FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 6 NYG at CHI (THU) DET at CLE OAK at KC TEN at SEA
ARI at SF GB at BAL PIT at NYJ WAS at DAL
CAR at MIN JAC at DEN PHI at TB IND at SD (MON)
*UPDATED CIN at BUF NO at NE STL at HOU On Bye: ATL, MIA

Prediction: ARI 10, SF 27 (Line: SF by 11)

Players of Interest: Colin Kaepernick

Update: Larry Fitzgerald is questionable to play because of a hamstring issue but is expected to play. Worse is that this is a different hamstring issue than his original injury and will limit him this week.

This game takes on new importance since both teams are 3-2 and trail the Seahawks by a game. The 49ers are 2-1 at home and won their last two games. The Cards are 1-2 on the road with only a three point win in Tampa Bay. This heavily favors the home field 49ers who swept the Cardinals in 2012. They won 24-3 in Arizona and later 27-13 at home in the season finale.

1 @STL 24-27 10 HOU -
2 DET 25-21 11 @JAC -
3 @NO 7-31 12 IND -
4 @TB 13-10 13 @PHI -
5 CAR 22-6 14 STL -
6 @SF - 15 @TEN -
7 SEA - 16 @SEA -
8 ATL - 17 SF -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ARI @ SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 200,1
RB Andre Ellington 30 4-30
WR Larry Fitzgerald 4-50
WR Michael Floyd 5-50
WR Ted Ginn 4-70

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals are playing better defense but only at home or against bad teams like the Buccaneers. The offense is stuck on mediocre and has yet to score more than two touchdowns in any game. Now that plenty of game film is out on Carson Palmer as a Cardinal, they have only averaged 14 points per game. The win over the Panthers was a nice showing by the defense but these next few weeks will be even bigger tests with the 49ers and then Seahawks.

QUARTERBACKS: The spark that Carson Palmer hoped to bring has yet to materialize. He was great in the season opener against the Rams but since has not passed for more than one score or 250 yards. Worse yet, his five touchdowns go against nine interceptions. The offense remains nothing more than two wideouts and Palmer has yet to really involve anyone else.

RUNNING BACKS: Rashard Mendenhall remains the primary back despite never gaining more than 66 rushing yards in any game. He has scored twice - both in home games - but ranks as one of the least effective backs in the NFL. Conversely, Andre Ellington is a far better runner by comparison. He's averaging 6.7 yards per carry and provides three or four receptions each week. Mendenhall is sporting a 3.2 yard per carry average. But the coaching staff doesn't believe that the 5-9, 200 pound Ellington can hold up to any more of a workload so the mediocre backfield will split up the meager results. Ellington merits consideration as a flex play in a large PPR league but he's so limited in work that he won't be worth more than that.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Marginal passing stats mean even Larry Fitzgerald has suffered and not merely because he once had a hamstring issue. Since the season opener, Fitzgerald only scored once and has not topped 70 yards in a game. A third of the season is gone and he still has no 100 yard games. He's been stuck between six and nine targets per game. Michael Floyd is no better since he has yet to score and is also trapped into roughly 60 yard games. The lack of any credible rushing effort means defenses just concentrate on the two wideouts and it works.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value. Jim Dray caught a touchdown last week but that was the first for the position and all combined this unit has only produced 127 yards over the five games.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Since the season opener, the 49ers have only given up two passing scores and never more than 202 passing yards. They have held wideouts to no scores and never more than 59 yards in the last four games. The 49ers are on a roll lately scoring over 30 points and holding opponents under 12 points. That means the only player here worth a fantasy start is Larry Fitzgerald and purely from his potential. Chances are best he'll turn in yet another marginal game this week. Anything good here is almost certainly late in the fourth quarter of an already decided game.

WHAT TO WATCH: Sadly the offense is stagnating and the only promising part is Ellington who they open admit is productive and yet they are not willing to see how much more work he can handle.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 30 16 22 30 20 11
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 4 25 2 11 5 12

 

1 GB 34-28 10 CAR -
2 @SEA 3-29 11 @NO -
3 IND 7-27 12 @WAS -
4 @STL 35-11 13 STL -
5 HOU 34-3 14 SEA -
6 ARI - 15 @TB -
7 @TEN - 16 ATL -
8 @JAC - 17 @ARI -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SF vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Colin Kaepernick 20 190,1
RB Frank Gore 80,1
WR Anquan Boldin 4-40
WR Steve Johnson
TE Vernon Davis 6-100,1
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: After dropping two bad losses to the Seahawks and Colts, the 49ers made it all better with blowout wins over the Rams and Texans. The Rams are losing to everyone and the Texans are struggling. Then again, the next games against the Cardinals, Titans and Jaguars are going to be against elite teams either. The reality is that the 49ers have already gone through the worst of their schedule aside from playing the Saints and Seahawks later on. These next three weeks should deliver them to their bye in good shape.

QUARTERBACKS: The 49ers are back on a winning track but it doesn't have too much to do with Colin Kaepernick. He only completed six of 15 passes for 113 yards and one score versus the Texans and 64 yards of that came on one touchdown catch and run by Vernon Davis. Since opening the year with a monster 412 yard effort against the Packers, Kaepernick remained below 170 yards in every game, only threw three scores in four games and rushed for no more than 20 yards for the last three weeks. The passing problems persist in San Francisco, but the defense and rush offense has been plenty for the last few weeks.

Kaepernick passed for 276 yards and two scores on the visiting Cardinals last year.

RUNNING BACKS: This is the strength of the offense. Frank Gore topped 100 rushing yards only against the Rams but is churning out the 80 yard efforts and scoring in each win this year. He has no role as a receiver which impacts his fantasy value. Anthony Dixon also scored in the last two games though he only comes in for the goal line work. Kendall Hunter has also been effective rushing but usually is limited to only a handful of carries. Gore remains the only real fantasy play here and he's losing scores to Dixon and some yardage to Hunter. But it all serves the purpose if he can be healthy at the end of the year.

Gore ran for 68 yards and one score in this matchup last year.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This unit remains amazingly barren of any value. Anquan Boldin has only showed up in the season opener and then again when the 49ers clobbered the Rams. Last week he only managed two catches for 21 yards and that isn't even a season low. After five games, all other wideouts for the 49ers have totaled just 13 catches for 108 yards. That is four different wideouts playing in five games. 13 catches.

Mario Manningham could be back in a few weeks and is eligible to start practicing in week seven. The 49ers are hoping that he'll provide some spark to the passing effort but the problem may not be a lack of a wideout. The passing has remained very pedestrian here at best unless Boldin can get open.

TIGHT ENDS: At least Vernon Davis is able to contribute despite his heavy coverage. Davis scored in both of the more recent games but needed that 64 yard catch to roll up any yardage. Davis hasn't caught more than three passes in any game since the opener though. He just scores against weaker defenses.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This should be interesting. The 49ers have been very successful running the ball and yet the Cardinals have not allowed any running back to score this year. None have topped 63 yards and the Cardinals front line has just dominated runners. They are allowing just 3.4 yards per rush. Opponents have much more success throwing the ball where most end up with multiple touchdowns. This matchup has the strength of the defense going against the strength of the 49ers offense. Same for the weaknesses related to passing. Favorable is that both Jared Cook and Jimmy Graham both scored twice and had monster games against this defense. Gore and Davis are strong starts while Kaepernick and Boldin remain more moderate plays.

WHAT TO WATCH: After four weeks, we need to see more passing success by Kaepernick or the softer schedule will suggest this team is much better than it really is. This is the last home game until week ten. The passing game must improve.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 27 6 32 10 26 18
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 19 2 9 29 12 21

WEEK 6 NYG at CHI (THU) DET at CLE OAK at KC TEN at SEA
ARI at SF GB at BAL PIT at NYJ WAS at DAL
CAR at MIN JAC at DEN PHI at TB IND at SD (MON)
*UPDATED CIN at BUF NO at NE STL at HOU On Bye: ATL, MIA


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