The 49ers head into Monday Night Football against the New Orleans Saints in all sorts of turmoil after a 31-6 loss to the Seahawks that can only be described as a debacle. The 49ers came into the season with high expectations and yet just everything that could go wrong did go wrong. For fantasy football purposes, the only real positive was Vernon Davis snagging eight receptions for 73 yards. The 49ers defense had trouble with too much aggression but for fantasy scoring purposes the interception and sack made up for that.
As the team comes home to face the defending Super Bowl champions, it will be interesting to see what they’ve resolved this week. They continue to have various viable fantasy options, but it becomes a bit more of a gamble as long as this team struggles.
Davis was the only offensive player to provide much in the way of a fantasy performance last week. He’s as talented as anybody on the team and given the performance last week, he remains a must-start every week. I’d imagine he’ll catch Alex Smith’s eye a whole lot against the Saints and put up solid numbers again.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve learned that when it comes to fantasy football Frank Gore is a boom or bust kind of running back. He’s going to get his numbers over the course of the season, but it won’t be consistency week to week. Rather, he’ll have some big games and he’ll have some poor games. Of course, the good news is he is often featured in the passing game and even though he only had 38 rushing yards last week, he mixed in 45 receiving yards as well. If you’re in a points per reception league, those six receptions were huge.
When healthy, Frank Gore remains a guy you start every week. You’ll get some bad games, but do you really want to be the guy who left him on the bench the week he blows up for 150 yards and two touchdowns?
After missing all four preseason games, there was some question as to whether there might be rust and/or chemistry issues between Crabtree and Alex Smith. It would appear such concerns were well-founded. Crabtree was fairly abysmal in his 2010 debut finishing with two receptions for 12 yards.
Will he bounce back this week? It’s entirely possible he reverts to his 2009 form, but for now I question whether he’s worth starting. For the moment he’s arguably no more than a #3 wide receiver. I expect him to bounce back but unlike Frank Gore, I think he’s a guy you can occasionally sit. Of course, the argument for starting him is that this is Monday Night Football, the biggest stage of each week of the regular season. Maybe he plays up for the night. He could be worth a roll of the dice, but I wouldn’t question somebody for sitting him.
As much as I like Alex Smith, if you’re starting him in a fantasy football league at this point in the season, you may have made a serious error in judgment during your draft. I suppose if you’re in a dynasty league starting Matt Stafford, maybe Smith is a guy you have to go with this week. In normal single year leagues though, I don’t expect people to start him for the foreseeable future.
The 49ers defense was dominant for the first quarter and a half, and then fell apart the rest of the way. They couldn’t get consistent pass rush and saw their secondary fooled on numerous occasions. The 49ers will likely get back Ahmad Brooks this week, which should only help the pass rush. The secondary will likely be less aggressive, which might mean fewer interceptions, but also might mean fewer points.
As far as I’m concerned, the 49ers defense, even against the Saints is a must-start. They might give up a lot of points, but they also could get a good number of sacks and turnovers.