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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) *IND at CHI *PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC *JAC at MIN *PIT at DEN *WAS at NO
*BUF at NYJ *MIA at HOU *SEA at ARI *CIN at BAL (MON)
*UPDATED *CAR at TB *NE at TEN SF at GB *SD at OAK (MON)

Prediction: SF 23, GB 30 (Line: GB by 5)

Players to Watch: Randy Moss, LaMichael James, Cedric Benson

2011 ended with the Packers taking a league best 15-1 record and then losing to the visiting Giants in the divisional round. That was a downer for the Green and Gold. The 49ers were the Cinderella last year when they came from nowhere to post a 13-3 record with a dominating defense and then came excruciatingly close to the Superbowl when they too lost to the Giants. The Packers have done little to change in the offseason and why would they with a 15-1 record last year? The 49ers have tried to pump up the volume on the offense to match their defense. First game out and on the road, have to like the Packers in this one.

San Francisco 49ers
Homefield: Monster Park
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @GB ----- 10 STL -----
2 DET ----- 11 CHI -----
3 @MIN ----- 12 @NO -----
4 @NYJ ----- 13 @STL -----
5 BUF ----- 14 MIA -----
6 NYG ----- 15 @NE -----
7 SEA ----- 16 @SEA -----
8 @ARI ----- 17 ARI -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The defense won their games last year and it almost advanced them to the Superbowl. Simply having a "just good enough" offense is no longer enough. The 49ers wisely restocked the shelves in an attempt to score more points and mount comebacks when they need.

This still is all held together by Alex Smith who hopes his seventh season is the charm and that he can improve on his career high of just 3144 passing yards in a season. He has yet to throw more than 18 touchdowns in a year. Any argument that he does not have enough weapons no longer applies with Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss and Mario Manningham now populating the roster. This will never be a pass heavy offense, but perhaps now can become a pass effective offense.

Frank Gore really faded down the stretch with five 100 rushing yard games in the first half od the season and none in the second half. Gore has gone from being quite alone in the backfield now to merely being the biggest dog in the yard. The 49ers still have Kendall Hunter as his back-up (and are pretty happy with him) and they added Brandon Jacobs as a short-yardage guy and the rookie LaMichael James as the speedy, elusive runner. Meanwhile the 29 year-old Gore claims he is fine and has plenty of gas left in the tank. Gore was regularly getting 20 carries a game to start last year but then only had one in his final seven games. Notable will be if they use James for anything more than an occasional gimmick, if Hunter gets more use as just a secondary back and if Jacobs shows up when they get inside the goal line. This could end up complex like the Saints backfield only with a fraction of the total success.

What Randy Moss will do will be interesting to see because he has by all accounts been wowing the coaches in the offseason and preseason with signs that "the old Randy" is back. But then they say he will be on a pitch-count and limited in the number of plays. Michael Crabtree enters his fourth season and still has yet to justify why the 49ers spent a 1.10 pick on him in 2009. Mario Manningham was also brought into the mix. Bottom line - there are way more hands here than passes. It would be nice to think all Smith was waiting for was this, but that's optimistic as an understatement. Then again, Smith actually gets to stay in the same offense for two straight years. Hmmm...

This should be a nice place to start the year with the new receivers facing what was one of the worst secondaries of last year and knowing that the Packers are going to post points regardless who shows up. It is a game to watch just to see what the 49ers are planning offensively for 2012.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 25 20 29 7 1 4
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 29 19 31 31 6 7

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jimmy Garoppolo, SF JAC 0000024012 ***
Compared to how well they played most of the year, the Jags have been slightly shaky vs. QBs of late. Since Week 10, this unit still has more interceptions than TDs allowed, and the 198.7 yards allowed is the fourth-lowest figure. Quarterbacks have thrown a TD strike every 11 completions, which is the seventh-softest clip.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jerick McKinnon, SF JAC 4005300000 ***
McKinnon's best fantasy day of the season came against the Packers in Week 6; Latavius Murray wasn't a factor in that game. The Packers have provided the 12th-most rushing yards, most receptions, and second-most receiving yards per contest to RBs in the last five weeks. This is the No. 2 matchup in PPR and slides to 13th in standard.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marquise Goodwin, SF JAC 003400000 ***
Goodwin and Jimmy Garoppolo have been on the same page, and fantasy gamers have reaped the rewards. The Jaguars have given up six touchdowns in the last five games, which has been uncharacteristic of them in 2017. Three of those scores, however, came in the Week 14 game vs. Seattle. Every team is entitled to a bad game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Trent Taylor, SF JAC 003300000 ***
The rookie is a glorified position receiver and works well out of the slot. PPR gamers may catch a break of Jacksonville affords him short receptions. Counting on him is asking a bit much, though, and he's best left for the bench in championship games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendrick Bourne, SF JAC 002300000 ***
Bourne should remain as far away from a roster as possible.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Garrett Celek, SF JAC 003300000 *
In three of his last five games, Celek has at least 63 yards and a touchdown. He also has two games that combine for 37 yards on four catches. Life has improved with Jimmy Garoppolo under center in this offense. This should be one of those down weeks as the Jaguars have been lethal vs. the position, giving up one TE score in the last five games.

Update: Celek is questionable and wasn't able to practice in full all week. He's a gameday call.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, SF JAC 3311 ***
Gould is on a three-game tear and has 38 fantasy points in this span. He is enjoying his finest season of his career, but the 49ers face a Jacksonville team giving up just 1.4 field goals per outing since Week 10.

Green Bay Packers
Homefield: Lambeau Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SF ----- 10 BYE -----
2 CHI ----- 11 @DET -----
3 @SEA ----- 12 @NYG -----
4 NO ----- 13 MIN -----
5 @IND ----- 14 DET -----
6 @HOU ----- 15 @CHI -----
7 @STL ----- 16 TEN -----
8 JAC ----- 17 @MIN -----
9 ARI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: Last year ended in a shocker after the Packers went nearly undefeated (other than the other shocker when the Chiefs beat them). The Giants took them down and walked off with the Championship after also hitting San Francisco. The Packers seemed unstoppable last season. Aaron Rodgers never failed to score at least two touchdowns in every game. About the only thing to learn from the 2011 Packers is to never bet money you cannot afford to lose. They were sure things. It seemed.

No real changes to the offense here with Rodgers at the helm and the same set of receivers. Cedric Benson was brought in once it was certain that James Starks ship had sailed and taken his turf toe with it. Alex Green is nine months removed from ACL surgery and won't likely be a big factor for at least the first of the season. Benson is the interesting one here who will start and who has impressed coaches with his power and burst that we weren't sure were ever there let alone still there. He's in an offense now that terrifies defenses via the pass so Benson may surprise with rushing yardage. But he won't be used much on third downs or as a receiver at least initially if ever.

Greg Jennings was lost for almost all of the preseason with a concussion but is expected to be good to go this week. Future concussions could be an issue but for now he's back to normal. Jordy Nelson had a magical 2011 season when he ended with 68 catches for 1263 yards and 15 touchdowns. That was him being a marginal receiver in all road games (2 TDs) and a Super Star in all home games (13 TDs). He's become a major one-two punch with Jennings with him being the "one" in all those home games. Hopefully he starts excelling more in away games this season. James Jones made it through the summer without being traded while Randall Cobb had a great offseason and was initially a sleeper to some but he is still a #4 in the offense.

Jermichael Finley finally comes off a full 16 game season but only ended with 767 yards and eight scores which is probably his ceiling now that Nelson has become such a major component. Still rock solid in fantasy terms but not the big difference maker he seemed potentially a year ago.

At home this week against a ferocious defense, the Packers should manage to start the year on a good note with plenty of time to prepare and getting home stadium against likely the best defense they will face all year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 1 25 1 12 4 3
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 12 1 21 6 2 1

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB DeShone Kizer, GB MIN 30100019002 ***
Chicago shouldn't have too much trouble putting the hurt on Kizer. For every flash of potential and brilliance, the rookie has displayed a million more hair-pulling whiffs at trying to make a big play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Brett Hundley, GB MIN 30000019002 ***
Hundley replaces Aaron Rodgers in Week 16 and faces a Vikings defense that picked him off three times in Week 6. You know what to do....
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jamaal Williams, GB MIN 5014300000 ***
Last week's game flow didn't much favor Williams seeing more than the 10 touches he was allotted. In Week 16, Brett Hundley will start, so Green Bay is bound to rely more on Williams, but the matchup stinks in all but the TD department. One in 18 carries has scored, which is fifth in the last five weeks. Being the forecast is for single digits at Lambeau, look for plenty of chances for the rookie.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Randall Cobb, GB MIN 005600000 ***
Davante Adams (concussion) could sit, which improves Cobb's chances. Unfortunately, Brett Hundley returns to the lineup, so any gains are likely washed away. Minnesota offers one of the harshest matchups of the week.

Update: Adams has been ruled out.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Geronimo Allison, GB MIN 003400000 ***
Update: No Davante Adams means Allison will see more chances. There is little reason to consider him in any fantasy situation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, GB MIN 004201000 ***
Who are you, and what have you done with Jimmy Graham?!? One catch, negative-one yard in the last two games COMBINED?!? Provided your team somehow managed to escape with a W, the Cowboys are a mid-tier opponent, having given up 4.8 receptions (12th), 46.6 yards (17th) and a TD every 12 grabs (18th).
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB MIN 2211 ***
All eight of the PATs have been accurate, whereas seven of the eight field goal chances were knocked through the pipes. Crosby faces the eighth-worst matchup of the week.

WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) IND at CHI PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC JAC at MIN PIT at DEN WAS at NO
BUF at NYJ MIA at HOU SEA at ARI CIN at BAL (MON)
  CAR at TB NE at TEN SF at GB SD at OAK (MON)

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