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
WR Anquan Boldin 4-70,1
WR Andre Roberts 5-70,1
TE Brandon Pettigrew 5-50,1
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 3 XP

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 @NO 20000025021 ***
Despite having the 10th highest opportunity rating, quarterbacks have averaged only the 23rd most fantasy points points meeting with the Saints. Quarterbacks have averaged 263 yards and a touchdown every 13.1 completions since Week 7 vs. New Orleans.
RB Theo Riddick, DET @NO 7005301000 ***
In its last five games, New Orleans has permitted averages of 4.2 catches, 54.2 yards and 0.2 touchdowns to RBs ... not exactly inspiring for Riddick owners. This is the 12th worst matchup for PPR backs, but C.J. Prosise, Todd Gurley and DuJuan Harris all caught at least four balls. Harris and the rookie produced 80-plus yards each.
RB Dwayne Washington, DET @NO 3001100000 ***
Washington continues to see minimal work and have no viable path to fantasy lineup worthiness.
WR Golden Tate, DET @NO 007801000 ***
Tate has reemerged as Detroit's top receiving target among wideouts. He's the safest bet of this group to post across-the-board numbers that garner respect and deserve a lineup spot. The Saints have allowed receivers to average 12.4 catches (17th), 151.2 yards (21st) and a score per game (17th).
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET @NO 004500000 ***
There was a glimpse of Jones last week after his midseason descent. Shot out of a cannon to begin the season, Jones has gone from a top-flight starter to a barely playable option. He has fringe PPR appeal this week in the off-chance Detroit finds itself in a shootout.
WR Anquan Boldin, DET @NO 003300000 ***
A lack of a running game has made Boldin a favorite around the stripe, so don't downplay his upside. However, he cannot score every game (right?!?). The Saints have given up one receiver score per contest over the last five weeks.
TE Eric Ebron, DET @NO 005600000 ***
Ebron faces a Saints defense that has given up 13.6 PPR points per game over the past five weeks, which is the 15th most. Two of the 23 catches surrendered found the stripe, so there is hope here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @NO 3322 ***
Only two teams have granted more fantasy points per game to kickers since Week 7, and most of which came from distance. The Lions have given Prater 11 kicking tries from three-point land in this time.

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
QB Christian Ponder 200,1
WR Jeremy Kerley 2-20
WR Torrey Smith 3-60
WR Rod Streater 2-30
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 50100022021 ***
Chicago is not allowing a lot of yardage (248.8) over the last five weeks, but this group has given up touchdowns at the 12th most generous clip. Kaepernick is on a roll of late, and Chicago is also without three linebackers. There should be points to be had via his legs in this one.
RB Carlos Hyde, SF @CHI 6005401000 ***
Chicago has been losing linebackers like crazy in the past few weeks, so Hyde has a good shot at producing for gamers. Overall, it's not a great matchup using data from the past five weeks, but runners have scored three times in the last four games.
WR Jeremy Kerley, SF @CHI 004401000 **
Chicago has allowed receivers to average a touchdown per game since Week 7, and this is a top-15 matchup for yards per game, touchdowns per reception, and points per reception. Kerley could be sly bye week fill-in.
WR Torrey Smith, SF @CHI 003300000 ***
Smith has a fleeting chance at fantasy success this week, but he needs to find the end zone to live up to a spot in a lineup. He's better left for DFS formats. The Bears have given up four WR touchdowns in the last four games.
TE Vance McDonald, SF @CHI 004500000 ***
Three of the 19 touchdowns allowed have turned into six points. Low volume receptions and yards, high probability for scoring ... McDonald has some upside.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, SF @CHI 1133 ***
This is a routine matchup for Dawson, whose fantasy worth has been on the rise with San Francisco's recent offensive uptick.

* 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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