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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye

Prediction: SF 10, NYG 27

The 49ers stumble into this game with only 10 points scored in each of the last two games and both were at home. The Giants come off a short week after throttling the Falcons on Monday and are looking better every week. This is another one of those "two ships passing in the afternoon" games.

Update: Alex Smith has returned to limited practice this week from his shoulder separation but is not expected to play.

Brandon Jacobs has been limited in practice with his sprained ankle but is expected to play and I have added him back into the projections. Derrick Ward has also been limited but he was last week as well and played. The rookie Steven Smith is back at practice but won't play this week. He could be ready as early as next week though.

San Francisco 49ers (2-3)
Homefield: Monster Park
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 ARI 20-17 -3.5 45
2 @STL 17-16 +3 44
3 @PIT 16-37 +9 35.5
4 SEA 3-23 +1.5 40.5
5 BAL 7-9 +3.5 34.5
6 BYE - - -
7 @NYG   +9.5 40
8 NO 28-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
9 @ATL 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 @SEA 12-Nov MON 8:30 PM
11 STL 18-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
12 @ARI 25-Nov SUN 4:05 PM
13 @CAR 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 MIN 9-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
15 CIN 15-Dec SAT 8:15 PM
16 TB 23-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
17 @CLE 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
SFO at NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Dilfer     200
RB Frank Gore 60,1 20  
TE Vernon Davis   30  
WR Darrell Jackson   60  
WR Arnaz Battle   40  
WR Ashley Lelie   30  
PK Joe Nedney 1 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: Times are tough around Monster Park since the 49ers offense started out mediocre and has progressively become worse. Frank Gore still has not turned in a 100 yard rushing game and the passing attack has struggled to reach even 150 yards per game. Now that Alex Smith is out, the future is delayed while Trent Dilfer tries to restore some order to this pedestrian offense. The upcoming schedule is not all that tough, but then again - neither is the 49er offense anyway.

Quarterback: The latest iteration of Trent Dilfer the NFL starting quarterback only produced a paltry 126 yards and one touchdown against the Ravens but then again, that did double the passing scores for the year. Alex Smith took a big step backwards once Norv Turner left and now Trent Dilfer is trying to make do with better receivers but a lethargic offense around. The lack of passing has meant that the rushing game with Frank Gore now gets even more attention than last year.

There is a chance that Alex Smith returns this week from his separated shoulder but that will depend on mid-week practices. I will update if warranted.

Running Backs: Frank Gore pealed off three touchdowns over the first three games so that his anemic rushing totals still could offer decent fantasy value. For the last three games the touchdowns are gone but the stunted rushing numbers remain with no game topping 79 rushing yards. What's worse is that thanks to an offense that cannot control the ball or the score board, Gore has only been getting around 15 carries in most games.

He is only averaging around 3.6 yards per carry after having a very healthy 5.4 yards average in 2006. The offense wasn't supposed to change much when Turner left but whatever did depart took along the ability to run the ball. Gore's value last year wasn't so much with scoring since he only had nine touchdowns but in yardage. It's just not there this year though the last three games have been against solid defenses - PIT, SEA and BAL.

Wide Receivers: The only good news here is that Arnaz Battle caught a touchdown in the last game even though it came on just three catches for 36 yards. That was only the second score recorded by a 49er wideout this year and the other guy was Taylor Jacobs who was released. Darrell Jackson has topped out at just 69 yards in one game and has never accounted for more than four catches. In the most recent game, he only turned in two catches for six yards with Dilfer as the quarterback. We thought the passing numbers from 2006 were bad. We were right and we were just setting ourselves up for even worse this year.

The 49ers intend on using Ashley Lelie more for the rest of the season after spending $2 million on his signing bonus. It won't be too hard to get him more action since so far he has been thrown one pass for an incompletion this season.

Tight Ends: There is a chance that Vernon Davis returns this week as well but that too will depend on practices during the week. He has missed the last two games with a sprained knee but only has eight catches for 83 yards on the season after three games played. In his place, Delanie Walker has only had a couple of inconsequential catches. I will project for Davis to play and update as needed.

Match Against the Defense: By this point, the only 49er with fantasy value is Frank Gore and even that has been seriously reduced. The Giants defense has been solid against the run, particularly when their offense can get a lead and the opponent just doesn't have enough opportunities to run much. Look for just moderate gains here by Gore who could score if the 49ers actually end up near the goal line.

Dilfer faces a secondary that has been good since those first two games and that has only allowed two scores over the last four games. Tall order to expect much from Dilfer and company but there could be enough trash time here to allow passing yardage to eclipse 200 yards.

Gaining Fantasy Points SF 31 25 30 32 30 29
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 23 19 10 28 5 15


New York Giants (4-2)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @DAL 35-45 +5.5 44
2 GB 13-35 -2.5 38.5
3 @WAS 24-17 +3.5 40.5
4 PHI 16-3 +2.5 47
5 NYJ 35-24 -3 41
6 @ATL 31-10 -3 43.5
7 SF   -9.5 40
8 @MIA 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 BYE - - -
10 DAL 11-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
11 @DET 18-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
12 MIN 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @CHI 2-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
14 @PHI 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 WAS 16-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
16 @BUF 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 NE 29-Dec SAT 8:15 PM
NYG vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning     190,1
RB Derrick Ward 40 20  
RB Brandon Jacobs 60,1 20  
RB Reuben Droughns 20,1
TE Jeremy Shockey   50  
WR Plaxico Burress   70,1  
WR Amani Toomer   20  
WR Sinorice Moss   20  
PK Lawrence Tynes 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: When the Giants started their season 0-2, it was believed that they had collapsed due to injuries and the absence of Tiki Barber. Ends up that starting the season against Dallas and Green Bay was the problem and the G-Men have ripped off four straight wins in impressive fashion. Granted that Brandon Jacobs apparently is a fragile bruiser, but between Derrick Ward and Reuben Droughns the rushing game still chugs along and in the end, Plaxico Burress is going to catch a touchdown anyway. With only Miami left before the bye, the Giants remain in the thick of the divisional race.

Quarterback: The yardage has not been big for Eli Manning this year but he has thrown for at least one score in every game along with one interception that invariably comes on the last play of the first half. The offensive line is giving him decent time to throw and he has only been sacked five times this year. Hard to say what this passing attack would be like without Burress but evidently a severe ankle sprain is not enough to persuade him to stop catching scores.

Running Backs: Brandon Jacobs appears to be a very productive back this year, the problem is that he rarely seems to appear for long. Jacobs left the Falcons game with a neck stinger suffered on the first series though he did return long enough to have an ankle sprain as well. Until the Falcons defense was just too tired to play, both Derrick Ward (8-12, 1 TD) and Reuben Droughns (14-90, 1 TD) were ineffective running. I will project for Ward as the starter this week and update if Jacobs is likely to play. He really needs to get an entire healthy game under his belt because the Giants are starting to get too comfortable swapping in runners.

Wide Receivers: Amani Toomer comes off his best game of the season with seven catches for 89 yards and one score but that was his first touchdown of the season and he usually settles for around 40 or 50 yards per game. Plaxico Burress still has scored in every game and has eight touchdowns on the season. His ankle may prevent him from practicing, but it hasn't stopped him from scoring or turning in around 100 yards in each of the last two games. Sinorice Moss is finally starting to contribute and had four catches on Monday though he only gained 19 yards.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey remains a solid component of the passing game and usually has around 50 yards or so but only one touchdown so far. He's still a bit of a loose cannon with dumb penalties in the last few games.

Match Against the Defense: The 49ers rush defense has been average this year though they have only given up two rushing scores. The decline in the 49er offense has left the defense on the field too much and their performance is also declining. Look for a solid rushing game this week that should at least net 100 rushing yards or more and one or more touchdowns.

Manning always throws for one score and the 49ers usually allow as much so look for just an average game here that will of course get Burress one score. I like the chance for a defensive score in this game as well. This should not be too taxing for the Giants even with a short week to prepare because the 49ers offense is struggling so badly. That should mean the rushing attempts are up and the passing game is not needed as much.

Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 10 6 8 15 18 10
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 14 15 9 19 30 30

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye


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