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There aren't many viable fantasy football starts to be found when the 49ers take on the Seahawks Thursday night. Even sure-starts like Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch are made less desirable by two strong opposing defenses. However, there is still value to be found in this match-up.
I take full responsibility for the 49er loss on Sunday. I watched the game with the same friend and at the same location where I watched last year's NFC Championship game. I should have know better, but as coach Harbaugh says "Dust off and let's ride. We got a football fight coming".
A Thursday night football fight if you want to get specific or if you just wanted to bust a funky rhyme. The Seahawks ride into "The Stick" with a 4-2 record and one of the best defenses in the league. Sound familiar? It should, they are shaping up to be this year's version of the 2011 49ers. Instead of a rookie coach they have a rookie quarterback who has shown moments of fantasy relevance mixed evenly with less desirable moments. The Seahawks are coming off an incredible win they actually earned (couldn't resist) as opposed to the Niners who are coming off their most disappointing performance in recent memory.
From a fantasy perspective this matc-hup is desolate wasteland. Even sure-starts like Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch are made less desirable by two strong opposing defenses. Neither offense has been consistent enough to provide match-up proof fantasy assets. However, there are about 29 teams on bye this week so you'll be scraping the bottom of the fantasy barrel before you know it looking for replacements. When you get to the bottom of that barrel here are a few questions you may have to answer:
Which QB has the better fantasy day?
Neither quarterback has an ideal match-up, but I think Alex Smith has better weapons and is less likely to make mistakes (yes, I saw Sunday's game). Seattle does get after the quarterback (2nd in the league in sacks) and Alex isn't the coolest QB when pressured. Don't expect another 300 yard game, but I think Alex has a decent bounce back game as this team attempts to get back on track.
Final Line: 220 yards passing, 15 yards rushing, 1 TD, 1 INT
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks have made both Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady taste bitter defeat. However, he isn't exactly a road warrior or even a legionnaire of doom (wrasslin!) often struggling away from Seattle. Wilson showed he can get it done without an effective running game so you can't completely write him off. I just don't like a rookie QB on the road against a top ranked defense on a short week.
Final Line: 180 yards passing, 30 yards rushing, 1 TD, 2 INTs
Are there any sleepers in this game?
This is not a game for sleeper picks, but with a ton of teams on bye you have to look under every rock - even if said rock is protected by two of the top defenses in the league.
If there is a positive to be found in the skull thumbing the Niner's received last week it's that Manningham is now a consistent threat in the passing game. He does have a shoulder injury, but it doesn't look to be serious. The Patriots were able to connect on a few long passes, but Alex is no Brady. Manningham should still see a good deal of targets and if you are in search for a WR3 with upside he should fit the bill nicely.
Final Line: 5 receptions 80 yards 1TD
Brother, you must really be digging to consider a Seattle WR at this point. They did open up the playbook last week and hurt New England deep on a few occasions, but the consistency isn't there. Out of the Seahawk receivers you can start with any level of faith Sidney tops the list. He has managed to stay healthy and build chemistry with Wilson.
Final Line: 5 receptions 75 yards 1TD
What can you expect from Marshawn Lynch and Frank Gore in this game?
The short answer for each is: "not much". The Niners were straight up gutted by Ahmad Bradshaw last week. Although Lynch is a better fantasy running back I don't think he experiences a Bradshaw type game this week. The Niner's collapsed on both sides of the ball week 6, but the defense is still one of the best in the league. Marshawn falls into RB 2 territory week 7 and could be the next back to rush for a touchdown against San Fran.
Final Line 65 yards rushing, 2 receptions for 8 yards, 1 TD
Frank Gore faces a tougher test on Thursday. Seattle is currently ranked second in run defense and they always play tough against the 49ers. The offense needs the threat of the run attack to open up play action so Frank will be involved. In both 2011 games Gore never gained more than 85 yards, but did get a touchdown in the second contest. I think he and Marshawn have similar performances this week.
Final Line 70 yards rushing, 1 reception for 6 yards, 1 TD
I'll wrap up with a reminder that I'm not a fantasy expert. I'm here to help discuss the Niners from a fantasy football point-of-view. The "Final Lines" are just my way of expressing how I feel each player will perform and provide more specific information.
If you find that your Twitter feed is far too full of useful information give me a follow @DerekRVA. I'll put an end that right quick.
Which Quarterback Has The Best Fantasy Performance Week 7?
Alex Smith (16 votes)
Russell Wilson (10 votes)
26 total votes