Your draft(s) is over, your roster is set and you have already lost your mind internally debating who to start as your RB2 in week 1. Welcome to fantasy football 2012.
Each week I will take a look at the upcoming 49er's game from a fantasy perspective. I'll point out three players on each team who are worthy of starting and three who should be left on your bench. Allow me to restate that I am not a fantasy expert. All opinions offered are meant to spur conversation. You have been warned.
San Francisco vs. Green Bay highlights the evening card of Sunday's games. Green Bay brings the top fantasy QB from 2011 along with a few top notch receivers. The 49ers will counter with conservative, yet strong play from their tight ends and running backs. After the jump, I'll highlight the players who will have a fantasy impact this week and predict their final stats.
I still have nightmares about the last meeting between these two teams. The Packers thoroughly dominated the Niners while dressed in their hideous throwback jerseys. I'm assuming there was a mix up and the Packers received uniforms intended for a 1940's era boarding school. The future champions easily handled the Singletary led San Francisco team. The Niners will be more competitive this time around.
Green Bay Packers
You aren’t benching Rodgers any week and especially not against a middle of the pack pass defense. The running game isn’t going to be there, but why even bother when you have all the aerial weapons the Packers possess.
Final Line: 375 yards passing, 25 yards rushing, 3 TD, 1 INT
Jennings scored twice when he last played the 49ers, but that little piece of history won’t repeat itself. However, you can count on a solid day from this WR1 who should find plenty of room to operate downfield.
Final Line: 7 receptions for 120 yards receiving, 1 TD
When you see Rodgers throw deep on Sunday you should expect to see Nelson as the target. He won’t have a ton of receptions, but he will make the most out of his limited targets.
Final Line: 4 receptions, 100 yards, 2 TD
Green Bay’s newest back will struggle in week 1 against last year’s top ranked run defense. It is possible he squeezes in for a short touchdown, but I wouldn’t expect too much from Benson in this one.
Final Line: 55 yards rushing, 3 receptions for 25 yards, 1 TD
Excluding hands, Finley has all the tools to be a top 3 tight end. He is going to test Patrick Willis’ covering ability, but San Francisco did a great job at locking down tight ends in 2011.
Final Line: 4 receptions for 50 yards
Green Bay Team Defense
This group is trying to regain their 2010 form after a down 2011. Outside of a fumble recovery or an interception caused by a tipped pass I don’t expect big things from this defense in the first week. San Francisco doesn’t light up the scoreboard, but they may be forced to take risks downfield. The Green Bay D will give 24+ points and generate 1 turnover and 3 sacks.
San Francisco 49ers
How long can the Niners play keep away from Green Bay? Perhaps they can ball control their way through the first half, but eventually this team will be playing from behind. Smith opens up in the second half and nearly hits the 300 yard mark in week 1.
Final Line: 280 yards, 30 yards rushing, 2 TD, 1 INT
Green Bay isn’t known for their QB pressure so Davis should spend less time blocking in the opening weeks. Alex Smith’s favorite target is going to have a pleasant week 1, carving up the middle of the field and eviscerating any Green Bay linebacker that tries to keep up.
Final Line: 7 receptions for 100 yards, 1 TD
I perform a special dance when Crabtree scores called "Crab Cakes". I essentially shimmy on my sofa and pinch my girlfriend or whoever is near me with my hands formed as crab pinchers (I’ve lived in Baltimore too long). I’ll be warming up Sunday evening because Crabtree will have a big opening game. Green Bay allowed the 4th most fantasy points to wide receivers in 2011. Moss and Davis will draw coverage on go and skinny post routes. This opens things underneath for Crabtree and the running backs.
Final Line: 9 receptions for 90 yards, 1 TD aka 1 Crab Cake
Randy Moss has 13 touchdowns in 14 games against Green Bay. Those games featured a younger, faster Moss who had better chemistry with his starting quarterback. Things have changed and Moss will have a modest week 1 as he continues to build chemistry with Smith.
Final Line: 3 receptions 45 yards
I’m eager to see how the Niners use all of their running backs this year. Gore will be the feature back, but will be spelled by Kendall Hunter often. Gore gets 18 carries over the course of the game and possibly hits pay dirt.
Final Line: 60 yards rushing, 2 receptions for 15 yards, 1 TD
*(Bonus Final Line: Kendall Hunter = 55 yards rushing, 6 receptions 45 yards)*
San Francisco Team Defense
Even the best defenses meet their match. Rodgers is one of the top 2 quarterbacks in the league and he rarely has an off game. Justin and Aldon Smith will get to the QB, but Rodgers will connect with his wide receivers often enough to make it hurt.
How It Ends (As an impartial football fan)
The game is going to be close throughout, but the mighty Niners fall just short of a week 1 victory.
San Francisco 24
Green Bay 28