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 Kyle Orton, BUF NYJ 0000028020 ***
Orton's fantasy effectiveness peaked three weeks ago with four TDs against the Jets; since then he's thrown just one scoring strike while the Jets secondary has actually been not horrible. Still, should be another opportunity to start Orton here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bryce Brown, BUF NYJ 2003200000 ***
Maybe some upside in Brown as a pass-catcher, but the ground game is being split three ways, it's a tough matchup, and Fred Jackson will resume at least a portion of his old duties.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Fred Jackson, BUF NYJ 2004200000 ***
Not much to like about this matchup: a banged-up Jackson sharing carries with two other guys against a defense that limited Buffalo to 61 yards on 30 carries the last time they met.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Anthony Dixon, BUF NYJ 200000000 **
Dixon has kind of been the workhorse with Fred Jackson out, but a) that hasn't amounted to much and b) Jackson should be back for this tilt. If Boobie couldn't give you fantasy help with 22 touches in the earlier meeting, tough to see him giving you much this time around.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF NYJ 0061201000 ***
Watkins toasted the Jets for 157 and 1 in the earlier meeting, one of three receivers in the past five games to go off for at least 100 yards and a touchdown. He's been slowed a bit the past couple of weeks but should be healthy enough to approximate those numbers at home in the rematch.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Robert Woods, BUF NYJ 006701000 ***
Woods scored in the previous matchup with the Jets, but he's battling Chris Hogan for secondary looks and is no lock to do the same in the rematch.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Williams, BUF NYJ 003400000 ***
It's been two months since Williams was fantasy-relevant; unless Sammy Watkins can't go he remains a bit player at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Scott Chandler, BUF NYJ 003200000 ***
Chandler scored one of two Buffalo TE TDs the last time they met the Jets, but he's just not targeted enough to bank on similar production--even with such a favorable matchup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF NYJ 3322 ***
Carpenter has kicked multiple treys in three straight, including a 13-point affair against the Jets a month ago. He seems to be on a roll, no reason to bet against him here.

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 WAS 30000023020 ***
The Redskins have allowed multiple TDs to every non-rookie QB they've faced over the past two months, so there's hope for Kaepernick. However, it's been a month and a half since Kaep threw for multiples and he's stopped running as well so despite the favorable matchup he's a fringe fantasy option at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Frank Gore, SF WAS 9001100000 ***
Gore continues to cling to fantasy relevancy, but keep your expectations in check against a Washington defense that's allowed only four RB rushing scores all year--three of them in one aberration of a game in Minnesota.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Carlos Hyde, SF WAS 200000000 ***
It's still Frank Gore's gig, which makes Hyde a fantasy afterthought.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Anquan Boldin, SF WAS 006801000 ***
Boldin remains in the mix in San Francisco, with a floor of something in the 5-50 range and upside from there. It's not an overly favorable matchup, but after watching Mike Evans have his way with the Washington secondary neither Boldin nor Michael Crabtree should have much difficulty shaking free.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Crabtree, SF WAS 004601000 ***
Crabtree's the more likely of the two San Francisco receivers to emulate what Mike Evans did last week. In fact, there's probably enough there for both Crabtree and Boldin to carve out fantasy relevancy, though the pecking order seems to have Crabtree at the top.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vernon Davis, SF WAS 002200000 ***
Davis hasn't done much of anything since scoring twice in Week 1; until that changes, no reason to reward him with a fantasy starting spot.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, SF WAS 1133 ***
Dawson is averaging more than 10 points per home game and just posted back-to-back double-digit efforts on the road. Coming home to face the Redskins, he should continue to get his kicks.

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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