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David Dorey
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WEEK 12
2010
NE at DET TB at BAL PHI at CHI *MIA at OAK
NO at DAL *JAC at NYG *MIN at WAS STL at DEN
CIN at NYJ *CAR at CLE *GB at ATL *SD at IND
*UPDATED TEN at HOU PIT at BUF *KC at SEA SF at ARI

Prediction: SF 17, ARI 23

Here is the battle for the NFC West cellar since it will break the 3-7 tie. The Cardinals have lost five in a row and are 2-2 at home while the 49ers are 0-4 in road games despite losing their last two by only three points or less. The Cardinals are swirling down the drain and have not even been competitive in the last couple of weeks. This is a coin toss game between two bad teams but at least it is the Monday night game.

San Francisco 49ers (3-7)
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 L 0-21
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 at ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Troy Smith 30 - 240,1
RB Frank Gore 70,1 50 -
TE Vernon Davis - 40 -
WR Josh Morgan - 60 -
WR Ted Ginn Jr. - 20 -
WR Michael Crabtree - 60,1 -
PK Shane Andrus 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The loss to the Buccaneers quickly undid all the good that two wins had created and the 49ers now hit the road where they have never won. The offense has not progressed beyond determining that Troy Smith may be slightly better than Alex Smith and yet that is still not enough to win games. What's even worse is that there are four road games in the next five weeks. Mike Singletary is all but gone already and these 49ers could be packing it in early in the face of so many road trips ahead.

To make matters a little worse, LT Joe Staley remains out and RT Anthony Davis may be benched for being a turnstile since Troy has been sacked 11 times over the last two games.

As nothing has been decided yet, I will assume that Shane Andrus will be the kicker again this week.

QUARTERBACK: Troy Smith has been named the starting quarterback again despite Alex Smith being healthy and Troy coming off a loss with only 148 yards and no scores. Troy did run for 45 yards on five scrambles as a new element against the Buccaneers but the problems blocking last week doomed the offense in the face of an aggressive Buccaneers defense.

The 49ers passed for 209 yards and one score in Arizona last year.

The great news is that Smith faces a defense that has always allowed at least one score if not more and no visitor to Arizona has passed for less than 250 yards. This should be one of his best games and the Cardinals have yet to sack anyone more than three times in a home game.

RUNNING BACKS: Frank Gore never had a chance last week when he only gained 23 yards on 12 carries but he had been solid at 80+ rush yards per week and scored in two games previous. The problem is that all five of Gore's scores have been at home and his worse efforts have largely been on the road. The problems with the offensive line are not going to go away soon.

Gore only gained 30 rushing yards on 22 carries in Arizona last year but scored one rushing touchdown and a second one on his three catches for 18 yards. Gore ran for 167 yards at home against the Cardinals.

Fortunately the Cardinals are one of the worst teams at stopping running backs. They have allowed 14 scores to the position and seven games with 70+ rush yards for one player. Gore was doing well until last week but he has also been at home. Expect a decent showing here but not a big game and likely only one score - if that.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Ted Ginn Jr. barely has a reason to own a jersey but Michael Crabtree has been improved this year and had scored in four of the five games previous to the Buccaneers debacle. What is most concerning about that is Crabtree never scoring on the road but Troy Smith has yet to have a start in an away game. Josh Morgan motors on each week with 40 or 50 possession yards and only one score on the year back in week three. This is not a productive unit outside of Crabtree who so far needs to be in San Francisco to find the endzone.

The Cardinals have not faced Troy Smith and that is a minor advantage. So is the Cardinals weaker than most secondary that has give up nine scores this year to wide receivers and almost every game has featured a wideout with 80+ yards. Six players have topped 10 yards against them. This is a Monday night game and all will be playing to be seen. I like Crabtree to turn in a decent showing this week and take the score if Davis doesn't end up with it.

TIGHT ENDS: Vernon Davis aggravated the same ankle that he sprained back in Week 8, but said it isn't serious and that he'll play this week. Turning in one catch for three yards last Sunday hurt fantasy owners and Davis has been central to the passing game for the 49ers. Delanie Walker can be a big factor if needed and had back-to-back games with 80+ yards before last week.

The Cards have faced very few receiving tight ends this year and yet still allowed five touchdowns to the position.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 22 20 30 5 31 27
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 23 31 25 21 32 31
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) SF 1 11 -5 16 1 4


Arizona Cardinals (3-7)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @STL W 17-13 10 SEA L 18-36
2 @ATL L 7-41 11 @KC L 13-31
3 OAK W 24-23 12 SF -
4 @SD L 10-41 13 STL -
5 NO W 30-20 14 DEN -
6 Bye - 15 @CAR -
7 @SEA L 10-22 16 DAL -
8 TB L 35-38 17 @SF -
9 @MIN L 24-27 - - -
Cardinals Report | Statistics | Roster
ARIZONA Rush Catch Pass
QB Derek Anderson - - 250,2
RB Beanie Wells 50 - -
RB Tim Hightower 40 20 -
WR Larry Fitzgerald - 100,1 -
WR Steve Breaston - 80,1 -
WR Andre Roberts - 30 -
PK Jay Feely 3 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals are on a five game losing streak but most of that was against decent opponents and there is still hope for more wins with four home games left and the only road efforts coming in Carolina and San Francisco. It may have been in meaningless trash time but at least the last two weeks had nice passing yardage for the first time all season and the Beanie Wells cameo had him looking better.

QUARTERBACK: Derek Anderson scored in the last four games and while it was always just the one touchdown, he threw for 295 and 322 yards in the most recent losses. That is mostly meaningless having lost both games by over 17 points but at least the receivers had some stats to post.

The 49ers arrive with a secondary that always gives up a score on the road if not two or three. The last three road opponents had over 250 yards as well so expect a decent game here by Anderson and not just because no one is looking on the final play of the game. This is the easiest matchup that Anderson has had all year.

RUNNING BACKS: Beanie Wells had not played for a couple of games so when he gained 39 yards on eight carries against the Chiefs it was plenty notable. Tim Hightower has filled in and done little with his dozen or so carries each week and the duo will continue to share the workload.

The 49ers have been solid against the run though with only three touchdowns allowed to runners this year and no player has topped 100 rushing yards on them

The yardage may perk up slightly this week but the chance of a score is not high and even harder to award were it to happen. With the split, neither runner is that attractive this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Early Doucet may miss this week with a concussion suffered in the Chiefs game. The rookie Andre Roberts took his place and turned in a respectable 52 yards on six catches. Larry Fitzgerald has been more productive in recent weeks with three scores in four games and never less than 70 yards. He was a fantasy dream when he caught a meaningless touchdown on the final play of the game last week. Steve Breaston has not scored since back in week three but he has been posting 90+ yards in the last two blowout losses.

The weakness of the 49ers is against wide receivers and Anderson should have a better time this week finding his players before the game gets out of hand. The 49ers have already allowed seven touchdowns to the position in just four road games already, so expect a decent showing by both Fitzgerald and Breaston.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 31 29 14 30 29 1
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 19 9 17 8 25 21
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) ARI -12 -20 3 -22 -4 20

WEEK 12
2010
NE at DET TB at BAL PHI at CHI MIA at OAK
NO at DAL JAC at NYG MIN at WAS STL at DEN
CIN at NYJ CAR at CLE GB at ATL SD at IND
  TEN at HOU PIT at BUF KC at SEA SF at ARI
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