FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

Prediction: SF 31, MIN 17 (Line: SF by 7)

Players to Watch: Kyle Rudolph

This is going to be just like 25 years ago only not the part where the Vikings have a good team. The 49ers are 2-0 and have the early season look of the team to beat this year. The Vikings are 1-1 thanks to the home game against the Jaguars and just lost on the road in Indianapolis. Hard to imagine this could be a trap game. 49ers are on fire so far and the Vikes defense is not. It is also too early for the 49ers to have a let down game.

San Francisco 49ers
Homefield: Monster Park
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @GB 30-22 10 STL -----
2 DET 27-19 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 @ MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Blaine Gabbert 150,1
QB Christian Ponder 230,1
WR Jeremy Kerley 3-50
WR Torrey Smith 3-60
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: We all knew the 49ers defense was likely to be the best this season. Now the offense is kicking it into a higher gear and that just makes this team even harder to beat. They have already spun through what are two of the highest scoring offenses in the league last year and made it look easy.

Alex Smith has two efforts right around 225 yards and two scores in each with no turnovers. He's been more accurate and now has more weapons. The oddity is that adding Randy Moss and Mario Manningham have just made Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis better. Davis has scored three times to tie for the NFL touchdown lead for the position. Crabtree has 13 catches for 143 yards as the most targeted receiver.

Frank Gore is starting the season red hot just like 2011. Though he has been limited to only 16 or 17 carries per game, he has averaged around 100 yards and scored each week. His role as a receiver has really waned though and that will come into play in future weeks when the 49ers face a tougher rush defense. Gore is running hard and doesn't look like a back who has lost a step. At least not yet.

Kendall Hunter is getting more playing time though not enough to merit any fantasy attention. The rookie LaMichael James has not played yet. So far the offense is limited to Gore, Crabtree and Davis like old times but they are getting the job done. Randy Moss scored in week one but only was thrown one pass last Sunday.

The Vikings have been good against the run but their pass defense has been the downfall and that is after only facing the Jaguars and Colts. The rushing effort may not be huge here but an early and substantial lead would lead to a tired Vikings defense by the end of the game.

I like a defensive score in this game as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 11 12 17 7 9 22
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 20 5 24 16 25 16

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Blaine Gabbert, SF DAL 0000023011 ***
Gabbert continues to struggle but won't lose his starting job until Colin Kaepernick is physically ready. There is no reason to play Gabbert, even when facing a bottom-10 defense of quarterbacks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Carlos Hyde, SF DAL 9012100000 ***
Hyde should have a fine chance to contribute meaningful fantasy points to lineups this week. Dallas has been tough but not oppressive against his position, allowing 20.0 PPR points per contest. Consider mid-teens for Hyde a win.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, SF DAL 003500000 ***
Non-PPR owners may want to flex Smith out of desperation or bye-week needs. Dallas is a fairly strong defense of wideouts, giving up only three touchdowns on the year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Kerley, SF DAL 004300000 ***
Super deep PPR leaguers may want to add Kerley to their flex spot. Otherwise, leave him benched against this moderately strong pass defense (13th vs. WRs).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Quinton Patton, SF DAL 003300000 ***
Dallas is the 13th hardest matchup for the position. Patton has no worth at this time.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Garrett Celek, SF DAL 003201000 **
Vance McDonald's status is uncertain, making Celek a worthwhile fantasy gamble. Dallas has been lousy at stopping tight end. The position has generated 23 catches, 246 yards and three touchdowns -- good for teh third most fantasy points.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vance McDonald, SF DAL 00000000 *
Check back Friday to see his status report for Week 4.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, SF DAL 3322 ***
Despite its defensive personnel shortcomings, Dallas has given up four field goals and six extra points (seven attempts) in three weeks of play, making it the eighth hardest defense for kickers to face.

Minnesota Vikings
Homefield: Metrodome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 JAC 26-23 ot 10 DET -----
2 @IND 20-23 11 BYE -----
3 SF ----- 12 @CHI -----
4 @DET ----- 13 @GB -----
5 TEN ----- 14 CHI -----
6 @WAS ----- 15 @STL -----
7 ARI ----- 16 @HOU -----
8 TB ----- 17 GB -----
9 @SEA ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIN vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 200,1
RB Adrian Peterson 80,1 2-20
TE Kyle Rudolph 4-40
PK Blair Walsh 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: While it would seem good that the Vikes are playing each week to three point swings, the reality is that the first two games against the Jaguars and Colts may have represented the easiest opening for any team. And now comes the toughest defense just to show them the difference.

Christian Ponder continues his average play but turned in two touchdowns in Indianapolis for an unusually productive game. He's looked adequate so far but against lesser opponents. Getting back Jerome Simpson next week should help stretch the field and open it up more for the other receivers.

Currently Percy Harvin is the only wideout worth covering and his 21 targets in two weeks dwarf any other receiver. He still has not scored but is averaging 94 yards per game and comes off 12 catches last week. Michael Jenkins offers only marginal help and the only real hope here is that the tight end Kyle Rudolph can fill his potential. The second-year player scored last week but has remained only good for around 50 yards per game. That is a step up from last year though and he will eventually become a bigger part of the passing equation.

Adrian Peterson only managed 60 yards on 16 carries in Indianapolis after his week one scoring spree suggested he was already back in form. It is encouraging to see Peterson used as a receiver three times last week but it will take some time before vintage ADP can be expected.

After two close games, the Vikings face the cream of the crop with the 49ers showing up. This will be a little tougher than the first two weeks facing teams that combined for a 7-25 record last season.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 22 15 12 18 4 28
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 17 1 23 27 12 21

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Sam Bradford, MIN NYG 0000024010 ***
The positive takeaway is that Bradford hasn't made a mistake yet. The downside is that he offers no upside. The G-Men have punished quarterbacks from a fantasy perspective, ranking as the seventh hardest matchup. While no quarterback has been picked off by New York, this defense has given up only one touchdown per game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN NYG 5001100000 ***
There isn't much to like there from the matchup angle, since New York rates as the third toughest on this week's docket. McKinnon will have to step up his game to live up to expectations higher than the flex range.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, MIN NYG 2001100000 ***
Asiata will play second fiddle to Jerick McKinnon and has no playable value at this time. New York's punishing run defense agrees.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN NYG 004801000 ***
New York offers Diggs a matchup that is on the verge of being positive, rating 13th in most points allowed to WRs. Diggs is the go-to receiver but has a floor like last week that is in play most weeks. WR3 territory.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Adam Thielen, MIN NYG 004500000 ***
Thielen is a talented receiver in his own right but doesn't see enough looks to justify a fantasy start. He was in on 59 percent of the offensive snaps last week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN NYG 007800000 ***
Rudolph is tied for the second most PPR points this year. The train could slow down in Week 4, though, as the Giants haven't given up a TE touchdown yet this year. Consider him a sound PPR play, but a touchdown will be gravy.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN NYG 3322 ***
Only San Francisco is a better matchup for fantasy kickers. New York has given up just four extra points, but 11 of 12 field goals have sailed through the uprights.

WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

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