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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

Prediction: SF 14, MIA 20

Update: Frank Gore is listed as questionable with his ankle sprain but is a longshot to play and has not practiced. I am not adding him into the projections and you should not rely on him. He's technically a gametime decision but unlikely to play. Arnaz Battle has already been ruled out.

The 49ers hit the road where they are only 2-4 and may be without Frank Gore while the Dolphins are tied for the AFC East lead and are 4-3 at home. The 49ers are playing better lately but not "win this" better.

San Francisco 49ers (5-8)
Homefield: Monster Park
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 ARZ 13-23 +2.5 41.5
2 @SEA 33-30 +8 38.5
3 DET 31-13 -4 46
4 @NO 17-31 +6 48.5
5 NE 21-30 +3 41.5
6 PHI 26-40 +5 43
7 @NYG 17-29 +10.5 45
8 SEA 13-34 -4.5 42.5
9 BYE - - -
10 @ARZ 24-29 +9.5 47.5
11 STL 35-16 -6 44.5
12 @DAL 22-35 +11 48
13 @BUF 10-3 +7 42.5
14 NYJ 24-14 +4 45
15 @MIA - +6.5 42
16 @STL - - -
17 WAS - - -
SF @ MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Shaun Hill     200,2
RB DeShaun Foster 40 20  
TE Vernon Davis   20  
WR Isaac Bruce   60,1  
WR Bryant Johnson   40,1  
WR Jason Hill   30  
PK Joe Nedney   2 XP  
Pregame Notes: Mike Singletary has been the automatic pick in the NFL for a minority interview for head coaching jobs for the last several seasons and he may have finally found a home - or at least he is making it hard on the 49ers to not sign him up in the offseason. Singletary has led a recharged 49ers squad to win three of their last four games including a home victory over the Jets last week. The 49ers will get at least one win in St. Louis before the season is done and a 6-8 record will be ending on a higher note.

Quarterback: In the same vein as Singletary, Shaun Hill is making it hard on the 49ers to not stick with him in 2009. He has thrown for two scores in four of his last five games and only had two interceptions in the last month. He is actually working the Martz offense so that the yardage is not nearly as high but there are much more scores and far fewer turnovers. Couple that with a good defense - which has never been paired with a Martz offense - and the 49ers are looking better.

Running Backs: One reason for Hill's success passing is that defenses are keying on Frank Gore and wisely so. He has only scored in two of the last ten games and has not produced 100 total yards in four weeks. Even his role as a receiver has been reduced to where he is becoming a marginal fantasy starter in all but the easiest of games.

Compounding that problem is the ankle injury that Gore suffered last Sunday that could keep him out of this game. The 49ers have not ruled him out of playing this week and an MRI did not show any damage but Gore was limping badly after the game and is a long shot to play this week. I will project for DeShaun Foster to be the starter and update on Friday evening with the developments of the week. Not having Gore available would be a probable death knell to this offense.

Wide Receivers: The complex passing game of the 49ers is doing more to spread the ball around with Shaun Hill playing and outside of Isaac Bruce there is no reliable fantasy players in this group. Bruce has been consistent with at least 60 yards in recent games and his six touchdowns leads the team. But he rarely has more than those 60 yards and has been worse in road games anyway.

Bryant Johnson had a decent showing against the Jets with six receptions for 49 yards and one score but that has been his ceiling so far. As with most Martz-offenses, there are plenty of mediocre receivers and too few stars to bank on.

Tight Ends: In what could only be considered a backhand compliment, Vernon Davis was described by Mike Singletary as " the best blocking tight end I've ever seen." That is what you want to hear when you were the #5 overall draft pick selected for freakish speed and receiving ability. Unless your league awards points for blocking, Davis remains a fantasy flop.

Match Against the Defense: No doubt this game will involve more passing because the Dolphins rush defense at home has been very good and the 49ers may be down to only Foster anyway. Hill faces a secondary that can be challenged as it was by Cassel (415, 3 TD) and Schaub (379, 1 TD). The weakness is in the secondary and the 49ers are likely to be trailing anyway.

Look for Hill to throw for a couple of scores here and for at least healthy yardage. His turnovers should turn up this week too and the lack of Gore means more attention to pass defense. Hill could have a decent game here but there is a risk.

Gaining Fantasy Points SF 10 24 11 25 19 26
Preventing Fantasy Points    MIA 20 7 26 2 19 6

Miami Dolphins (8-5)
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYJ 14-20 +3 36
2 @ARZ 10-31 +7 38.5
3 @NE 38-13 +13 34.5
4 BYE - - -
5 SD 17-10 +6.5 45.5
6 @HOU 28-29 +3 45
7 BAL 13-27 -3 36.5
8 BUF 25-16 +1.5 42.5
9 @DEN 26-17 +3 49
10 SEA 21-19 -9 43
11 OAK 17-15


12 NE 28-48 -2 42
13 @STL 16-12 -7.5 43.5
14 @BUF 16-3 +1 42
15 SF - -6.5 42
16 @KC - - -
17 @NYJ - - -
MIA vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Pennington     190,1
RB Ronnie Brown 90,1 10  
RB Ricky Williams 60    
TE Anthony Fasano   10  
WR Davone Bess   80,1  
WR Ted Ginn Jr.   60  
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Jets loss last week puts the Fins into a three-way tie for the AFC East with only one road trip to the Jets left to determine who will win. The Fins have traded games with the Patriots and lost their season opener to the Jets so a week 17 win could potentially throw the division deep into tiebreakers for a winner. This week is the easiest remaining matchup and the final two are on the road.

Quarterback: Chad Pennington remains the veteran caretaker quarterback who has only thrown for 12 touchdowns on the season but only had six interceptions and no fumbles lost. With around 200 passing yards in most games, that is the definition of what a Parcells offense should produce. The ground game hasn't been as electric as hoped but the defense has been outstanding and actually improving as the season progresses.

Running Backs: No change here to the dual backfield. Ronnie Brown has been stuck around 16 carries per game that has in turn produced as many as 101 yards and as few as 37 yards in recent games. His ten rushing touchdowns still lead the team but only three were scored in the last eight games. Brown has been more mediocre than anything for the last couple of months.

Ricky Williams usually ends up with a dozen or so carries and that means about 40 or 50 yards that Brown would not be getting. These two combine for a decent rushing game but separately have minimal rushing value in most games.

Wide Receivers: What better speaks about a Bill Parcells offense that having an undrafted rookie challenging for the all-time completions record? If Davone Bess can catch 27 passes in the final three games (unlikely as it is) he could be #1 in NFL history for an undrafted player. He is already #2 with 32 receptions and since Greg Camarillo has been gone, Bess has caught 15 passes for 158 yards in two games.

Ted Ginn Jr. has only caught one touchdown on the year and struggles to gain more than 50 yards in most games but has been more effective when at home.

Tight Ends: Anthony Fasano comes off his fourth touchdown of the season but it is rare for him to have more than one catch in a game and he has been blanked twice already this season. No reliable fantasy value here.

Match Against the Defense: The Dolphins will win this game but they won't score any more points than needed. Look for a very standard game here with solid to great rushing totals split out between Brown and Williams and one rushing score that favors Brown. Pennington should manage his traditional one touchdown pass that has to favor Bess this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 20 6 24 7 23 16
Preventing Fantasy Points    SF 21 23 28 1 31 28

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