So what's your fantasy record after four weeks? Are you strutting around your living room with a 4-0 start? Are you looking for ways to improve your solid, but underperforming 2-2 team? Or, are you 0-4 and now preparing for your fantasy basketball draft?
Where ever you are, you should have a good idea of strengths and weaknesses. The same goes for the 49ers. The team went back to their strengths and ran the ball with impunity on the Jets. Frank Gore got a touchdown, but his yards per rush average wasn't very impressive. Kendall Hunter looked great closing the game in the final quarters and may have earned a few more touches. Alex took a few shots deep that weren't his most accurate attempts and failed to deliver even 1 touchdown. Not a good day from a fantasy perspective, but I'll take a real win over fantasy points every time.
The 49ers return home to host the Buffalo Bills who have struggled on defense. The addition of Demarco Ryans hasn't exactly been the cure-all for this franchise, but their offense is legit. They may have the best running back duo in the league, but they haven't faced an elite run defense this year. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a solid fantasy play this season, but he is prone to throwing picks when the team is down late in the game.
For those of us with fantasy interest in this game; here are my top 10 players:
10. Michael Crabtree
Last week was a big downer for Crabtree, but no 49er receiver stood out. He led the team in targets again and even stretched the field on a few plays. Crabs' role is clear cut, so I will go with my standard forecast minus a chance at a TD. Feel free to prove me wrong this week King Crab, papa needs some points from his WR3.
Final Line: 6 receptions for 70 yards.
9. Fred Jackson
The good news is that Fred Jackson is back on the field. The bad news is that CJ Spiller is too and has carved out an important in the Bills' offense. The Bills' backs are solid fantasy options, but there is only one ball on the field. Unless Fred gets a chance at the goaline I like Spiller slightly more this week; which is to say, I would avoid starting him less.
Final Line: 40 yards rushing, 3 receptions for 25 yards.
8. CJ Spiller
Spiller and Jackson are both versatile backs who can deliver explosive plays. With Jackson almost back to 100% you can expect a 50/50 timeshare this week. Like Jackson, CJ is a hard start this week, especially if you aren't in a PPR league. Before his shoulder injury Spiller was performing as the #1 fantasy running back and should provide a huge test for the 49er front seven. I'm still avoiding all running backs facing this defense.
Final Line: 40 yards rushing, 3 receptions for 35 yards
7. Scott Chandler
Tight ends have had success against the 49ers this year, especially in the end zone. Chandler has been one of the more surprising fantasy tight ends thus far and Fitzpatrick hit him up for 2 touchdowns against the Patriots last week.
Final Line: 4 receptions for 65 yards, 1 TD
6. Mario Manningham
Mario was actually the best San Francisco receiver last week, but that didn't require much. San Fran wide outs should perform better against a secondary that made Brandon Weeden a serviceable fantasy start. I think Alex connects with the deep pass this week and Mario is on the other end.
Final Line: 5 receptions for 80 yards, 1 TD
5. Vernon Davis
Vernon had his worst fantasy game of the season against the Jets, but he'll get back to a top 5 tight end Sunday. The Bills were actually decent at limiting tight ends in their first 3 games before getting Gronked by the Patriots for 100 yards and a TD. Davis' speed is going to cause all sorts of problems for this secondary and his monster fantasy season will resume.
Final Line: 5 receptions 80 yards and 1 TD
4. Alex Smith
Alex's last two games haven't been as sharp as his first two, but he returns home against a very beatable defense. My worry here is that the 49ers use their run game to pound the Bills into a fine blue powder. If you are looking for a substitution for Matt Stafford or Carson Palmer, Smith should be able to fill in nicely.
Final line: 200 yards passing, 20 yards rushing, 2 TDs
3. Ryan Fitzpatrick
The bearded wonder has started the season hot. Unfortunately, he is still prone to turning the ball over at least once a game. However, the 49ers haven't been as effective at generating turnovers this season. I expect a very Alex Smith like outing from him on Sunday. Just add a few more yards and an interception.
Final Line: 275 yards passing, 2 TDs, 1 INT
2. Steve Johnson
Fitzpatrick's favorite receiver will be targeted early and often in an attempt to pull attention away from the run. If the Bills have to play catch-up in the fourth quarter I like Johnson's chances for his first 100 yard game. Donald Jones is emerging as a deep threat and should open up the middle of the field where the Niners are vulnerable.
Final Line: 7 receptions for 100 yards, 1 TD
1. Frank Gore
"Dear Mr. Gore: I apologize for completely underrating you as a viable fantasy option coming into the season. Clearly you have plenty left in the tank and I will punch myself in the stomach to prove my loyalty". Brandon Jacobs may make his debut, but Gore will still be the best back in this game.
Final Line: 110 yards rushing, 1 reception for 7 yards, 1 TD