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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 16
2010
CAR at PIT BAL at CLE TEN at KC *IND at OAK
*DAL at ARI DET at MIA SEA at TB NYG at GB
*NE at BUF *NYJ at CHI *MIN at PHI *SD at CIN
*UPDATED *SF at STL *WAS at JAC *HOU at DEN NO at ATL

Prediction: SF 14, STL 20

Update: HC Mike Singletary has named Troy Smith as the starter this week and yet later said he will rule out using both Troy and Alex Smith. While it may be because Troy passed for 356 yards and one score on the Rams in week 10, the reailty is that he has never passed for more than one score in a game and otherwise has remained under 200 passing yards in his four other starts.

This is a rematch of week 10 when the 49ers beat the Rams 23-20. The Rams are 4-3 at home and vying for the NFC West title. The 49ers are 1-6 in road games.

San Francisco 49ers (5-9)
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 W 27-6
4 @ATL L 14-16 13 @GB L 16-34
5 PHI L 24-27 14 SEA W 40-21
6 OAK W 17-9 15 @SD L 7-34
7 @CAR L 20-23 16 @STL --
8 DEN W 24-16 17 ARI --
9 Bye - - - -
49ers Report | Statistics | Roster
SAN FRANCISCO at ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith - - 210,1
QB Troy Smith - - 220,1
RB Brian Westbrook 40,1 10 -
RB Anthony Dixon 30 - -
TE Vernon Davis - 60 -
WR Josh Morgan - 60 -
WR Michael Crabtree - 50,1 -
PK Jeff Reed 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The 49ers have a shot at the playoffs in that way of "if everyone loses all their games and I win everything". But this is going to be just another losing record and the 49ers just placed Joe Nedney on injured reserve. This week should be a loss as are all non-Arizona road games but the season finale is hosting the Cardinals and a 6-10 record may not be enough to save Mike Singletary's job, but at least the 49ers will get to end with a bang.

QUARTERBACK: Troy Smith passed for the season best game when he had 356 passing yards and one score against the visiting Rams in week 10. Alex Smith was given back the starting job two weeks ago and after a nice showing against the Seahawks, he was back to normal in the San Diego rout with no scores and only 165 passing yards.

They have not yet named a starting quarterback but I will assume that Alex gets the call this week and update if needed. The Rams only give up around one score and 200 yards in home games so either quarterback has no big value this week regardless.

RUNNING BACKS: Back in week 10, Frank Gore ran for 87 yards on 22 carries and scored once on the Rams. He added 67 yards on three catches as well but this game goes off in St. Louis. Only five runners have scored there and while Michael Turner and Jamaal Charles both gained over 100 rushing yards there recently, they do not play for the 49ers. Expect no more than a moderate game here by Brian Westbrook and even then only if he gets a decent number of receptions. He was only able to catch two passes for eight yards last week in San Diego.

Anthony Dixon left the Chargers game with an ankle injury but I will assume he's okay for this week. Updates as needed but his projections are minimal anyway.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Josh Morgan snared seven passes for a career-high 106 yards against the Chargers last Thursday and he had one catch for 65 yards in the previous meeting with the Rams. Michael Crabtree turned in four receptions for 61 yards and one score in that game but has been marginal at best in recent weeks. These last two games with Alex Smith resulted in only four catches for 18 yards in total. I like the lone passing score to end up here but Crabtree has done nothing to inspire confidence lately and while I will credit Josh Morgan, he is still a major risk to rely on.

TIGHT ENDS: Vernon Davis only had one catch for four yards last week but came up with 70 yards and one score in the previous game while still playing with Alex Smith. Davis turned in 79 yards on four receptions in the previous meeting with the Rams who have only allowed three touchdowns to the position all year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 24 17 31 5 28 27
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 14 14 21 4 30 12
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) SF -10 -3 -10 -1 2 -15


St. Louis Rams (6-8)
Homefield: Edward Jones Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ARI L 13-17 10 @SF L 20-23
2 @OAK L 14-16 11 ATL L 17-34
3 WAS W 30-16 12 @DEN W 36-33
4 SEA W 20-3 13 @ARI W 19-6
5 @DET L 6-44 14 @NO L 13-31
6 SD W 20-17 15 KC L 13-27
7 @TB L 17-18 16 SF --
8 CAR W 20-10 17 @SEA --
9 Bye - - - -
Rams Report | Statistics | Roster
ST. LOUIS vs 49ers Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford - - 230,1
RB Steven Jackson 100,1 30 -
WR Laurent Robinson - 40 -
WR Danny Amendola - 60 -
WR Brandon Gibson - 50,1 -
PK Josh Brown 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The entire season is going to come down to that week 17 game in Seattle where the Rams can do the unthinkable and not only end at .500, but win the NFC West division. That would all but lock down the Rookie of the Year for Sam Bradford if it isn't already getting his name engraved on it. This week is no gimmee, but the Rams almost won in San Francisco and the 49ers are not nearly as good away from the Bay Area.

QUARTERBACK: There is no debating that Sam Bradford has been a delightful surprise who has already joined only Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan as the only rookie quarterbacks who have thrown for more than 3000 yards. But the problem now is that after passing for 14 touchdowns in the first 11 games against only five interceptions, Bradford has taken a turn for the worse. He passed for 187, 231 and 181 yards over the last three games with no scores and five interceptions. He did run in one score in week 14 in New Orleans but it has been three games since he had a passing touchdown.

Back in week 10, he threw for 251 yards and one touchdown in San Francisco.

The 49ers have already allowed 14 passing touchdowns in seven road games so Bradford should manage to come up with at least one touchdown this week. Five different road opponents scored multiple passing scores on them.

RUNNING BACKS: Steven Jackson has been on a nice run in these three recent games where Bradford did little and not because he was winning the game single-handedly (they lost two). But Jackson is healthy and adding in receptions in recent games to keep him over 100 total yards. Jackson already rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown in San Francisco and added a season high eight catches for 67 yards there.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Back in week ten, Danny Amendola caught seven passes for 51 yards and a score in San Francisco while Brandon Gibson turned in 72 yards on eight receptions in that game. This is the weakest link in the defense and the passing score should end up here. I'll credit Gibson at home but it could go to any wideout. The 49ers have already allowed 18 passing touchdowns to wideouts this year - Bradford should end up with at least one passing score.

TIGHT ENDS: There is an outside chance that Mike Hoomanawanui returns from his high ankle sprain after missing since week 12. But the 49ers are outstanding against tight ends anyway so no need to project this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 26 27 21 16 7 23
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 22 10 25 1 23 20
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) STL -4 -17 4 -15 16 -3

WEEK 16
2010
CAR at PIT BAL at CLE TEN at KC IND at OAK
DAL at ARI DET at MIA SEA at TB NYG at GB
NE at BUF NYJ at CHI MIN at PHI SD at CIN
  SF at STL WAS at JAC HOU at DEN NO at ATL
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