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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  
Conference NFC : Giants at 49ers AFC : Ravens at Patriots

Prediction: NYG 23, SF 27

Line: SF by 2.5, OU = 42

This is a rematch of week 10 when the 49ers won 27-20 in San Francisco. The Giants are poised to be a huge underdog made good if they win here since they were not even certain for the playoffs until week 17 when they beat the Cowboys. The Giants are 6-3 in road games this year. The 49ers are another surprise team now that the NFC has erased the two biggest favorite teams and are 7-1 at home with only a three point loss to the Cowboys in week two. Both teams are a surprise - the 49ers showed up with much better offense when they scored 36 points on the Saints and the Giants defense made a huge appearance when they held the normally prolific Packers to only 20 points. The Giants are the only visitor to win in the eight playoff games held so far.

New York Giants
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @WAS 14-28 10 @SF 20-27
2 STL 28-16 11 PHI 10-17
3 @PHI 29-16 12 @NO 24-49
4 @ARI 31-27 13 GB 35-38
5 SEA 25-36 14 @DAL 37-34
6 BUF 27-24 15 WAS 10-23
7 Bye - 16 @NYJ 29-14
8 MIA 20-17 17 DAL 31-14
9 @NE 24-20 18 ATL 24-2
      19 @GB 37-20
Giants Report | Statistics | Roster
NY GIANTS Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning - - 300,2
RB Brandon Jacobs 40 10 -
RB Ahmad Bradshaw 40 20 -
TE Jake Ballard - 30 -
WR Victor Cruz - 70,1 -
WR Hakeem Nicks - 90,1 -
WR Mario Manningham - 50 -
PK Lawrence Tynes 3 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Giants were looking pretty weak a short month ago but four straight wins have not only shown an offense that did not take the normal end-of-season nosedive but has maintained if not improved each week. Add to that a defense that is playing better than likely any other time in the season and that makes the Giants an obviously dangerous team to contend with for the 49ers if not the AFC rep in the Superbowl.

QUARTERBACK: Eli Manning has enjoyed a great season with nine 300+ yard passing efforts and his traditional late season slump has been no where to be seen this season. Manning has thrown for three scores in each of the last three games and posted 330 yards in Green Bay to advance to the Conference Championship. Manning passed for 311 yards and two scores in his first game in San Francisco.

The 49ers are solid against the pass and never allowed more than two passing scores to any visitor until last week when the Saints hung 462 yards and four scores on them. But Drew Brees also threw two interceptions as did Manning when he played there. Manning is playing at a high level but so are the homefield 49ers who already know what the Giants are like. Chances are a repeat of week 10 is the most likely.

RUNNING BACKS: The 49ers still have never allowed any visiting running back to rush in a touchdown and no one has gained more than 64 rushing yards against them. In week ten, Ahmad Bradshaw was out with his foot injury and Brandon Jacobs took the full load of 18 carries but only gained 55 yards. Danny Ware turned in nine runs for 34 yards in that game as well. The 49ers have a stifling rushing defense and the Giants already know that success is not going to come on the ground and the backs are rarely used for more than two catches per week. No reason to expect more than moderate total yardage and no score if even that.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This is where the Giants have to compete but unlike the Saints who use a back and tight end extensively in addition to their three wideouts, there are really only the three wideouts for the G-Men that make a difference in the passing game. All three players were active in the previous matchup with Hakeem Nicks (2-41) and Mario Manningham (6-77) both scoring once and Victor Cruz (6-84) leading in receiving yardage. There has only been ten receiving touchdowns allowed to a wideout in San Francisco this year. All three players should be heavily targeted and will be the difference makers if they can improve on their stats from last time but the 49ers defense are already familiar with them.

TIGHT ENDS: Jake Ballard only ended with three catches for 35 yards in San Francisco in week ten and he has been held to fewer than 20 yards in each of the last three games. He's not been much of a factor since mid-season and the 49ers only allowed Jimmy Graham to ever score as a visiting tight end.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 7 8 3 18 24 10
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 12 1 18 5 1 1


San Francisco 49ers
Homefield: Monster Park
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SEA 33-17 10 NYG 27-20
2 DAL 24-27 11 ARI 23-7
3 @CIN 13-8 12 @BAL 6-16
4 @PHI 24-23 13 STL 26-0
5 TB 48-3 14 @ARI 19-21
6 @DET 25-19 15 PIT 20-3
7 Bye - 16 @SEA 19-17
8 CLE 20-10 17 @STL 34-27
9 @WAS 19-11 19 NO 36-32
49ers Report | Statistics | Roster
SAN FRANCISCO Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith 20 - 260,2
RB Frank Gore 80,1 30 -
RB Kendall Hunter 20 10 -
TE Vernon Davis - 90,1 -
WR Ted Ginn Jr. - 30 -
WR Kyle Williams - 20 -
WR Michael Crabtree - 50,1 -
PK David Akers 3 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Can it really be? The 49ers have gone from perennial doormat to hosting the NFC Championship almost overnight? Apparently so. The 49ers defense has been one of the top units in the NFL this year and is the reason why the team reached the playoffs but last week when the Saints showed up and the 49ers needed to post points to win, they had their second highest score of the year. The 49ers may not need as many points this week, but the defense alone is not going to be enough again.

QUARTERBACK: Seven years and seven offensive coordinators later, Alex Smith may have actually come into his own. Most of the season Smith has been more of a game manager but when it came down to win or lose, he posted his best game of the year against the Saints with 299 passing yards and three touchdowns and also ran in one score. Back in week ten, Smith accounted for 242 yards and one score and had one interception but he has not thrown a pick in the last six weeks.

The Giants have allowed around 250 pass yards or more in almost every road game this year and it was impressive to see what Smith has done lately. Figure on a bit better showing by Smith in this matchup.

RUNNING BACKS: Frank Gore was injured in the previous meeting with the Giants when he only ended with six runs for no yardage and Kendall Hunter took over to score once on his six runs for 40 yards. Gore looked very sharp and back to health last week when he covered 89 yards in just 13 carries and added a season high (by far) seven catches for 38 yards. This is Gore's chance to make good against the Giants.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Michael Crabtree only caught one pass for 21 yards in the previous meeting though he did also snare a two point attempt. Even last week against the Saints, he only ended with 25 yards on four catches though he did score once on his ten targets. Ted Ginn Jr. has remained a relative nonfactor and Kyle Williams only had one catch in the last meeting with the Giants which fits into his general pattern. Davis has re-emerged as the primary receiver but Crabtree has scored three times over just the last two games. The yardage should be moderate here at best but Crabtree has a decent shot at a touchdown.

TIGHT ENDS: Vernon Davis had a mediocre season by most expectations but has really come to life in the last month. He had a season high seven catches for 180 yards and two scores against the Saints for his second straight effort over 100 yards. Back in week ten, Davis was still plugging along with marginal stats and still scored once on his three catches for 40 yards. The Giants on the road have been bad against tight ends and while only one scored on them as a visitor, six different tight ends scored a total of seven touchdowns in the away games. This should be another chance for a nice showing by Davis.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 27 15 30 6 1 4
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 28 19 29 28 13 10

Conference NFC : Giants at 49ers AFC : Ravens at Patriots

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