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 @DEN 50000027021 ***
Denver's defensive numbers are a bit deflated by facing Geno Smith and Drew Stanton the past two weeks; look for Kaepernick to be more in line with what Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson did to the Broncos earlier in the year: solid yardage, multiple scores, and more than a dash of rushing stats to sweeten the pot.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Frank Gore, SF @DEN 400000000 ***
The Niners have been mostly willing to commit to the ground game and Gore, which has worked well at home but failed to yield favorable fantasy numbers on the road. It's taken significant workloads to produce anything resembling fantasy help against Denver, so there's hope for Gore this week--just not a lot.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Carlos Hyde, SF @DEN 300000000 ***
Hyde is too junior a member of this backfield committee to bank on for fantasy assistance, especially in a difficult road matchup like this one.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Crabtree, SF @DEN 005601000 ***
You'd think shooting it out with the Broncos would yield bigger fantasy numbers for wideouts, but Denver has allowed just three WR TDs and no wideout has topped 60 yards against them since Reggie Wayne's 98 in the season opener. Crabtree clings to fantasy value due to a high number of targets, but it's a good week to lower expectations.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Anquan Boldin, SF @DEN 004500000 ****
The Broncos haven't surrendered much to opposing wideouts, and the Niners have been splitting up their productivity to the point that despite his consistent targets Boldin is a risky fantasy proposition at best this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Lloyd, SF @DEN 003500000 ****
80-yard touchdowns are nice and all, but Lloyd's targets are too unreliable to be banked on for fantasy help, especially in what projects to be a less than fruitful matchup for 49ers wideouts.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Johnson, SF @DEN 004500000 ***
Johnson gives Colin Kaepernick a viable third option in the San Francisco passing game, but he's clearly behind Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin in the pecking order and as such can't be banked on for fantasy assistance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vernon Davis, SF @DEN 004401000 **
A healthy VD could make some fantasy noise against a Denver defense that just ceded 10-68-1 to Jace Amaro and has let every opposing TE who gets to four catches score or top 80 yards.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, SF @DEN 2222 ****
The Broncos have allowed between five and eight kicker points in every game this year. Dawson's recent success (37 points in the last three games) suggest he'll be at the high end of that range.

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 @BUF 0000025012 **
87 attempts in, Teddy Football is still looking for his first NFL touchdown pass. Could come against a Bills D that just let Tom Brady go for an Abe Lincoln against them, but aside from that Bridgewater's fantasy upside is relatively limited--and not just by the Bills.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN @BUF 4006400000 ***
The Bills haven't allowed an RB TD this season, so any fantasy value McKinnon adds this week will have to come via yardage. Fortunately he's usurped Matt Asiata as the Vikings' primary back and could cobble together enough rushing and receiving yardage to blip on the fantasy radar. Hopefully you have better options at your disposal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN @BUF 004600000 ***
It's a favorable matchup on paper, but with Teddy Bridgewater still looking for his first NFL passing score and the Vikings' offense struggling on multiple levels you likely have better options at your disposal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN @BUF 003500000 ***
The Bills have allowed a WR TD in every game this year, so if ever there was an opportunity for Patterson to snap out of his slump it's here. However, at this juncture he's likely burned most if not all of his fantasy bridges so it would take a leap of faith to plug him into your lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarius Wright, MIN @BUF 003400000 ***
Wright had one big day as Teddy Bridgewater's favorite target; he's done little since and is the third receiver on an offense that can't even get one going fantasy-wise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Chase Ford, MIN @BUF 004300000 ***
The Vikings haven't had a tight end top 40 yards since Kyle Rudolph was healthy, and Teddy Bridgewater has yet to throw an NFL TD. Look elsewhere for fantasy help.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN @BUF 1111 ****
The Vikings have scored 10 points or less in four of their last five games. You can't bank on him for points this week.

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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