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 SD 10000021011 ***
The Bolts served up multiple TD tosses to both QBs they've faced thus far this year, but Manual hasn't thrown multiples since Week 15 of last year. That means he'll need a rushing score to salvage his fantasy day, and the Chargers haven't allowed a QB rushing TD since Week 3 of last year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Spiller, BUF SD 5003201000 ***
Spiller is essentially sharing carries with Fred Jackson, which against a stout San Diego defense won't amount to much in the way of fantasy help. However, he's also involved in the passing game and special teams (see last week's return TD), and that's a place the Bolts are vulnerable so don't write off Spiller as a lost cause this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Fred Jackson, BUF SD 3003200000 ****
Only four teams have allowed fewer rushing yards this year than the Chargers... but only three teams have allowed more receiving yards to RBs. Jackson can get his work done in the passing game to salvage his fantasy day.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF SD 005700000 ***
On the heels of his bustout game last week Watkins gets a San Diego defense that has for the most part kept opposing wideouts in check--with the notable exception of speed guys like Michael Floyd, who had 119 receiving yards, and Percy Harvin, who had a 51-yard TD* run. Watkins certainly has speed to burn, so if you're dipping into the Buffalo passing game for fantasy help this week he's your best bet.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Robert Woods, BUF SD 004500000 ***
Woods' brief run as the Bills' go-to receiver lasted all of one game as he was leap-frogged last week by Sammy Watkins. No reason to think he'll get that gig back any time soon.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Williams, BUF SD 002300000 ***
Williams has 39 yards in two games as a Bill, and the Chargers haven't been overly friendly to opposing passing games--especially secondary targets. This isn't rocket science.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Scott Chandler, BUF SD 002200000 ***
Mr. September's window of opportunity is slamming shut, and a Chargers' defense that's surrendered just three TE receptions on the year is likely to help hasten the process.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF SD 3311 ***
There's something to be said for tagging along on an offense that's good enough to get close but not good enough to seal the deal; that's how Carpenter has come to lead the NFL in field goals. You could do worse if you were reaching for kicking help this week.

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 @ARI 50100023011 ***
Kaep has been a little slow to get going this season, but a date with the Cardinals should help speed up the process. Arizona allowed Eli Manning to take them for 277 and 2 last week, and in three career starts against Arizona Kaepernick has never failed to throw for at least 250 yards and multiple touchdowns.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Frank Gore, SF @ARI 6011100000 ***
Gore's 13-carry, 14-yard effort against Arizona at the end of last season was particularly disappointing because up until that point he had consistently killed the Cards with three 100-yard rushing games, 6 100-combo yard games, and a 13 touchdowns in the previous 14 meetings. Gore's share of the San Francisco workload is slipping, however, so you'll have to set your sights a shade lower and hope Carlos Hyde doesn't swipe his goal line look.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Carlos Hyde, SF @ARI 200000000 ***
Hyde was active and productive in San Francisco's win, absent in the Niners' loss--or maybe the correlation works the opposite way. Right now all he's doing is biting into Frank Gore's numbers, and in a matchup that isn't overly favorable he's a difficult fantasy start at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Anquan Boldin, SF @ARI 006700000 ****
Two of the last three times Boldin has faced his former squad he has lit them up: 9-149-1 last year and 7-145-1 as a Raven in 2011. And if the Cards throw Patrick Peterson at Michael Crabtree, Boldin will have every opportunity to reach those numbers again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Crabtree, SF @ARI 005600000 ***
Crabtree has 100 yards or a touchdown in five of eight career meetings with the Cards, but he was held to 3-29 in his only game against Arizona last season. Moreover, Patrick Peterson has shut down WR1s thus far this season, leaving WR2s to do the bulk of the producing--and the Niners have a capable alternative in Anquan Boldin. Keep your expectations in check for Crabtree this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vernon Davis, SF @ARI 005601000 *
Davis scored in both ends of last season's series, including a monster 8-180-2 in the front end of the series when Michael Crabtree was absent. The Cards have been unable thus far to contain Antonio Gates or Larry Donnell, each of whom went for 81 yards, so if Davis' ankle allows he's a quality fantasy play this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, SF @ARI 3322 ***
The Cards have allowed but one field goal this season. However, Dawson has kicked three in each of his matchups with Arizona as a member of the Niners and there's no reason to think he'll stray from that productive path 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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