Well, this has been a rough week. I still feel like I'm catching [site decorum] from my friends thanks to Brett [site decorum], that piece of [site decorum]. Add onto that a Mac laptop with a shattered screen, two tests, two papers and a dead pet gecko, and this has ranked among the worst single-weeks of all time for me. But that won't stop me from reaching you Nation (for better or worse).
I must pass along thanks though to the NFL schedule makers for putting the Rams right after the Vikings. I don't want to assume a win, but needless to say I feel pretty confident about the Niners chances here. I'm in kind of a rush to get to my alma mater's homecoming weekend, but here is a list of things you, as a Niners fan, should focus on during this weekends (hopefully) spirit-lifting match up.
Key Matchup: 49ers D-Line vs. Steven Jackson
It's not hiding that Steven Jackosn is the main (if not only) weapon the Rams have, so stopping him from getting out of control is the biggest key to victory, in my eyes. While Jackson hasn't been too much of a beast lately (just ask my fantasy team), he always is a threat for a Frank Gore-like 80 yard TD run. Of course, to pull something like that off, he'll have to get past Ray McDonald and the 49ers front four. If the big men up front can push the somewhat weak St. Louis O-line a yard or two back off the line of scrimmage, Jackson's maneuverability will be severely limited. If they can get him to dance in the backfield, be sure the Niners will be tackling him for a loss; he isn't that elusive.
After the jump, Player to Watch, Player to Loath, Fantasy Surprise/Sleeper, and more info on the third divisional matchup in 4 weeks...Player to Watch: Glen Coffee
With Gore on the bench, the load of the running game falls onto the broad shoulders of Hot-Pot-Of-Coffee. He did OK last week (54 yards on 25 rushes), especially considering that he was against what might be the best running D we will see all year. Since Jimmy Raye (WHO?!?!?!) has informed the entire NFL that the Niners will run the ball non-stop, no matter what other teams throw at us (more or less), we will need Coffee to step up and do some work for us.
Player to Loath: Richie Incognito
Not going to lie, I've never liked this guy. Even though he is Jersey born, and he was/is good at his position, he knows it. He's got an ego the size of the gateway arch, and that sometimes its a detriment to the Rams as a whole. He brings stupid penalties on himself because of the temper tantrums he throws on the field and on the sidelines. So why would I loath a guy because he gives the Niners yards you ask? Because usually those penalties are personal fouls or unsportsmanlike conducts, impacting, insulting or harming the opposing team. If that [site decorum]-head injures someone else on the Niners, I don't care how many yards we get in return, I'll want his head.
To be completely honest, there's no-one on the Rams I really hate, since they haven't been the same team since the Warner-Holt-Bruuuce-Faulk years, so Incogneto is a bit of a reach. But if you are one of those guys that NEEDS to hate someone on the opposing team, consider the bulls-eye set.
Fantasy Superstar: Vernon Davis
We've made it. After a week like last week we know VD has the power and ability that we thought he has had all season. While I'm not willing to say he's an every-week starter, I seriously doubt the ability of the Rams to stop him from running/blocking/hitting/scoring at will. I'm really hoping he has finally broken through for good, since I have him on every single one of my fantasy teams. I'd say if you have him, start him - he's one of the best bets for sure points.
Fantasy Sleeper: Issac Bruce
If the running game isn't working too well, expect to see the passing game step up against one of the worst passing D's I have ever seen. And who better to tear apart the Rams secondary than a former Ram himself? The Reverend has been hot/cold the past few weeks, and didn't get his first catch last week til the 4th quarter, but this week matches up well for him. I expect him to contribute to the constant-squirming that Crabtree is undergoing with each passing week.
I'm running late and gotta bolt, so for the history of this matchup, checkout the Prospector's Guide. GO NINERS