DETROIT - OCTOBER 16: Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers drops back to pass as Ndamukong Suh #90 of the Detroit Lions attemps to block the pass during of the NFL game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The 49ers defeated the Lions 25-19. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Fresh off their biggest road win in recent memory the Niners take on the Lions Sunday Night. Before I go into this game let's take a look at what we learned from week 1:
- Alex Smith is becoming a better fantasy asset as the offense begins to take shape.
- The reports of Frank Gore's demise have been greatly exaggerated.
- Michael Crabtree should be owned in every 12-Team or deeper PPR league.
- Randy Moss may not play every snap, but the Alex is looking for him in the red zone.
We'll see if these lessons hold up in week 2 against a Detroit team that had difficulty putting away St. Louis at home. The Lions did lock down Steven Jackson last week, but allowed over 200 yards of rushing in the previous game against San Francisco. To complicate matters for the Lions, San Francisco has gained some XP and leveled up in their receiving corps.
Detroit is far from helpless. Unless another war breaks out on Cybertron you are starting Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford. Along with Frank Gore, who came up big in last year's game, these are your obvious starts. After the jump I'll explore some of the less fantasy friendly players that could have big games this week.
Don't be surprised if - Alex Smith hits 300 yards this week.
Alex Smith's fantasy bandwagon is filling up. Consistency in the offense is proving to be a key factor of his success. The former butt of easy jokes is using precise low risk passing to silence detractors. The Niners should be able to utilize the run, but that will open up play action opportunities for Smith. He isn't going to throw for 300 yards very often, but should put up QB2 numbers in leagues that allow you start more than one quarterback.
Final Line: 310 yards passing, 20 yards rushing, 3 TDS, 1 INT
Don't be surprised if - Brandon Pettigrew leads the Lions in receptions.
Detroit leans on Pettigrew when their running game isn't effective. This makes him a PPR monster most weeks. He went for 8 receptions, 42 yards and 1 TD against the Niners last year. Jermichael Finley was targeted often week 1 with positive results. Like Finley, Pettigrew often gets a case of the drops, but he should be in for plenty of work Sunday night.
Final line: 7 receptions, 65 yards, 1 TD
Don't be surprised if - Kevin Smith has 100 total yards from scrimmage
Smith was the most consistent member of the Lion's offense last week. He won't find much room to run against this defense, but in PPR formats he is a useful flex option. My worry here is that Smith's knees will turn into pumpkins after 20 carries in a season. I don't wish injury on anyone, but Smith is like a time bomb.
Final Line: 55 yards rushing, 6 receptions 50 yards
Don't be surprised if - Mario Manningham has the most fantasy points of any 49er receiver.
The Lion's defensive backfield could be missing several significant members this week. Crabtree should once again receive 6-10 receptions, but I like Manningham to be the TD threat. The Niner offense wants to keep defenses guessing. He wasn't featured heavily last week and if defenders dare come down to stop Crabtree and the run Manningham will be available down field. His chances of a strong fantasy day increase if Detroit can limit Vernon Davis to 2 receptions as they did last year.
Who will have the most surprising performance in the 49er/Lions game?
Alex Smith (214 votes)
Mario Manningham (127 votes)
Kendall Hunter (160 votes)
Brandon Pettigrew (22 votes)
Titus Young (34 votes)
Nate Burelson (8 votes)
565 total votes