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The Prognosticator – Week 4

Week 4


Welcome my fantasy brethren to another edition of The Prognosticator.  May it light your way to inner spiritual harmony.  Decent week last week as just about everything came into focus.  The over whelming majority of the games came in and our QB of the week award was justified in Patrick Ramsey as he went on to lead all QB’s for the second straight week.  Can you say, cha-ching!  I’ll bet you didn’t see Patrick Ramsey’s name called out as the QB of the week in any other publication now did you?

Our Atlanta jumping up and surprising the Bucs as the Upset of the Week Award didn’t quite happen as the Bucs handily throttled the Falcons blind.  Thanks guys!  Dirty bird indeed.

I received some fun Email this week from reader Thomas Norman who first sent in:

Every week it seems your guys and you yourself make such safe and average projections as to what each player is going to do or what each team is going to do.  Come on get some and make some projections with teeth.  Your projections are boring and mean nothing.  Do you realize that no Quarterback according to you is going to throw for more than 250 yards.  Furthermore, you are trying to tell me that no team is going to rush for more than 157.  You must be high.  Let me take a stab at some projections that will get people excited and are more real.  All I am saying is don’t be afraid to make some statements that will make eyebrows raise.  QB’s with good shot at 300 passing Harrington, Vinny T, B. Johnson, Kitna, Blake, Hasselback.  RB that should top 120 on their own: E.James, K. Faulk, J.Lewis, R. Williams, Portis, Holmes, A.Green, M.Faulk.  Get back to me after this weekend and tell me how wrong I was.  Look at my projections compared to yours and I think it will be clear that you and your team need to get more zest behind your boring projections.

Thanks bro for the support!  Thomas then followed his Email up on Monday with this:

I suck!!!!  I now see why your projections are so boring.  I was wrong, you the man keep up the good work.  Better to be accurate than exciting.

Now this isn’t published to make fun of Tom, far from it.  You folks that have been reading for all these years know that by now.  Tom made some predictions, put his head on the block and then came back this week with his tail between his legs.  I respect someone that is willing to make some bold predictions and then follow it up, win or lose.  You see Tom, what we do here weekly is bold and brash at times.  The very fact that we’re out here, predicting the future with the only thing we really have that’s valuable on the line, our reputation, takes some big brass .  I personally pride myself on a publication that delves in to find the mismatches and potential underdog plays, that will help win your office pool and field the best lineup each week in your fantasy leagues.  

Here we tell it like it is.  No sugar coating, no candy lace, if the numbers add up that the Cardinals are going to beat the Packers, that is exactly what we report.  You will never, I repeat NEVER, see that kind of a prediction on the major sites because their editors believe their predictions don’t look credible.  They will sacrifice accuracy for credibility, we put out credibility on the line every week, there’s a major difference.  We win credibility by making the tough projections, by having guys like Clinton Portis ranked as our #13 RB last week for one compelling reason, he didn’t even finish in the top 30.  When you take a look at what actually happens, compare that with what we project versus what other folks project, I think you’ll be very surprised.

Here is the Week 4 Snapshot.  The Broncos are poised to just destroy the world again as they’re the Progno’s offense of the week as they dominate in all aspects of their game.  Looks for another solid game from Jamal Lewis as he looks to be unbeatable right now.  Ahman Green and the Redskins RBBC will also hold up their end of the bargain in Week 4 in big ways.  When passing the ball, look for Vinnie Testaverde to surprise and throw for a lot of yards.  The Rams will be racking up the yardage in the air as well.

Team

Rush

Pass

ARI

117

215

ATL

101

213

BAL

147

187

BUF

92

192

CAR

122

172

CHI

86

162

CIN

125

198

CLE

104

179

DAL

114

174

DEN

167

238

DET

95

202

GB

130

184

HOU

92

192

IND

116

217

JAX

123

186

KC

114

214

MIN

113

205

NE

90

166

NO

87

193

NYJ

100

233

OAK

110

188

PHI

107

173

PIT

86

203

SD

108

224

SF

104

207

STL

85

241

TEN

111

174

WAS

147

214

Red – Hot Play!

Yellow – Solid Play

White – Average Play

Grey – Run away!!


All times are Eastern

Wagers
Initial Bankroll: $500 Geoffrey Dollars.
Current Bankroll: $490 Geoffrey Dollars.
Last Week: Lost $110/$100 on the Seahawks -3 over the Rams.

The Rams put some quick points on the board which effected the overall outcome.  Seahawks were the winners but not by enough.  They didn’t cover the 3 points so chalk that one up to a loss and we’re back where we started.  Fear not my friends!  

We thrive on games that others wouldn’t touch with a 10 footer.  You see, those are the games where the money can be made.  Lines makers enjoy and profit from the games that look like gimmies.  For instance, the Chiefs only favored by 3 points this week against the Ravens looks like an easy one but those are where the traps are.  The games that look and feel obvious are the games that the book makers make the most on.  Where they can be had is in the games that you flip-flop on, can’t make up your mind, circumstances are just too hard to boil down, etc.  You see, the lines makers had many of the same hard decisions you had to make when picking the game and because of it, can’t put as accurate of a line on the game and that is where we take advantage.

Bill Parcells takes his Cowboys into New Jersey for a show down with the New York football Jets.  Already sounds like a stinker doesn’t it?  Jets are favored by 3 but we like them to dominate this game.  Did I just type Jets and dominate in the same sentence?  Why, yes I did!  The key for the Jets will be their passing game against a very suspect Cowboy secondary.  You’re starting to see Vinnie Testaverde get his sea legs back as he has been throwing for heaps of yardage the last two outings.  The Jets have also only turned the ball over 3 times in their last 6 games!  The Cowboys?  13.  That’s a big advantage to the Jets.  3 points isn’t enough as the Jets win handily.  

This Week: $55 to win $50 on NYJets -3 over Dallas.


Arizona Cardinals at Saint Louis Rams – Sunday 1:00pm

*** QB of the Week Award: Marc Bulger ***

It’s the Jeff Blake and Anquan Boldin show vs. the greatest show on turf!  If you listened to this column, Anquan Boldin would be on your roster now and you’ll probably be able to start him with this tough bye week coming up.  Jeff Blake and Anquan Boldin are turning into a two man wrecking crew but can it last?  Not bloody likely.  Ride it while you can for it will fizzle out as fast as it winked in but it may be several more weeks of solid gains before that happens.  The Cardinals will be able to pass the ball on the Rams and will have to.  Look for another solid outing from Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.    

Even I have to say the Rams are going to best the Cardinals.  I go out on limbs but not when they’re going to snap on me.  Coach Martz has publicly stated Marc Bulger needs to pick up his level of play or…  Will someone please get me a whoopin’ stick?  Kurt Warner finds out that he’s no longer the starting QB while visiting some sick Children in a hospital and Marc Bulger reads in the papers that he needs to step it up or else?  Say what?  For those not in the know, the most important aspect to a team, which includes your spouse, girl/boy friend, kids, family, football, is communication.  Remind me again?  Who actually wants to play for Martz?  Give me a Jon Gruden or a Dave Wannstedt anyday.  Give me a guy that if he could, put the pads on with you.  Give me a guy that runs out onto the field to high five his players as they’re coming off the field.  Give me that guy.  Give me a coach that is fair and demands a lot because these guys are making millions of dollars and for that kind of money, they should be held to a very high standard.  Don’t give me a Martz that puts up a wall around his coaching staff and operates from an ivory tower.  That charade is a recipe for disaster and self implode the Rams will.

Prediction: Rams 23 – Cardinals 15


Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills – Sunday 1:00pm

This was a tough one, I’ll admit it.  The Eagles have looked just silly out there on the field.  They’ve migrated from Superbowl contender to laughing stock over night and that is very rare in football.  I have to believe part of this comedy isn’t that humorous and the Eagles are somewhere in the middle.  The Bills have very quietly put together a top 5 defense in the NFL so don’t look for this one to be an easy one for the Eagles.  The Eagles are coming off a bye week and that will play in their favor.  Till I see something, I rest my birds on my bench.

The Bills had a pathetic showing last week.  Bledsoe stunk, Moulds ran around in circles and Travis Henry is back, like last year, with some torn cartilage.  The team is saying bruised ribs but Henry himself said torn cartilage so I think we know the real story.  Look for Henry to play as he really wants to gain a warrior image because he hears footsteps.  Comments by Bledsoe inferred however that someone else is going to need to step up.  Stay tuned to this story.  Sammy Morris, the only viable RB they have is coming off a sports hernia operation which leaves the running to Joe Burns.  In case you were wondering, Joe does one thing really well, he gets about 2 yards per carry quite consistently.  

Till the Eagles show they’re capable, we’re taking Bledsoe and company, though the Eagles D matches up very well against the Bills.

Prediction: Bills 24 – Eagles 14


Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers – Sunday 1:00pm

The Falcons are a mess right now.  When the TE is your leading receiver and some guy named Jimmy Farris has more fantasy points than your #1 WR Peerless Price, you have a whole heap of trouble.  Look for the Falcons to draw up a lot more plays for Warrick Dunn as he is the most versatile weapon on their team and they need him to do it all.  Dan Reeves has resisted feeding the offense through Dunn because this is classic Dan Reeves.  I really like and respect him as a coach so do not misunderstand me on that front.  Dan Reeves breeds teamwork.  He lives and dies by it.  Feel free to go back and look at the games that Reeves ran when his team was unraveling.  Almost to a fault, he tries new faces, tries rotating, tries guys that wouldn’t have seen the light of day before.  For 3 or 4 weeks he’ll push it and then make the shift in the game book to feature the best he’s got and the best he’s got is Warrick Dunn.

The Panthers are coming off a bye week and should play well against this struggling Falcons D.  Stephen Davis will of course be the feature and their passing will suffer, as it always will while Stephen Davis is running the football.  There just aren’t enough plays to go around when you run the ball 30 times a game.

Prediction: Panthers 27 – Falcons 23


San Francisco 49’ers at Minnesota Vikings – Sunday 1:00pm

Question mark of the week as Daunte Culpepper has some broken bones in his back and Randy Moss may not play.  Culpepper and Moss play and the Vikings win this.  Culpepper and Moss don’t play, and the Vikings don’t.  It is as simple as that.  I will predict as if both will play though that doesn’t look to be a safe bet.  

Terrell Owens owners are still waiting for the monster game.  He has seen the ball a lot but Tai Streets has been the end zone target.  Garrison Hearst is proving he is still far and away the best RB on this team.  Nothing special from the 49’ers this week as the Vikings D is improved (mercifully) from last season.

As I joked in the forum, two weeks ago I liked Doug Chapman, last week it was Onterrio Smith and this week it will be Moe Williams.  That should tell you what a mess the situation is.  Yes, Moe Williams has had two very solid outings but I am not sold.  He isn’t prototypical size for a RB and doesn’t run as low to the ground as I’d like in a back.  I still think he’s a stop gap.  The 49’ers have a fairly stout Run D so this should be a good test for the Vikings running game.  God help him if Gus Frerotte is starting and he doesn’t have Randy Moss to draw attention.  

Prediction: Vikings 27 – 49’ers 24*  – No Culpepper or Moss gives win to 49’ers.


Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans – Sunday 1:00pm

Really not much to say here.  Brunell is hurting, the team desperately needs a WR like Jimmy Smith and Fred Taylor is being corkscrewed into the ground as the only guy worth his salt in the Jaguars offense.  As expected, look for the Jaguars to try and find ways to get Fred Taylor the ball.  Yawn.

The Texans like what they’re seeing in their passing game and so do we.  Look for David Carr to continue to build his rapport with Andre Johnson, a great success story starting to develop in Houston.  Watch out for RB Tony Hollings as he ran well last week in the time he received.  The coaches will want to take a second look.

Prediction: Jaguars 23 – Texans 13


Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers – Sunday 1:00pm

The more banged up Steve McNair gets, the better Steve McNair plays.  He alone is the lone bright spot in the Titans offense.  That is tricky to do because he has to be throwing the ball to someone!  The answer is, he is throwing the ball to everyone and it’s his ability to read a defense and his longevity with the offense that enables the Titans to do what they do.  A tough match up against the Steelers who can attack the QB relentlessly.  Eddie George a little spurt here and there but overall, an uphill struggle for the Titans this Sunday.

The Steelers on the other hand have a better supporting cast all around.  Two all world WR’s, a QB that can get them the ball and a couple of RB’s that can play.  Do not lose patience in Amos Zereoue people.  Drop or trade him at your own peril.

Prediction: Steelers 27 – Titans 19


New England Patriots at Washington Redskins – Sunday 1:00pm

Which New England Patriots are going to show up this Sunday?  I think the bad ones.  Tom Brady is better than many are giving him credit for but he’s not getting much credit.  If you ask me, he’s a solid west coast offense QB but I wouldn’t want him day in and day out, on the hook for orchestrating a 2 minute drive for the game.  All Superbowls aside!  I live in Patriot country and I was down at Mel’s, the local barber shop, getting my haircut last Saturday.  Mel is opinionated in his views and is always willing to smile and nod when he doesn’t agree with me.  This time I think he hit it on the head.  The Patriots need a QB, RB and some WR’s.  They’d be alright if they had those.

I really liked Patrick Ramsey this off season, more than most.  Because of that I own him in most of the leagues I drafted in.  Week 3 he made my starting lineup.  That’s solid value!  I really liked Laveranues Coles this offseason, more than most.  Because of that I’m 3-0 in just about every league I’m in, that’s solid fun!  

The Patriots defense may as well mail in the rest of the season now that Ted Washington is out for the foreseeable future.  They have no run stoppers between his injury and the LB’s that are dropping like flies.  It is going to be painfully evident this weekend that the Patriots are done for 2003.  The Redskins will have their way with them.  Look for a monster day of running and some nice strikes in the air just to keep the running game alive.

Prediction: Redskins 24 – Patriots 15


Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens – Sunday 1:00pm

*** RB of the Week Award: Jamal Lewis ***

The Chiefs are scoring 40+ a game and are the real deal.  Their schemes work and Priest Holmes benefits.  They have an opportunistic defense that turns the ball over for the offense to punch in at will.  One small problem, they’ve yet to play a defense like the Ravens.  The Chiefs will of course feature Priest Holmes but look for the Ravens to have solutions and answers to problems that haven’t been solved yet.  This will cause KC to put the ball up more than they’re used to.  CB Chris McAlister who missed last weeks game due to disciplinary actions will be back and he is a shut down cover corner.  The Chiefs are going to have to work in Johnnie Morton to have success.  Look for Morton to get one in the end zone this week.

If you have seen Jamal Lewis run this year you already have tried to trade your team for him.  He’s impressive.  Smooth, powerful, fast, shifty, everything you want in a top RB.  The Ravens run their team like the Panthers, a stout D and running between the pipes.  A very simple formula for success if you have the personnel to carry out the mission.

Chiefs are favored by only a few points in this contest which surprised me.  I expected the odds makers to have a bigger line on the game but they see it like I do.  A tough battle for the Chiefs but I’ll go one further, Ravens win.

Prediction: Ravens 27 – Chiefs 24


Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns – Sunday 1:00pm

*** Low Score of the Week Award ***

The battle of Ohio!  I’ve been to Toledo, I’m not sure there’s much to fight over?  Look for a decent dose of inept football as both sides look bad playing this game.  Corey Dillon may not be ready to go in this one and the backup question is not as clear.  It is a shame for Dillon owners if he can’t go because the Browns D has been porous up the middle.  Though in their defense, they did have a much better day last week than when Jamal Lewis shredded them for 295 yards.  

At some point, do you get frustrated if you’re a Cleveland Brown fan?  Isn’t this more of the same football that you’ve been seeing for a few years now?  I really thought when the 49’er brain trust came over to Cleveland they would build a contender quickly.  They haven’t.  Kevin Johnson has looked pretty darn good in this offense.  Many are pointing to him as Holcomb’s favorite target but if you watch the games, he’s the only one getting open.  KJ is a solid start these days.  Holcomb broke a bone in his leg but will probably play.  Wha?  

I did get a few responses to my plea from some Cleveland fans to write in and tell us what the attitude is in Cleveland.  Here’s one of the responses:

Tony,

As someone from Cleveland it appears to me that there has yet to be a real QB controversy.  The Holcomb supporters and the Couch supporters remain as they were before the season.  The real assault in Cleveland has been on Coach Davis.  The perspective is that Davis is too egocentric to effectively manage a football roster.  Special mention of the decision to let established linebackers (Holmes especially) go in favor of Davis rookie linebackers picks from 2002.  Some are calling Davis the “Rick Pitino” of the NFL.  Great college coach, but too stubborn to ever be a great pro coach.

Shawn Morris

“CtownRaider”

That is a trend I’m seeing a lot these days Shawn.  Poor coaching all around in the NFL ranks.  Thanks for writing in.

Prediction: Browns 21 – Bengals 14


San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders – Sunday 4:05pm

Drew Brees is off to a tough start as the entire Charger team is.  LaDainian Tomlinson did have a get back on track game last week but we’re starting to see the Chargers of old emerge.  A team that hasn’t been able to take the next step and with their defense getting worse instead of better, a team that has taken a number of steps backward in time.  David Boston was sent home from practice for several team policy infractions this week.  Remember my statement a couple weeks ago that we’re about to see David Boston completely out of football possibly as early as 2004?  You’re seeing the contributing factors starting to seep in now.  Marty Schottenheimer and David Boston will never see eye to eye and Schot just isn’t going to take any Schot from anyone.  If Boston does practice and plays this weekend, look for him to have a solid day as he wants to make a private, “I told you so” statement in front of the team.  There is no guarantee he will play as the team is treating this discipline matter very seriously.

I’m going to give the Raiders a little bit of respect and assume they’ll be able to get past the Chargers.  It is a rather large assumption I am making.  As I said, you’re witnessing a powerhouse team in the beginnings of its death throws.  They still have some good games in them but they’ll continue to put up a pile of stinkers as well.  Average day on tap for the Raiders but they should have enough in the tank to stumble past the Chargers.  

Would really like to hear from you Raiders fans out there this week.  Boo Yaa!  What the heck are you guys thinking?  This just can’t be fun when you were expecting something VERY different when in preseason, all signs pointed to Rome.  What’s your take?  Email me at tholm@fantasysharks.com.

Prediction: Raiders 27 – Chargers 20


Detroit Lions at Denver Broncos – Sunday 4:15pm

*** High Score of the Week Award ***

Joey Harrington has come out looking fairly cold but he isn’t the one to blame.  Some fans are looking for the hook and demanding Mike McMahon start in his place.  If the Lions had WR’s, RB’s, a TE or and an offensive line don’t you think Joey Harrington would be a little bit better?  Shawn Bryson looked encouraging last week as the new front runner for the primary half back job in Detroit as Olandis Gary has looked a shell of his former self without a line to run behind.  The running game doesn’t get any better this weekend.

The Broncos are my offense of the week as they pound the living daylights out of the Lions and make it look easy.  The running situation is dicey as Clinton Portis probably won’t play and Mike Anderson is banged up though the team is reporting Anderson will probably start.  Does anyone trust anything that’s on the Broncos injury report?  I didn’t think so.  If the running game falters they have fire power in the air, nothing to worry about this weekend.

Prediction: Broncos 36 – Lions 19


Dallas Cowboys at NY Jets – Sunday 4:15pm

The Cowboys are coming off the bye week and that will help them prepare for the Jets.  Going into the Meadowlands will be a tough place for Bill to take his team but north they must march.  Look for this one to be a little bit of a shoot out at the OK Corral but the Cowboys will have trouble mastering the Jets D.   They won’t be able to run very effectively on them and the pass rush will keep Quincy Carter grounded.  The Jets should be up in this so look for Antonio Bryant to begin to work his way up the ladder with some clutch grabs.  Eventually I expect Bryant to take over the #1 seat before the season ends.

This is going to be a tricky situation because Parcells knows the Jets inside and out.  The experience of Testaverde will help keep the Cowboys off balance with a lot of audibles to counteract what Parcells knows about the Jets formations.  Look for a surprisingly big day from Testaverde, just because he’ll be a field general this Sunday and will find a lot of exposed holes in the Cowboys secondary when he presses.

Prediction: Jets 24 – Cowboys 13


Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints – Sunday 8:30pm

Edgerrin James is now 50/50 whether he’ll play this weekend due to a late injury report addition.  He wasn’t able to practice on Wednesday due to a back problem suffered in the game last weekend.  The staff were hoping for an improvement by Wednesday but instead the back hasn’t responded as well as they had hoped.  Since the backup RB situation is a mess for the Colts, expect to see a mix of Dominic Rhodes, James Mungro and Ricky Williams on 3rd downs if James can’t play, making none of them a good pickup.  The Colts were going to have more success in the air against the Saints regardless and will still be able to tear up the Saints secondary almost at will.  Expect a very nice day out of Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison finally gets to join in their reindeer games.  

The Saints have moved from scary good to about as vanilla as you can get.  Aaron Brooks and the poor play of their D is the reason why they haven’t taken off.  Deuce McAllister has been getting it done but suddenly he looks kind of small to me.  Not as powerful a runner I remember him being last season.  An average day on tap for the Saints as they have trouble keeping up with Manning and the aerial fireworks of the Colts.

Prediction: Colts 24 – Saints 20


Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears – Monday 9:00pm

Rip the heart out of every Packer fan and serve it with a slab of cheddar.  That’s what happened on that final drive with an interception in the end zone to end the game and the Packers come back drive as the unlikely Cardinals took care of business at home.  The Packers march into Chicago as they continue their road trip for a tussle with the Bears on Monday night.  The Bears are coming off the bye after a decent running performance from Anthony Thomas.

Donald Driver should be back in full swing and the Packers should be back to full force as they play a solid game of football.  Look for Ahman Green to take the focus and run wild.

As bad as the Bears are, and they are very bad, this is a division rivalry and most of these games are tighter than folks predict.  Somehow, the Bears are going to score a couple of times, probably because the Packers feel bad for them.  Which means the Packers will score one more time than the Bears.  

Prediction: Packers 21 – Bears 17


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.