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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 Adrian Peterson 120,1 5-30
WR Larry Fitzgerald 5-50
TE Jermaine Gresham 5-50
PK Phil Dawson 1 FG

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 @LAR 0000024011 **
First of all, trips to London can be tricky for fantasy purposes. Palmer faces a decidedly neutral opponent in the Rams. Quarterbacks have averaged pedestrian figures of 240.4 yards and a TD every 13.5 completions.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Adrian Peterson, ARI @LAR 8011100000 **
Peterson gets a chance to reprise his explosive Week 6 debut with fantasy's best matchup in the Rams. It is in London, so beware. Those games are always tricky to project. The Rams have allowed the most offensive yards and fourth-most rushing yards per game, in addition to giving up rushing TDs at the second-highest frequency (one per 22.2 carries).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, ARI @LAR 1002200000 *
Ellington, dealing with a quad issue, was quiet in Week 6 as Adrian Peterson exploded. The Rams have given up the most fantasy points per game to running backs in PPR, including the eighth-highest average.

Update: Ellington hasn't practiced in full all week and is no better than a flimsy game-time call, despite Bruce Arians suggesting the rusher would play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI @LAR 003401000 ***
LA has given up rather low figures to wideouts. This is the 21st-best opponent for logging catches, 14th for generating yardage, but 24th for yardage.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @LAR 006700000 **
Fitz was good for 11.3 PPR points in Week 4 last year and then 15.3 in the season finale versus the Rams. This year, LA has permitted receivers to score only three times in the last 51 catches, or once per 18 balls.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jaron Brown, ARI @LAR 004400000 ***
On a per-game basis, Brown is a WR3 so far. The Rams give him a fairly stiff matchup. The position has scored three times in the last five games, or once per 18 grabs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jermaine Gresham, ARI @LAR 002200000 ***
The matchup isn't better than average, and Gresham is well below being there in his own right. Avoid him in all formats.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, ARI @LAR 3322 ***
Kickers have made nine of 12 field goals against the Niners, splitting the uprights on 12 of 13 TD-cappers. This is a neutral 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 Brian Hoyer 180
WR Pierre Garcon 7-90,1
TE Logan Paulsen 2-20

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 C.J. Beathard, SF DAL 20000024021 *
Beathard posted 17.7 fantasy points in his three-plus quarters of play last week. The Cowboys are coming off of a bye week, yet this is a defense that allowed 11 TDs to only one interception in the previous four games. The position has averaged 258 yards and a score every 8.3 completions, which is the highest frequency in football.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Carlos Hyde, SF DAL 6013200000 ***
Hyde faces Dallas' seventh-softest defense against running backs -- a figure that jumps to fifth in non-PPR. Scoring TDs on the ground hasn't been easy, but this is the seventh-easiest for exploiting combined TDs and racking up offensive gains (169.3/game).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Breida, SF DAL 3002200000 ***
RBs haven't done well at scoring on the ground or catching passes. Otherwise, this is a pretty darn good matchup for gamers looking to take a shot in the dark.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Pierre Garcon, SF DAL 007601000 ***
Every 6.6 catches against Dallas results in a WR touchdown, on average. The position has managed 13.3 receptions (5th) and 142.8 yards (16th) per outing vs. the 'Boys, helping make this the third-worst defense of receivers in both scoring formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Aldrick Robinson, SF DAL 003401000 *
Robinson has nine catches for 153 yards and a touchdown on the year. Consider this projection a coin flip.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marquise Goodwin, SF DAL 002300000 ***
Dallas has given up the third-most points per game in fantasy, and it also rates as the third-easiest team for giving up touchdowns. One of every 6.6 catches has went into the end zone.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE George Kittle, SF DAL 004500000 ***
This is a decidedly even matchup rating for Kittle. The position has scored one time on the last 18 receptions against. Dallas, returning from a bye, faces a rookie quarterback making his first pro start.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, SF DAL 1133 ***
Kickers have missed two extra points and another two field goals, finishing with nine three-pointers made and 12 good XPs. Dallas offers the third-best matchup in Week 7.

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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