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

Prediction: DET 17, SF 27 (Line: SF by 6.5)

Players to watch: Brandon Pettigrew

Players Updated: Calvin Johnson

The Lions outlasted the Rams but that should have never been such a close game. The 49ers return home after their upset of the Packers in Green Bay and now that the offense is looking as good as the defense, this team might be scary "let meet in New Orleans on February 3rd" kind of good.

The 49ers won 25-19 in Detroit last year.

Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 STL 27-23 10 @MIN -----
2 @SF ----- 11 GB -----
3 @TEN ----- 12 HOU -----
4 MIN ----- 13 IND -----
5 BYE ----- 14 @GB -----
6 @PHI ----- 15 @ARI -----
7 @CHI ----- 16 ATL -----
8 SEA ----- 17 CHI -----
9 @JAC ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Stats | Roster
DET @ SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 10 300,2
RB Reggie Bush 90,1 5-40
WR Calvin Johnson 8-100,1
WR Kevin Ogletree 4-40
TE Brandon Pettigrew 5-50,1

Pregame Notes: Facing the Rams should have been a freebie complete with party favors and time to beat the crowd home. Instead it became throwing the winning touchdown with only ten seconds left to play to secure the win. Like the Eagles, this team struggled with turnovers and almost let the unthinkable happen against a weaker opponent. Matthew Stafford passed for 355 yards but just the one score with ten seconds left to play. He also threw three interceptions including one returned for a touchdown.

Stafford passed for 293 yards and two scores when the 49ers visited last year.

Kevin Smith provided more than adequate rushing with 62 yards and one score on 13 carries and four catches for 29 yards with the game winning score. No other back had more than one carry though Joique Bell made his a touchdown from one-yard out. So far, Smith is playing well enough to be the starter and has yet to be injured.

It turned into a pass-heavy game and that meant big numbers from Calvin Johnson (6-111) and Nate Burleson (6-69) while the littlest sleeper in the league only posted once catch for 14 yards. Titus Young added a run for 11 yards but only had the two touches in the game. In the meeting with the 49ers last season, Johnson produced 113 yards on seven catches while Burleson scored on his four grabs for 34 yards. Titus Young - still just one catch.

What may be a sign of better things is that Brandon Pettigrew was the primary receiver with ten targets and five catches for 77 yards. Pettigrew scored once and collected eight receptions for 42 yards in the last meeting with the 49ers.

Playing in San Francisco is not going to be any easier and the 49ers just dropped the hammer on the Packers in Green Bay. The rushing effort is about to get a major slow down but Matthew Stafford will get his passing yards if only later in the game when it no longer matters.

Gaining Fantasy Points DET 18 3 18 2 15 26
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 26 1 30 27 1 23

QB Matthew Stafford, DET @CAR 0000025011 ***
Carolina allowed three 300-yard games all of last season and only two multiple-touchdown games, so this isn't a particularly favorable matchup for Stafford. So long as he has Calvin Johnson on his side he's always a threat, but dial back expectations significantly this week.
RB Reggie Bush, DET @CAR 2006501000 ***
The silver lining is that Carolina allowed an RB receiving score last week and Bush accounted for six of the Lions' seven RB receptions. That said, the rest of his matchup this week looks brutal.
Update: After early-week concern over his knee, Bush got in a full practice on Thursday and should be good to go for this weekend.
RB Joique Bell, DET @CAR 3001100000 ****
You have to hope that this week Bell is more fullback than halfback; last week Tampa Bay fullback Jovorskie Lane ripped off a 54-yard run while halfbacks Doug Martin and Bobby Rainey combined for 21 yards on 13 carries. If you have the RB depth, this is a good week to sit Bell and look elsewhere.
WR Calvin Johnson, DET @CAR 005600000 ***
Tough matchup, but never bench Megatron. He'll get the targets, which Tampa Bay's NBA-worthy wideouts turned into 11-93-1 last week, and productivity is sure to follow.
WR Golden Tate, DET @CAR 006500000 ***
Megatron has dibs on the first bite; after that expect slim pickings as the Panthers didn't allow multiple receivers to score in the same game last year and only four times did two wideouts top 50 yards in the same game.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nate Freese, DET @CAR 3311 ***
Last year multiple field goal games were frequent against the Panthers; in Week 1 of this season the Bucs didn't attempt a single trey. Detroit's offense is at least good enough to get close, which is great news if you're banking on fantasy points from Freese.

San Francisco 49ers
Homefield: Monster Park
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @GB 30-22 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
SF vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Blaine Gabbert 10 200,1
RB Frank Gore 110,1
RB Kendall Hunter 40 2-10
WR Anquan Boldin 4-70,1
WR Michael Crabtree 5-70
WR Steve Johnson 6-80,1
WR Brandon Lloyd 6-90,1
TE Vernon Davis 4-40,1
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: If ever one game said this is the year, this is the year. The 49ers went to Green Bay where they held the Packers to two offensive touchdowns and one returned punt. Cedric Benson went from glowing reports to only gaining 18 yards on nine carries. They held the three main receivers to less than 65 yards each. But it was not only a defensive victory.

The 49ers offense - on the road - scored three times and kicked three field goals. Alex Smith completed 20 of 26 for 211 yard and two touchdowns with no turnovers. He relied mostly on Michael Crabtree (7-76) but threw touchdowns to Randy Moss (4-47) and Vernon Davis (3-43). The passing stats may have gone bigger but the rushing attack was holding it own.

Frank Gore gained 112 yards and one score on just 16 carries like it was the first half of 2011 again. He looked fresh and fast. Kendall Hunter was given nine runs and gained 41 yards but was not thrown any passes.

It was an offense that just all worked and took down the same team that went 15-1 last season. At their house.

This week is a rematch of sorts with the Lions and last year Gore rumbled for 141 yards and a score on just 15 carries. Crabtree ended with 77 yards and nine receptions but that may change with the new receivers. This offense has regained the rushing form of last season and is not only passing more, but passing better and more efficiently. Attach that to perhaps the best defense in the league and yeah, maybe this is the year.

I like the chance of a defensive score this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points SF 12 13 13 16 7 18
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 8 9 10 5 24 29

QB Colin Kaepernick, SF CHI 30100023011 ***
Kaep did just enough last week in Dallas, containing himself to 201 and 2 while his defense and ground game did the rest. He may have to work a bit harder this week to keep pace with the Bears' offense, but he certainly doesn't come to the table empty handed--or footed, as it were.
RB Carlos Hyde, SF CHI 401000000 ***
Hyde certainly flashed in the season opener, offering a taste of what's to come once Frank Gore finally calls it a career. He'll be the junior partner in this committee, but considering that the Bills had three backs top 60 combo yards last week there should be more than enough for two Niners to get their fantasy fill.
RB Frank Gore, SF CHI 700000000 ***
Chicago still has issues stopping the run, which bodes well for Gore as the lead dog in San Francisco's backfield tag team. Gore should get the early looks; whether or not that also yields goal line opportunities marks the difference between a solid fantasy outing and a really good one.
WR Anquan Boldin, SF CHI 004701000 ***
That Bolden carved out 8-99 against a porous Dallas secondary isn't surprising; that it came at the expense of Michael Crabtree's numbers is. Maybe it's injury related; maybe it's Colin Kaepernick's comfort level. Whatever the case, at this juncture Boldin deserves the same fantasy consideration Crabtree gets; plan your lineup accordingly.
WR Michael Crabtree, SF CHI 004400000 ***
Crabtree was less WR1 and more third wheel in the San Francisco passing game last week, taking a back seat to both Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis. That should be the exception rather than the rule; we'll give him another opportunity to prove that theory before relegating him.
WR Steve Johnson, SF CHI 002300000 ***
With Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, and Anquan Boldin all fighting for whatever targets exist in this run-first offense there's hardly enough to make Johnson worthy of fantasy consideration.
TE Vernon Davis, SF CHI 005600000 ***
Shutting out Scott Chandler, like the Bears did last week, is one thing; limiting Davis is another thing entirely. Not saying he'll put up 130-plus yards on the Bears like Jimmy Graham and Jordan Reed did last season, but another solid fantasy outing is definitely on the radar.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, SF CHI 1133 ***
Dawson is still looking for his first field goal of the 2014 season; odds are he'll get it--and then some--this week, as he booted multiple treys in seven of eight by The Bay last year.

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

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