The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the 22nd ranked defense, but are top ten in takeaways in the passing game. Their running game, though ... well, let's just get to some of these fantasy matchups.
QB Troy Smith
Troy Smith is a potential fantasy money-maker every week, it seems. You can put him against some of the best pass defenses and hope he throws some bombs that hit home. 'Course, you can also start David Carr, banking on some freak accident that would see him come in and sling for three scores; if it's not liable to happen, don't bank on it, short of a last-ditch effort. Smith will be going up against a defense that's good against the pass and will be operating from an offense that will likely be focused on the running game. Add to that the fact that he's due for a mistake pretty quick here, and the answer is clear:
Sit Troy Smith
RB Frank Gore
The Buccaneers rank 31st in the league when it comes to defending against the rush. Opposing teams have marched down the field without use of their quarterbacks, and with a star running back like Frank Gore, the 49ers would be wise to exploit such a hole. They didn't even try to do that when they played the Carolina Panthers, who were also stellar versus the pass and not-so-stellar against the run, and it cost them a very important game. The Niners should have learned from their mistakes, and Frank Gore should prosper.
Start Frank Gore
TE Vernon Davis
Vernon Davis will be matched up quite a bit some some of Tampa Bay's best defenders. When he's not, he'll probably be blocking for the aforementioned Frank Gore and thus, I don't like his chances to be a big fantasy playmaker this week.
Sit Vernon Davis
I don't know how many of you have Delanie Walker on your fantasy team, but he had a big week last week against the Rams. He is a favorite target of Troy Smith, and if it comes down to supporting the run game with Vernon Davis and throwing screens and swings to get around defenses, Walker will be the go-to guy there. If I have Walker in my fantasy league, I'm starting the crazy-motivated tight end.
Start Delanie Walker
Crabtree will be well-covered for the majority of the game. I don't see him being a primary or even secondary option for the 49ers going into this game, and thus, I do not believe he's a good option to start. He could do well, and if your other prospects are really unappealing, then he might be a solid option, but for now, I'm going to stick with my analysis and say:
Sit Michael Crabtree
The Niners defense has been Jekyll and Hyde all season. They'll have good games and will look like they're bringing you points, and then collapse in a mediocre outing. Look for them to be strong this week though, they are motivated and rallying and the Buccaneers offense might have just a little bit of disarray what with Mike Williams and his recent arrest. Expect the 49ers to contain the Tampa Bay rushing attack effectively and hold the passing attack to a manageable amount.
Start the 49ers Defense