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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

Prediction: ARI 3, SF 24 (Line: SF by 16.5)

Players to Watch: Brian Hoyer, Randy Moss

The loss in Seattle last week means that the 49ers have to win this week (or Seattle lose) in order to secure the NFC West title. A loss would mean just a wildcard. The 5-10 Cardinals are only 1-6 on the road and lost to the 49ers 3-24 in Arizona back in week eight.

Arizona Cardinals
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SEA 20-16 10 BYE -----
2 @NE 20-18 11 @ATL 19-23
3 PHI 27-6 12 STL 17-31
4 MIA 24-21 13 @NYJ 6-7
5 @STL 3-17 14 @SEA 0-58
6 BUF 16-19 15 DET 38-10
7 @MIN 14-21 16 CHI 13-28
8 SF 3-24 17 @SF -----
9 @GB 17-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Chris Johnson 110,1 1-10
WR Larry Fitzgerald 5-50
TE Jermaine Gresham 5-50

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals wind down a disastrous season with nothing accomplished and yet no hot rumors that Ken Whisenhunt is about to get fired despite the 5-10 mark. The defense was actually better than average here and that was amazing considering how little the offense did anything to help the defense. The NFL draft in April needs to be used for primarily offensive positions with so many needs and we'll see a very new team take the field in 2013.

Beanie Wells was benched last week and even he openly admits he won't likely be back with the team next year. Problem for him is that he is not likely to get anything more than a backup gig somewhere else. He's only 25 next year but has been in the league for four inglorious seasons and only averaged a paltry 2.7 YPC this year while continuing to show how brittle the big back is. He's really not suited for much more than goal line duty and his days of "being the man" are over.

The Cardinals expect Ryan Williams back next year though he remains on injured reserve because of his shoulder. There is also a good chance that La 'Rod Stephens-Howling leaves in free agency which loses not only a good change-of-pace back but also a valuable special teams returner. He and William Powell will likely get the most carries this week unless they want to run Wells for some reason. None of the runners have any fantasy value this week anyway in San Francisco.

Rob Housler will miss the final game because of a shoulder injury in Sunday's loss to the Bears. He finishes the year as the best tight end for the Cardinals who were able to go all sixteen games and yet never once throw a touchdown to any one in the position.

The one accomplishment of the entire season was that Ryan Lindley has buried the NFL record for most passes thrown without a touchdown, now up to 158 passes on the year. He was benched for Brian Hoyer last week now that the ex-Steelers practice squad quarterback has been with the Cardinals for two whole weeks. The Cardinals have not thrown a touchdown pass now for six straight games.

Larry Fitzgerald finally had his first decent game in six weeks when he ended with 111 yards on eight catches against the Bears last week. It was a small spark in an otherwise cold season.

Playing in Fan Francisco, none of these players are recommended starts.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 31 32 26 30 28 7
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 7 4 4 16 2 11

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Carson Palmer, ARI @BUF 0000030020 ***
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for a lot of yards (374) but only one touchdown. There is no reason Palmer cannot push for 300 yards and three TD passes, but Buffalo will play better overall defense than last week. You don't get that embarrassed, fire your OC (logical, right?) and not play better on D. Only 13 teams have been stronger vs. fantasy quarterbacks so far this year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB David Johnson, ARI @BUF 6014500000 ***
Matt Forte scored thrice against this defense in Week 2, and Johnson (a similar back) has all the upside in the world as he takes a crack at the Bills. As usual, start him with confidence.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @BUF 007801000 ***
Never sit your studs. Fitz is the primary option in the passing game and has a refined level of chemistry with Carson Palmer. The Bills are the second best matchup for PPR wideouts, if you needed more convincing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI @BUF 005801000 ***
Buffalo has given up an AVERAGE of 49.9 fantasy points per game to the position through two weeks. Denver, Seattle and Carolina have not given up more than 47 TOTAL points in that time. Floyd is usually the second or third read most plays and has the ability to get loose for a big play at any time. WR3 for safety, WR1 upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI @BUF 002300000 ***
Brown hasn't enjoyed much success yet in 2016, and he'll be the benefit of matchups that stifle Larry Fitzgerald. This won't be one of them. Buffalo allowed two 100-yard receivers last week (and nearly a third).
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI @BUF 2233 ***
Kickers have been a perfect 5-for-5 from both XPA and FGA ranges, making this the fifth easiest matchup.

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 27-13
6 NYG 3-26 15 @NE 41-34
7 SEA 13-6 16 @SEA 13-42
8 @ARI 24-3 17 ARI -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SF vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Colin Kaepernick 40,1 220,2
QB Thad Lewis 140
QB Christian Ponder 20 190
RB DuJuan Harris 30 3-20
WR Jeremy Kerley 3-40
WR Torrey Smith 5-70,1
WR Rod Streater 4-30
PK Phil Dawson 1 FG

Pregame Notes: After spending much of the season as one of the teams to beat, the 49ers were just that - beaten. And by teams in their own division. Two of the last four games were losses to the Rams and Seahawks and now the 49ers are hobbling into the playoffs instead being in the drivers seat. Their biggest problem has been road games and now they'll get only one home venue for the first round and then be away for how long they last.

Last week was a hurtful one besides losing to the Seahawks. Mario Manningham tore the ACL and PCL in his left knee when a defender tackled him low. Now Randy Moss steps up into the #2 role but he's never had more than three catches since the season opener. He may not physically hold up to that much work. Vernon Davis also suffered a concussion last week but it was considered mild and the team is very optimistic that he'll pass all baselines and be in this final game. With Manningham out, using Davis more makes great sense but defenses have learned that taking the tight end out of the passing scheme has really worked well against the 49ers.

Frank Gore comes off his worst game of the year with just 28 yards on six runs in Seattle and he only managed 55 yards on 16 runs in Arizona during week eight. Gore has not gained more than 85 yards for the last six weeks and the problem this week is that the 49ers should be able to win this game with ease so resting Gore would make sense since the 49ers are not getting any bye week in the first round. LaMichael James still has not rushed for more than 31 yards in a game or scored after three weeks of being active.

The 49ers have to win this game so they are not going to be sitting or resting anyone. But were they able to get an early and significant lead, chances are that Gore and maybe Moss would be given less work if not eventually pulled from the game later on. Michael Crabtree hauled in five catches for 72 yards and two scores in Arizona earlier and is the best bet in this game as well. This should be a place where the 49ers work Vernon Davis into the equation more though he only had 34 yards on two catches in the previous matchup.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 11 14 24 6 9 16
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 2 19 10 13 13 32

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Blaine Gabbert, SF @SEA 20000018012 ***
In Seattle, no thanks. Anywhere, really, but even more so here. Gabbert shouldn't be owned.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Carlos Hyde, SF @SEA 4003200000 **
Only two other teams have been stiffer competition for running backs in fantasy. Seattle, at home, should hold Hyde in check. Play him only if you have no other choices because of the recent rash of injuries at the position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shaun Draughn, SF @SEA 2003200000 ***
Running backs haven't found the end zone yet against Seattle, the third toughest matchup for the position. Sit Draughn in all leagues.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Kerley, SF @SEA 004400000 ***
Denver is the only team to have a stronger ranking against wideouts this season. Kerley may catch several balls, but the 'Hawks haven't allowed any touchdowns to the position yet.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, SF @SEA 003400000 ***
Smith as 16 targets this year and only five grabs. Yikes. Maybe he gets lucky and finds the end zone again, like he did on one of his three catches last week (10 targets). DFS only.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Quinton Patton, SF @SEA 002200000 ***
Why? He isn't producing enough to matter, and Seattle is thoroughly dominant against fantasy receivers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vance McDonald, SF @SEA 002201000 **
McDonald is probably best left for DFS, but if you have to play him against the No. 4 defense of tights (only six catches allowed), the Rice produce has shown he can produce with limited targets, like last week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, SF @SEA 2211 ***
How many points do you realistically expect San Francisco to score in this one?

WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

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