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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
WEEK 8
October 25, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday night
On Bye
ARZ at GB JAX at PHI STL at SD DAL at CAR BUF, DET
ATL at CIN SEA at KC IND at DEN
Monday
MIA, WAS
BAL at NO SF at CHI NYJ at CLE NE at MIN  
HOU at TEN TB at NYG PIT at OAK   updated

Prediction: SF 7, CHI 31

The 49ers come off their bye week rested after their spanking by the Chargers but the Bears are also coming off their bye week as well and have spent the last week exchanging sheepish grins after the Monday night win in Arizona. The 49ers have only played in two road games this year and were shutout by the Chiefs in their last trip out.

San Francisco 49ers (2-4)
1 27-34 @ARZ 10 --- @DET
2 20-13 STL 11 --- SEA
3 24-38 PHI 12 --- @STL
4 0-41 @KC 13 --- @NO
5 34-20 OAK 14 --- GB
6 19-48 SD 15 --- @SEA
7 Open Bye 16 --- ARZ
8 --- @CHI 17 --- @DEN
9 --- MIN - - THU
SFO at CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith 0 0 180,1
RB Frank Gore 40 40 0
TE Eric Johnson 0 10 0
WR Antonio Bryant 0 60,1 0
WR Bryan Gilmore 0 20 0
WR Arnaz Battle 0 40 0
PK Joe Nedney 0 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: If there's one aspect of their opponent that has spelled doom for the 49ers this year, it's when they go against a good defense - KC and SD had very little trouble against them. Now in Chicago they get the NFL's best defense that has been resting. for two weeks. Not the place for a turnaround by the 49ers.

Quarterback: While Alex Smith has enjoyed a far better season than he had as a rookie, there is still a potential problem for this week. While Smith threw for five touchdowns in his last two starts, those games were both at home. He's only had two road games this season and his last one was the fiasco in Kansas City back in week four when he had no scores, two interceptions and ended with just 92 passing yards in the game. Smith is coming along but it hasn't translated into performing well on the road yet.

Running Backs: Frank Gore started the year out with three scores in his first two games but hasn't crossed the goal line since. While he did turn in 134 rushing yards against the Raiders, the other three most recent games haven't been over 65 rushing yards while he has also settled down to around 30 receiving yards each week. Gore started out red hot but he's been only average the last month other than when the Raiders came to town. On the road again to Chicago this week, that trend is not likely to turn around soon.

Wide Receivers: After starting out with two great games this season, Antonio Bryant hasn't been much of a factor and only once in the last month did he exceed 36 yards in a game. Arnaz Battle enjoyed a two touchdown game against the Raiders but otherwise he's been stuck around 30 or 40 yards each week. Bryan Gilmore had a touchdown in the last game, but he has been good for just one catch per week. This wideout crew began very well this year but has really settled down into just a set of mediocre receivers with very little fantasy value now.

Tight Ends: With Vernon Davis out, Eric Johnson has down no more than he did when Davis was still around. Johnson typically has about 25 yards per game on three catches and he's only scored once this year.

Match Against the Defense: Frank Gore hasn't scored since week two and the Bears have not allowed any runner to cross the goal line this year. Add in that runners have struggled to top 50 rushing yards against them and figure on Gore for having a down game here. He'll have to figure in the passing game too but even there the Bears have been stellar. The 49ers get LG Larry Allen back this week which should help. A little. Maybe.

Alex Smith faces a secondary that finally has given up passing scores but if Smith throws for more than one it will be a major accomplishment. Smith has settled down after the initial good games this year anyway and should remain under 200 yards in this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 21 4 18 23 18 18
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 2 2 9 2 4 13

 

Chicago Bears (6-0)
1 26-0 @GB 10 --- @NYG
2 34-7 DET 11 --- @NYJ
3 19-16 @MIN 12 --- @NE
4 37-6 SEA 13 --- MIN
5 40-7 BUF 14 --- @STL
6 24-23 @ARZ 15 --- TB
7 Open Bye 16 --- @DET
8 --- SF 17 --- GB
9 --- MIA - - MON
CHI vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Rex Grossman 0 0 210,2
RB Thomas Jones 100,1 10 0
RB Cedric Benson 40,1 0 0
TE Desmond Clark 0 30,1 0
WR Muhsin Muhammad 0 60 0
WR Rashied Davis 0 30 0
WR Bernard Berrian 0 80,1 0
PK Robbie Gould 1 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: What to think, what to think? The Bears had been cruising along with a dominating defense and a surprisingly effective passing attack and then they went to Arizona. The defense couldn't stop Leinart nearly as well as the Cardinals play calling did and the offense was nothing more than Grossman missing on bombs to Berrian. The win was incredibly exciting for Bears fans without a doubt, but this week needs to show that it was nothing but an annual trash game that most teams turn in.

Quarterback: After throwing nine touchdowns over the last four games, Rex Grossman stumbled in Arizona when he only completed 14 of 37 passes for 148 yards and four interceptions with two fumbles lost. It was a horrible showing that the Bears have spent the last two weeks stewing over. Grossman has exceeded all expectations this year but looked more like the worst quarterback in the league against Arizona. Fortunately, the 49ers are coming to town and that should be just the ticket for Grossman to get his groove back.

Running Backs: Thomas Jones comes off his worst game of the year when he only ran for 39 yards on 11 carries against the Cards. That performance followed his season high of 109 yards on 22 carries against the visiting Bills in week five so there's no rush to dump him because of one game. The Chicago media of course was calling for Cedric Benson to get more playing time since Jones was so ineffective but it was only one week and Jones was no worse than any other facet of the Bears on that Monday night.

Benson only had one carry for four yards so it's not like the Bears were "changing directions" in a game where nothing offense-related was working. Benson will continue to figure in sporadically for now, but there's no reason to expect more than we have seen from him so far.

Wide Receivers: Bernard Berrian was held to a season low 31 yards on two catches but he had eight passes thrown to him during Grossman's quest to connect deep against the Cards. Berrian had scored in four of the five previous games and he had 70 yards in the sole game when he did score during that time. Just a bad week that should be corrected with the 49ers coming to town.

Muhsin Muhammad fared even worse in week six when he only had one catch for two yards but he only had ten yards in the previous game against the Bills. Berrian continues to be the primary wideout for the Bears and Muhammad is adopting his old possession catch role. Muhammad only has one score on the year though he did had over 100 yards twice - both of them road games. All three of Berrian's top games came when the Bears were playing in Chicago.

Tight Ends: While everyone else for the Bears were busy turning in season low numbers in week six, Desmond Clark actually had one of his better games when he reeled in four catches for 61 yards - his best game since week two.

Match Against the Defense: Thomas Jones hasn't been particularly effective this year but this game is tailor-made for a nice game from him. The 49ers have already given up nine rushing scores this year and always at least one on the road if not more. The only factor that could keep Jones from turning in a big game here is if the Bears elect to involve Cedric Benson more this week. Benson's playing time this year has been mostly when the Bears are at home and already ahead - both factors playing in this week. I am going to project for Benson this week but mostly as a means to temper expectations for Jones since he could lose carries.

Grossman certainly could use a "feel good" game after the flop in Arizona and the 49ers have never failed to allow at least one passing score and on the road they have never allowed less than two. Grossman won't have big yardage numbers here because he won't need them.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 14 15 9 7 1 1
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 29 30 27 32 31 24