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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 11
2010
CHI at MIA BAL at CAR OAK at PIT *TB at SF
*GB at MIN *BUF at CIN *CLE at JAC *IND at NE
WAS at TEN DET at DAL *SEA at NO NYG at PHI
*UPDATED *ARI at KC HOU at NYJ ATL at STL *DEN at SD

Prediction: TB 20, SF 21

Update: The 49ers have signed Shane Andrus to take the place of Joe Nedney for at least this week.

Update #2: Mike Williams was arrested on a DUI on Thursday night and for a time there was a question if he would play but HC Raheem Morris confirmed that Williams will play but will somehow be disciplined internally by the team.

The Buccaneers are 6-3 and one game behind the Falcons in the NFC West with no margin for error if they have designs on the division. Even at this early date they already look wildcard worthy. The Bucs are also 3-1 in road games having lost only in Atlanta. The 49ers are only 3-6 but have won three of their last four which includes London and the last two home stands. That makes this game a very interesting matchup.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CLE W 17-14 10 CAR W 31-16
2 @CAR W 20-7 11 @SF --
3 PIT L 13-38 12 @BAL --
4 Bye - 13 ATL --
5 @CIN W 24-21 14 @WAS --
6 NO L 6-31 15 DET --
7 STL W 18-17 16 SEA --
8 @ARI W 38-35 17 @NO --
9 @ATL L 21-27 - - -
Buccaneers Report | Statistics | Roster
TAMPA BAY at SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh Freeman - - 220,1
RB Carnell Williams 10 30 -
RB LeGarrette Blount 50,1 - -
TE Kellen Winslow Jr. - 30 -
WR Mike Williams - 80,1 -
WR Arrelious Benn - 20 -
WR Sammie Stroughter - 40 -
PK Conner Barth 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers hit the tough spot in the schedule with three road games sandwiching a home stand against the Falcons. The offense is performing better than ever though the defense has slipped when it leaves Tampa Bay. The team has transitioned to a more effective rushing game and proved in Arizona that it could win a shootout. But the defense is going to be the Achilles heel for the next several weeks.

QUARTERBACK: Josh Freeman is not spectacular ever - but he is never bad either. He has scored in all but one game and twice in the last couple of matchups. He rarely passes for more than around 230 yards and he only has five interceptions against 12 touchdowns. It's all pretty average but safe and nearly error-free.

The 49ers always give up one passing score and usually two if it is a road game. Look for a another mundane effort from Freeman this week. even if the 49ers pull off the win, it will not be by much and not spark any shootout.

RUNNING BACKS: Even though Carnell Williams popped a long run for a score last week, he's been shoved to the back burner now by LeGarrette Blount who is taking upwards of 20 carries a game compared to only four or five for Williams. Blount has been a nice addition to the offense since he actually gets past the line of scrimmage on a regular basis. Blount ran for 91 yards and a score against the Panthers and even had 120 yards and two scores in Arizona.

This week should be tough with the 49ers at home only allowing two rushing touchdowns and no runner exceeding 100 yards there. Blount has a shot at a score but his yardage should be only moderate at best and he still is not a factor as a receiver.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Arrelious Benn has scored in each of the last two games(both at home) but only totaled three catches for 43 yards over those weeks. He is a part of the future and it is encouraging to see him score even if he has only 11 catches on the year and rarely more than one per week. Mike Williams has been the only player with consistency and fantasy relevance with at least 60 yards in every game and five scores so far. Of those five touchdowns - four came one at a time in each of the previous road games along with his better yardage efforts.

The 49ers secondary is only average with nine scores allowed this year and three 100+ yard games. The Buccaneers are not going to post a lot of yards in this game but Williams is a strong play this week as he goes for his fifth straight road game with a touchdown. No other wideout has any fantasy appeal.

TIGHT ENDS: Just when you completely counted him out, Kellen Winslow caught six passes for 65 yards and a touchdown in the win over the Panthers. It was his only score on the season and his first game with more than 44 yards for the last month. The 49ers are strong against the position anyway so leave Winslow on the bench... or the waiver wire.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 15 18 24 19 26 13
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 21 8 20 10 28 22
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) TB 6 -10 -4 -9 2 9


San Francisco 49ers (3-6)
Homefield: Monster Park
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @SEA L 6-31 10 STL W 23-20
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 L 20-23 16 @STL --
8 DEN W 24-16 17 ARI --
9 Bye - - - -
49ers Report | Statistics | Roster
SAN FRANCISCO vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Troy Smith - - 220,2
RB Frank Gore 130,1 20 -
TE Vernon Davis - 60,1 -
WR Josh Morgan - 60 -
WR Michael Crabtree - 70,1 -
PK Shane Andrus - 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Tough news this week with Joe Nedney out with a sprained knee and LT Joe Staley out with a broken fibula for at least four to six weeks. That's not going to help the pass protection or the run game. The 49ers are scratching out some respect now after a 0-5 start and while they have yet to figure out the away games, the defense has been holding down scores while the offense has taken it most effective form with Troy Smith under center. That makes this week competitive and should even help win that game in Arizona next week.

QUARTERBACK: Troy Smith has won the starting job now with a healthy Alex Smith accepting a backup role and since he is only signed through this season, you may have seen the last of Alex as a 49er. Troy has engineered two wins for the club and passed for 356 yards and a score last week when the Rams visited. He became the only quarterback in franchise history to connect with five different receivers on pass plays over 60 yards.

The Buccaneers have allowed a score to each opponent other than Carolina and half the time allowed multiple touchdowns. Considering too that the cast of opponents have been less than formidable at times (CAR (2), ARI, CLE) opens the door for at least a decent game by Troy Smith. It's far too early to hang your hat on him but he's an interesting player with upside.

RUNNING BACKS: The great news here is that Frank Gore has been outstanding for the last month with two scores and well over 100 total yards every week. He had four 100+ rushing yard efforts this year and three just happened. Now at home for a third week he faces the Buccaneers #28 ranked defense against running backs.

They have allowed about one score per opposing primary running back and six runners have topped 100 yards. This should be a big game for Gore with at least one score and a chance for two. The only downside is when he has big yardage rushing at home, they rarely throw to him.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Having a quarterback who can throw long means good things for the wideouts. Michael Crabtree has scored in four of the last five games and both of the starts by Troy Smith. Last four home games have meant the endzone for Crabtree. Ted Ginn Jr. has been AWOL for three weeks now without a catch but Josh Morgan ran under a 65 yard gainer last week. The switch to Troy so far has been a positive and stretching the field means less defenders at the line looking for Gore.

Look for Crabtree to notch another score but chances are no wideout will have that many yards this week if only because Gore should have a big game.

TIGHT ENDS: Troy Smith has made good use of both tight ends and Delanie Walker has turned in 5-85 and 4-80 in the two weeks with him. Vernon Davis was banged up in week eight but last Sunday had 79 yards on four catches. I am still only going to project for Davis but Walker is quickly becoming relevant.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 19 15 30 4 28 25
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 9 28 17 11 8 16
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) SF -10 13 -13 7 -20 -9

WEEK 11
2010
CHI at MIA BAL at CAR OAK at PIT TB at SF
GB at MIN BUF at CIN CLE at JAC IND at NE
WAS at TEN DET at DAL SEA at NO NYG at PHI
  ARI at KC HOU at NYJ ATL at STL DEN at SD
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