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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Sortable Player Projections
Game Predictions Summary

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WEEK 2
2010
BAL at CIN* CHI at DAL PIT at TEN HOU at WAS
TB at CAR* PHI at DET* SEA at DEN* JAC at SD
BUF at GB ARI at ATL* STL at OAK* NYG at IND*
*Updated MIA at MIN* KC at CLE* NE at NYJ NO at SF*

Prediction: NO 24, SF 20

Update: The 49ers have re-sigmed Jason Hill to give some better depth to the wideouts in light of Ted Ginn Jr.'s sprained MCL. No need to add him into the projections at least yet but he could suit up on Monday.

The Saints opened the season with pomp and circumstance and after the first drive scored, they sort of looked like the Saints of a few years back. A win is a win though and the Saints can take off their crown and just play football now. The 49ers return home after a surprise spanking at the hands of the Seahawks. This is the Monday night game so a good chance for both teams to show more offense. The problem remains - where did the 49ers defense go?

New Orleans Saints (1-0)
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIN 14-9 10 Bye -
2 @SF -- 11 SEA --
3 ATL -- 12 @DAL --
4 CAR -- 13 @CIN --
5 @ARI -- 14 STL --
6 @TB -- 15 @BAL --
7 CLE -- 16 @ATL --
8 PIT -- 17 TB --
9 @CAR -- - - -
Saints Report | Statistics | Roster
NEW ORLEANS at SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees - - 260,2
RB Pierre Thomas 60,1 20 -
RB Reggie Bush 20 30 -
TE Jeremy Shockey - 20 -
WR Marques Colston - 60,1 -
WR Lance Moore - 30 -
WR Devery Henderson - 50 -
WR Robert Meachem - 40,1 -
PK Garrett Hartley 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Saints were facing a motivated Vikings defense, but they could only score two touchdowns and Garrett Hartley went from the King of the Big Easy to the Jester of the Big Whiff. He missed two field goals that thankfully did not come into play. It was a good opening game though because the Saints won and yet were sorely reminded that opponents are going to bring their "A" games when they play the reigning league champs.

QUARTERBACK: Last week was disappointing for Drew Brees owners when he only managed to pass for 237 yards and one score but he had no turnovers and was sacked only once. The Saints turned to the run in the second half and just held onto their slim lead. Brees just missed on a second score on a couple of other passes and the good news is that opponents are going to be even more likely to make Brees throw this year.

Brees is away from the dome but no reason why he shouldn't post two scores like the 49ers gave up last week. Always a safe start and should have more success this week.

RUNNING BACKS: It was pretty scary to watch the game last week since Pierre Thomas only had one run in the first half. But the team turned to him after halftime and he ended with 71 yards on 19 carries with one score. He also caught three passes for 15 yards Reggie Bush was used more in the early game but only totaled 14 rushing yards and 33 yards on five receptions. That remains outside of much fantasy relevancy. Thomas looked good when he ran and had power and some speed. He'll be relied on more this year without the specter of Mike Bell or even Reggie Bush digging too much in his workload.

The 49ers played solid rush defense despite getting waxed last week and back at home should be even better. They allowed 21 runs for only 73 yards and no scores in Seattle but it will be hard to deny Thomas at least one rushing score this week. The yardage won't be much for he or Bush but there should be a rushing score.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Last week was a sore reminder of the good news/ bad news of being a Saints receiver. The good news - you are going to catch a pass. Brees connected with nine different receivers including four wide receivers. The bad news - you are not going to catch a lot of passes. Marques Colston led the receivers with four catches for 62 yards but Devery Henderson (2-38) had the lone touchdown and Robert Meachem (3-33) and Lance Moore (3-23) also shared in the mediocre bounty. As the season progresses, each of the wideouts will have at least a big game or three but only Colston gets enough to be considered reliable.

The four-headed attack makes guessing which one goes off a nightmare but you can be sure that at least one or two will have a decent game. I like both passing scores to end up with wide receivers but assigning them is almost random. Colston is the only truly safe start and the others are just upside picks.

TIGHT ENDS: No real change from last year. Jeremy Shockey had three catches for 23 yards last week and David Thomas chipped in a whole three yards on two catches. Only marginal fantasy value from this unit at best.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 19 10 12 26 29 25
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 25 7 20 18 18 29


San Francisco 49ers (0-1)
Homefield: Monster Park
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @SEA L 6-31 10 STL --
2 NO -- 11 TB --
3 @KC -- 12 @ARI --
4 @ATL -- 13 @GB --
5 PHI -- 14 SEA --
6 OAK -- 15 @SD --
7 @CAR -- 16 @STL --
8 DEN -- 17 ARI --
9 Bye - - - -
49ers Report | Statistics | Roster
SAN FRANCISCO vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith - - 240,1
RB Frank Gore 80,1 40 -
TE Vernon Davis - 90,1 -
WR Josh Morgan - 40 -
WR Michael Crabtree - 40 -
PK Joe Nedney 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: Last week was a disaster on almost every front for the 49ers who return home to lick their wounds and pretend they are starting the season over. Unfortunately that would be against the reigning NFL Champs. Last week is not a good measurement though since they went to Seattle with the Seahawks knowing exactly what to expect and the 49ers got their first taste ever of the new offense and defense installed for the Seahawks. This week can be much more competitive and there's no more false bravado about how good the 49ers are this season. They need to prove it to themselves.

QUARTERBACK: Alex Smith had an average sort of showing in Seattle when he completed 26 of 45 for 225 yards and no scores but he was intercepted twice and fell back into his 2009 ways of just targeting Vernon Davis. That could happen again this week against a Saints team that has very good cornerbacks that will limit the wideouts (who apparently are self-limiting anyway).

Much will rely on the success of Frank Gore but consider Smith a moderate play this week back at home in a game that he will need to throw just to keep up.

RUNNING BACKS: Frank Gore was shut down by the Seahawks and only gained 38 yards on 17 carries but he added six catches for 45 yards. Gore had his career best game against those Seahawks last year in San Francisco. No worries about Gore suddenly changing - it was one bad game and now he is back at home.

Expect a good showing by Gore who the 49ers will be relying on as much as possible. He'll run better and likely catch just as much. Always a good start if only because of his dual role as a receiver.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The 49ers will be without slot receiver Ted Ginn Jr this week after a sprained MCLbut he's little used in the passing scheme anyway. Michael Crabtree began his second season with a whimper when he only had two catches for 12 yards despite being targeted eight times. Crabtree was also implicated in running a wrong route that resulted in one of the interceptions. He was dinged for a lackadaisical attitude during the summer and is not doing anything to change that perception. Even Josh Morgan (3-32) had a better game than Crabtree.

The Saints have good corners and that will keep this under performing group quiet for at least one more week. Until he can show up with some decent stats, Crabtree is too risky of a fantasy start.

TIGHT ENDS: Vernon Davis was the lone bright spot in the passing game when he had eight catches for 73 yards and now faces a team that just relinquished a score and 76 yards to Vishante Shiancoe. Davis remains an elite player and a must start.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 26 28 28 5 17 27
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 10 9 4 30 7 2

WEEK 2
2010
BAL at CIN CHI at DAL PIT at TEN HOU at WAS
TB at CAR PHI at DET SEA at DEN JAC at SD
BUF at GB ARI at ATL STL at OAK NYG at IND
  MIA at MIN KC at CLE NE at NYJ NO at SF
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