsylvania (a fine football state) took TO, their hometown guy, over Randy Moss and it made me wonder?  Can a fan completely divorce themselves from their team to give 100% completely pure objective advice?  Apparently not.  Instead of calling Uncle Norm back in Pittsburgh for his take on the Pats/Steelers on Sunday, perhaps you are better served asking a friend in Los Angeles? 

 

Just a couple notes about the weekly table I provide and how it works.  The home team is the left most column and who they are playing this week is the right most column.  What the table tells you are places to look for fantasy statistics this weekend.  If a team is HOT, like the Saints passing against the Vikings, and you are trying to decide between starting Aaron Brooks or Byron Leftwich.  The Jaguars are projected to be FRIGID against the Jets in the air so start Aaron Brooks.  Thinking about starting Ahman Green against the Bucs?  The answer is, be very wary and if you have other options use them.

 

Week 3 Fantasy Statistics Projections

 

Team

Rushing

Passing

Against

ARI

Average

Average

SEA

ATL

Hot

Frigid

BUF

BUF

Average

Average

ATL

CAR

Average

Average

MIA

CHI

Cold

Frigid

CIN

CIN

Average

Average

CHI

CLE

Warm

Warm

IND

DAL

Warm

Hot

SF

DEN

Hot

Average

KC

GB

Frigid

Warm

TB

IND

Average

Average

CLE

JAX

Average

Frigid

NYJ

KC

Average

Warm

DEN

MIA

Average

Average

CAR

MIN

Frigid

Hot

NO

NE

Cold

Frigid

PIT

NO

Warm

Hot

MIN

NYG

Average

Hot

SD

NYJ

Warm

Average

JAX

OAK

Average

Cold

PHI

PHI

Cold

Hot

OAK

PIT

Warm

Hot

NE

SD

Cold

Cold

NYG

SEA

Average

Frigid

ARI

SF

Frigid

Frigid

DAL

STL

Average

Hot

TEN

TB

Average

Cold

GB

TEN

Cold

Average

STL

 

 

Enjoy Week 3!

 


Bye Teams

Washington Redskins     Detroit Lions      Houston Texans          Baltimore Ravens


Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins       Sunday    1:00pm

The Panthers played well against the Patriots as promised.  As of this writing, Stephen Davis is questionable in this one so keep an eye on that situation.  What a rise from the ashes story Davis is weaving.  The Panthers will do enough to get by in this one but will not light the fantasy world on fire.  Everyone will play OK, do not be afraid to play your Panthers but do not look here for a big bang.  In fact, scores in general will be down across all of fantasy land after Week 3.  There will be many close games because of it, really pay attention to lineup decisions and injury statuses this week as your outcome will likely depend on it.

 

The Dolphins are ready for Ricky Williams to come back and I for one am a little shocked.  We have not seen anything yet and if any one RB distanced them from the pack, they would have the chance with the rock but no one is doing that.  Again, no real recommends from the Dolphins but everyone will play well and don’t be afraid to toss in a Chris Chambers type player if your lineup requirements run deep or you have some bad match ups in other areas.  Or of course, you forgot that this is a bye week!  Doh!

 

Prediction: Panthers 27 – Dolphins 23


New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings    Sunday    1:00pm

The Saints really did not play poorly against the Giants; they actually moved the ball and moved it well.  Aaron Brooks looked outstanding.  I have a hunch that the Saints may not win a ton of games this year even though a number of others were touting them early, but they will produce some fantastic fantasy stats.  Aaron Brooks, Joe Horn, and Deuce McAlister are all guys you’re going to be glad you had.  Another great day of hot stats from the Saints, jump on the wagon early!

 

The Vikings are horrible, the Vikings blow, the Vikings flat out shuck oysters.  They’re lost their top WR, their RB situation is in shambles and their head coach is still trying to move some of his personal tickets for the game this weekend – then he’ll game plan. 

 

I know all this, and it is why they will win.   

 

Parity is the NFL.  How many times have you heard that on Monday?  Well why not for once say it BEFORE the games instead of after?  The Vikings are a cornered, wounded dog and it will show.  These guys have been hanging their heads all week and after the abysmal performances put forth, expect to see a rebound.  Everyone who traded Daunte Culpepper away or have decreed it is time to stick a form in him, will be back-peddling and erasing all mention of those comments around 4pm Eastern on Sunday afternoon.  One last word of warning, your bench is not the place for Culpepper on Sunday.

 

Prediction: Vikings 23 – Saints 20


Tampa
Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers    Sunday    1:00pm

Logic dictates Tampa here but when have we relied on logic?  Take the PACK!  Tampa Bay has not been able to get it together in the air quite yet and that is a little confusing.  Sure, Cadillac Williams has been running wild but the first team to slow him down and can force the Bucs to the air, will reveal something to the league.  Out of the box, the passing game is something that will not work as well as the Bucs are hoping.  Their receivers have not been worked or pressed this preseason or season, and when pressed into service, will stumble their first time out.  Look for the Packers to force the issue and dog Carnell Williams all day long by sacrificing some weakness in their secondary to force the issue.

 

Brett Favre.  For those that have been around Brett Favre since the beginning, you know that there are some nights where miracles do happen.  Where he is as unstoppable as any player to have played the game.  He is a freak at the QB position and we have yet to see the likes of him in the new crop.  Dan Marino and Brett Favre were and are, two of the best to ever play this game and a 0-3 start at Lambeau, even though the cart is starting to teeter, just is not going to happen. 

 

Prediction: Packers 21 – Buccaneers 17


Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills        Sunday    1:00pm

If Michael Vick is unable to go, that is a big problem for the Falcons.  Yes they will be forced to run Warrick Dunn and TJ Duckett as much as you can run two RB’s but they will have significant production loss up top as defenses no longer have to commit one and a half D players to Michael Vick alone.  Not to mention, the Bills D can flat out play.

 

The Bills will step it up a little this week and their offense will look a little more like an offense on the way up.  No big days from any of them but there will be mini-successes.  Willis McGahee is likely a safe start, as he should see the end zone more than once though his rushing totals will not be voluminous. 

 

Prediction: Bills 32 – Falcons 21


Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets        Sunday    1:00pm

I do not know what it is but I do not have a good feeling about the Jaguars.  They feel to be a very pedestrian football team.  Things just have not gone the Jags way with a number of their personnel decisions.  However they are evaluating and drafting talent needs to change and there needs to be a coaching staff change.  Something is broken fellas.  It is the answer to fix your franchise.  Fantasy owners, if I were you, I would stay away from Byron Leftwich and Jimmy Smith in particular against the J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!

 

The MRI revealed that Curtis Martin bruised his knee and did not do any damage.  So all you Derrick Blaylock waiver wire jockeys may not get a chance to see what he can do.  We will see if Martin plays or not.  If he does not, this is actually a very good spot start for Derrick Blaylock on your fantasy team.  The Jets will not do as well in the air as Chad Pennington looks a shell of his former self and that is worrisome.

 

Prediction: Jets 27 – Jaguars 17


Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears        Sunday    1:00pm

The Bengals are certainly the team du’ jour after Week 2 and for good reason.  Many of the pieces are clicking and we here at Fantasy Sharks are grinning ear to ear over our Chad Johnson projection where we projected him the #1 fantasy WR of 2005.  Sure it’s early yet, and sure there are a few other contenders for the title, but we’re pleased that things are starting to shake out the way we thought we saw you think we did see, before thinking that you saw a lot of it too.  Sorry, just having a little fun with confusing text <evil grin>. 

 

One problem for the Bengals will be the Bears D.  The Bears D is solid and will make a run at the best D category this year but the Bengals offense can be spectacular at times.  The Bears defense will bring them down to average all around and it will have a direct effect on your Bengals starters.  Go ahead and play them, just do not expect big days from any of them.

 

Thomas Jones ran wild last week and that was interesting to see.  My statement before the season began was, “whichever Bears runner differentiates him self early, will end up as one of the best fantasy RB’s of the season.”  Taking a gamble on either Thomas Jones or Cedric Benson for where they were drafted was well worth it.  I have one or the other in just about every league I’m in because I was convinced that one of them will pop and be a must start each week.  Thomas Jones just popped.  Look for some big numbers on the horizon from him and in their division, he could play well all season.  If the Bears collapse then Jones will collapse along with them.  Buy low and sell high.   

 

Prediction: Bengals 31 – Bears 20


Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts   Sunday    1:00pm

Before we get carried away, let me just state up front that the Colts will win.  I know that sounds easy but it is really not.  There is a lot here that will make this game a tough victory for Peyton Manning’s personal football team.  A local Cleveland sports page today had the headline, “Do the Browns have a chance?”  Even the locals know the Browns headed into Indianapolis as an almost two TD underdog, is a tough test. 

 

The Browns are going to surprise their fan base by actually hanging with the Colts in Indianapolis.  They are going to get solid performances from Reuben Droughns and Trent Dilfer as TE Steve Heiden is very much back in the mix.  If they can confuse the Colts D a little and occasionally contain Dwight Freeney, they may actually make some plays to the WR’s.  People are going to go running in terror from their Browns players this week but do not.  They make nice plays and will pay you back for placing your trust in them.

 

Teams are applying a very different tactic this season to slow the Colts down and so far, it has been working.  Commit 5 DB’s to the field at all times, in other words, stay in a dime or nickel package and run with them.  Opposing teams have effectively taken Peyton Manning out of the game as the Colts adjust to what the defense gives them by just feeding Edgerrin James all day.  Expect to see a lot of Edgerrin James again on Sunday as the Browns stick with the same D that has been working for others like the Jaguars. 

 

Remember too that Romeo Crennel knows all about the Colts as the Patriots inevitably would play them each playoff season and the Colts used to be in the Patriots division.  If anyone knows how to beat the Colts, it was the Bill Belichick team that Crennel was a part of. 

 

Prediction: Colts 23 – Browns 17


Oakland Raiders at Philadelphia Eagles  Sunday    1:00pm

It’s the week of the dog as many a dog upends the favorite.  What a fantastic game as this is going to be with the much-anticipated Randy Moss vs. Terrell Owens showdown.  Let me ruin the finish for you by telling you who will walk away the victor in the one on one showdown.  If you do not want to know, look away now.  The answer is: Last chance to look away!  TO. 

 

The Eagles are going to focus so much on Randy Moss that the Raiders will be forced to keep it low and short with LaMont Jordan carrying a lot of the load both on the ground and with short passes.  TE Courtney Anderson looks to be a decent option against the Eagles and Jerry Porter may end up with the lion’s share of the receiving. 

 

The Eagles are going to be connecting like a live wire up top as Donovan McNabb hits Terrell Owens most of the day.

 

The difference however will be the old “slow and steady wins the race” proverb.  The Raiders are the tortoise and the Eagles the hare. 

 

Prediction: Raiders 21 – Eagles 20


Tennessee Titans at St. Louis Rams       Sunday    1:00pm

Both of these teams will be moving the ball up top as their #1 offensive option.  The Rams are simply better at it, especially on their home turf.  While Steve McNair will have a few passes completed to Drew Bennett (check status to see if he plays), the Rams just have so many more weapons in their receiving group. 

 

Marc Bulger is in for a very nice day as he steers a fairly easy victory with his arm.

 

Prediction: Rams 23 – Titans 20


Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers  Sunday    4:05pm

Yes, I picked the 49’ers to shock the Rams but after that I’ve jumped a long way away from the wagon.  This week is no different.  The Cowboys are playing solid football and are exercising some good fundamentals.  They will play well against the 49’ers D and will be able to move the ball.  The ‘Boys won’t be running up the score as their special teams won’t be able to set the table for them so they will take up a lot of time just moving the ball down field. 

 

The 49’ers are horrible.  Nothing to see here, please move along.

 

Prediction: Cowboys 20 – 49’ers 15


Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks     Sunday    4:05pm

I don’t know what it is?  Sympathy?  Embarrassment?  A sense of longing?  I just do not know, but for some odd reason I would really like to see the Cardinals do well.  It is a crying shame that J.J. Arrington is so far not working out and Marcel Shipp will probably start splitting carries.  It is yet another RBBC in the NFL, which kills us fantasy players.  Pick one or the other please!  Can’t the rules committee meet in Hawaii over this?  I would like to propose that RBBC’s be banned in the NFL.  Whichever RB you start, plays every down unless he is injured.  If he needs a breather, just throw the ball.  Can we please agree to this over the summer?

 

The Cards will be average and no one player will really stand out though the usual suspects, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin will both see some balls as will Marcel Shipp.

 

The Seahawks are going to primarily run at the Cardinals D and while it will be a day of uphill running for Shaun Alexander I expect he will be the better play out of the Seahawks offense.  I would actually be leery of the rest and their passing game as good as it has been lately.  Regardless, the Seahawks take this one in a tightly contested battle.

 

Prediction: Seahawks 20 – Cardinals 17


New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers   Sunday 4:15pm

By far, this was the toughest game on the card.  I mean, really?  This is going to be one of those odd games where the fantasy statistics are heavily on one side while the points and eventual winner are on the other.  Some people have asked me how I can rank a team HOT, playing a COLD team and pick the cold team to win.  It is because fantasy, and statistics for that matter, does not always equal a winning score.  Team A can have 500 yards of offense against Team B who managed a paltry 200 yards of total offense and still lose.  Special teams, ability to convert in the red zone, penalties and turnovers have an enormous impact on the outcome of the game but fantasy statistics are sometimes best found on the losing team.

 

I do not like the Patriots statistically this week, though I would probably still plug Corey Dillon in.  On the Steelers side of the ball there will be some romping in the house as Willie Parker plays hard and well, and Ben Roethilsberger connects to Hines Ward and Antwaan Randle ‘El effectively.  However ..

 

This is anyone’s game and the Patriots bring just a saucer full more of intangibles to the table.  Patriots rebound and reestablish their seat of power. 

 

Prediction: Patriots 32 – Steelers 31


New York Giants at San Diego Chargers   Sunday    8:30pm

I have a new strategy for the Giants.  Stick to my guns and just keep picking against them, as eventually they will finally do what I say they will do.  Disclaimer: I have been under cutting the Giants all season and all they have done is prove me wrong two games in a row. 

 

The Giants lead the NFL in scoring and are on top of their division at 2-0 but I do not believe!  I do not believe I say!  Oh, who am I trying to kid?  The Giants do have just as much chance at winning this game than the Chargers do.  Both teams are evenly matched, as the Giants appear to be a little better than I have been giving them credit for.  Though they will be exposed I tell you!  EXPOSED!

 

I like the Giants offense to have a nice day for you statistically.  Look for this to be Eli Manning’s best day as a pro. 

 

The Chargers will have some trouble putting drives together but LaDainian Tomlinson will help move things along.  The Chargers will win this game on the big plays, the gadget plays, and the smoke and mirror plays and it will probably be them storming back ala the Redskins on Monday night.  I am not a fan of starting your Chargers though there is no way you ever sit Tomlinson.

 

Prediction: Chargers 24 – Giants 21


Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos       Monday    9:00pm

Just like the Chiefs against the Raiders, the Chiefs, simply put, are a better football team at just about every position.  The Chiefs will be fine on the ground though Trent Green to Tony Gonzalez will see a lot more action Week 3.  The Chiefs will pass on the Broncos as the Broncos over commit to the Chiefs running game.  The Broncos know that the only way you stop the Chiefs is by slowing down their running game as everything in their offense builds off the run.

 

The Broncos are done auditioning and we are going to have a winner of the Denver starting RB sweepstakes at the conclusion of this game.  Who will it be?  Not even I know that.  But I do know it will be clear cut who gets the start in their next one as the solution to one of the great mysteries of fantasy football circa 2005, will finally start to gain some shape.

 

Prediction: Chiefs 23 – Broncos 21

 

About Fantasy Sharks

FantasySharks.com began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.