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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Sortable Player Projections
Game Predictions Summary

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WEEK 7
2010
PHI at TEN* STL at TB BUF at BAL MIN at GB*
CIN at ATL SF at CAR* ARI at SEA* NYG at DAL*
CLE at NO* WAS at CHI* OAK at DEN* DET, HOU
*Updated PIT at MIA JAC at KC* NE at SD* IND, NYJ

Prediction: SF 17, CAR 13

Update: Steve Smith has gone through two full practices and is now planning on playing this week. I have added him back into the projections. Vernon Davis took it light in practice to rest his knee but is not expected tobe limited this week.

The beauty of this game is that someone has to win it. The 49ers finally notched their first win of the season when the Raiders showed up and the Panthers are still searching for that ever-elusive "W". The difference here is that the Panthers have an offense that has only scored five touchdowns this season and never more than one over the last four games.

San Francisco 49ers (1-5)
Homefield: Monster Park
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @SEA L 6-31 10 STL --
2 NO L 22-25 11 TB --
3 @KC L 10-31 12 @ARI --
4 @ATL L 14-16 13 @GB --
5 PHI L 24-27 14 SEA --
6 OAK W 17-9 15 @SD --
7 @CAR -- 16 @STL --
8 DEN -- 17 ARI --
9 Bye - - - -
49ers Report | Statistics | Roster
SAN FRANCISCO at CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith - - 210,1
RB Frank Gore 80 50 -
TE Vernon Davis - 60,1 -
WR Josh Morgan - 20 -
WR Ted Ginn Jr. - 20 -
WR Michael Crabtree - 50 -
PK Joe Nedney 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: It was a cathartic win over the Raiders but aside from Frank Gore, the offense was still sluggish when it passed and these 49ers have hardly been road warriors this season. But Michael Crabtree is playing better and overall the team gets a shot of confidence after beating the Raiders. That may not be enough to beat the Broncos in week eight, but it's enough to keep the Panthers winless.

I like a defensive score in this game.

QUARTERBACK: Alex Smith has thrown for a score in each of his last five games and had multiple touchdowns against the Eagles and the Raiders. Perhaps the key stat in the win was that Smith threw no interceptions for the first time this year. He currently stands at eight touchdowns against nine interceptions.

He faces a Panthers secondary that has allowed every opponent to score a touchdown aside from the Bears in week 5 (who were without Jay Cutler and still let Matt Forte run wild). Smith should be a lock for one touchdown pass this week

RUNNING BACKS: Frank Gore comes off a season high 149 rushing yards against the Raiders though he had no catches for the first time. Gore still only has one rushing touchdown but has scored twice as a receiver and typically has around 50 or 60 yards via receptions. His two best games as a receiver have been in the last two road matchups.

The Panthers have not faced many good runners so far and still have given up six touchdowns to the position and Matt Forte ripped off 166 yards against them last week. This should be no less than a good game for Gore with a chance for a big one. This should end up as 20+ carries.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Michael Crabtree scored in each of the last two games and is becoming a more common target for Alex Smith. After a slow start, he has rang up 13 catches for 162 yards over those two games. Josh Morgan has the only other touchdown by a 49ers wideout but has been very mediocre in yardage. Crabtree is starting to step up but no other wideout is making any positive move. Crabtree is doing much better since the 49ers changed offensive coordinators a couple of weeks ago.

The Panthers secondary has been pretty good against wide receivers and only allowed three wideouts to score. None had managed more than 59 yards in the last four games so expect a standard, low stats game from this unit this week.

TIGHT ENDS: Vernon Davis injured his knee but preliminary diagnosis found nothing structurally wrong and he is considered to be "day to day". HC Mike Singletary said he did not believe it was significant. Davis has scored in each of the last three games though his yardage has been waning lately. The Panthers have been very good against the position this year but have literally faced no true receiving tight end. Barring any setbacks on his knee, Davis is a safe start this week and could surprise.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 17 17 29 6 31 27
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 8 26 7 5 29 28
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) SF -9 9 -22 -1 -2 1


Carolina Panthers (0-5)
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYG L 18-31 10 @TB --
2 TB L 7-20 11 BAL --
3 CIN L 7-20 12 @CLE --
4 @NO L 14-16 13 @SEA --
5 CHI L 6-23 14 ATL --
6 Bye - 15 ARI --
7 SF -- 16 @PIT --
8 @STL -- 17 @ATL --
9 NO --   - -
Panthers Report | Statistics | Roster
CAROLINA vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Moore - - 170
RB DeAngelo Williams 80,1 10 -
WR Steve Smith - 80 -
WR Brandon LaFell - 30 -
WR David Gettis - 20 -
PK John Kasay 2 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Panthers are not getting any better and already they are yanking Jimmy Clausen to go back with Matt Moore. The loss of Steve Smith merely removed the last vestige of any passing game and the Panthers are in a scoring drought. Consider that their last three home games have not produced more than seven points each. They've had two weeks to prepare for this game but that doesn't make them any more talented.

QUARTERBACK: The rookie Jimmy Clausen gets the hook after two starts only produced one touchdown and around a 50% completion rate. Matt Moore takes the reigns again but his numbers have been no different with only two touchdowns on the season against six interceptions and two lost fumbles. Without Steve Smith there, the Panthers are playing with rookie starting wide receivers with very predictable results.

Moore goes against the 49ers who have usually allowed a passing score or two for every opponent but this passing attack is so bad they may not be able to take advantage. If Moore can throw for more than one score it would be a miracle. If he has even one touchdown it would be a success.

RUNNING BACKS: DeAngelo Williams comes off his worst game of the season when he only gained 51 yards on 12 carries versus the Bears. Williams scored only once this year and never gained more than 86 rushing yards if only because he never gets more than 17 carries per game. With 317 yards on 68 carries, Williams is still averaging 4.7 yards per carry - he just never gets many opportunities.

Jonathan Stewart has realistically lost all fantasy value. He had one long touchdown catch in week four on his only catch in the game and he scored once against the Bengals when he totaled 31 yards. Otherwise he's not been worth carrying on even a big fantasy roster. I am no longer projecting for Stewart.

Williams goes against a defense that has only given up two rushing touchdowns but the 49ers are weaker against the run on the road and the Panthers have almost nothing besides Williams to throw at them. It may be a stretch, but I like Williams to have one of his better games this week and score once so long as Stewart doesn't trot on the field and steal it.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The early word is that Steve Smith will miss this game and that his high ankle sprain still needs to heal. The Panthers claimed Devin Thomas off of waivers from the Redskins but it is probably too early to figure on him contributing much. He did almost nothing in Washington for years and got cut during the season which is not a resume' builder. The rookies David Gettis and Brandon LaFell are still producing minimal stats despite the absence of Steve Smith and the need for anyone to step up. No reason to rely on any player here for a fantasy start this week if any this year other than Smith.

The best performance between the two rookies is only 44 yards and they are going against a top ten defense against wideouts this week.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value and not one touchdown this year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 32 19 31 29 32 17
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 17 16 9 16 30 27
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) CAR -15 -3 -22 -13 -2 10

WEEK 7
2010
PHI at TEN STL at TB BUF at BAL MIN at GB
CIN at ATL SF at CAR ARI at SEA NYG at DAL
CLE at NO WAS at CHI OAK at DEN DET, HOU
  PIT at MIA JAC at KC NE at SD IND, NYJ
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