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Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 3: 49ers-Cardinals features Vernon Davis question mark

Last week wasn't pretty for the San Francisco 49ers. On the bright side, fantasy football stars Frank Gore and Michael Crabtree got their first touchdowns of the year despite Colin Kaepernick delivering a turnover packed stinker. Otherwise, it's been an okay start of the season for the 49ers (fantasy wise), but they'll go against the best defense they've seen all season in week 3.

Gore looked strong in week 2, but the Cardinals excel in stopping the run.
Gore looked strong in week 2, but the Cardinals excel in stopping the run.
Jeff Gross

Sunday's game in Arizona could be one of the lowest scoring contests of the week. Both defenses seem game and as of writing this Carson Palmer is a long shot to play. The 49er defense got burned last week, but Drew Stanton isn't exactly a wizard under center. Fear not gamers, there are still a few noteworthy fantasy stars featured in this one.

Must Starts

Larry Fitzgerald

He was inches away from a delightful fantasy day last week. I imagine Drew Stanton gets the start again and he looked to be a better quarterback than Palmer...if you start Larry Fitzgerald in fantasy. He plays the slot a lot more these days and if Vic Fangio puts Jimmy Ward on him then it could be a stellar day for ol' Larry. Out of the two Cardinal receivers of note, I strongly prefer Fitzgerald to Floyd this week.

Michael Crabtree

In his career, Crabtree has totaled 618 yard receiving and 6 TDs against Arizona and averages nearly 9 targets a game. So yeah, he might be worth a start this week. I wrote about him briefly in the Fan Duel'in article as an intriguing WR2. His buddy, comrade and well-wisher, Patrick Peterson, hasn't looked particularly good in the opening weeks of the season. Given his poor history with Crabs, I wouldn't bet this is the week he regains elite CB status.

Quality Starts

Frank Gore

Arizona's run defense is currently just as good as it was last year. They completely shut down Gore at home last year. I doubt they keep him to a yard a carry again, but expectations should be tempered for Gore this week. His workload should remain relatively high in the desert this weekend. 60-70 yards and a TD is where I would put his ceiling.

Colin Kaepernick

The only good thing about Sunday night's implosion is that these games are rare occurrences for the dynamic QB. He only had 2 multiple interception games last season and a favorable history with the Cardinals. Kaep totaled 29 and 34 passing attempts in last season's contests, his third and second highest amount on the year. He may lose Vernon Davis for a spell, but he seems more apt to scramble and Michael Crabtree's presence is going to improve his chances for a big day. I doubt he finishes in the top 10, but you'd have to have an impressive backup to bench him.

Anquan Boldin

Boldin was quiet last week, but that may have been more about the flow of the game. He was okay, but unspectacular against Arizona last year. If Vernon can't go, then Boldin becomes slightly more attractive as you expect his role to grow. His size makes him a great end zone target so there is a chance he gets his first TD this week against a stout run defense. He is sneaky play, but Vegas predicted this to be one of the lowest scoring games of the week. Not exactly one where I'd try to find a sleeper picks.

Andre Ellington

San Francisco has actually allowed the seventh fewest rushing yards this season. That's surprising considering how DeMarco Murray ran on them week 1. For what it is worth, Ellington did score a TD against the Niners last year and showed well in a reserve role. He'll get more carries this time around, but he will still be a bottom RB2 this week with a slight bump in leagues that reward receptions.

Avoid

Vernon Davis

Doesn't look like he will play and it's a damn shame. Arizona couldn't cover a statue if you put at tight end. If Vance McDonald or Derek (great name!) Carrier gets the start; either becomes a great option for about 3-4 catches, but not much else.

Michael Floyd

I could very well eat my words on this one, but they don't call me the "Bad Boy of Fantasy" for playing it safe. They don't actually call me that all, but that ball will get rolling any day now. Floyd saw a healthy amount of targets from Drew Stanton last week, but only had one reception. His breakout season may be tied to Carson Palmer's health as he thrives as a deep route specialist. I'll have to see him get it done with Stanton before I start him again.

Sleeper

Again, not an ideal game for sleeper picks, but I could see Cardinals receiver, John Brown, getting some work in the short passing game and exploding for a long gain or two. WR4/5 material otherwise you can find better options in other match-ups.

Week 3 is when you should have a good idea if your team is going to be a contender or if you need to make adjustments. I hope week 3 brings you closer to contender status and please leave your fantasy questions, thoughts and musings in the comment section!