49ers Fantasy Football Preview: Week 3 Minnesota Vikings

September 16, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) runs with the ball after making a catch against the Detroit Lions in the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Lions 27-19. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

In the preseason I made the statement that San Francisco is a fantastic team in real football, but a black hole for fantasy talent. Depending on your scoring format, after two weeks: Alex Smith is ranking around 8 - 12 in fantasy points for quarterbacks, Frank Gore is fifth among running backs in total points, Michael Crabtree is tied for fifth in the league in receptions and Vernon Davis is tied for first in receiving touchdowns. I'm not surprised I was wrong, but I am surprised this team is starting to become fantasy relevant at numerous positions.

With Detroit's secondary in ruins it is difficult to say what we learned last week. Gore found plenty of room to run and Alex continued to gain respect for his effective play. The most telling sign is that Davis is clearly the receiving option to own in fantasy. Crabtree was nails making several key receptions, but Vernon found pay dirt twice. We didn't see much from Moss or Manningham last week, but the season is still young.

The Niners continue their tour of the NFC North this weekend against and up and coming Minnesota Vikings team. Minnesota has been competitive in both of their games, but neither team had a winning record in 2011. Conversely, the Niners have thoroughly handled two of the NFC's premiere teams on their climb to the top of many power rankings. There aren't too many tasty fantasy plums in this game, but after the jump I'll break down your possible starts by position.

Quarterbacks

Alex Smith

Well look who has been popping up on every "waiver wire" and "weekly pick up" list. Smith's fantasy profile can be summed up in two words: "Consistently Safe". He'll look to continue his rise against a Minnesota secondary that allowed big games to Blaine Gabbert and Andrew Luck. San Francisco's passing attack is solid, but you know they are building up to something without showing their hand too early. Look for Alex to have another 250 yard 2 TD effort this week as the offense continues to improve.

Final Line: 275 yards passing, 20 yards rushing, 2 TDs

Christian Ponder

Unless you are in an extremely deep league you aren't starting Christian Ponder until you need a bye week substitution. After two week,s Ponder surprisingly has the league's best completion percentage. That will come in handy as he tries to figure out a secondary that has been downright brutal for the opposition.

Final Line: 195 yards passing, 15 yards rushing, 1 TD, 2 INTS

Running Backs

Frank Gore

Remember when the Williams Wall was in effect for the Minnesota defense a few years ago? Those days are gone, but at least you can keep starting Gore like this was 2006.

Final Line: 110 yards rushing, 3 receptions for 15 yards, 1 TD

Adrian Peterson

San Francisco's front seven could stop continental drift. You never count Adrian Peterson out of any game, but Indianapolis held him to 60 yards last week. Odds are you didn't draft him as your RB1 this year so there should be better matchups available. If the Seven Samurai of San Francisco has you worried to start Peterson you may still be able to pick up Pierre Thomas who has a solid matchup against Kansas City this week. My advice is to simply start Peterson and hope for the short touchdown or a few long runs. (That Seven Samurai reference would have been fresh when Singletary was the head coach, but I couldn't resist)

Final Line: 70 yards rushing, 3 receptions 37 yards, 0 TD

Receivers/Tight Ends

Kyle Rudolph

If you drafted Aaron Hernandez you've probably seen Kyle hanging out on waivers this week. Don't do it, at least not this week. Tight ends have scored twice against this defense in two weeks, but that trend ends Sunday. Rudolph may have a bright future, but Finley/Pettigrew he is not.

Final Line: 3 receptions 25 yards.

Percy Harvin

Mama always said you can trust a man named "Percy" and I'm inclined to agree with her. Harvin will get his touches in both the running and passing attacks. The matchup isn't favorable, but Percy is the epitome of the word "playmaker". I'd still start him as a WR2 or Flex this week.

Final Line: 30 yards rushing, 7 receptions for 90 yards, 1 TD

Vernon Davis

Many fantasy gurus were down on Davis coming into this season after a serviceable yet not spectacular 2011. Vernon deserves to be considered as a top 3 fantasy tight end and he'll remain the touchdown leader at his position for another week. Alex targets him on medium to long range routes more than any other receiver so stick with the hot hand.

Final Line: 5 receptions for 80 yards and 1 TD

Michael Crabtree

Minnesota's secondary is not their strong point and this could be the week Michael Crabtree finds the end zone. Even if he doesn't, he is still a solid PPR play and should get another 6-9 receptions. I know it is early, but Crabtree is on pace for his first 100 reception season. He will reach the 20 reception mark for the year on Sunday.

Final Line: 7 receptions for 90 yards. 1 TD

Randy Moss

Otis probably should have had his second TD last week. It was like Alex Smith through it to him high in end zone knowing it was either going to be a touchdown or a pass interference call. I don't make much of him returning to the team that drafted him, but I do believe that Harbaugh and Roman are limiting his capabilities only to unleash him fully later in the season. Until then Moss just isn't getting the snaps to be a fantasy starter right now.

Final Line: 3 receptions for 55 yards

Final Score

San Francisco 31

Minnesota 17

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