It was good to see the 49er offense clicking again Monday night. However, the Ram's defense offers a tougher matchup in Week 13. It'll be a tougher game for Kaepernick and crew, but there are still a few fantasy players worth discussing. Here are the key fantasy stars in this game and how they can help or hurt your team.
Maybe Gore is watching his figure, because he did not eat on Monday night. That makes 2 lackluster fantasy games in a row for the veteran and fears of slowing down are starting to rise. Gore slipped a bit in the second half of 2012, but he turned it on again in the playoffs. Frank did plenty of damage in the first meeting with the Rams and despite a few bad games and you can count on Gore to get touches most weeks. With no team on bye I'd drop Gore down to a RB2 this week, but you like his matchup and his chances for a touchdown.
Congratulations if you stuck with Kap long enough to enjoy his Week 12 fantasy performance. It was a good night for the young QB, but the concerns are still there. This is still a run first team and even with a slight chance of Michael Crabtree taking a few snaps Kaepernick isn't a must start QB this week. His two touchdowns helped save fantasy managers who started him earlier in the year, but this could be another game where he doesn't get over the 200 yard passing mark. Luke McCown and Andrew Luck has solid fantasy games against this defense, but they were playing from behind most of the game. Hopefully, that won't be the case on Sunday. I'd rank CK7 as a low end QB1 this week, but he is extremely difficult to start if you need a win to get into the playoffs. Another multiple TD game is certainly possible, but the lack of yardage will continue to be an issue.
After a five week drought, Boldin has found the end zone three times in two weeks. He is clearly benefitting from Manningham's return and has come back to the upper tier WR3 conversation. Michael Crabtree's return should help "Q". However, it is hard to see him getting more than 6 receptions in any given week the rest of the way. Kaepernick obviously trusts this guy in the red zone, so the upside is as high as ever. The Rams have been playing better defense, but this is still a plus matchup for Boldin. Look for his traditional 5-7 receptions and around 60 yards and a TD. Put him in your WR3 slot this week.
The battle for 3rd best tight end in the league may be over. Davis seems to have clearly claimed the ranking this season and even with Crabtree's return he still figures to be a huge part of this offense. That being said, he is a tough start this week. You start him because you probably don't have better options, but St. Louis held him to two receptions in the first game and no tight end has had more than 5 receptions and 70 yards against this defense. It'll be a tough game for Burnin' Vernon, but you roll with him because he has the ability to make you very happy with one play, especially given the natural inconsistency of the tight end position in fantasy overall.
The waiver wire wonder has been the answer for the Ram's backfield. He was on absolute tear the last few weeks, but was pulled early for a concussion in Week 12. He hasn't been officially cleared, but he was back at practice on a limited scale this week. He is on track to play and is St. Louis' only fantasy player you can consider starting in 10-12 team leagues. The matchup isn't great as the Niners remembered they are the Niners and have handled rushers fairly well lately. Stacy should be okay still. There are no threats to his goal line role and he has been known to make a catch or two out of the backfield. He is a RB2 if he goes, but it's a late game so you'll need to keep an eye on his status Saturday and Sunday. Benny Cunningham seems to be the bet to take over rushing duties in Stacy's absence and I'd also rank him in the RB2 crowd were he to get the start.
Austin is the epitome of a gamble in fantasy football. He doesn't get many touches, but lately he hasn't needed them. Still, I can't recommend him any higher than a low end WR3. San Francisco is tough to pass on and they held him to 2 receptions for 6 yards in the first match. The Rams are finding ways to get him the ball, but I'd avoid Austin if this is a must win week.
He's Jared Cook, of course he gets 2 TDs in his last 3 games after doing absolutely nothing after Week 1. You can roll him out there if you are desperate or still delirious from cramming delicious food into your face. Tight ends haven't had much success against San Francisco. Even with the Thursday games being over I could name about 10 other tight ends I'd rather start.
Huzzah! Michael Crabtree is back and activated. Unfortunately, it's hard to see him having much impact in fantasy until Week 15 or so as the 49ers ease him back into action. Though, "easing back into action" has fallen out of vogue with many coaching staffs this year. If you are going to the playoffs, Crabtree is worth a stash should you make it to the final rounds. That matchup against the Falcons looks particularly attractive and he killed the Cardinals secondary in 2012.