FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

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
WR Larry Fitzgerald 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 Drew Stanton, ARI @SEA 10000022012 ***
Remember how we were talking about the demise of the Seahawks' defense earlier this season? Well, they've held five straight quarterbacks under 20 fantasy points. Stanton isn't such a step up in class over Davis, Newton, Carr, Eli and Smith that he should be expected to snap that trend.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, ARI @SEA 4005500000 ****
Yes, Jamaal Charles carved up the Seahawks last week and yes, Ellington has drawn comparisons to Charles. Let's just nip that in the bud right now and look for something similar to the 60 rushing yards he posted against Seattle last year and mix in 20-some receiving yards as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI @SEA 005600000 ***
You beat the Seahawks' secondary by throwing deep at them, and odds are Brown is the target of choice. Not that you should go out of your way to start a receiver against Seattle, but if you do...
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI @SEA 004500000 ***
Wildly inconsistent, Floyd does fit the model of receivers who have success against Seattle in that he can get deep; in fact, he scored the last time these clubs met. But he's bound to draw plenty of defensive attention, to the point that John Brown may be the better fantasy deep threat this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @SEA 00000000 *
Fitz has exactly two games of fantasy note against the Seahawks so far this decade. He's banged up, with a back-up quarterback, and hopefully you have a better option this week.
Update: Fitz did not practice all week and is listed as questionable. It's a tough enough road matchup as is; add in the injury and Fitz is a monumental fantasy risk this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE John Carlson, ARI @SEA 003201000 **
The matchup says tight ends are in play against Seattle, but they've shut down Larry Donnell and Travis Kelce the past two weeks so another positive blip from Carlson is hardly a sure thing.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI @SEA 2211 ***
It's been a while since Catanzaro provided double-digit points, and Seattle is certainly not the venue to expect him to right that ship. Wouldn't be a bad week to find another fantasy option.

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
RB Frank Gore 60 1-10
WR Anquan Boldin 7-80
WR Michael Crabtree 5-70,1
WR Steve Johnson 6-70,1
TE Vernon Davis 2-20
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 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.

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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