What's Your Fantasy: Fantasy Football Tips, 49ers and Beyond

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 1: Wide Receiver Braylon Edwards #81 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on from the sidelines against the San Diego Chargers during their preseason NFL Game on September 1, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San DIego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

For the first time ever, my dad is joining my fantasy football league. This is a man who once held a wealth of football knowledge over me, but no more. This year I will help guide him to a relative level of success and would like to offer my services to anyone else out there who cares for a pointer or two.

As a San Francisco 49er fan in fantasy land, I have learned that our players get no love on draft day. Good. Let this work to your advantage. I watch Frank Gore get passed for Maurice Jones-Drew or Steven Jackson while our wide receivers go undrafted. This year, Niners fans can get a serious jump on the competition by snagging Braylon Edwards in a late round.

Alex Smith may improve but most people are in twelve to fourteen team leagues; I can name more than 20 quarterbacks that will put up more fantasy points than him so he is nothing more than a bye week filler, at best. But if you have the opportunity to grab Gore in the mid to late first round, pull the trigger.

The injury is going to scare a lot of non-Niner fans off but anyone who is a true Faithful knows Gore has overcome injuries and will continue to perform. The same Faithful will also know #21 just signed an extension and all of his personal worries have been alleviated and the focus is now on winning football games. Offensive guru Jim Harbaugh and the new west coast offense will turn Gore into an all-purpose carnivore.

(The following information will not guarantee you victories but is instead purely friendly advice from someone who has won the fantasy championship 4 out of the last 5 years…take it or leave it gentlemen)

First Round Locks:
Aaron Rodgers, QB (GB): This man is deadly accurate and makes plays on almost every down. He has been getting snagged up in the first round in a lot of leagues as the first quarterback taken. If it’s not Vick, it’s Rodgers as the first QB taken in the first round. The good thing about taking an Aaron Rodgers is that you won’t have to worry about the position for the rest of the draft when all that’s left is Eli Manning and Chad Henne.

Adrian Peterson, RB (MIN): (fill in the blank)

Ray Rice, RB (BAL): This is a special back they have there in Baltimore. I think Rice is going to be in for a huge season with the addition of fullback Vontae Leach to pave the way. They did add Ricky Williams after releasing Willis McGahee, but it shouldn’t affect his value that drastically. He should rebound from last season in a big way as the Ravens look to make a Super Bowl run with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed contemplating retirement.

First Round Busts:
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB (JAX): I don’t trust this pick as early as he has been demanded. Jacksonville is one of those black hole teams like Buffalo or Cleveland and MJD could be in for trouble this year. I’m not saying he will be a complete waste of roster space, but I wouldn’t take him till the late first round (depending on how many teams are in the league). The Gabbert-Garrard situation could create confusion during the season and there is little stability to be found anywhere in the franchise itself.  I've noticed that when MJD does get picked, there are usually better options still left like Frank Gore or even Darren McFadden.

Michael Vick, QB (PHI): I probably won’t be getting a lot of love on this one but let me explain first, and I could be totally wrong but hear me out. I was one of the lucky Joe’s to pick up Vick in free agency and watch Phillip Rivers ride the bench for me while Vick tore it up. I noticed late in the season he was getting figured out. As a lefty quarterback, Vick is more comfortable rolling out that way because he has the option to pass. When defenses were running contain and forcing him out right, they knew he would either take a hit, sack or throw an inaccurate pass against his body.  Vick is also a gamble because you would probably have to take him 5th to 7th overall and he could get hurt; he’s going to have a bigger target on his back this year than Tim Tebow did his rookie season. If Vick gets hurt for you, that’s game over.  

Potential Sleepers:

Mario Manningham, WR (NYG): With New York Giants losing receiver Steve Smith and tight end Kevin Boss, the team is expecting a leap in Manningham’s game. They are going to need him to be an effective weapon if they have any chance of winning a fierce NFC East division. He will line up opposite Hakeem Nicks who will be demanding the defenses best cornerback while Manningham should be able to rack up points against #2 and #3 corners.

LaGarrette Blount, RB (TB): I don’t know how much of a sleeper this guy is, but he is going to do better than people think. The 49er-for-a-day broke out in Tampa Bay last year and they have since tailored their roster to suit Blount as the premier back. The team is young but extremely talented; and in Blount’s unorthodox rookie campaign, he still broke 1,000 yards. He could potentially be a top 5 leading rusher and might not even get picked until the 5th round. 

Todd Heap, TE (ARI): The former Baltimore Raven joins Kevin Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald as the aerial trifecta in Arizona.  The Cards let Steve Breaston go to the Kansas City Chiefs, and the team will depend on a more balanced attack, which will include Heap. In the brief time we saw of Kolb in Philadelphia, he seemed to feel comfortable with the tight end. Heap could get a lot of catches with Fitzgerald demanding as much attention as he does, especially in the red zone.

Braylon Edwards, WR (SF): I think Edwards could be in for a pretty good season; the man could be a decent #2 wide receiver or a great flex option. Although I usually like to carry a runningback as my flex because they get direct touches. One of the last times Braylon Edwards was a number one receiver, he was capable of 1,500+ receiving yards, 16 touchdowns and a Pro Bowl trip in a single season.  He could "make some noise" in a division full of weak secondary’s.

I’d love to help out more but I may be in a league with one or two of you, who knows? What I do know is that I cannot wait for the regular season to start and fantasy football to take off. I wish the best of luck to all of you in your fantasy leagues and let’s hope for less injuries this season. If you have any fantasy questions or comments, leave them below and I’ll be happy to answer as many as I can, the best I can.

Follow me on Twitter: @DeSimone80

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