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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 14
2012
DEN at OAK (THU) *CHI at MIN MIA at SF SD at PIT
*ARI at SEA *DAL at CIN *NO at NYG *STL at BUF
*ATL at CAR *DET at GB NYJ at JAC *TEN at IND
*Updated BAL at WAS KC at CLE PHI at TB HOU at NE (MON)

Prediction: MIA 10, SF 27 Line: (SF by 10)

Players to Watch: Colin Kaepernick

The 5-7 Dolphins are back in the AFC East cellar along with every other non-Tom Brady team. The Fins are just 2-4 on the road and travel to face the 8-3-1 49ers coming off their loss in St. Louis. The 49ers are 4-1-1 at home.

Miami Dolphins
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @HOU 10-30 10 TEN 3-37
2 OAK 35-13 11 @BUF 14-19
3 NYJ 20-23 12 SEA 24-21
4 @ARI 21-24 13 NE 16-23
5 @CIN 17-13 14 @SF -----
6 STL 17-14 15 JAC -----
7 BYE ----- 16 BUF -----
8 @NYJ 30-9 17 @NE -----
9 @IND 20-23 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIA @ SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Tannehill 10 220,1
RB Knowshon Moreno 70,1 5-30
RB Daniel Thomas 40
WR Brian Hartline 5-70
WR Mike Wallace 4-70,1
TE Charles Clay 4-50,1

Pregame Notes: One more win to equal 2011 and two more to make HC Joe Philbin's first season better than the last one for the Fins. But with road trips to San Francisco and New England left to play, a .500 season is still out of reach realistically. The progress made with the offense has not been great and Reggie Bush is in his final year and may not be resigned.

Ryan Tannehill may have been Mike Sherman's quarterback at Texas A&M where he threw 29 touchdowns but in the NFL he's only been good enough to toss seven scores over 12 games. He failed to throw any touchdowns in six different matchups. This has been a bottom two passing offense all year and has not improved or shown any player development. The fact that Brian Hartline once caught 12 passes for 253 yards boggles the mind compared to everything else that has happened.

Hartline remains the top wideout here but he still has just the one touchdown in his big game and tends to disappear against a good defense. Davone Bess also has one touchdown this entire season and rarely every tops 50 yards. Anthony Fasano is the leading scorer among receivers since he caught three touchdowns and yet even he has declined to where he has only one catch per game since week six.

This is a running back offense even though they do not actually have a really good one. Daniel Thomas is making the case for more playing time next year, especially if Reggie Bush leaves. But even Thomas only scored four times this year and in most games remains well under 40 yards. An inability to pass well coupled with a rushing attack comprised of a couple of average runners is not a good equation for playing in San Francisco this week.

If the Fins can score any touchdowns it will be a success. Home games against the Bills and Jaguars the following two weeks will allow some minor value for Reggie Bush and perhaps Daniel Thomas but otherwise this team is devoid of any fantasy value and doesn't even make many turnovers to at least allow opposing defenses to score points.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 31 4 31 32 31 25
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 2 2 4 6 1 8

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ryan Tannehill, MIA MIN 0000022010 ***
Tannehill has just two passing scores in his last three games, and the Vikings are no pushovers themselves having held Matthew Stafford and Cam Newton to one TD apiece. Moreover, after running more earlier in the season Tannehill hasn't topped 21 rushing yards since Week 10 so he's not augmenting his passing numbers. It adds up to what looks like a pedestrian outing for Tannehill; no fantasy help here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, MIA MIN 7011100000 ***
Miller continues to clock in with a steady dose of 12-15 carries per game, but he's regularly churning out just 50-60 yards with those carries--and he has just one TD in his last six games. The Vikings have held running backs out of the end zone in three straight, though they've allowed four backs to top 50 yards in that span. If you've enjoyed what you've been getting from Miller, this should be no different; odds are you want a little more in championship week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, MIA MIN 005501000 ***
Both Miami receivers have speed, which the Vikings have struggled to defend this season. Both warrant fantasy starts based on performance, targets, and matchups. But Minnesota is far from a walkover, so don't look for big numbers; more like, just enough.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA MIN 004700000 ***
If you consider Landry the WR2 to Mike Wallace he may actually be in a better position to score here: over the past three games it's been the WR1s with the yardage, but in two of the three games the touchdowns have gone to secondary targets like Philly Brown and Golden Tate. Does that make Landry a more likely touchdown candidate? Perhaps. Either way he's a decent fantasy start, but Ryan Tannehill's totals limit the upside of any member of the Miami passing game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Charles Clay, MIA MIN 005500000 ***
Used to be the Vikings were suckers for tight ends; under Mike Zimmer they've given up just three TDs all season. They have allowed some yardage of late, however, so the frequently targeted Clay at least remains on the fantasy radar.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Caleb Sturgis, MIA MIN 2222 ***
Sturgis has multiple treys in three straight and eight of the last nine; if his offense would get him some PAT opportunities as well he'd have more double-digit points outings to show for it. He should stay hot in the field goal department against a Vikings defense that's given up 10 treys in the past three games, but expect the lack of PATs to continue against Minnesota, as they've allowed only three TDs in the past three games.

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 13-16
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 vs MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Colin Kaepernick 40,1 240,1
RB Frank Gore 100,1 3-20
WR Anquan Boldin 5-60
WR Michael Crabtree 5-80,1
WR Steve Johnson 6-80
WR Brandon Lloyd 5-70,1
TE Vernon Davis 5-60
PK Phil Dawson 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Apparently the 49ers have a new nemesis after losing in overtime to the Rams who tied them in San Francisco only three weeks prior. The 49ers still have a half-game lead for the #2 seed but will be tested with road games left to play in New England and Seattle. The 49ers need every win they can get and coming off a loss should ensure that they don't take it too easy on the visiting Fins.

Colin Kaepernick remains the starting quarterback but he comes off his first scoreless game with only 208 passing yards. But he also added nine runs for 84 yards. If David Akers could still hit a 51-yard field goal, Kaepernick would have been 3-0 as a starter. The 49ers are willing to let him continue to develop to the great displeasure of Alex Smith who is now the subject of speculation that he may be traded in the offseason. Fortunately for Kaepernick, he has a meeting with the Patriots that should make him look like a good passer in week 15.

Kendall Hunter is gone but Brandon Jacobs was hardly much of a replacement running just four times to gain six yards. And Frank Gore was used as the goal line back so the Jacobs experiment is not going all that well. There is talk that they won't make LaMichael James inactive this week though there is still a concern about how good he can be in this offense. James is actually better suited to a wide open offense with a big-time passing attack. Not a power rushing scheme that now has a quarterback who takes plenty of rushing attempts as well.

Vernon Davis was happy with Kaepernick was throwing his six completions for 83 yards and one score against the Bears. Now two weeks later with only two catches to show, Davis is back to grumbling and is unhappy with his much reduced role. Davis had no catches in week 12 in New Orleans and then was thrown just three passes in St. Louis.

Mario Manningham injured his shoulder last week and no word has been given about his status but he has no real fantasy value anyway and only Michael Crabtree can be relied on for any decent fantasy points. He's coming off his second 100 yard game of the year and is the most targeted receiver by Kaepernick.

This week won't take a lot of points to win. And the rushing effort is likely to be held in check at least a bit and allow Kaepernick a home game against a below average defense. The 49ers defense meshes very well against what the Fins are bringing and that should mean not much passing will be needed this week.

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 MIA 19 5 18 13 23 24

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Colin Kaepernick, SF SD 40000023020 ***
Kaepernick's last fantasy game of note came in Week 6; in eight subsequent games he's failed to throw multiple touchdowns, topped 240 passing yards only twice (topping out at 263) and rushed for more than 26 yards once. Nothing in that stat line suggests he warrants fantasy consideration here
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Frank Gore, SF SD 6004300000 ***
Update: Gore practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday as he works his way back from a concussion, but the Niners expect him to go on Sunday. He hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire anyway, so unless someone planted a hypnotic suggestion that he's Eric Dickerson you'll be better served finding fantasy help elsewhere.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bruce Miller, SF SD 1002200000 *
With Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde both iffy at best this week the backfield load falls on Miller and Alfonso Smith--who combined for 10 yards on six carries last week. At least Miller produced a little something as a receiver with four catches for 56 yards, so if you're in a PPR league and desperate for backfield help he's your guy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Anquan Boldin, SF SD 006801000 **
It's been a month since a 49ers wideout produced a fantasy helper, and the way Colin Kaepernick is playing further fantasy help is far from imminent from the San Francisco passing attack. If you must start one Boldin has the most recent touchdown and 100 yard game, but even he would be a stretch at this juncture.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Crabtree, SF SD 004501000 **
The Niners haven't produced a fantasy helper in quite some time, and the Chargers have been allowing only one fantasy helper per game. If that's the case, Crabtree falls behind Anquan Boldin in the passing game pecking order, though neither has a tremendous shot at a productive fantasy outing.
Update: Crabtree is listed as questionable with a knee injury. He practiced only on a limited basis this week, and there's not enough upside to offset this risk.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Johnson, SF SD 003300000 ***
A Colin Kaepernick-led passing game barely goes two-deep; three deep seems like a wish upon a star.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vernon Davis, SF SD 002200000 *****
Remember when Vernon Davis used to be good? And... fantasy relevant? It's all a bit hazy at this point.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, SF SD 1122 ***
The Bolts have given up double-digit kicker points in three straight, four of six, and five of the last eight games. So we're sayin' there's a chance... likely torpedoed by Colin Kaepernick's quarterback play.

WEEK 14
2012
DEN at OAK (THU) *CHI at MIN MIA at SF SD at PIT
*ARI at SEA *DAL at CIN *NO at NYG *STL at BUF
*ATL at CAR *DET at GB NYJ at JAC *TEN at IND
*Updated BAL at WAS KC at CLE PHI at TB HOU at NE (MON)

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