This week's games were either elating or disheartening, depending on whether you are a Niner or a Raider fan. But even when the teams don't perform the way we'd like, there is glory to be had in how they help our fantasy teams. Let's see how the Bay Area boys did this week.
Frank Gore. He racked up 112 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Those are solid RB2 numbers, which is probably what you drafted Gore to be. He looked explosive and decisive in his runs. His only drawback was his lone reception, which makes him less valuable in PPR (point-per-reception) leagues, but he is clearly the Niners top option right now and has the ability to score at least once in just about every game. The Niners' philosophy of defense and running makes him an ideal option going forward.
Alex Smith. There were a lot of fantasy QBs who had better statistical games, but Smith was calm and efficient against a defense known for causing turnovers. Smith went 20/26 for 211 yards and two touchdowns- one to Vernon Davis and one to Randy Moss. He didn't put up flashy numbers like Matt Ryan or even Robert Griffin III but he made zero mistakes and took what the defense gave him. You can probably expect a lot more games like this from him, making him an ideal fantasy backup.
Carson Palmer. While the Raiders didn't win, Palmer had a great game. Bereft of two top wide receivers, he dinked and dunked it short and over the middle to the tune of 297 yards and a touchdown plus a two point conversion pass. He also did not throw any interceptions, a shock to those of us who watched him closely during preseason. He did not try to force any bad throws and it seemed like every pass was right on the money. Oakland's offense will not be stymied like this every week, and even this week Palmer put up solid fantasy numbers,
Darren McFadden. Despite being close on a few occasions, McFadden could never quite get the ball into the end zone. The Raiders obviously missed Michael Bush in this game, and the defense was keyed in to stop McFadden. If you own him in a PPR league, this will not apply as he caught 13 passes for 86 yards. In a normal league, however, it just wasn't enough.
Mario Manningham. The matchup did not favor his skills and it showed, as he tallied only four catches for 29 yards. As the Niner playbook opens up they will likely try to get the ball in the air more, but Manningham brought nothing to the table this week.
Darrius Heyward-Bey. He played well enough, but the Raiders just didn't take their shots down the field and DHB could not rack up the numbers. When all three top wideouts are healthy, Heyward-Bey will be more of a threat, but Monday night he only caught three passes for 43 yards on five targets. Rod Streater, conversely, was targeted ten times. This is likely due to the Herculean efforts of Quentin Jammer, but the Raiders won't face a lot of cover corners on his level.