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The Prognosticator – Week 8

Welcome my fantasy brethren to another edition of The Prognosticator. May it be your blanket on a cold fall day. A warning to start watching the weather reports for your fantasy match ups as we’re starting to get into the bad weather months. Realize a few simple truths and don’t get caught flat footed. You do not want a Giants, Steelers or possibly even a Bills kicker heading into November. If you can grab a domer like Jason Hanson or Paul Edinger now, jump at the chance. Also realize that a devastating injury to one of the top teams in your league is bound to happen, if that team is you, do not rest on your 6-1 start, look at your team and backup anyone that is integral to your success. Play a game that I like to play with my roster. Go through it man by man and imagine your team without that person, do you still feel confident in your team? If not, think about the changes you’d need if a star player goes missing and make whatever moves you can now, to get yourself into a recovery position. If your running backs are holding up well, good for you as you will see RB production start to creep up and WR production start to creep down as the weather turns. I am a big fan of trading a top WR around this time for a middle but well utilized RB and back filling with middle tier WR’s to ride the coming RB stat wave. A guy like Domanick Davis stands out and I’d even offer Randy Moss for him.

Weekend Fantasy Projections

 

Team

Rushing

Passing

Opp

ARI

83

229

DAL

BAL

102

204

PIT

BUF

141

195

NE

CAR

104

204

MIN

CHI

115

163

DET

CIN

109

207

GB

CLE

132

178

HOU

DAL

112

236

ARI

DEN

138

219

PHI

DET

92

162

CHI

GB

109

206

CIN

HOU

130

140

CLE

JAX

121

213

STL

KC

95

240

SD

MIA

124

180

NO

MIN

91

243

CAR

NE

137

220

BUF

NO

102

169

MIA

NYG

113

222

WAS

OAK

97

235

TEN

PHI

59

266

DEN

PIT

111

137

BAL

SD

138

212

KC

SF

93

149

TB

STL

104

215

JAX

TB

126

249

SF

TEN

109

223

OAK

WAS

141

257

NYG


Bye Teams

New York Jets    Atlanta Falcons

Indianapolis Colts    Seattle Seahawks


Washington Redskins at New York Giants Sunday 1:00p

The Redskins are on fire and their offense will give the Giants fits most of the day. 50+ points in the NFL is total domination and the Redskins know it. They will walk into this game with fire in their hearts and it will show. Clinton Portis, Marc Brunell, and Santana Moss all make solid plays. Just like we pronounced in this column last week, you get Brunell and Moss into your lineup.

The Giants deserved to beat the Broncos last week. Not because of how they played all game as the Broncos played hard and well and looked better than the Giants most of the day, but because of their final drive and Eli Manning. Manning ran the offense with efficiency and with intelligence. If you witnessed their final drive you now know for sure that Eli Manning is the real deal. He still has trouble away from the confines of New Jersey but at home, he is someone you get into your lineup. Look for solid days from Eli, Jeremy Shockey, Plaxico Burress and Tiki Barber.

Prediction: Redskins 27 – Giants 21


Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions Sunday 1:00p

With the Bears probably in the division race for most of the season, Cedric Benson will be brought along a lot slower than Benson owners would like. Thomas Jones is once again the one man army on this team. If you’re looking for a TE for a TE required league, take a look at Desmond Clark as he is flying under the radar. The Bears have just started to wisely use the TE a lot more the last few weeks and look for that trend to continue.

I don’t like the Lions for fantasy statistics and I’d steer clear of them this week with the Bears defense in town, but they have produced well in the red zone, their defense is under rated and they do play better with Joey Harrington holding a clipboard.

The killer for the Bears will be offensive turnovers and the Lions will capitalize. If you have the team defense concept and the Lions are available on your wire, play them this week as they are in for a big day of turnover production.

Prediction: Lions 27 – Bears 17


Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys Sunday 1:00p

These pesky Cardinals have been playing well and they finally notched a win under Josh/Luke/Steve/Chad McCown last week but expect Kurt Warner to take this team back for a little while. The Cardinals are not completely sold on McCown yet. It doesn’t make too much difference who starts at QB as they will have a solid day with Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin in the patterns. If you get word that one or the other is definitely starting before your lineup deadline, plug him in and as of this writing, McCown is the choice.

The Cowboys have some aerial fireworks of their own and expect them to exercise it against the Cardinals. Terry Glenn, Keyshawn Johnson and Drew Bledsoe all deserve starting spots for you. If Julius Jones can’t go again, look for the Cowboys to spread the running around and not necessarily hand the ball to Marion Barber. Bill Parcells is using Barber out of necessity due to his blitz pick-ups, not out of desire.

Prediction: Cowboys 24 – Cardinals 21


Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals Sunday 1:00p

I am fully aware that I pick the Packers almost every week and almost every week they lose. Call them the anti-Titans for me. I pick the Titans to win most weeks and they continue to get their rumps served up on a silver platter due to stupid penalties. The Packers and Bengals are evenly matched and there won’t be any one stand out in this game, though all your usual suspects will do well enough for you to start them in the deeper part of your lineup. Brett Favre had a big day last Sunday and he will continue to prove he is far from over. As I said last week, tuck Reshard Lee away and not Tony Fisher. Don’t look now, but the Packers are making it happen with balls to all their TE’s as they spread it around like no other team is capable of.

The loss to the Steelers last week was a reality check for the Bengals and I think a more accurate reflection of where the Bengals are at. They have come a long way but will struggle against the premier teams in the league.

Prediction: Packers 30 – Bengals 24


Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers Sunday 1:00p

I have to hand it to the Vikings. They pulled out a tough one as Daunte Culpepper posted respectable numbers as did Mewelde Moore. Look for more of that as Nate Burleson returns to the lineup. I believe so much in Daunte Culpepper this week that he is my starting QB in our “Swim with the Sharks” contest for Week 8. They will not win the game but fantasy wise, Culpepper will post a whopper. If the Vikings can’t get Mewelde Moore involved in the passing game his numbers will suffer. If they can, even more number for Culpepper! Great!

The Panthers can look anywhere from great to average on any given Sunday, though one thing they have proven is that they are always in the thick of the game until the final bell sounds. Rrrrrrooooowwwwwww!! Do they still have that pathetic Rrrrrrrooooooowwwwww!! sound at their home games? I can’t tell you how sick I am of Rrrrrrrroooooowwwwww!!

Look for the Panthers to spread it around but Steve Smith and even Stephen Davis make safe starts this week. Note to the TE required league owners, the Vikings haven’t been able to defend against the TE all season so Kris Mangum makes an interesting play here.

Prediction: Panthers 31 – Vikings 20


Jacksonville Jaguars at St. Louis Rams Sunday 1:00p

Run, don’t walk to you waiver wire and pick up the Jaguars Defense if you play team defense as most do. After the Rams (and even the Rams) their schedule is about as pathetic as it gets in the NFL. But Tony?!? I have the Colts D and they have been solid for me. But Tony!?!? I have the Patriots D and isn’t Tedy Bruschi coming back? But Tony!?!? I have the Ravens and I drafted them in the 5th round!!! I know all that. Pick up the Jaguars and enjoy the ride and if you have to drop the Colts, Patriots or Ravens to do it, go ahead.

The Jaguars are going to pound the ball on the ground as much as they can as the Rams have trouble against the run. The RB that will get the carries is anyone’s guess and my prognosticating powers don’t see this situation clearly. If Fred Taylor isn’t in the mix my instincts say Alvin Pearman is the runner to ride.

The Rams will be fairly average but you have to enjoy the work of Stephen Jackson as of late. He just needed to get his feet under him and he has done just that. Jackson is a must start each week against anyone.

Prediction: Rams 28 – Jaguars 27


Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans Sunday 1:00p

I was a little surprised to see Randy Moss in the game last week, especially since I started Doug Gabriel in the leagues I was able to get him. Thankfully that still worked out as Gabriel went over 100 yards on the day. It doesn’t take a nuculear physicist to see that Gabriel is the better choice over super dud Jerry Porter. Porter has ALWAYS been a Progno favorite and I really do fully expect to see him emerge ala Donte Stallworth in New Orleans but it may take a scenery change for Porter before we see him fully develop into the monster that he can become.

The Titans are killing themselves with bad penalties and Jeff Fisher needs to put a stop to it immediately. Travis Henry returns from a four week hiatus where he joined the Phish road crew for a month. I think the Woodstock, Vermont show sealed the deal for him. I’m not really sure why? The pimped out VW combi is something to see around the training facility though. This just in .. Travis Henry, Bam Morris, Ricky Williams and Rashaan Salaam were spotted at LAX on a flight for Central America. I didn’t know they had Grid Iron in Central America? Weird.

May as well keep my head firmly in the block. Titans somehow overcome all the bad Fung-Shui that has been holding them down and take one from the Raiders.

Prediction: Titans 24 – Raiders 23


Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans Sunday 1:00p

Remember a bunch of weeks back I said you will want to pick up Braylon Edwards eventually but there was really no rush as he will be awful for about another six weeks and will be available? Now is the time. It may be a week or two from now but he will start to creep back onto your competitions radar so if you have the room, jump in now. Although Reuben Droughns hasn’t been prolific in the end zone this is a good game to start him in. Get him in your lineup if you can.

A shout out to Brian Jackson (the famed Action in our forum) for pointing out that the Texans let David Carr throw the ball a grand total of 9 times while trailing the majority of the game. If that doesn’t tell you something, you should hand in your team to your commissioner and go back to whatever you enjoyed doing before fantasy football, as this game just isn’t for you. The Browns have been soft up the middle and this is a great start for Domanick Davis. Remember I also said that you should try and get DD a few weeks back as he will rainbow for you the second half of the season? Especially when his stock was through the floor? I hope you listened.

Prediction: Texans 23 – Browns 14


Miami Dolphins at New Orleans Saints Sunday 4:05p

I have to believe that the Dolphins will want to push Ricky Williams against his old team. Sure Ricky has done nothing but there’s nothing like a Saints game to get him motivated. If this doesn’t do it, nothing will, and I’ll go down in history as being right about Ricky Williams in 2005 and glad I didn’t saddle any of my teams with him. When I watched him in preseason he wasn’t a man ready to take the game back, he was a man afraid to be on the field and clearly present for another reason than playing football. Ultimately I decided we’d see Ricky play just for the money and while not saying he won’t try, it is pretty obvious why he is back. Expect Ricky Williams to be long gone from the NFL and one of those names I get to use in this column a few years from now in a “remember when” segment. There are just too many unknowns here but I expect one of the Dolphins runners to have a strong day and if the Dolphins were smart, they’d toss their back of the future in now as there’s nothing like a Saints game to give your running game a boost.

The Dolphins play good D and it will interfere with what the Saints want to do. The Saints have been scrappers lately and I expect them to scrap here with an assortment of personnel just none of them posting “start-able” numbers. It appears the Saints prefer to hand the ball to Aaron Stecker but he’s dinged. Antowain Smith hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire and he should have done a lot better last week than he did. The writing is on the wall.

Prediction: Saints 24 – Dolphins 20


Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers Sunday 4:05p

I’m predicting the Chargers to win by more than a TD but be forewarned that it has been years and years since either of these teams have beaten the other by more than a TD. I’m calling for a 9 point victory because that’s what my handy-dandy stats predictor database is saying but it doesn’t know history. The Chiefs will focus on their passing game as the Chargers secondary is pitiful. If Eddie Kennison doesn’t break out here he never will. Expect him to have a solid day as he and Tony Gonzalez rip it up and pad Trent Green’s stats. The Chiefs have tried everything they know to feed the ball to Tony Gonzalez over the past two games and you have to enjoy an offensive scheme that has started to revolve around the TE. Eventually it will pay off.

To say LaDainian Tomlinson will not come into this game with a huge chip on his shoulder after being shut down last week is foolish. Look for LT to rip through the Chiefs play after play. The Chargers will make a little noise in the air when they need to with Antonio Gates but the focus will be LT.

Prediction: Chargers 33 – Chiefs 24


Philadelphia Eagles at Denver Broncos Sunday 4:15p

For those that haven’t noticed, the Eagles can’t run Donovan McNabb’s Mom with a bowl of Chunky soup through the line. Terrell Owens is flapping about how he and Brian Westbrook are supposed to be the play makers on this team yet neither are getting the ball. Typical TO flap as TO has seen the ball more this season than last. Donovan McNabb is hurting from his sports hernia and is limited in what he can do. I’m surprised he’s still standing. Expect the Eagles to quickly abandon the run but know that the Broncos defend the TE well so L.J. Smith’s numbers will be down and Champ Bailey will be on Terrell Owens. TO wins that battle but Champ will be a gnat most of the day.

I know the Eagles punished LT last week but their defensive schemes were so perfect I think they had a copy of the Chargers play book. It was just too perfect if you know what I mean. Mike Shanahan would string up a player and leave him hanging for a week in the locker room if a leak could be tied back to one of his players — and they know it. Expect the Broncos to run, run, run to control the clock and for Jake Plummer to be OK in the air to old man Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie has the potential for a surprise here as he draws the soft corner. Lelie has been better and may start his late season run this week.

Prediction: Broncos 28 – Eagles 24


Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers Sunday 4:15p

The Bucs are back, but with Chris Simms under center. Remember that the Bucs handed Simms the starting job last year and he lost it due to injury. He is a talented QB that has had time to learn the offense. Miracles can happen. The tough part is that we don’t yet know who Simms’ crutch is going to be. Brian Griese had excellent chemistry with Joey Galloway but that doesn’t mean Chris Simms will feel comfortable with Galloway. This may be Michael Clayton’s chance to shine so if you have Clayton, hold him for a few more weeks to see what chemistry develops. For now it seems like the TE option has been popular in Tampa Bay as they have moved their offense into ultra-conservative mode.

Let me get this straight, Ken Dorsey may be starting at QB for the 49’ers? Can I offer Priest Holmes for the Bucs Defense so I can play them just this week? Aye carumba. Not for this week but I wonder if Frank Gore’s performance in junk time last week raised an eyebrow or two in the 49’ers front office? The boy has break away speed and it would sure make a whole heck of a lot of sense to me, that if you’re offense has trouble putting points on the board and your defense has trouble keeping them off, then the ideal RB is an explosive one. I’m not sure they have anything to lose by handing Frank Gore the ball 25 times on Sunday.

Prediction: Buccaneers 27 – 49’ers 20


Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots Sunday 8:30p

Both these teams are evenly matched almost to a tee. The Bills will be able to run up the gut on the Patriots (Tedy Bruschi or not) and the Patriots will be able to run well on the Bills. Look for a strong day from Willis McGahee especially now that he’s motivated after declaring himself the best runner in football. The Bills passing game will be average enough to keep the pressure on the Patriots and look for a TD in the air to Eric Moulds. Willis McGahee walks away with 2 TD’s, Eric Moulds 1 TD and Rian Lindell with 2 FG’s and 3 XP’s.

The Patriots needed a bye week like nobodies business. The injuries on top of their injuries were just getting out of hand. Corey Dillon is still questionable for this game but if he plays, expect a strong day from him. If not, Patrick Pass will have a solid outing. Either way, do not be afraid to get either in your lineup once you know the playing status. The Boston Herald is reporting that Tedy Bruschi will play on Sunday and that will be a huge boost for this worn down defense.

Prediction: Patriots 31 – Bills 27


Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Monday 9:00p

I will try to save us a lot of time. The only thing the Ravens have going for them is their defense and two of their best defensive players, including Ray Lewis will not play in this game. Holy crow. Let me toss out the Chester Taylor cry yet again. A mini surprise as you probably won’t see it coming but Derek Mason is in for a solid day.

The Steelers just need to run the ball and Willie Parker will go over 100 yards on frequency alone. Jerome Bettis will get in on the action too, just to soften up the D for Willie. After that, you don’t really need more of a strategy to walk away winners on Monday Night.

Prediction: Steelers 24 – Ravens 14

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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.