San Francisco has four players who can be fantasy football stars any week. Sort of like the Fantastic Four, but we'll call them the Fantasy Four to avoid copyright issues. This week, the Four play the winless Jaguars in London. The game doesn't look like a shootout on paper, but with so many fantasy starters on bye there are a few players who become more valuable this Sunday.
Gore fits the role of The Thing. He is essentially a moving brick wall. Coming off a 2 TD/100 total yard effort it hardly looks as if he is slowing down. Gore is a top 10 option in week 8. The Jaguars struggle against the run and if the game does get away from them early the Niners will be eating up clock in the 4th quarter. The consistent RB2 may resemble an elite back this week. Pencil him in for another 100 yards and at least 1 TD. Someone tell Big Ben it's about to be Clobberin' Time!
With his leadership and long extremities, Kaepernick is a perfect fit for Mr. Fantastic. Those relying on Kap in fantasy are certainly happy to see him use his legs more. Still, Kap finished with fewer than 200 passing yards, but the Titan secondary isn't a joke. He gets a friendlier matchup in London. The Jags just aren't that good on defense. They've allowed the 8th most fantasy points to QBs and the fourth most the RBs. The concern here is that the 49ers live up to the 17 point spread and run it the rest of the game. Kap should find his way to another multiple TD game, but the lack of passing yards puts him just outside the top 10 at QB, even on a heavy bye week.
Boldin is to the 49ers what Sue Storm (The Invisible Woman) is to the Fantastic Four - the safety net. Under a Skrull attack? No worries, Sue can protect you with a force field. Need a third down conversion? Boldin can make plays when you need them as evidenced by several unbelievable catches in week 7. Unfortunately, Boldin could be invisible during the second half if the 49ers get up big. With so many receivers off this week Q makes an excellent fill-in at your WR3/Flex as the targets should be there.
Well this one was is easy. Of course, Burnin' Vernon is the Human Torch. He led the team in targets last week, but finished with only 62 yards. I like his chances to return to the end zone Sunday in London. The Jags have given up 4 TDs to tight ends in 7 games and haven't seen a TE with Vernon's speed this year. It should be another top 5 day for the Torch.
Despite a recent shoulder injury, Cecil continues to be the most reliable WR in Jacksonville. With Chad Henne under center he has been able to put up quality numbers this season, especially since the Jags haven't been able to keep pace with the opposition and have been playing catch-up every week. That doesn't figure to change in London. The Niner secondary is better than last year, but still beatable. Shorts gets a lot of targets on short and intermediate routes. Similar to K.J. Wright who went 9/90 against San Francisco last week. I like Cecil as a WR2 in PPR formats, but closer to WR3 in standard leagues.
Week 7 was the first time in 3 games that Justin didn't eclipse the 100 yard receiving mark. That could easily change Sunday as the Jaguars rarely run the ball and will need to put points late. For a team in a rough spot, the Jaguars actually boast two solid fantasy options at receiver this week. Start him as you would Cecil Shorts (WR2/3) one of these guys should have a big day.
Maurice Jones Drew
When it comes to disappointing fantasy running backs this year, MJD is near the top of the list. He has managed to stay healthy, but it seems like his best days are behind him. There are a few positives here for the veteran RB. The Niners have been giving up some running yards the past few weeks. No one player has reached 100 yards, but they've come close. If the Niners get off to a slow start and keep the game within reach, look for the Jags to pound the run. Given the number of players resting this week, MJD makes a guest appearance in the RB2 territory.
Henne isn't great, but he isn't garbage. More importantly for those who plan on starting a Jaguar in week 8, he isn't Gabbert. Henne is a garbage time all-star, who has thrown for over 300 yards in his last 2 games. He'll face a secondary that has played well, but can be beaten. However, even on a heavy bye week there should be more reliable backups available. Ben Roethlisberger and Terrelle Pryor come to mind. Henne could certainly throw for 300 again, but it would take falling behind early.
I'm going back to a familiar well for this week's sleeper. The 49ers prefer to run the ball and Hunter gets second crack at the defense when spelling Gore. We are getting into the middle of the season and Gore could begin to lose touches to Hunter in an effort to preserve him for the playoff run. If the game goes like most believe it will, the Niners may be running the ball the entire fourth quarter. Get Kendall into your FLEX spot in deep leagues.
Okay, let us hope that I didn't jinx the 49ers into an upset with all the mentions to the point spread and leave your fantasy football questions in the comment section.