We are in the "must win" weeks of fantasy football. The good teams want the highest seeding possible going into the playoffs, while others are sweating profusely in front of their monitors, wringing their hands trying to construct the perfect lineup just to make it another week. There are plenty of tasty fantasy nuggets in the 49er Saints game this week. Unfortunately, for 49er fans, most of those nuggets play for the home team. Here are the players most likely to be started in this contest and what to expect.
The most trustworthy fantasy player on the 49ers did little to lose that title against the stingy front seven of Carolina. Unfortunately, the second half play calling didn't allow him more opportunities to pile on the points. He sees a more favorable matchup in New Orleans on Sunday. Gore totaled over 100 total yards and a TD last year and I don't expect much different from the punishing rusher this week. Every team tries to keep Brees off the field with the run game and the 49ers aren't in position to engage in a passing war with the Saints. He should be a top shelf RB2/low RB1 this week.
I woefully underestimated Carolina's defense last week and perhaps I may have overestimated the 49er passing attack. I believe in Kap's talent, but there seems to be a disconnect between he, the receivers and the offensive coordinator. Until we see him string together a few quality starts again he isn't Top 10 fantasy QB material. This week I'll be debating whether to start CK7 against an improved New Orleans defense or Case Keenum against Oakland. I'm strongly leaning towards Keenum at home. Please tell me I'm crazy. The Saints made Tony Romo look like Anthony Wright last week and essentially shutdown Dez Bryant in the process. Kaepernick has a way of bouncing back from bad performances and he did have 2 TDs with 200 passing yards against the Saints last year with Crabtree and without Davis. It's not a great matchup for Kap unless he uses his wheels and you'd hate to rely on that if you really need a win.
The second passing option on a run first team with a struggling aerial attack isn't particularly attractive in fantasy football. It's been five weeks since Boldin put up serviceable fantasy numbers and we're at the point that we need to see at least two good games before he comes back to every week WR3 consideration. New Orleans' secondary is the truth and this offense isn't clicking right now. The wide receiver pool is too deep to stick with Boldin in 10-12 team leagues.
There isn't much we can draw from last week other than Davis seems to be the motor this offense needs to achieve a balanced attack. The good news is that early reports state he looks good to go Sunday. The bad news is that only 2 tight ends have scored on the Saint's defense and none have gone over 75 yards. It's a late game so if he doesn't practice fully by Friday you need to find an alternative. If he does play, he'll be a top 5 TE who should at least have plenty of targets.
Not much to discuss here. He's Drew Brees. The 49ers are a tough matchup for opposing QB, but Brees is always good for at least 200 and 2 TDS. I would expect another solid outing from the Saints signal caller on Sunday.
He was outright dropped in a 12-team league I'm in early last week. He then proceeded to put up his best numbers of the season. That's fantasy for you. However, I'm not buying a full resurrection, especially not in an offense with so many weapons. He did score a TD in the 2012 contest which helped owners swallow his 4 receptions for 36 yards. He stays in the WR3 category, but it could again be another stinker against a strong San Francisco pass defense.
It's pretty cut and dry for Sproles. He is a tough start in standard leagues, but a RB2 in PPR leagues. He is coming off a big week and the Niners linebackers will be sure to watch for the dump-offs and screens where Sproles thrives. The bad news for Sproles owners is that the San Francisco linebackers do have the speed to prevent the big play. He should still get around 5 receptions and 70 yards, so if those numbers pay the bills in your league start him with confidence.
Even when playing just half the snaps Graham is monster in fantasy football. He didn't do much last year, but he can make a big play whenever given the chance. You like his chances even more if Eric Reid doesn't play. The 49ers do shut down tight ends, 4th best in the league in regards to fantasy points allowed. Similar to Brees, Graham is matchup proof and you would only start Gronk ahead of him this week.
It was the Colston and Stills show last week so you can figure it may be Lance Moore's turn to carry the load. He did go 6 for 61 against this defense last year and his M.O is to show up every 2 games or so. He is due for another useful game.
Did I miss someone you are considering starting? Is my analysis complete baloney? Drop your comment or question in the comment section.