FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 7 SEA at ARI (THU) CIN at DET HOU at KC STL at CAR
BUF at MIA DAL at PHI SD at JAC TB at ATL
CHI at WAS DEN at IND SF at TEN MIN at NYG (MON)
*UPDATED BAL at PIT CLE at GB NE at NYJ On Bye: NO, OAK

Prediction: SF 20, TEN 16 (Line: SF by 4.5)

Players of Interest: Colin Kaepernick

Update: Jonathan Baldwin has been held out of practice on Friday because of illness and is not a lock to play. Vernon Davis is probable and has been practicing fully this week. He will play without limitation from his old hamstring issue.

Update #2: Jake Locker is now expected to start against the 49ers.

The 49ers are on a three game winning streak but are only 1-1 on the road (and St. Louis doesn't really count). The 3-3 Titans are 2-1 at home but lost their last two after facing the Chiefs and Seahawks. Bottom line here - the 49ers have to win this sort of game or they'll never challenge for more than a one-and-out in a wildcard game. The Titans struggle against good defenses and Ryan Fitzpatrick does not make anyone forget about Jake Locker.

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 32-20 15 @TB -
7 @TEN - 16 ATL -
8 @JAC - 17 @ARI -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SF @ TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Colin Kaepernick 20 190,1
RB Frank Gore 80 1-10
RB Kendall Hunter 20,1
WR Anquan Boldin 4-50
WR Steve Johnson 4-50
TE Vernon Davis 6-90,1
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The best trend for the 49ers on this current winning streak is that they posted over 30 points in all three games and get scores from all facets of the team. Of course spinning through the Rams, Texans and Cardinals wasn't exactly a tough stretch of the schedule either. This week has to be a win and then a freebie in Jacksonville can send the 49ers onto their bye with a 6-2 record.

QUARTERBACKS: Though Colin Kaepernick is better than when he was not scoring at all, even with the three easy wins he only threw for a total of five touchdowns and so far has yet to pass for more than 167 yards in any road venue. His rushing yardage has all but disappeared with all but one game remaining at 20 yards or less on the ground. Kaepernick's lost most of his fantasy value and his worth for the team has yet to be certain because his two worst games were when facing the good teams of the Seahawks and Colts.

RUNNING BACKS: Frank Gore was on a healthy roll for the last three weeks against weaker teams. He topped 100 rush yards twice and scored two touchdowns but his performances against the Colts and Seahawks are a little more indicative of what to expect this week. His role as a receiver disappeared in week three and Kendall Hunter is used as a goal line back on occasion with three touchdowns in just the last four matchups. His yardage is minimal which precludes him from any fantasy consideration but he takes away scores that could boost Gore's value.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Mario Manningham could practice this week but wouldn't play in this game. The 49ers need to get something from the wideouts. In games where rushing and good defense is not enough, the 49ers will be in trouble since this has become one of the worst units in the league. Anquan Boldin opened the season with 208 yards and one score. That's roughly the total from his last five games. He's not worthy of a fantasy start now but at least he once was. None of the other wideouts have every gained more than 40 yards in any game and most never catch a pass. The 49ers have to hang on until Manningham and Michael Crabtree return.

TIGHT ENDS: Vernon Davis has become nearly the entire passing offense. His eight catches for 180 yards and two scores against the Cardinals was a career best and that gives him six touchdowns on the season. But notable - his only bad game was when he was held to 20 yards by the Seahawks and injured his hamstring in that game. He was out for the Colts matchup so he never really played in the only two really tough matchups of the year.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Frank Gore will still be a factor here against a defense that is weaker against the run than the pass. The Titans have been victimized by Arian Foster, Jamaal Charles and Marshawn Lynch for scores and yardage and while Gore isn't quite to their level, he will be the focal point of the 49ers offense. The pass defense is where the Titans stay in games and keep opponent scores low. Over the last four games, the Titans only gave up two passing scores total and no quarterback passed for over 300 yards on them. What is in the favor of the 49ers is that of the six passing touchdowns allowed by the Titans, four went to tight ends and they have not played against a top tight end this year. Gore and Davis are must starts this week but no reason to expect more than a moderate game by Kaepernick. The Titans have not allowed a wideout to score since week two so Boldin looks like an even worse option this week.

WHAT TO WATCH: Colin Kaepernick needs to start using more than just Davis or the 49ers are going to struggle when the schedule becomes more difficult after the bye. He's not likely to look good here but if he can at least use more than Davis to move the ball it will be a success.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 26 10 32 7 22 10
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 7 25 5 20 8 10

 

1 @PIT 16-9 10 JAC -
2 @HOU 24-30 11 IND -
3 SD 20-17 12 @OAK -
4 NYJ 38-13 13 @IND -
5 KC 17-26 14 @DEN -
6 @SEA 13-20 15 ARI -
7 SF - 16 @JAC -
8 BYE WEEK 17 HOU -
9 @STL - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
TEN vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Locker 190,1
WR Kris Durham 6-70,1
WR Justin Hunter 1-20
WR Nate Washington 4-40
WR Kendall Wright 6-70
TE Delanie Walker 5-40,1
PK Ryan Succop 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Once Jake Locker left, so did the scoring ability of the offense and the start of a two game losing streak. The bye waits after this week and hopefully Locker can return in week nine what the schedule resumes with games against the Rams and then Jaguars. The Titans are only one game back of the Colts with both matchups yet to play so even a loss here doesn't mean the division is out of reach.

QUARTERBACKS: Ryan Fitzpatrick drew the short straw by becoming a starter just in time to face the Chiefs and Seahawks. But he took a bad situation and made it worse with two interceptions in both losses and getting even less run support than Locker did. As it works out. the only three games that he'll be a starter happen to be the toughest matchups of the year. Locker gets to return to face the Rams and Jaguars and look pretty good by comparison.

RUNNING BACKS: Jackie Battle was back last week but only played one snap and won't even get that with Shonn Greene back. It doesn't really matter since the Titans backfield ran for only one touchdown all year and over these last thee weeks have not totaled 50 yards in any game. Chris Johnson's ran for 33 yards or less over these last three weeks though he has included a few catches per week under Fitzpatrick. He went from a marginal play to a minimal one though he somehow scored on a pass in week five. Take that one play away and he's been painfully ineffective. At least he has the Rams and Jaguars to look forward to playing.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The only remotely consistent and productive wideout is Kendall Wright but he only scored once and has yet to top 74 yards in any game. Nate Washington was big with Locker but in these last two losses settled for only 45 total yards on four catches. Kenny Britt is still the subject of trade speculation but is a nonfactor no matter what the coaches say or want to believe. Playing at home has been a good thing for the wideouts but not with Fitzpatrick under center.

TIGHT ENDS: Delanie Walker saw a little more work with Fitzpatrick but still is limited to only four catches for under 50 yards in every game. The only interesting tangent here is that Walker spent seven seasons with the 49ers and never mattered there either.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The 49ers secondary only allowed seven passing touchdowns over six games and so far Fitzpatrick hasn't generated any optimism. The defense still has yet to allow any runner to break 100 yards though they did give up seven touchdowns to running backs. Chris Johnson cannot be relied on for more than moderate numbers and even less facing a good defense with Fitzpatrick playing. Johnson is a low end play as he is in every game so far. Wright is a moderate play for yardage but a score is impossible to rely on.

WHAT TO WATCH: This is the last matchup before the bye and probably the final time that Fitzpatrick needs to start. There's no development to expect if only because they face yet another good defense.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 15 31 17 27 20 5
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 6 20 9 9 4 11

WEEK 7 SEA at ARI (THU) CIN at DET HOU at KC STL at CAR
BUF at MIA DAL at PHI SD at JAC TB at ATL
CHI at WAS DEN at IND SF at TEN MIN at NYG (MON)
*UPDATED BAL at PIT CLE at GB NE at NYJ On Bye: NO, OAK


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