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 Colin Kaepernick, SF NYJ 50000019010 ***
Kaepernick is no Andrew Luck ... the Jets were not playing terrible pass defense in the month leading up to Luck's dismantling of them on Monday Night Football. There is not enough upside in Kaep to put playoffs on the line.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Carlos Hyde, SF NYJ 10013200000 ***
The Jets have given up the eighth most per-game offensive yards but only the third fewest offensive touchdowns per contest in the last five weeks. Hyde is a risky start in all formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Kerley, SF NYJ 004400000 ***
Kerley should not be used in any fantasy setting this week. The Jets are sound against wideouts, despite what the Colts did through the air in Week 13. Much of the damage came from Dwayne Allen's tight end spot.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, SF NYJ 002300000 ***
Avoid Smith, along with any 49ers receiver, in Week 14. The Jets are not as bad against the pass as they appeared in Week 13, as much of that damage came from the tight end spot.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Quinton Patton, SF NYJ 002200000 ***
Before the Colts trashed New York on MNF, the Jets entered with a strong rating against receivers. Colin Kaepernick is too suspect to trust any San Fran wideout.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vance McDonald, SF NYJ 004501000 ***
Prior to Week 13, the Jets were decent at slowing tight ends. Dwayne Allen's hat trick changed that in one fell swoop. The matchup now rates ninth overall, with the average of a TD every 4.8 catches buoying the placement.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, SF NYJ 1133 ***
Kickers have made 19 of 20 kicks against the Jets over the last five weeks. That is the third highest average of field goal attempts and sixth best composite rating.

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

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 @JAC 0000019010 ***
Jacksonville is consistently strong against quarterbacks, permitting the fewest fantasy points per contest since Week 8. The position has averaged a league-low 166.8 yards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, MIN @JAC 3011100000 ***
Jacksonville has surrendered just the seventh fewest points per game to running backs, allowing three touchdowns in the last five games on the ground, over 110 carries.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN @JAC 4003200000 ***
McKinnon shouldn't be used in fantasy lineups this week. The matchup is harsh, and he just isn't getting the job done.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Adam Thielen, MIN @JAC 007701000 ***
Thielen has been quietly among fantasy's most consistent receivers, logging PPR double figures in five straight games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN @JAC 003400000 ***
Over the last five games, Jacksonville has established itself as the most dominant defense of wide receivers. The position has scored only twice in the last five games on 44 total receptions. Diggs is a suspect play in all formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN @JAC 004400000 ***
Jacksonville has given up only 3.8 catches for 37.6 yards per game in the last five weeks against tight ends; the position has scored twice on 19 catches.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, MIN @JAC 1133 ***
Jacksonville has provided the ninth highest average of combined kicking chances, which has resulted in the position scoring the 10th most per-game points in the last five weeks.

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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