The Bay Area has two teams going in very different directions this NFL season. The Raiders are a team searching for an identity and struggling to finish drives while the Niners look like the best team in football. However, no matter how the teams are doing, in fantasy all that matters are individual stats. Here's who was the beast and who was the least this week.
STUD: Vernon Davis. Davis has done nothing this season to disprove the notion that he, not Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham, is the best tight end in football and fantasy football. On Sunday night he caught two touchdown passes and tallied 73 yards receiving on only seven targets. That is big time. Davis may be a top-1o overall player in fantasy now.
STUD: Alex Smith. Jim Harbaugh's grind it out, play action and short pass offense seems tailor made for Smith. The Niners rarely throw deep, but they do throw a ton of screen, swing and intermediate passes which just so happen to be the ones at which Smith is most accurate and effective. Smith threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns tonight, both to the aforementioned Vernon Davis.
STUD: Carson Palmer. Despite the fact that the Raiders were absolutely slaughtered in Miami, Csrson Palmer played out of his mind. He threw for 373 yards and a touchdown. Considering the Raiders were utterly unable to run the football, that's an astounding total for Palmer. He only completed 50% of his passes and threw his first pick of the year, but the yardage alone is enough to have made it a good fantasy day.
And now the guys better left on your bench.
DUD: Darren McFadden. He simply could not get it going on the ground, rushing for a mere 22 yards. He also was not the focus of many passes, only catching 2 for 19 yards including a key drop near the goal line which would have been an easy touchdown. He is healthy still, but played very poorly today.
DUD: Raiders defense. The unit that looked so stout against San Diego let Miami march right down the field on their first drive and score a touchdown, and then totally collapsed in the second half. They only had one sack and forced no turnovers whatsoever.
DUD: Mario Manningham. The Niners offense just isn't suited to Manningham's strength, which is the deep pass and stretching the field. Manningham only caught three passes for 28 yards and had one rush for 29 yards. If the defenses can ever figure out how to stop the Niners' current game plan, they may try to use the receivers more, but for now Manningham is useless.