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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 16
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
 
* updated

Prediction: SF 24, STL 20

Update: Frank Gore has not practiced this week and while he has not been ruled out, he is not expected to play and even if he somehow did he would be limited in the game. I am not adding him into the projections and he looks like he will miss what would be a great situation for a fantasy owner.

The 49ers won 33-30 in Seattle during week two of this season and the change this time around is that Frank Gore is the running back who could miss the game and Jackson gets to play in this one. It is just the end of a bad season but the 49ers are already working on next year with their new HC Mike Singletary. The 49ers are only 2-5 on the road and the Rams are 1-6 at home.

San Francisco 49ers (5-9)
Homefield: Monster Park
Grass
  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 9-14 +6.5 42
16 @STL - -5.5 44
17 WAS - - -
SF @ STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Shaun Hill     230,2
RB DeShaun Foster 70,1 10  
TE Vernon Davis   20  
WR Isaac Bruce   90,1  
WR Bryant Johnson   50,1  
WR Jason Hill   30  
PK Joe Nedney 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The 49ers lost in Miami but only by five points and without Frank Gore. The defense has held four of the last five opponents to fewer than 17 points and the team appears to have made strides on both sides of the ball in the second half of the season. The loss has doomed the team to a losing record but they are on a positive track for next year.

Quarterback: The trip to Miami last week was the first time this year that Shaun Hill failed to throw a score and he's been good for two scores in four of his seven starts. He's only had four interceptions this year but has rolled up 18 sacks so far with last week's five as a season high. The absence of Gore has a significant impact on the offense and the way opponents defend against it.

Hill passed for 213 yards and two scores against the visiting Rams in week 11.

Running Backs: Frank Gore missed last week with a bad ankle and never practiced so his availability will be in question this week until he shows he can play. In his place, DeShaun Foster took the start and gained 76 yards on 18 carries while adding 25 yards on five receptions. But that only gave him a total of 55 carries for 154 yards on on the season and a 2.8 yard per carry average. Gore has been the main weapon of the offense and Foster has not been worthy of much more than occasional relief for Gore.

Gore gained 106 yards and scored twice against the Rams this year.

Wide Receivers: Isaac Bruce has been the most consistent wideout and his seven touchdowns leads all 49ers receivers. He's been good for around 70 yards in these last three weeks while facing solid defenses and even had a season best fantasy game in week 12 in Dallas with 125 yards and a touchdown. The oddity is that Bruce only had one catch for 20 yards against the Rams in week 11 for his worst game of the year. Usually facing an old team prompts either revenge or at least a desire to show them up. With Bruce's paltry stats it seemed to elicit sympathy.

Bryant Johnson led all 49er receivers when he had four receptions for 56 yards and one score against the Rams earlier this season. He has remained the starter even though Josh Morgan is healthy again.

Tight Ends: Vernon Davis scored on his only catch in the previous meeting with the Rams. He has minimal production each week and his five catches for 31 yards last week was an unusually high amount of receptions. He tends to remain at just one in most games.

Match Against the Defense: The lack of Gore will have a big impact on this game but the 49ers can win it regardless. Gore already had a nice game against the Rams this year and Foster should at least have moderate rushing totals and likely one touchdown. Amazingly, every visiting team in St. Louis has scored at least one rushing touchdown.

Hill faces a secondary that is no where nearly as good as the ranking may suggest because most teams just run all over the Rams and have no need to throw. But with Gore potentially out and playing in St. Louis, the 49ers will need to pass in order to win and this is Isaac Bruce's chance to say hello to his old team. This is also Mike Martz chance to give his regard to the last place he was a head coach. I like that to motivate the team into a nice passing game here with at least two scores and solid yardage.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 12 26 14 25 16 27
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 15 30 22 15 31 31


St. Louis Rams (2-12)
Homefield: Edward Jones Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @PHI 3-38 +7 44
2 NYG 13-41 +8.5 41.5
3 @SEA 13-37 +10 44
4 BUF 14-31 +8 41.5
5 BYE - - -
6 @WAS 19-17 +13.5 44
7 DAL 34-14 +7 44
8 @NE 16-23 +7 43.5
9 ARZ 13-34 +3 49
10 @NYJ 3-47 +8.5 44.5
11 @SF 16-35 +6 44.5
12 CHI 3-27 +9 43
13 MIA 12-16 +7.5 43.5
14 @ARZ 10-34 +13.5 49
15 SEA 20-23 +3 44
16 SF - +5.5 44
17 @ATL - - -
STL vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger     190,1
RB Steven Jackson 100,1 30  
WR Torry Holt   70,1  
WR Donnie Avery   50  
WR Dane Looker   20  
PK Josh Brown 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Rams came close to ending their eight game losing streak when they almost played the Seahawks even last week but they lost to the Fins by just four points in week 13. There is almost no chance that the Rams could win a road game but this week is their final opportunity to actually defeat an opponent since somehow surprising the Cowboys back in week seven.

Quarterback: The year of Marc Bulger-lite is coming to a close and so far the one-time elite fantasy quarterback has nine passing scores, seven games under 200 yards and been benched once. On the plus side, Bulger has thrown for a score in all but one home game this year and it has been the only place where he has offered at least minimal fantasy value.

Bulger passed for 295 yards and one score in San Francisco this year.

Running Backs: The return of Steven Jackson in week 13 hasn't prompted a victory but he's a definite advantage to the offense and has scored a touchdown in each of the last two games - any touchdown on this team is a big deal. What is encouraging for this week is that Jackson has rushed for over 90 yards in the last four home starts and scored in each one. In fact, every rushing score this year has come at home. In a very bad year, Jackson gets his best matchup right when fantasy championships are happening - though he would have done little to get owners there.

Jackson was out in week 11 when the Rams went to San Francisco. Antonio Pittman ran for 95 yards on 14 carries and Kenneth Darby had eight catches for 83 yards.

Wide Receivers: The season is winding down for Torry Holt - or is that his career - and he comes off only his third touchdown on the season. If you want a measure of how the Ram's offense has done this year just look at Holt's stats - no games with more than 84 yards. He has averaged four catches for 47 yards per game. That currently places Holt between Devery Henderson and Michael Jenkins in total yards. That says plenty enough.

Donnie Avery's rookie season has seen him become a starter each week and he had a 163 yard effort in week eight but he has only scored three times and his 578 yards spell an average year at best. On the plus side, one big game and Avery can overtake Holt as the top wideout.

Avery caught nine passes for 93 yards and Holt turned in five receptions for 60 yards against the 49ers this season.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: The 49ers have improved on defense as the season progresses and Mike Singletary begins to make his mark. But Jackson is central to the Rams offense and has a chance here to finally post decent fantasy numbers when you need them the most. The 49ers have only allowed five touchdowns to runners in road games but Jackson should bump that to six and have very solid yardage with a chance for a big game.

Bulger is locked into looking for Holt or Avery and really no one else. There is no reason to expect much more fireworks than the duds that the Rams post every week. I like the chance for one passing score since the 49ers typically allow at least that but the yardage will remain moderate at best. The passing attack here is too limited to matter much.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 30 28 21 29 22 29
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 20 22 25 5 30 29

The Huddle
WEEK 16
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
   
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
Tunnel Vision
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