FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 17 BAL at CIN DEN at OAK JAC at IND STL at SEA
BUF at NE DET at MIN KC at SD TB at NO
CAR at ATL GB at CHI NYJ at MIA WAS at NYG
*UPDATED CLE at PIT HOU at TEN SF at ARI PHI at DAL

Prediction: SF 20, ARI 24 (Line: ARI by 7)

The 11-4 49ers can still win the NFC West with a win here and a loss by the Seahawks to the Rams which is highly unlikely. Both Seattle and San Francisco play late afternoon games so there is no way the 49ers can know for sure they have no chance for the division unless they just sat down and really thought about it. The Cardinals still have a shot at a wild card but need the Saints to lose to the visiting Buccaneers which is also unlikely. The Saints play late as well so the Cards cannot know for sure that this game is meaningless. This is a replay of week six when the 49ers won 32-30 at home. Both will play the full game but the 49ers already know this is not exactly "do or die".

1 GB 34-28 10 CAR 9-10
2 @SEA 3-29 11 @NO 20-23
3 IND 7-27 12 @WAS 27-6
4 @STL 35-11 13 STL 23-13
5 HOU 34-3 14 SEA 19-17
6 ARI 32-20 15 @TB 33-14
7 @TEN 31-17 16 ATL 34-24
8 @JAC 42-10 17 @ARI -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SF @ ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Colin Kaepernick 20 200,2
RB Frank Gore 50
WR Anquan Boldin 5-60,1
WR Michael Crabtree 3-40
TE Vernon Davis 6-80,1
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The big plus for the 49ers is that they are playing their best football now as the season concludes and that is always dangerous in the playoffs. The offense is more diversified now and the defense is an opportunistic as it has ever been.

Colin Kaepernick scored in each of the last six weeks but he still is rarely even an average passer in any given week since nine of his games featured either one or no passing touchdowns and he only ended above 210 pass yards in four games. Kaepernick passed for 252 yards and two scores in his previous meeting with the Cardinals in one of his best games of the year.

Frank Gore is churning yet another of his standard 1300 total yard seasons with nine scores so far. His 4.2 yards per carry ties for the lowest in his career and at the age of 30 he's doing well enough to keep pace with the past. Gore ran for 101 yards on 25 carries in the previous meeting with the Cardinals. He's only totaled 16 catches on the year and his lack of receptions limits his fantasy value.

Vernon Davis is already turning in one of his best seasons ever with 805 yards and 12 scores going into the final weekend. But he was held catchless last week and was apparently poked in the eye early in the win over the Falcons. Davis was the lone consistent and productive player on the 49ers this year and his first game against the Cardinals resulted in a season best eight catches for 180 yards and two scores. I will assume he is okay to play this week - he played the entire way on Monday but his lack of catches was surprising.

Anquan Boldin provides a possession role in the offense that usually doesn't include scoring though he did just last week against the Falcons. He only had three receptions for 28 yards in the first game against the Cards. He is still good for around 70 yards in most games. Michael Crabtree is back and becoming a bigger factor. He caught five passes for a season best 102 yards versus the Falcons and is adding a new and badly needed new weapon in the passing game. Between he, Boldin and Davis, they cover all the needs that Kaepernick has downfield.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Cardinals play far better at home where most opponents remain below 20 points. But the 49ers come in with a better offense than back in week six since Crabtree is now back on the field. That gives someone for Patrick Peterson to cover. This is a chance for Davis to turn in another big day against the worst defense against tight ends. The Cards are dominating at home against the run and that will keep Gore to moderate stats at best. Give that the 49ers don't have to win and the Cards do (or at least end on a high note), Davis is the only obvious must start. Boldin only gained 28 yards on three catches thanks to Patterson but he should take his natural line-up on Crabtree.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 21 17 32 4 7 7
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 19 1 9 32 5 10

 

1 @STL 24-27 10 HOU 27-24
2 DET 25-21 11 @JAC 27-14
3 @NO 7-31 12 IND 40-11
4 @TB 13-10 13 @PHI 21-24
5 CAR 22-6 14 STL 30-10
6 @SF 20-32 15 @TEN 37-34
7 SEA 22-34 16 @SEA 17-10
8 ATL 27-13 17 SF -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ARI vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 260,2
RB Andre Ellington 40,1 4-30
WR Larry Fitzgerald 5-100,1
WR Michael Floyd 5-60,1
WR Ted Ginn 3-50
TE Rob Housler 3-30

Pregame Notes: It may end up too little too late but the Cardinals have an 11-5 record in their sights and even that may not get them to the playoffs. The Cards have never been better than ten wins in any season since arriving in Phoenix back in 1988. The last time the St. Louis Cards had a11 wins in a season was back in 1975. This is a really good year and the Cardinals took down the Colts and Seahawks in recent weeks.

Carson Palmer is certainly better than any quarterback there since Kurt Warner but he topped two passing scores in a game only once and enters the final week with 23 touchdowns against 21 interceptions. The Cardinals have trudged through a pretty daunting schedule this year though and at least Palmer scored in all but one game. He passed for 298 yards and two scores in San Francisco.

The Cardinals are happy enough using Andre Ellington and Rashard Mendenhall which is less like "Thunder and Lightning" than it is "Lightning and a dull thud". Ellington only gets around 15 touches per week and makes a difference with 5.7 yards per carry. Mendenhall ran in eight touchdowns this year but rarely more than 50 yards per game and he averages 3.1 yards per tote. In San Francisco, Ellington ran for 56 yards and a score on seven carries and added 36 yards on five catches. Mendenhall also scored once but gained just 22 yards on 13 runs.

The tight end position remains largely ignored despite preseason hype about Rob Housler who caught four passes for 32 yards in San Francisco but only scored once all year.

The addition of Palmer sparked a return of Larry Fitzgerald who scored ten times this year but only topped 100 yards just once - in San Francisco when he ended with six receptions for 117 yards and one touchdown. Michael Floyd topped the century mark twice but only produced five catches for 44 yards and a score against the 49ers. Floyd currently owns five touchdown catches but was held to fewer than 35 yards in the last three weeks.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The 49ers have something to play for this week, sort of, but they also come off an emotional send-off to Candlestick Park last Monday. All of the Cardinals can only be considered moderate starts though there is a chance that they could end up with a big game depending on the mind set of the 49ers. Barring better options, Palmer and Fitzgerald should have their standard sort of games. This just all depends on the 49ers and if they play as well as they normally do.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 25 13 14 26 17 3
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 3 9 6 5 1 2

WEEK 17 BAL at CIN DEN at OAK JAC at IND STL at SEA
BUF at NE DET at MIN KC at SD TB at NO
CAR at ATL GB at CHI NYJ at MIA WAS at NYG
*UPDATED CLE at PIT HOU at TEN SF at ARI PHI at DAL


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