Last week, the Niners not only dominated the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, but also put up some very fantasy-friendly statistics. Alex Smith put up two touchdowns and no picks, Vernon Davis and Randy Moss each caught a toucbdown pass and Frank Gore tiptoed his way into the end zone to cap an already good hundred-yard rushing effort.
START: Frank Gore. He looked like one of the best backs in football against Green Bay, with a rare combination of power, speed and shiftiness possessed only by the likes of Arian Foster, Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. If Gore keeps up his current level of play, he may have to be put in that tier. A huge boon for fantasy owners who likely were able to grab him in the third round or later. The Lions defense is solid, but the Niners are a high-volume rushing attack which raises the likelihood that Gore will collect a touchdown.
START: David Akers. Akers tied the record with a 63-yard field goal last week, and is the only man to ever kick it that distance at sea level with a normal human foot. He is arguably the top kicker in fantasy at this point, since the Niners offense is a steady, slightly plodding machine that usually kicks a ton of field goals.
START: Vernon Davis. Like most teams, the Lions have absolutely nobody qualified to cover Davis. He gets overlooked due to the exploits of Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, but Davis is just as talented as they and considerably faster to boot. He is usually good for 80 yards a week and a score, especially now that Jim Harbaugh (a noted tight end-phile) is the coach.
And moving on to the Niners you may want to avoid this week.
SIT: Niners defense. If you have a better matchup (or a backup defense at all) you may wish to give them a start instead. The Niners are very good at stopping the run, which is irrelevant to this game as the Lions almost never run the football. Matt Stafford just throws the ball to Calvin Johnson all day and that usually works. Stafford did throw three picks against the Rams' improved secondary, but he is too talented to do that twice in a row.
SIT: Randy Moss. Green Bay's treatment of Moss was puzzling, as their response to his presence on the field was to ignore him entirely. This led to Moss scoring a touchdown with nobody around him. That's all well and good, but Moss wasn't on the field very often in the Niners' game plan. Until he is on the field for the majority of the offensive snaps, he will have to remain on your bench.
SIT: Mario Manningham. Eventually, Manningham will be a solid option, but if the Niners can run the ball, they will. If they can't run the ball, they will try anyway, and if that fails they will try to run the ball. Don't start any Niner WR until Alex Smith has more passes than Frank Gore has carries.