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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
November 23, 2005
Season Ticket
Thanksgiving Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
DEN at DAL CHI at TB* SF at TEN* MIA at OAK Mon 9 PM
Sun 1 PM CLE at MIN STL at HOU GB at PHI* PIT at IND
BAL at CIN NE at KC   NYG at SEA Times ET

Prediction: San Francisco 13, Tennessee 27

Thankfully one of these teams has to win the game though a tie would be somewhat appropriate. Big thing here is that the 49ers are on the road where they are 0-4 this season and the Titans are playing competitively (though losing) almost every week. Probably something better to watch on Sunday besides this game unless you are a hometown fan.

Update: Since FB Fred Beasley is doubtful, I am downgrading the numbers for Barlow since he will be without his blocking back. Erron Kinney is also questionable and could not practice on Wednesday (the last practice). I am downgrading his numbers slightly but he could be back to form by Sunday.

San Francisco 49ers (2-8)
1 28-25 STL 10 9-17 @CHI
2 3-42 @PHI 11 25-27 SEA
3 31-34 DAL 12 Nov 27 @TEN
4 14-31 @ARI 13 Dec 4 ARI
5 3-28 IND 14 Dec 11 @SEA
6 Open Bye 15 Dec 18 @JAC
7 17-52 @WAS 16 Dec 24 @STL
8 15-10 TBB 17 Jan 1 HOU
9 6-24 NYG . . SAT
SFO at TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ken Dorsey 0 0 190,1
RB Kevan Barlow 40 10 0
TE Terry Jones 0 10 0
WR Brandon Lloyd 0 60,1 0
WR Johnnie Morton 0 30 0
WR Arnaz Battle 0 20 0
WR Jason McAddley 0 40 0
PK Joe Nedney 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The 49ers had a spark last week when Ken Dorsey threw for 249 yards which is roughly the equivalent of Peyton Manning throwing for 1000 yards in a game. The offense was without Frank Gore and eventually Kevan Barlow and it never looked better since Tim Rattay left. Small moral victory of course, but at this point in the season those are rare and very welcomed.

Quarterback: Just when the 49ers seemed to be at their very worst, Ken Dorsey steps up and throws for 249 yards and one score last week. That was almost as much as the four previous games the 49ers had produced. He had no turnovers and vastly improved from his 7 of 18 for 40 yards game that he had against the Buccaneers. Sure, it was at home and it was almost a trap game, but still Dorsey showed some poise and surprisingly good production.

Running Backs: As the season swirls down the drain, the 49ers lost Frank Gore to a groin strain that flared up in pregame warmups and later Kevan Barlow (12-21) had a concussion and could not finish the game. Maurice Hicks stepped in like last year and had 11 carries for 83 yards and one touchdown in his only playing time of the season. That was the second best rushing effort by any 49er this season. Barlow is expected back this week but the 49ers may take the route of last year by using Hicks more until they realize why he is only a third string tailback.

Wide Receivers: This unit was entirely without any fantasy value until last week when Brandon Lloyd caught seven passes for 119 yards and one touchdown. Lloyd is regularly making tremendous catches and with the way the 49ers throw the ball, the ability to snare a ball that is merely close is very valuable. Even with the big passing game last week, only Lloyd had any numbers or more than a couple of catches. This will not be lost upon the Titan secondary this week.

Tight Ends: Terry Jones comes off the second best showing by any 49er tight end this season. He had one catch for 19 yards.

Match Against the Defense: For being a 2-8 team, the Titans actually have a good rushing defense that has only allowed one touchdown at home and that has never given up 100 yards to any visiting back including James, Jordan and Rudi Johnson. Little chance that the 49ers will score on the ground and with a woozy Barlow and potentially some playing time by Hicks, the overall picture holds minimal fantasy value. Barlow has never run for more than 58 yards on the road.

The passing game is where the Titans give up points and every opponent has managed at least one score. This will be one of the best match-ups for the 49ers passing attack of the year but outside of last week that attack has been nothing short of a spectacular failure. Expect some success here from Dorsey and one score but anything more than that will be a surprise for a road game.

Tennessee Titans (2-8)
1 7-34 @PIT 10 Open Bye
2 25-10 BAL 11 28-31 JAC
3 27-31 @STL 12 Nov 27 SFO
4 10-31 IND 13 Dec 4 @IND
5 34-20 @HOU 14 Dec 11 HOU
6 23-31 CIN 15 Dec 18 SEA
7 10-20 @ARI 16 Dec 24 @MIA
8 25-34 OAK 17 Jan 1 @JAC
9 14-20 @CLE . . SAT
TEN vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair 0 0 270,2
RB Chris Brown 90,1 30 0
TE Ben Troupe 0 20 0
TE Erron Kinney 0 40 0
WR Drew Bennett 0 80,1 0
WR Courtney Roby 0 30,1 0
WR Roydell Williams 0 20 0
WR Brandon Jones 0 30 0
PK Rob Bironas 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Titans have lost their last five games but none of them have been blowouts and they've been within one score of tying or winning in most of them including a three point loss to the visiting Jaguars last week. Nothing like the 49ers coming to town to cure a winless streak.

Quarterback: Steve McNair remains incredibly consistent, even that if means he is only average. He has thrown for a score in nine games this season and had remained between 195 and 261 yards every week. Regardless of what the opponent does, he ends up within that range though he has managed two passing scores in three match-ups this season. With the 49ers coming to town, McNair gets his best chance to shine of the season.

Running Backs: Chris Brown faced the tough Jaguars defense last week but ended with a season high 119 total yards and two touchdowns. He has scored in each of the last three games and along with McNair provides consistent, if only average, production every week. Over the last three games, he has been used on all but two carries. There is no committee here, just an average back that can turn in a decent game.

Wide Receivers: Drew Bennett returned last week after missing three games due to finger surgery and he ended with six catches for 55 yards. Brandon Jones also played for the first time since week seven but only managed one catch for 21 yards while Roydell Williams had just one catch in the game that also produced an 8-yard touchdown. The passing attack is very diverse here which only means that no one player has meaningful numbers, at least until the 49ers come to town.

Tight Ends: Ben Troupe had missed a game with a high ankle sprain and while he returned last week, he only had two passes and no catches. Bo Scaife had been filling in while the wideouts were out injured but now that they are back, he had no catches in the game as well. Erron Kinney turned in five catches for 37 yards against the Jaguars, one of his worst games of the year.

Match Against the Defense: These teams are actually similar in that their rushing defense is far superior to what they allow via the pass. But on the road the 49ers are always less formidable against the run. Look for a very solid game here by Chris Brown with one score and the chance for a very big game if the Titans will continue to use him as a receiver.

McNair has a great chance to break out of his "low 200, one score" mold this season going against a secondary that has always allowed the opponent to throw for a touchdown when the 49ers are on the road. Look for the high yardage game of the season here from McNair that could favor any receiver but likely should see Roydell Williams or Courtney Roby score because the speed guys have been the biggest 49er killers this season.