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 CLE 0000023020 ***
We know Orton can have his way with the Jets; that's no surprise. But maybe, just maybe he can have his way with the Browns as well, especially considering they've allowed multiple touchdown tosses in two straight and three of four, even to relatively nondescript QBs (Mike Glennon, Ryan Mallett, Matt Ryan).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Fred Jackson, BUF CLE 3004300000 ***
Jackson was healthy enough for about half the workload last week, so you'd think he can add to that workload--and his fantasy production--here. At minimum he's a good fantasy start against a softish Browns' run D; given a larger share, he's even more than that.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Anthony Dixon, BUF CLE 400000000 ***
Dixon looks to be Buffalo's goal line guy, but the Browns are more about giving up yards than scores so that puts a crimp in Dixon's fantasy value this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bryce Brown, BUF CLE 2001100000 ***
Brown appears to be the Bills third wheel with Fred Jackson back, so even if Buffalo carves out some fantasy value for one or two backs he's on the outside looking in.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF CLE 004501000 ***
Joe Haden has been playing better, but that hasn't prevented WR1s from putting up solid fantasy games four of the past five weeks. In other words, you can exhibit concern but no need to fear a Haden/Watkins matchup this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, BUF CLE 006600000 ***
Hogan has been creeping up on Robert Woods' targets, but all that's doing is making both tough fantasy starts as there simply isn't enough passing game production to go around.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Robert Woods, BUF CLE 003500000 ***
Woods exploded last week against the Jets, but this is still Sammy Watkins' passing game; reaching deeper is a risky fantasy proposition at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Scott Chandler, BUF CLE 003300000 ***
The Browns haven't given up much to opposing tight ends this year, and with Chandler sharing looks with two other TEs he's a difficult at best fantasy start.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF CLE 3322 ***
Carp's been consistently around 10 points per game over the past month; maybe dial it back a bit due to weather, but he's still a solid fantasy option 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 SEA 30000021011 ***
Kaepernick hasn't solved the riddle of the Seattle secondary; in four career meetings he has three passing scores, seven INTs and a total of 699 yards. He's run on the Seahawks, however, including 130 yards when the teams met last January. He'll need to run again to carve out fantasy value--something he hasn't done in two months, so keep your expectations in check.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Carlos Hyde, SF SEA 101000000 **
Hyde has scored three of the past four RB rushing TDs the 49ers have produced, including last week against Washington. He's still a minority carry shareholder, however, so tough to bank on him especially given the matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Frank Gore, SF SEA 4001100000 ***
In a full season's worth of meetings with the Seahawks, Gore has generated just five TDs. Worse, he's been held out of the end zone in six of seven in San Francisco. On the bright side, Gore has topped 100 combo yards in six of seven at home, rushing for 100-plus in four of those games. He's been a non-factor of late, but if San Fran is angling to win this one the game plan will likely heavily involve Gore.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Crabtree, SF SEA 004600000 ***
Crabtree is scoreless in nine meetings with the Seahawks, and you have to believe he'll draw Richard Sherman for some trash talk and fun times here. As far as expecting much fantasy help... don't.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Anquan Boldin, SF SEA 004500000 ***
Boldin has been the better option against Seattle, scoring in the last meeting after going 6-93 in the matchup a month previous. Colin Kaepernick has been favoring Boldin of late, so if you must start a San Francisco WR this week he's the better bet.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vernon Davis, SF SEA 003201000 **
The tight end position has been an Achilles' heel for Seattle this season, at least until the past three weeks as they've held each of those foes in check. Davis has done nothing of note of late, and while he could be a fallback option with Seattle blanketing the wideouts he can't be banked on for fantasy help.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, SF SEA 2222 ***
Tacking on points for an offense that's been below 20 four of its last five games makes things difficult for Dawson. A stout Seattle defense won't help matters.

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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