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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

Prediction: SF 27, STL 13 (LINE: SF by 7)

Players Updated: David Akers, Danny Amendola

Players to Watch: Brandon Jacobs

This is a replay of week 10 when these teams combined for the only tie in the last five years. The Rams have won this matchup only once in the last five years and was the favored team in 2010.

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 31-21
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 @ STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Colin Kaepernick 40,1 240,1
RB Frank Gore 80,1 1-10
WR Anquan Boldin 7-70
WR Michael Crabtree 4-60,1
WR Steve Johnson 6-90,1
WR Brandon Lloyd 5-60
TE Vernon Davis 3-40
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The 49ers were held to a tie in week ten but have been on a mission in the last two weeks scoring over 30 points in each while the defense has been back to its dominating ways. The 49ers are still the current #2 seed in the NFC but there is nothing easy about the final schedule. The way they are playing now mean it may not matter - the change in quarterback appears to have added a new element that the offense needed.

HC Jim Harbaugh says he is going to name a starting quarterback mid-week instead of waiting to tab Colin Kaepernick last Saturday as everyone expected. The problem here is that you can replace Alex Smith with Kaepernick and get something more, something additional since he has a bigger arm and can run as well. But you cannot replace Kaepernick with Smith because there is nothing that he does that is any better other than maybe manage the end of a game. So - my take is that Kaepernick has to start as he is the best weapon for the 49ers. But if he doesn't, that could set the stage for a change in quarterbacks during the game if the 49ers are struggling at all on offense.

The 49ers also placed Kendall Hunter on injured reserve with a torn Achilles. That should open the door for Brandon Jacobs to try on his 49ers jersey finally. Hunter was only being used for four to six runs per game and had minor impact on the offense, so this is not like a chance to see Jacobs suddenly getting 20 carries in a game. LaMichael James might get called up as well. More will be known later in the week but Frank Gore will remain the primary runner anyway. Now if Gore gets hurt...

Kyle Williams has also been lost for the season with a torn ACL and that means the 49ers first round pick of A.J. Jenkins at least gets to be active in games. Williams was only the little-used #4 in the offense and Jenkins will do well enough to catch a few passes before the season ends.

The previous game against the Rams was when Smith was knocked out of the game and Kaepernick finally got some real playing time. They combined for 189 yards and one passing score with a second touchdown rushed in by Kaepernick. The Rams at home should be better against the pass but these are divisional rivals and the 49ers have a point to make. Gore rushed for 97 yards and one score in that game while Michael Crabtree led all receivers with his 70 yards and a score on five catches. Vernon Davis was held to only 30 yards on four catches in that game.

Davis is publicly expressing a desire to go back to Smith over Kaepernick. Davis showed up the Bears with six catches for 83 yards and one score in week 11 but then was specifically targeted by the Saints last week who held him to only one pass and no catches .

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 12 9 25 5 11 12
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 16 21 10 18 17 14

  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.

St. Louis Rams
Homefield: Edward Jones Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DET 23-27 10 @SF 24-24
2 WAS 31-28 11 NYJ 13-27
3 @CHI 6-23 12 @ARI 31-17
4 SEA 19-13 13 SF -----
5 ARI 17-3 14 @BUF -----
6 @MIA 14-17 15 MIN -----
7 GB 20-30 16 @TB -----
8 NE 7-45 17 @SEA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
STL vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 190,1
WR Kenny Britt 3-40
TE Jared Cook 1-20,1
TE Lance Kendricks 3-40
PK Greg Zuerlein 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Rams have been better this year if only on defense and yet the tied game in San Francisco has to be considered a trap of sorts since they were crushed in the three previous games and the one right afterwards. With three road games left and this home game against the 49ers, the 4-6-1 Rams are a lock for a losing record this year but at least have something to grow on for HC Jeff Fisher's second season.

There were two main reasons why the Rams did so well in San Francisco. First was that Danny Amendola had been out for five games and returned that week to post 11 catches for 102 yards against a defense that clearly did not think he was going to be such a big factor. Secondly, Steven Jackson rushed for 101 yards and one score in that game. He had never gained more than 76 yards in any game previous this year and had scored just once.

Jackson has continued to shine later in the year with a season best 139 yards in Arizona and 81 yards against the Jets in week 11.

Amendola has been hampered by a foot injury that prevented him from practicing last week but he still played enough to get one catch for 38 yards and then stick around for a handful of plays as a decoy in Arizona. HC Jeff Fisher said there is a chance that Amendola may practice this week which sounds like he will play some role, but how limited he may be will be the question and he may end up as a decoy yet again. At least the 49ers should see him coming this time.

Brian Quick also scored in that first meeting though it was on his only catch in the game and he only has seven receptions all year. Brandon Gibson was held to 47 yards in that game. Austin Pettis also scored but only gained 15 yards on three catches.

Normally a home version of a divisional matchup is better but in this case the Rams had a great game in week 10 while the 49ers had a rare bad one. That will get rectified here and the Rams really will face a top 5 defense against all positions. Jackson is the only apparently good play here and that relies on him continuing his unexplained late season surge. Amendola may be a decent start but needs to get practices in this week to feel comfortable about starting him.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 24 27 11 29 23 20
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 2 2 4 5 1 8

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Shaun Hill, STL @SD 0000021011 ****
The Chargers haven't allowed a visiting QB to throw multiple touchdowns against them since Russell Wilson turned the trick back in Week 2. And Hill has just one TD on the year, so he's an unlikely candidate to snap that string.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tre Mason, STL @SD 7011100000 ***
The Chargers haven't allowed much on the ground; then again, only two opposing backs have had at least 20 carries against them, and both topped 95 yards. So if Mason gets a workload similar to last week he should be a fantasy factor.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Benny Cunningham, STL @SD 1003301000 **
Cunningham clings to value as a change of pace back to Tre Mason. He's been seeing more work as a receiver of late, and there's some fantasy value there against a defense that's allowed the second-most RB receiving TDs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Britt, STL @SD 003400000 ***
Britt has scored in two of the last three, had a monster game with Shaun Hill at the helm... and has just about sucked enough people into believing he's finally tapped into his vast potential that it's time for him to vanish once again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL @SD 1002100000 ***
Eventually the Rams will figure out how to use Austin. Keep repeating that, and click your heels together three times and it just might come true.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL @SD 002200000 **
It's a tough matchup against a Chargers defense that's allowed only two TE TDs all year--especially when Cook often times cedes red zone looks to Lance Kendricks. You can find a more reliable fantasy option elsewhere.
Update: Cook is listed as questionable and practiced only on a limited basis this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL @SD 0022 ***
Legatron is coming off a five-FG game, his first notable fantasy outing in two months. A repeat is unlikely on the road, where he has two field goals in his last four games.

WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

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