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
RB Frank Gore 90,1 2-10
WR Anquan Boldin 4-60,1
WR Michael Crabtree 6-70
WR Steve Johnson 4-60,1
WR Brandon Lloyd 6-70
TE Vernon Davis 5-70,1
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 Colin Kaepernick, SF STL 30000026021 ***
Kaepernick's best fantasy outing of the season came three weeks back against these very Rams. Now he'll face the same D on his home turf with an extra week of prep and rest; no reason to think he can't do something similar this time around as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Frank Gore, SF STL 6011100000 ***
Run defense: don't leave home without it. The Rams don't heed that advice, giving up an average of 30-134 to opposing backs when they leave St. Louis, as well as another 4-26 receiving. Gore, who has 100 rushing yards or a TD in all three home games this year, should handle the bulk of those stats; that makes him a very nice fantasy play this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Carlos Hyde, SF STL 200000000 ***
Hyde has 10 carries in each of the last two home games and could carve out a chunk of what should be a healthy dollop of RB stats this week against the Rams.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Anquan Boldin, SF STL 006701000 ***
The last time these teams met three different 49ers wideouts scored, including Boldin. He's edging Michael Crabtree for most targeted Niner; the confluence of those two trends make him at least a viable fantasy option in a six-team bye week this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Crabtree, SF STL 003401000 ****
Crabtree is battling Anquan Boldin for target supremacy as Colin Kaepernick is getting a bevy of 49ers involved in the passing game. Fortunately, as proven by the last meeting between these two teams, it's a matchup where there should be more than enough to go around, allowing multiple Niners wideouts to be fantasy relevant.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Johnson, SF STL 005500000 ****
With the talent heard thinned by a six-team bye week you could do worse than reaching for Johnson, who has scored in three of the last four games and had 53 yards the last time these teams met.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vernon Davis, SF STL 003300000 ***
Davis has done nothing of fantasy note since the season opener, a stretch that includes 3-30 when these teams got together three weeks ago. St. Louis isn't surrendering much of anything to the position so no reason to expect a change in Vernon's fortunes this time around.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, SF STL 3333 ****
Dawson has kicked multiple treys in every home game this year and should have little difficulty doing so again against a Rams' squad that has surrendered double-digit kicker points in three of the last five, including both of its last two road tilts.

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 Matt Cassel 10 270,1
QB Christian Ponder 230,1
RB Adrian Peterson 80,1 2-20
WR Greg Jennings 5-70,1
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 Teddy Bridgewater, MIN WAS 0000023010 ***
Washington has allowed multiple passing scores in six straight games. Bridgewater has one in each of the past two, his first two NFL passing scores, and he has yet to dazzle the home crowd with a scoring strike. Maybe it's all coming together right here, right now, for the Vikings' QB of the future? Even so, there's a ceiling of maybe 250 and 2 so set your lineup accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN WAS 9013200000 ***
McKinnon has yet to score an NFL TD, and a first is unlikely here against a Washington D that's given up only a couple of moderately big fantasy games to opposing backs--and with all due respect to McKinnon he ain't Arian Foster or DeMarco Murray.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN WAS 2005601000 *
That whole "getting the ball in Patterson's hands" thing isn't exactly happening just yet. However, a Washington defense that's allowed multiple fantasy helpers in all four road games could be just what the doctor ordered for Patterson to carve out a slice of fantasy value this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN WAS 006500000 ***
Seven of the 10 WR TDs the Redskins have allowed have come on the road, and they've allowed a score and/or 69-plus yards to multiple receivers in all four games away from DC. That puts Jennings in play as either Teddy Bridgewater's top target or his backup plan if Cordarrelle Patterson can't shake free. Either way, it's a decent fantasy opportunity.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN WAS 2222 ***
Walsh has been as wildly inconsistent as the Vikings offense; factor in the Vikings playing outdoors and you likely have a better fantasy option elsewhere.

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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