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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 10 WAS at MIN (THU) DAL at NO JAC at TEN STL at IND
CIN at BAL HOU at ARI SEA at ATL MIA at TB (MON)
BUF at PIT DEN at SD OAK at NYG On Bye:
*UPDATED CAR at SF DET at CHI PHI at GB CLE, KC, NE, NYJ

Prediction: CAR 17, SF 30 (Line: SF by 6.5)

Players of Interest: Cam Newton

The 5-3 Panthers are on a four game winning streak and are only one game behind the Saints in the NFC West. But they are only 2-2 on the road and their four game streak. And why not? They just beat the Vikings, Rams, Buccaneers and Falcons. Like everyone else. The 6-2 49ers come off their bye with plenty of time to prepare for this game. That has to favor the 49ers giving the Panthers a dose of reality about how the schedule works for and against teams.

1 SEA 7-12 10 @SF -
2 @BUF 23-24 11 NE -
3 NYG 38-0 12 @MIA -
4 BYE WEEK 13 TB -
5 @ARI 6-22 14 @NO -
6 @MIN 35-10 15 NYJ -
7 STL 30-15 16 NO -
8 @TB 31-13 17 @ATL -
9 ATL 34-10 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR @ SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 30,1 180
RB Jonathan Stewart 40 3-20
RB Mike Tolbert 20,1 3-10
RB DeAngelo Williams 30 2-10
WR Jerricho Cotchery 5-70,1
WR Tiquan Underwood 3-50
TE Greg Olsen 5-50
PK Graham Gano 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: That "easiest month in football" is over and the rest of the schedule won't be so kind. Only remaining games against the Falcons and Buccaneers again look like certain wins. The team welcomes back Jonathan Stewart but all that does is take a muddled backfield and make it even worse. This team still has marginal passing and struggles to catch up when they fall behind. It was fun while it lasted.

QUARTERBACKS: Cam Newton was solid during this winning streak throwing for at least one touchdown in each game and rushing in another in three of the four. And yet facing those weaker teams still never meant more than 250 passing yards. Newton gets the benefit of an improved defense getting him good field position which will depress the yardage. He's been very solid in recent games but he'll need to show that it wasn't just a set of nice matchups starting with this week.

RUNNING BACKS: Jonathan Stewart returned finally but that only meant carries for 43 yards were taken away from DeAngelo Williams who settled for 42 yards on 13 runs. Michael Tolbert comes in for the touchdowns and scored in each of these last four games. The production was marginal here without Stewart and adding him to the mix is not going to improved the fantasy value of the unit. Not to mention Newton rushing in a score as well. This unit hasn't been that relevant for many years and it isn't going to improve this year.

WIDE RECEIVERS: A month full of easy pickings and all this unit could do was combine for three touchdowns. Steve Smith still has yet to gain more than 69 yards in any game despite always having the highest number of targets. Brandon LaFell actually did top 100 yards in Minnesota but never scored during these last three easier weeks while he only averaged 43 yards per game. Ted Ginn Jr. is deadly with long catches but they rarely throw them and he comes off his second game with one catch for ten yards. This unit seems adequate only when the Panthers never really have to throw.

TIGHT ENDS: Greg Olsen scored in each of the last two games and he even ended with 66 yards against the Falcons. He was more productive in games where the Panthers were behind and needed to throw. That should see his value rise for the next moth when Newton will be forced to throw downfield.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The 49ers defense at home has been formidable and allowed just two passing scores combined from the last three visitors. Newton never throws more than average yardage and that fits here along with no more than one score. If Newton scores more than that the 49ers must be pretty far ahead. They have not faced a rushing quarterback which would help Newton's value. The 49ers have tended to allow a rushing touchdown to nearly every opponent even though the yardage is not much and no one has rushed for over 100 yards on them. The only realistic fantasy play here would be Newton and that's only moderate and hoping for rushing yardage. The 49ers are rested, at home and have been preparing for two weeks.

WHAT TO WATCH: This game is all about Cam Newton. He either has to throw better and more often or surprise with more rushing yardage. He's looking fairly good after facing bad defenses for the last four games.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 6 17 22 17 16 5
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 7 22 9 5 2 5

 

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 31-17 16 ATL -
8 @JAC 42-10 17 @ARI -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SF vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Colin Kaepernick 50,1 170,1
RB Frank Gore 70,1 1-10
WR Anquan Boldin 4-30
WR Steve Johnson 5-70,1
TE Vernon Davis 6-90,1
PK Phil Dawson 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The 49ers hit a tougher patch of the schedule with these Panthers followed by a trip to New Orleans. But then like the Panthers they hit a nice stretch of three easy wins and a home game against the Seahawks. Mario Manningham is returning for whatever incremental upgrade that proves to be and the 49ers so far have avoided the big injuries that had dogged so many other teams.This will be one of the better defenses that the 49ers have yet faced and a good tune-up for the stretch run.

QUARTERBACKS: Nothing like two weeks off thanks to playing the Jaguars and then taking the bye. Colin Kaepernick still is not passing much but at least he's really stepped up as a runner and scored three times over the last two games on rushes. He's only passed for over 200 yards once in the last seven games and stands at nine passing scores on the year. The problem with Kaepernick is that he tends to do less at home but at least the Panthers are good enough that the 49ers won't try to mail in the game. But forecasting Kaepernick's performances is tough given the variation from week to week.

RUNNING BACKS: Frank Gore is taking so much of the work that no other back is worth considering. Gore is running around 20 times each week and scored four times in just the most recent two games. He's totaled seven touchdowns in half of a season and has been a lock for 70+ yards every week. Gore may be aging but he's been running hard and just got a week off.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The 49ers waived Marlon Moore so that Mario Manningham could return to the active roster and he'll make his debut this week. His presence cannot can only help a unit that has been marginal at best since the season opener when Anquan Boldin apparently had his final 15 minutes of fame. All combined, this unit scored only once since the season opener and consists of almost entirely Boldin so far. Manningham is certainly no more talented than last year when he ended with only 449 yards and one touchdown. The absence of Crabtree suggests more use but it didn't really do much for Boldin.

TIGHT ENDS: Getting in any receiving help means that Vernon Davis may get a little less than the entire secondary following him on every play. Davis has been the only weapon in the passing game so far and totaled seven touchdowns already along with three games over 80 yards. His three best games of the year were the three home games that he played.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Panthers on the road have always allowed one passing score to all opponents and the yardage tends to be lower. Then again, the Panthers have not faced any of the top passers not that Kaepernick is going to change that streak. The Panthers have not placed against a quarterback likely to take off on a run either. The rush defense has been very solid this year with only two rushing scores allowed and only one runner able to gain more than 62 rush yards on them. But this is played at home and the 49ers are rested. It bodes well that they've allowed four passing scores to tight ends over their last five games. Kaepernick, Gore and Davis are all starts this week with Davis having the most upside for a big game.

WHAT TO WATCH: Manningham's addition could help the wideouts but likely won't show up much this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 20 4 32 2 22 10
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 2 8 4 16 3 7

WEEK 10 WAS at MIN (THU) DAL at NO JAC at TEN STL at IND
CIN at BAL HOU at ARI SEA at ATL MIA at TB (MON)
BUF at PIT DEN at SD OAK at NYG On Bye:
*UPDATED CAR at SF DET at CHI PHI at GB CLE, KC, NE, NYJ


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