WR Torrey Smith - San Francisco 49ers
|6-0, 204||Born: 1-26-1989||College: Maryland||Drafted: Round 2|
Week 12: vs Arizona Cardinals
Mark and Joe say: Tough matchup. The last time these teams met (Week 3) Colin Kaepernick and company got stomped 7-47. Kaepernick has since been placed on IR due to a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, so nowadays it is Blaine Gabbert's second NFL opportunity with his second NFL Franchise, and it is going about as well as his old Jaguars 'fans' expected. After upsetting the Falcons two games ago, Gabbert was blown out 13-29 at Seattle last week, though he did do a credible job passing the football on the stat sheet (22/34 for 264 yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions thrown) the 49ers were never in contention last week. Vance McDonald (four targets for 4/65/1 receiving) is making some noise now that ex-49er Vernon Davis is out of his way on the depth chart - and Anquan Boldin got within spitting distance of 100 yards last week with seven targets for 5/93/0 receiving. There may be some hope for fantasy owners invested in the 49ers' passing attack as the team is almost certain to play from behind this week. The Cardinals' pass D is ranked eighth in the NFL averaging 228.7 net yards allowed per game, with 16 passing scores handed out vs. 14 interceptions (tied for second in the NFL) and 19 sacks (tied for 23rd) generated to date. Over the past four weeks (three games), this team has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (23.8 on average); 13th in fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends (9.9); and is in the middle of the league in fantasy points given out to opposing wide receivers (20.7,18th). Last week, Cincinnati managed 22/39 for 278 net yards passing, two TDs and zero interceptions thrown with four sacks taken for -37 yards. Two games ago, Russell Wilson was held to 13/32 for 228 yards passing, one TD and one interception thrown. This looks like a tough matchup for Gabbert, but it is not an impossible scenario for him.
Recent Stats and Projections
Recent Game Summaries
2015 Week 11 vs SEA (3 / 1 / 16 / 0 rec)
Smith once again pulled his "drop easy catch early; make incredible one-handed catch later" routine. This time, the former involved alligator-arming a throw across the middle; the latter involved reaching back on a back-shoulder throw, tipping the ball to himself, and catching it on a dive while remaining in bounds.
2015 Week 9 vs ATL (4 / 2 / 44 / 0 rec)
With Vernon Davis traded to Denver, Smith assumed the mantle of "49ers receiver who makes tough catches, but drops easy ones." He should have had 2 receptions for (at least) 30 yards in his first two targets, but dropped both. The first resulted from not being able to hold onto the ball at the end of a sliding catch. The second happened because Smith took his eyes off the ball, turning to run upfield before securing it. But then, on his fourth target, Smith made a catch Cris Carter would be proud of; a spinning, one-handed grab on a back-shoulder throw that got San Francisco out of a poor field-position situation.
2015 Week 8 vs STL (5 / 2 / 19 / 0 rec)
Smith caught Kaepernick's second completion of the game, and then didn't catch another until Kaepernick's last completion of the game. His other four targets fell incomplete for different reasons. He drew a defensive holding penalty on one, another was batted down at the line, another was a throwaway, and another was a drop of what would have been a first down on 3rd-and-13. His most memorable moment of the game happened on a play in which he wasn't the target. Namely, Smith was left completely uncovered on first down in the series that ended in a safety. Kaepernick didn't see him, and so the opportunity for a 97-yard touchdown was lost.
2015 Week 7 vs SEA (1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Smith's goose egg can be described in two words: Richard Sherman. He simply couldn't win that one-on-one battle. His lone target came with 4:26 left in the fourth quarter; and he dropped it. He was also flagged for offensive pass interference earlier in the game. Apparently, Sherman took Smith out of the game both physically and mentally.
2015 Week 6 vs BAL (6 / 3 / 96 / 1 rec)
The signature play of this game was Smith's 76-yard touchdown in the second quarter. On the play, he was singled up against recently acquired (from the 49ers) cornerback Shareece Wright, and ran a simple stutter-go. Wright bit hard on the stutter step, which allowed Smith to get several strides behind him. He also beat Wright again later on a standard 15-yard out route. One can't help but wonder if Smith's big day was due as much (or more) to the below-average competition.
2015 Week 5 vs NYG (2 / 2 / 42 / 0 rec)
Smith's Sunday night stats don't suggest much involvement in the 49ers' passing attack, but that's because he drew three defensive penalties in coverage and had an 8-yard catch nullified by an offensive penalty. As far as his two receptions go, one was on a perfect laser from Kaepernick, while the other was a wide receiver screen that jump-started San Francisco's go-ahead drive late in the fourth quarter.
2015 Week 4 vs GB (5 / 2 / 54 / 0 rec)
Smith's "negative body language" came on his first target. After Kaepernick overthrew a 3rd-down, back-shoulder route on the 49ers' sideline, Smith ripped off his chin strap and power-walked to take a seat on the bench. To his credit, however, he didn't give up all hope from there, actually making two skillful plays over his next two targets. The first was going to the ground to catch a 3rd-down pass at his feet, which resulted in a first down. The second was an over-the-shoulder, finger-tip catch on a perfectly thrown deep ball, which came at the back end of beating rookie cornerback Damarious Randall one-on-one. The biggest positive about Smith's game, however, was that the staff (and Kaepernick) seemed to finally realize that his main reason for being on the team is to give them a deep passing attack: 3 of Smith's 5 targets were at least 20 yards downfield.
2015 Week 3 vs ARI (2 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Smith's only target was intercepted; it was underthrown. Worse wide receivers have been completely shut down by Patrick Peterson, so Smith's disappearing act isn't particularly surprising in a vacuum. In the context of this game script, however, zero receptions should mean zero faith in Smith as a viable fantasy option going forward.
2015 Week 2 vs PIT (7 / 6 / 120 / 1 rec)
Although Smith seemed to "break out" in this game, it's important to put his box score stats in perspective. Obviously, without that 75-yard touchdown (and ensuing two-point conversion), his statline would have read 6-45-0, and 75-yard touchdowns don't grow on trees in this offense. Furthermore, the touchdown itself was due more to a perfectly thrown pass than Smith using his deep speed to beat the coverage. (In fairness, he did use his speed to run away from the pursuing defenders.) Meanwhile, six of his seven targets came when the game was out of reach, and Pittsburgh was playing a bend-but-don't-break pass defense. Obviously, it's better that Smith scored this many points than the alternative, but these were extraordinary circumstances unrepresentative of what the 49ers offense looks like most weeks.
2015 Week 1 vs MIN (3 / 1 / 11 / 0 rec)
Smith's lack of involvement in Week 1 is potentially troubling. Yes, the 49ers were particularly run-heavy against Minnesota, but Smith only played 44 of 73 offensive snaps, only had 1 legitimate target on 22 routes run, and that target came on the third play of the game. Later on, he was the "target" of a deep pass, but Kaepernick actually threw the ball well out of bounds because he was outside the pocket and Smith was double-covered. His other "target" was a smoke route that was deflected at the line of scrimmage. It did occur in the red zone, however. if there's an optimistic view of Smith's Week 1 non-involvement, it's that he was signed to blow the top off of opposing coverages, and San Francisco's short-passing success could be attributable to Smith doing that job well. That said, his fantasy value relies on actually getting targeted on deep routes, not being a successful decoy.
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|12||vs Arizona Cardinals|
|13||@ Chicago Bears|
|14||@ Cleveland Browns|
|15||vs Cincinnati Bengals|
|16||@ Detroit Lions|
|17||vs St. Louis Rams|