FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Follow Follow @Dorey_TheHuddle
 

Player Rankings (Player Projections) »    Game Predictions Summary »    Projections by Team »

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 Colin Kaepernick, SF ARI 30000021010 **
On behalf of all of Kaepernick's fantasy owners: where the heck has THAT been all year? Keep matched his best three-game rushing total with 151 yards and a score to augment his typical 114 and 1 passing performance, the result being his first fantasy helper in two and a half months. A repeat isn't out of the question against an Arizona defense that just gave up 88 and 1 on the ground to Russell Wilson, but at this point it's hard to believe there are any fantasy teams with Kaepernick on them who qualified for the playoffs, let alone made it to the final game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Frank Gore, SF ARI 701000000 ***
The Niners should have been wearing throwback uniforms last week given the way Gore turned back the clock with a season-high 26 carries for a season-high 158 yards. Contrast that with the six carries for 10 yards he dropped on the Cardinals in the earlier meeting and you can see why fantasy owners might have been frustrated. Those same Cardinals just gave up 113 and 2 to Marshawn Lynch at home, so another solid outing for Gore certainly isn't out of the question here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Crabtree, SF ARI 004601000 **
Crabtree hasn't been seen fantasy-wise since Week 11; no reason to dust him off now.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Anquan Boldin, SF ARI 003300000 ***
Boldin is the more likely of San Francisco's receivers to generate some fantasy help, especially against his former team; in four previous meetings he's topped 140 yards twice and scored once. He's also been over 50 yards in 10 of his last 12, which may not sound like much but when Colin Kaepernick is throwing the ball is viewed as a streak of Lou Gehrig proportions.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vernon Davis, SF ARI 001200000 ***
After seeing what Luke Willson did to these Cardinals you want to reach for Davis... and then you realize, fantasy-wise, he hasn't been there since Week 1. And you weep.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, SF ARI 1133 ***
Dawson has one multiple field goal outing in his last five, hasn't seen double-digit points since Week 11, and scored a mere two points in the earlier meeting with Arizona. You can find a kicker with a few more positive trends than that.

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 Aaron Rodgers, GB DET 10000030020 ***
Rodgers was abysmal in the earlier matchup--162 yards, one TD--and he's actually been awful in three straight against the Lions. That run includes two home dates, so it's not just a home/road split. Rodgers hasn't been much of a fantasy helper the past fortnight, and expectations should be kept in check this week as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Eddie Lacy, GB DET 8013300000 ***
Lacy has averaged 60 yards from scrimmage per game against the Lions, with no TDs to boot. Doesn't help when Aaron Rodgers attempts to pad his stats by throwing at the stripe rather than giving Lacy a shot, though Lacy has scored in three straight and five of the last six. It's taken burly backs to crack the Lions' code at the stripe--Matt Asiata, LeGarrette Blount, Steven Jackson--and Lacy certainly has the bulk, if given the opportunity.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordy Nelson, GB DET 006902000 ***
Subdued passing numbers for Aaron Rodgers mean subdued numbers for Nelson, who has been fantastic at home but hasn't scored or topped 100 yards against the Lions since New Year's Day of 2012. Check your expectations accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Randall Cobb, GB DET 0071000000 ****
Cobb has been held in check by the Lions as well, with just one career TD and one career 100-yard game against them. He's been a little less volatile than Jordy Nelson, especially on the road, but he hasn't been quite as productive as his running mate in Lambeau either. It's not a great matchup, but at this juncture Cobb is an every-week fantasy play regardless of foe.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Davante Adams, GB DET 003500000 ***
While Green Bay's receiver depth has been especially productive at home, the Lions aren't giving up enough to feed all three mouths so keep Adams in reserve this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB DET 2233 ****
Crosby has multiple field goals in four straight and seven of his last eight, and double digit points in five of his last eight. He posted a season-low single point in the earlier meeting with Detroit but this one's at home, where he's averaging four more points per game than on the road. So he's good for at least five here, right?

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)

a d v e r t i s e m e n t