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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
November 8, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
GB at MIN NYJ at NE     Updated

Prediction: SF 16, DET 31

Games like this is why fantasy football is the greatest benefit to the NFL since the advent of the forward pass. The worst team at allowing points (SF - 238 points, #32) goes against the third worst team giving up scores (DET - 203 points, #30) and no one but fantasy team owners will be tuning in to see a 3-5 team wrangle with a 2-6 team, particularly since both are coming off a win and it's almost inconceivable that one of them will have back-to-back victories. But in Detroit, the Lions are one mean cat against bad opponents and the 49ers still don't travel well.

San Francisco 49ers (3-5)
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 10-41 @CHI 17 --- @DEN
9 9-3 MIN - - THU
SFO at DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith 0 0 220,1
RB Frank Gore 60 50 0
TE Eric Johnson 0 30 0
WR Antonio Bryant 0 60,1 0
WR Bryan Gilmore 0 20 0
WR Arnaz Battle 0 40 0
PK Joe Nedney 3 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The 49ers managed to take down the Vikings last week despite only scoring nine points because the Vikings have no passing attack and it was just good timing for the 49ers to host them. That won't be the case this week with the high powered passing attack of Detroit this week. Alex Smith has really tailed off in the last month as he slogged through some top secondaries of SD, CHI and MIN, but now the #29 defense against quarterbacks shows up this week and it's time to get back to chunking the rock.

Quarterback: Alex Smith started the year with three straight efforts over 230 yards but has really settled back since then thanks to facing some great defenses. Smith still had three scores against the visiting Raiders in week five and two scores against the Chargers the next week. Here's a chance for Smith to show up as a fantasy relevant player again before he disappears again for three more weeks until the Packers come to San Francisco.

Running Backs: Frank Gore started the year hot but he's been rather inconsistent from week to week. He comes off just 41 yards on 19 carries against the Vikings but had 111 yards on just 12 runs in Chicago. He has settled down in the receiver game to just around 30 yards in most games and he hasn't scored since week two. More than anything, Gore has been limited mostly by the low number of carries he has been getting and had only one game with at least 20 carries over the past six weeks. That came against the Raiders and resulted in season high 134 yards.

Wide Receivers: Antonio Bryant came up big when the season started but in the last six games, he has scored only once and had only one game over 58 yards. He is due for a good game this week but so far has not done much to warrant high confidence. Arnaz Battle ends with around 35 yards each week for the last five games regardless of the need or game situation and Bryan Gilmore never catches more than one pass. These wideouts are just not getting the job done though facing some tough secondaries has not helped.

Tight Ends: This is a consistent offense, bad as that is. Eric Johnson has caught three passes in each of the last five games and never topped 40 yards or scored.

Match Against the Defense: Unfortunately, the Lions at home have been tough against the run and no opposing rusher has scored there or had more than 66 rushing yards this season. Look for another moderate game by Gore who needs to start breaking more long gainers.

Smith faces a secondary that has allowed three or more touchdowns in three games this year but Smith just hasn't appeared up to the task. Expect a better effort this week but still only ending with one score and just over 200 passing yards. The 49ers offense has stagnated and doesn't appear able to take advantage of this very nice match-up.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 23 11 21 24 20 25
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 29 20 21 30 26 28


Detroit Lions (2-6)
1 6-9 SEA 10 --- SF
2 7-34 @CHI 11 --- @ARZ
3 24-31 GB 12 --- MIA
4 34-41 @STL 13 --- @NE
5 17-26 @MIN 14 --- MIN
6 20-17 BUF 15 --- @GB
7 24-31 @NYJ 16 --- CHI
8 Open Bye 17 --- @DAL
9 30-14 ATL - - THU
DET vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna 0 0 250,2
RB Kevin Jones 120,2 30 0
TE Marcus Pollard 0 10 0
WR Roy Williams 0 120,1 0
WR Mike Furrey 0 80,1 0
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: The win over the Falcons last week was no doubt huge to a franchise that had only managed to beat the Bills this year. The passing offense is rather limited to just Roy Williams but against teams like the 49ers, that should be more than enough thanks to Kevin Jones hitting his stride this year with exceeded expectations and a whole lot of yards lately. The Lions may stumble on the road every time, but at home against a weak team? That'll work.

Quarterback: Jon Kitna continues to get more comfortable in the new Martz-scheme and comes off a nice 321 yard effort over the Falcons last week. Kitna has only dropped below 250 passing yards once in the last six weeks and that was on the road in Minnesota. He still has a tendency to throw at least one interception every week but all the yards and scores more than makes up for it, particularly at home against weak opponents.

Running Backs: Sort of justifies the thinking of every fantasy owner that held Kevin Jones last year and kept asking "what in the hell are the Lions doing running Artose Pinner?!?". Kevin Jones has been on fire this year and comes off a 110 rushing yard effort against the Falcons where he ran for two scores and gained 30 more yards on four receptions. In his last two home efforts - against soft defenses of Buffalo and Green Bay, Jones had 125 and 163 total yards respectively with a score in each. Jones is becoming Martz's next Marshall Faulk at this rate.

Wide Receivers: The wide-open passing attack that typically marks a Martz offense just hasn't showed up yet - it is still just Mike Furrey and Roy Williams (and mostly just Williams) lately. With Az-Zahir Hakim released last week, the Lions never completed a pass to any other wideouts beyond Furrey (4-72) and Williams (6-138, 1 TD). Williams has now scored in each of the last three games and had over 130 yards in the last two home stands. And here come the 49ers...

Tight Ends: Thanks for a wonderful career, Mr. Pollard, but be happy with that one catch each week.

Match Against the Defense: Oh yeah, fall in love with Kevin Jones all over again this week. The 49ers are bad against running backs and are even worse on the road. If Jones scores two touchdowns, he'll just be the fourth running back to do that to the 49ers this year. Throw in a great game here for Kitna as well against a secondary that has allowed at least two scores to each of the last three road opponents. Roy Williams? Big game here. And enough to make Mike Furrey look attractive as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 5 18 13 19 13 28
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 25 31 19 32 30 26