FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

Prediction: ARI 3, SF 24 (Line: SF by 16.5)

Players to Watch: Brian Hoyer, Randy Moss

The loss in Seattle last week means that the 49ers have to win this week (or Seattle lose) in order to secure the NFC West title. A loss would mean just a wildcard. The 5-10 Cardinals are only 1-6 on the road and lost to the 49ers 3-24 in Arizona back in week eight.

Arizona Cardinals
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SEA 20-16 10 BYE -----
2 @NE 20-18 11 @ATL 19-23
3 PHI 27-6 12 STL 17-31
4 MIA 24-21 13 @NYJ 6-7
5 @STL 3-17 14 @SEA 0-58
6 BUF 16-19 15 DET 38-10
7 @MIN 14-21 16 CHI 13-28
8 SF 3-24 17 @SF -----
9 @GB 17-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Larry Fitzgerald 5-50
TE Jermaine Gresham 5-50
PK Phil Dawson 1 FG

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals wind down a disastrous season with nothing accomplished and yet no hot rumors that Ken Whisenhunt is about to get fired despite the 5-10 mark. The defense was actually better than average here and that was amazing considering how little the offense did anything to help the defense. The NFL draft in April needs to be used for primarily offensive positions with so many needs and we'll see a very new team take the field in 2013.

Beanie Wells was benched last week and even he openly admits he won't likely be back with the team next year. Problem for him is that he is not likely to get anything more than a backup gig somewhere else. He's only 25 next year but has been in the league for four inglorious seasons and only averaged a paltry 2.7 YPC this year while continuing to show how brittle the big back is. He's really not suited for much more than goal line duty and his days of "being the man" are over.

The Cardinals expect Ryan Williams back next year though he remains on injured reserve because of his shoulder. There is also a good chance that La 'Rod Stephens-Howling leaves in free agency which loses not only a good change-of-pace back but also a valuable special teams returner. He and William Powell will likely get the most carries this week unless they want to run Wells for some reason. None of the runners have any fantasy value this week anyway in San Francisco.

Rob Housler will miss the final game because of a shoulder injury in Sunday's loss to the Bears. He finishes the year as the best tight end for the Cardinals who were able to go all sixteen games and yet never once throw a touchdown to any one in the position.

The one accomplishment of the entire season was that Ryan Lindley has buried the NFL record for most passes thrown without a touchdown, now up to 158 passes on the year. He was benched for Brian Hoyer last week now that the ex-Steelers practice squad quarterback has been with the Cardinals for two whole weeks. The Cardinals have not thrown a touchdown pass now for six straight games.

Larry Fitzgerald finally had his first decent game in six weeks when he ended with 111 yards on eight catches against the Bears last week. It was a small spark in an otherwise cold season.

Playing in Fan Francisco, none of these players are recommended starts.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 31 32 26 30 28 7
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 7 4 4 16 2 11

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Josh Rosen, ARI @ATL 0000018000 ***
Even with a quality matchup, Rosen has too few weapons and is a liability in fantasy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB David Johnson, ARI @ATL 6012200000 ***
Johnson caught eight balls for 12 yards last week vs. Detroit. That is impressive! He hasn't scored in four games and faces an Atlanta team that has given up five total TDs to RBs in the last five games, so this projected rushing score can easily be shifted to an aerial TD all the same. Johnson is a risky play even with a strong matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @ATL 004500000 ***
The entire passing game is in disarray at present time, and Fitz is the only guy with enough fantasy worth to enter lineups. He's only a flex and in PPR. The Falcons had struggled much of the year at containing WRs but have shown improvement in recent weeks. This defense remains one of the better places to find touchdown efficiency, so there is hope Fitzgerald outdoes his projected value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Trent Sherfield, ARI @ATL 003300000 ***
Atlanta has drastically improved in recent weeks against WRs and is the fourth-worst matchup for yardage and receptions over the last five games. Sherfield has a hint of appeal as a desperate TD flier, but we're still talking about an unplayable option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chad Williams, ARI @ATL 002300000 ***
Unless Williams finds the end zone, which is quite possible against Atlanta (No. 3 TD efficiency), his contributions are likely to be nil. The Falcons have held receivers to the fourth-fewest yards and catches in the last five weeks, and this passing game is a disaster.

Update: Williams (hamstring) is questionable and a game-time decision.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Ricky Seals-Jones, ARI @ATL 003300000 ***
Seals-Jones is not a fantasy option in any setting, especially against a defense that has clamped down on the position most of the year.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Zane Gonzalez, ARI @ATL 1111 ***
No writeup available

San Francisco 49ers
Homefield: Monster Park
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @GB 30-22 10 STL 24-24
2 DET 27-19 11 CHI 32-7
3 @MIN 13-24 12 @NO 31-21
4 @NYJ 34-0 13 @STL 13-16
5 BUF 45-3 14 MIA 27-13
6 NYG 3-26 15 @NE 41-34
7 SEA 13-6 16 @SEA 13-42
8 @ARI 24-3 17 ARI -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Alfred Morris 110,1 1-10
WR Pierre Garcon 7-90,1

Pregame Notes: After spending much of the season as one of the teams to beat, the 49ers were just that - beaten. And by teams in their own division. Two of the last four games were losses to the Rams and Seahawks and now the 49ers are hobbling into the playoffs instead being in the drivers seat. Their biggest problem has been road games and now they'll get only one home venue for the first round and then be away for how long they last.

Last week was a hurtful one besides losing to the Seahawks. Mario Manningham tore the ACL and PCL in his left knee when a defender tackled him low. Now Randy Moss steps up into the #2 role but he's never had more than three catches since the season opener. He may not physically hold up to that much work. Vernon Davis also suffered a concussion last week but it was considered mild and the team is very optimistic that he'll pass all baselines and be in this final game. With Manningham out, using Davis more makes great sense but defenses have learned that taking the tight end out of the passing scheme has really worked well against the 49ers.

Frank Gore comes off his worst game of the year with just 28 yards on six runs in Seattle and he only managed 55 yards on 16 runs in Arizona during week eight. Gore has not gained more than 85 yards for the last six weeks and the problem this week is that the 49ers should be able to win this game with ease so resting Gore would make sense since the 49ers are not getting any bye week in the first round. LaMichael James still has not rushed for more than 31 yards in a game or scored after three weeks of being active.

The 49ers have to win this game so they are not going to be sitting or resting anyone. But were they able to get an early and significant lead, chances are that Gore and maybe Moss would be given less work if not eventually pulled from the game later on. Michael Crabtree hauled in five catches for 72 yards and two scores in Arizona earlier and is the best bet in this game as well. This should be a place where the 49ers work Vernon Davis into the equation more though he only had 34 yards on two catches in the previous matchup.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 11 14 24 6 9 16
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 2 19 10 13 13 32

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Nick Mullens, SF SEA 0000028021 ***
Mullens put up a valiant effort with a bunch of yardage two weeks ago in Seattle. In a blowout loss, he threw for 414 yards and two touchdowns, also tossing a TD the other direction. His weaponry is at the bottom of the barrel, and gamers in two-QB or DFS contests should be the only players to consider Mullens as a viable option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Breida, SF SEA 6013200000 *
His status is unknown at this time. Breida returned to practice Wednesday, which is an encouraging sign. Check back for an update.

Update: He was limited all week and is a game-time call. Be cautiously optimistic and play him only without clearer options.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeff Wilson, SF SEA 100000000 *
Wilson admirable filled in for Matt Breida the past two games and has looked pretty good along the way. He has 38 carries for 151 yards and nine receptions for 79 yards, failing to score in either column. The 61 rushing yards and 73 aerial gains vs. Seattle in Week 13 amounted to 21.4 points in PPR. He's still best utilized in DFS and only if Breida sits again.

Update: Breida was limited all week and is a game-time call. If he goes, Wilson has flier utility in deep PPR or DFS situations.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendrick Bourne, SF SEA 004301000 ***
Bourne hauled in four of his six targets for 60 yards in the Week 13 trip to Seattle. He has no lineup-worthy value in Week 15 and should be avoided in all formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dante Pettis, SF SEA 004500000 **
Two weeks ago, in Seattle, Pettis exploded for 129 yards and a pair of touchdowns on his five grabs. The Seahawks have been better than that most of the year and shouldn't be exposed in a similar manner twice in three weeks. Pettis has been good enough, however, to warrant a play in just about any format.

Update: Pettis was limited all week and is questionable. He's a game-time decision. A foot injury can be tricky, so be careful.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marquise Goodwin, SF SEA 003300000 ***
Goodwin returned last week after missing two games and offered only two yards on a pair of grabs. He should be closer to game shape at this point and has a slight amount of flier potential. The matchup isn't ideal, but Nick Mullens threw for more than 400 yards in the last meeting two weeks ago.

Update: Goodwin was limited all week and is questionable. He's a game-time decision.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE George Kittle, SF SEA 0071001000 ***
Last week was something special, at least for a half. Kittle was good for a 6-70-0 line two weeks ago in Seattle. The Seahawks have been as stout as any team vs. the position in 2018. This is the sixth-hardest opponent to exploit based on season-long data. The plus side is three of those scores have come in the last five weeks.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, SF SEA 2222 ***
No writeup available

WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

a d v e r t i s e m e n t