FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 5
2012
ARI at STL (THU) CHI at JAC MIA at CIN *TEN at MIN
ATL at WAS *CLE at NYG PHI at PIT *HOU at NYJ (MON)
BAL at KC *DEN at NE *SD at NO Bye:
*Updated BUF at SF GB at IND SEA at CAR DAL, DET, OAK, TB

Prediction: BUF 17, SF 34 (Line: SF by 9.5)

Players to Watch: C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson

The Bills are 2-2 but their wins have been against teams that total 1-7 on the season. The 49ers return home after completely destroying the Jets in New York. This game does not bode well for the Bills who were already weak against the run.

Buffalo Bills
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
AstroTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYJ 28-48 10 @NE -----
2 KC 35-17 11 MIA -----
3 @CLE 24-14 12 @IND -----
4 NE 28-52 13 JAC -----
5 @SF ----- 14 STL -----
6 @ARI ----- 15 SEA -----
7 TEN ----- 16 @MIA -----
8 BYE ----- 17 NYJ -----
9 @HOU ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Bryce Brown 10
RB Fred Jackson 40 3-30
RB C.J. Spiller 30 2-30
TE Scott Chandler 3-40,1
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Chances are the defense still needs some work with half of the games giving up 48+ points to the opponent. The offense has been good enough to produce at least 24 points each week but as the Saints can attest - it doesn't really matter when you cannot keep up with what your defense allows. The remarkable part of this offense is that they have never scored fewer than three touchdowns in any game and yet just once posted more than 210 passing yards.

Ryan Fitzpatrick already has 12 touchdown passes to lead the NFL. While he threw for 350 yards against the Patriots, all others were far less and he did throw a total of seven interceptions in the two losses. Bottom line - Fitzpatrick has always thrown for at least two scores but his yardage usually remains lower because the running game is working. At least it used to work.

Both C.J. Spiller (8-33) and Fred Jackson (13-29) played against the Patriots and neither did much though Jackson did add 50 yards on three catches. When Jackson was out, Spiller scored in every game and twice gained more than 120 rushing yards thanks to facing the Jets and Browns. Now that both are playing their production gets split up. The next two road games against the 49ers and Cardinals are not likely to be beneficial to the rushing effort.

Scott Chandler is tied with Vernon Davis and Heath Miller with four touchdowns by a tight end. What is a little scary this week is that his two home games saw him post six catches for 115 yards and three touchdowns while the two road efforts only netted six receptions for 60 yards and one score. And this week is a much tougher defense.

To Fitzpatrick's credit, four different wideouts have scored a touchdown and really none have had a big yardage game. Donald Jones gained 90 yards on two catches against New England but otherwise no Bills receiver has more than 61 yards in a game. Stevie Johnson has scored in three games so far as the primary wideout but remains around 50 or so yards per week. Against the Pats, he had a season worst 23 yards on two catches. There are four wideouts that can all score and all will contribute something. It is a surprise that the NFL passing touchdown leader after four weeks does not have any receiver with more than 195 yards on the season.

This is likely a week where the Bills have their worst offensive showing. The 49ers have not allowed any running back touchdowns and the wideouts have just one touchdown against them. They average just over one passing score allowed per game and have already faced Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford. Add in the Bills traveling across the country and this smacks of a down game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 8 8 17 14 31 11
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 10 1 10 25 4 16

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB EJ Manuel, BUF @HOU 20000023010 ***
Nothing compelling on either side of this matchup. Move along.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Fred Jackson, BUF @HOU 3005501000 ***
Volume gets it done against the Texans--14-91 for Alfred Morris, 34-176 for Rashad Jennings. Too bad the Bills split their backfield touches, with neither FJax nor CJ Spiller likely to get the volume necessary to post a big fantasy helper. At least Jackson augments his carries with help in the passing game, enough to make him the slightly better play of this duo.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Spiller, BUF @HOU 4003300000 ****
It's been power backs who have had success against the Texans, and Spiller is pretty much the opposite of that. Not saying he can't have success, but Vegas odds put him behind Fred Jackson in that race this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF @HOU 006701000 ***
You could make a case for Watkins after seeing Victor Cruz and James Jones each top 100 yards against the Texans this year, but he's far from a sure thing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Williams, BUF @HOU 004400000 ***
Williams sits at 50 yards for the season and would need a serious uptick in looks if he were to warrant fantasy attention here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Scott Chandler, BUF @HOU 003400000 ***
Mr. September is running out of time; his 5-74 last week against a defense that's surrendered 60-plus yards to the position two of the three wicks might actually provide an opportunity.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF @HOU 1220 ***
Carp's had a couple big games followed by a quiet one, the opposite of what Houston has surrendered to opposing kickers. No reason to strongly lean one way or another with this matchup.

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 13-24 12 @NO -----
4 @NYJ 34-0 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 BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Blaine Gabbert 200,1
RB Frank Gore 110,2 1-10
RB Kendall Hunter 30 2-20
WR Anquan Boldin 4-60,1
WR Michael Crabtree 4-50
WR Steve Johnson 7-60
WR Brandon Lloyd 6-90,1
TE Vernon Davis 5-60,1
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: Big win in New York reasserts the 49ers swagger and made some amends for the flat performance in Minnesota that resulted in their only loss. The 49ers also started using a new aspect to the offense and so far it has worked like a charm. That would be the Wildcat formation reaching the west coast a short three years after it started.

Alex Smith has been just a game manager and has yet to throw for more than 226 yards despite a plethora of receivers. But it was not until last week that Colin Kaepernick was given more than one play in the game. He ran five times for 50 yards and one touchdown that looked far too easy when he slipped in untouched. Adding that to the already sold rushing effort means the 49ers can move the ball better, will be harder to defense and can have even more ability to control the clock. How much Kaepernick plays each week may depend on game situation or just coaching whim but it appears to be a high potential aspect to the offense at least occasionally.

Frank Gore has scored in three games but he has minimal role as a receiver and was held to a season low 62 yards on 21 runs. He has been in slight decline since running for 112 yards in the season opener but that likely changes this week with the softer Bills defense coming. Kendall Hunter scored for the first time this year but has never been good for more than around 50 yards. If the 49ers get a big early lead, he may show up this week as well.

Vernon Davis comes off his only bad game of the year with two catches for 28 yards in New York and yet he still has a NFL tight end best four touchdowns shared with Scott Chandler. Davis has one off game with three top efforts. He remains the best receiver on a team that only has one touchdown thrown to any wideout this year - and that was in the season opener. For some reason, the addition of Randy Moss and Mario Manningham just meant good things for Vernon Davis. There is marginal fantasy value in Michael Crabtree and none in the others. Randy Moss never had a catch last week.

When facing the Bills , the decision has to be made how you want to score because both rushing and receiving is going to work. The passing yardage is not going to be high here because it is never high here. This is a good week to own Gore. Not that it is 1:1 by any means, but the Bills just allowed 243 rushing yards and three touchdowns to Patriot running backs last week.

I like a defensive score in this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 19 16 28 8 7 14
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 27 27 24 18 13 24

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Colin Kaepernick, SF PHI 50100025020 ***
Keeping up with Philly takes some doing, and all three opposing QBs have responded by throwing multiple touchdowns. That bodes well for Kaepernick; if you add another TD toss to his usual 250 throwing and 50 rushing, he becomes a significant fantasy contributor.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Frank Gore, SF PHI 8011100000 ***
This should be a more favorable matchup for Gore, who was stymied by the Cardinals last week. Three different backs have rushed for at least 70 yards against Philly; so long as Gore doesn't cede too many carries to rookie Carlos Hyde he should be able to turn that workload into a fantasy helper.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Crabtree, SF PHI 006801000 ***
Lots of opportunities against a secondary that allowed two 100-yard receivers a week ago. Crabtree remains the go-to guy in this passing game, especially if Vernon Davis remains sidelined, and his numbers should reflect that role.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Anquan Boldin, SF PHI 004500000 ***
After a big Week 1 Boldin has been quiet--even with Vernon Davis out of the mix last week. Philly just gave up matching 100-yard games to a pair of Redskins receivers, which at least puts Boldin in play for fantasy relevancy this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Johnson, SF PHI 003500000 ***
Johnson stepped up with a big game last week against Arizona, but his 103-yard effort feels more like the exception rather than the rule--especially if Vernon Davis is back in the mix. No reason to chase last week's stat line.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vernon Davis, SF PHI 005501000 **
Captain Obvious says Davis is a must play if healthy. It's not an overly favorable matchup, but Davis is elite and if he's suited up he belongs in your fantasy lineup.
Update: After not practicing all last week (and subsequently not playing in Week 3), Davis practiced on a limited basis all week. That gives hope he'll play, but it's a late game so you'll need to have a backup plan in case he's scratched Sunday afternoon.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, SF PHI 1144 ***
Dawson has had inconsistent opportunities thus far this season, but a Philly squad that's allowed multiple field goal attempts in every game this year should tilt the scales towards fantasy usability this week.

WEEK 5
2012
ARI at STL (THU) CHI at JAC MIA at CIN *TEN at MIN
ATL at WAS *CLE at NYG PHI at PIT *HOU at NYJ (MON)
BAL at KC *DEN at NE *SD at NO Bye:
*Updated BUF at SF GB at IND SEA at CAR DAL, DET, OAK, TB

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