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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

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 NYJ 20000029021 ****
Tannehill threw for 331 & 2 in last month's meeting with the Jets, and with a playoff berth on the line he's expected to bounce back form the injury (and ineptitude) that knocked him out of last week's embarrassing shutout loss in Buffalo.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Knowshon Moreno, MIA NYJ 5004400000 ***
Three Broncos backs combined for 166 yards and a score in the earlier meeting with Oakland. Expect something similar this time around, with maybe a lighter load for Moreno as Denver rests him for the postseason. Still, his share of the work against an Oakland defense that's allowed 796 RB yards from scrimmage and 11 RB TDs the past month should be more than enough for him to be a fantasy helper.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Daniel Thomas, MIA NYJ 201000000 **
Thomas missed the earlier meeting with the Jets, but has two TDs and a 100-yard rushing game since. Assuming the Dolphins can shake off whatever ailed them in last week's embarrassing shutout loss to the Bills, Thomas should find room to rumble against a Jets defense that's allowed RB TDs in three straight, with two backs topping 150 combo yards in that span. UPDATE: Thomas is listed as questionable and was limited in practice Thursday and Friday. That likely reduces the share of carries he swipes from Lamar Miller.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, MIA NYJ 5002200000 ***
After being a stout run D most of the season the Jets have given up RB TDs in each of the past three games. Just prior to that streak starting, Miller produced 85 yards from scrimmage against the Jets in Week 13. He hasn't done much since, while Daniel Thomas has scored twice and had a 100-yard rushing game. But seeing the likes of Edwin Baker get to the end zone against the Jets at least provides hope Miller can do the same.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, MIA NYJ 007901000 ****
Wallace and Brian Hartline both scored in the earlier matchup with the Jets; both saw double-digit targets last week; and both have scored once in the three games since the last Dolphins/Jets game. With the Dolphins still clinging to a slim playoff chance, both are definitely in play against Gang Green this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brian Hartline, MIA NYJ 005600000 ***
Hartline and Mike Wallace both scored in the earlier matchup with the Jets; both saw double-digit targets last week; and both have scored once in the three games since the last Dolphins/Jets game. With the Dolphins still clinging to a slim playoff chance, both are definitely in play against Gang Green this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rishard Matthews, MIA NYJ 003200000 ***
Sometimes a third receiver emerges behind Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace. It used to be Brandon Gibson, now it's Matthews, and in most cases it's a desperation fantasy play at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Charles Clay, MIA NYJ 006801000 ***
The Jets have been better against tight ends the second half of the season, but they've still surrendered two 80-yard games and a touchdown to the position over the past month. Clay hit the 80 mark on them in the earlier meeting, and with the Dolphins playing for their postseason lives he's as good a bet as any to be an offensive contributor.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Caleb Sturgis, MIA NYJ 1133 ****
Sturgis has double digits in three of his last four, including three weeks back against the Jets. At home, needing a win for a hope at a playoff spot, Sturgis should have ample opportunity to get his kicks.

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 @ARI 20000020021 ****
From a fantasy perspective Kaepernick has largely disappointed since his 412 & 3 back in Week 1. He did throw for 252 & 2 against Arizona earlier this year, but he has just one game with multiple touchdown passes in the past month and hasn't topped 275 passing yards since Week 1 so he's no lock for fantasy success here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Frank Gore, SF @ARI 500000000 ***
The Cardinals have allowed just two RB TDs in Arizona and just five running back scores on the season. Gore owns the only 100-yard effort the Cards have given up, but Kendall Hunter swiped the TD when these clubs met back in Week 6. Frank hasn't scored on the road since Week 8 in Jacksonville, but if he sees the same 20-plus carries he's received each of the past two games he's a decent bet for fantasy productivity even given the tough matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Anquan Boldin, SF @ARI 005601000 ***
Boldin scored last week, and he continues to be just as targeted as Michael Crabtree. Between a stout Arizona secondary that hasn't allowed a WR TD since Week 10 and a run-first 49ers offense there's not a ton of upside here, but both wideouts are still solid bets to be at minimum fantasy helpers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Crabtree, SF @ARI 003400000 ***
Arizona hasn't allowed a WR TD since Week 10; then again, they haven't had to face Crabtree yet, and he scored four times in the two-game series last year. Coming off a 102-yard outing, Crabtree is a solid bet to pace the San Francisco passing game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vernon Davis, SF @ARI 006801000 *****
The last time Davis saw the Cardinals he torched them for 8-180-2. Last week he broke hearts by pitching a shutout on Monday night, but this matchup with the most TE-friendly defense in the league should help him regain at least some of his street cred.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, SF @ARI 2222 ***
Dawson had a dozen in the earlier meeting with Arizona and has double-digit points in four straight. No reason he won't get his kick on once again this week.

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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