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David Dorey
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WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

Prediction: SF 27, NO 24 (Line: SF by 2.5)

Players Updated: Colin Kaepernick

Players to Watch: Colin Kaepernick

The 7-2-1 49ers (which is admittedly awkward just to write) hit the road where they are 3-1 to face the 5-5 Saints who are on a three game winning streak and finally able to score more than their defense hands out. The 49ers won 36-32 in the Divisional Round of the playoffs last year held in San Francisco. This is a benchmark game for the Saints and a way to show that the Falcons win was not a fluke. the 49ers come off a Monday night game and maybe have never looked better at least in this millennium.

San Francisco 49ers
Homefield: Monster Park
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @GB 30-22 10 STL 24-24
2 DET 27-19 11 CHI 32-7
3 @MIN 13-24 12 @NO -----
4 @NYJ 34-0 13 @STL -----
5 BUF 45-3 14 MIA -----
6 NYG 3-26 15 @NE -----
7 SEA 13-6 16 @SEA -----
8 @ARI 24-3 17 ARI -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SF @ NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Colin Kaepernick 20,1 240,2
QB Christian Ponder 10 220,1
WR Jeremy Kerley 4-70,1
WR Torrey Smith 5-70,1
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The very same team that could not beat the Rams and ended in the first tie in five years was shifted into high gear last week and added a rocket pack as well named Colin Kaepernick. They brought down the Bears in short order and looked absolutely dominating in every facet of the game. Now instead of playing perhaps the best defense, they get to go face one of the worst.

This could end up messy. Alex Smith is out with a concussion but Colin Kaepernick was so impressive that he's the starter this week and according to HC Jim Harbaugh, he'll continue to be the starter if he has "the hot hand". He certainly did against the Bears throwing for 243 yards and two scores, extending plays with his legs and looking rather Steve Young-ish for one game anyway. This week he draws the Saints secondary which can only make him look better.

Frank Gore ran well and has been in good shape in recent weeks. But he only scored once in the last five weeks and Kendall Hunter is horning in on the action as well with a short rushing score on the Bears Monday night. Gore remains the primary back and takes a big chunk of the workload. LaMichael James and Brandon Jacobs are apparently still playing dominoes in the cafeteria. Gore rushed for 89 yards on 13 runs and caught seven passes for 38 yards in the playoff meeting with the Saints last year.

Vernon Davis hadn't scored in six weeks and was on a steak of sub-40 yard games. Then one Kaepernick later, he turns in a season best six catches for 83 yards and one score. This is not the week to be Alex Smith. Davis had a monster game with Smith in the playoffs when he posted 180 yards and two scores against the Saints.

Michael Crabtree caught four passes for 25 yards and one score versus the Saints last year and on Monday, he ended with 31 yards on three receptions with his third straight game where he scored. Kaepernick had it all working on Monday against a very good defense. He's definitely one to watch this week versus a far less formidable secondary in New Orleans though this time - the defense knows what he looks like.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 12 16 22 12 15 24
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 32 30 31 27 23 3

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Colin Kaepernick, SF NYJ 50000019010 ***
Kaepernick is no Andrew Luck ... the Jets were not playing terrible pass defense in the month leading up to Luck's dismantling of them on Monday Night Football. There is not enough upside in Kaep to put playoffs on the line.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Carlos Hyde, SF NYJ 10013200000 ***
The Jets have given up the eighth most per-game offensive yards but only the third fewest offensive touchdowns per contest in the last five weeks. Hyde is a risky start in all formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Kerley, SF NYJ 004400000 ***
Kerley should not be used in any fantasy setting this week. The Jets are sound against wideouts, despite what the Colts did through the air in Week 13. Much of the damage came from Dwayne Allen's tight end spot.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, SF NYJ 002300000 ***
Avoid Smith, along with any 49ers receiver, in Week 14. The Jets are not as bad against the pass as they appeared in Week 13, as much of that damage came from the tight end spot.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Quinton Patton, SF NYJ 002200000 ***
Before the Colts trashed New York on MNF, the Jets entered with a strong rating against receivers. Colin Kaepernick is too suspect to trust any San Fran wideout.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vance McDonald, SF NYJ 004501000 ***
Prior to Week 13, the Jets were decent at slowing tight ends. Dwayne Allen's hat trick changed that in one fell swoop. The matchup now rates ninth overall, with the average of a TD every 4.8 catches buoying the placement.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, SF NYJ 1133 ***
Kickers have made 19 of 20 kicks against the Jets over the last five weeks. That is the third highest average of field goal attempts and sixth best composite rating.

New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 WAS 32-40 10 ATL 31-27
2 @CAR 27-35 11 @OAK 38-17
3 KC 24-27 12 SF -----
4 @GB 27-28 13 @ATL -----
5 SD 31-24 14 @NYG -----
6 BYE ----- 15 TB -----
7 @TB 35-28 16 @DAL -----
8 @DEN 14-34 17 CAR -----
9 PHI 28-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NO vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 270,3
RB Mark Ingram 30

Pregame Notes: Three straight wins have the Saints at .500 and at least the win over the Falcons says it wasn't just an easy stretch of the schedule. The Saints have a chance to redeem themselves for the loss in the playoffs last year when the 49ers took them down. What is encouraging is that the defense is doing at least incrementally better in recent weeks and the offense is starting to hit a higher gear and even adding in more rushing than before. That may take a downward turn against the 49ers defense this week.

Drew Brees hasn't thrown for less than two scores since week two and threw for three or more seven times already. He hasn't broken 300 yards in the last four games though in part because the rushing effort has been stronger. Brees passed for 462 yards and four scores in San Francisco last January.

Darren Sproles was inactive last week because of his hand and that makes three games he's been out. He is tentatively expected to be back for this game but in his absence, the rushing actually improved. Pierre Thomas is getting an ever-shrinking portion of the work now while Chris Ivory is running 8 to 10 times per game and scored twice in the last three weeks. Mark Ingram has back-to-back games with exactly 67 rushing yards and he scored on a 27-yard run in Oakland. Ingram looks like he is running with more speed and power for some reason. It all mixes in and helped the Saints on their three game winning streak.

No changes here to the trio of receivers with Marques Colston, Lance Moore and Jimmy Graham accounting for nearly all the passing yardage and scores. Graham scored in each of the last four games and totals nine touchdowns on the year. He caught five passes for 103 yards and two scores in the last meeting with the 49ers.

The 49ers are bringing one of the NFL's best defenses to town this week but they had just as good last January when the Saints were able to post 462 pass yards. This should be a downturn for the rushers and the return of Sproles means that four guys will be in play in the backfield. No matter the defense, the Saints passing game remains a must play set of players.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 1 4 9 4 30 20
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 2 1 11 4 2 10

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Drew Brees, NO @TB 0000030031 ***
Shake off last week's dismal game. Don't count on an explosion from Brees versus the Bucs, whose defense is playing well over the last five weeks. This is fantasy's 15th best matchup, so almost perfectly neutral. This is the first meeting between these teams in 2016.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO @TB 4003301000 ***
Ingram is the only playable back in New Orleans, and that is if you plug your nose. The Buccaneers have given up only one score on the last 99 rushing attempts faced, plus one receiving score on 18 grabs, helping rate this as the fourth hardest matchup.

Update: The veteran back is a likely game-time decision after being limited all week with toe and knee injuries.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tim Hightower, NO @TB 2003200000 *
Hightower doesn't have much upside, and the matchup is daunting. Tampa Bay has been the fourth hardest against backs over the past five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Travaris Cadet, NO @TB 004200000 *
Cadet is not a fantasy-worthy commodity in any format.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Thomas, NO @TB 005601000 ***
A foot injury hobbled Thomas in Wednesday's practice. Check his status Friday to be safe, but it doesn't sound serious. The Buccaneers present a low-end matchup that can give fantasy gamers some reason to pause, but the position has scored once every 10.4 grabs, so there is hope.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NO @TB 007700000 ***
Tampa Bay is on fire entering this one and has been an interesting defense of wideouts along the way. Overall, it's the sixth worst in PPR, but the position has given up a touchdown a game over the last five, which translates to one every 10.4 catches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Willie Snead IV, NO @TB 005400000 ***
Michael Thomas showed up with a sore foot Wednesday, which opens the door for Snead to have a larger role. Stay tuned. The matchup is a mixed bag, but receivers have scored once per game since Week 8 against the Bucs.

Update: Thomas is a game-time decision after being listed as questionable following Friday's limited practice session. Snead should see an increase in targets.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, NO @TB 005601000 ***
The Bucs have given up the sixth highest yardage average per game (69.4) but only two touchdowns on the last 27 catches, which is 18th. There is appeal here, since Tampa will be busy on the outside against a capable trio of receivers.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Wil Lutz, NO @TB 1033 ***
Kickers have averaged the fourth fewest kicking chances against the Bucs over the last five weeks. The position has made six of seven field goals and 10 extra points in that span.

WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

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