With fantasy football drafts going on around the country, many a fan is looking at whom they would like to have playing for their imaginary teams every Sunday. For fans of the San Francisco 49ers, there won't be many of their players going high on draft boards as ESPN fantasy football has very few Niners ranked higher than middle of the pack in almost every statistical category. But there were a few who did, so make the jump to learn more.
We can start in the most obvious of spots with quarterback Alex Smith. Smith is ranked 28th out of 30 at the starting QB position, with only rookie Cam Newton and Seattle's Tavaris Jackson ranked lower. ESPN certainly didn't beat around the bush when giving their outlook for his 2011 season either:
2011 Outlook: Smith, a former No. 1 overall pick, has lost heat off his fastball because of shoulder surgery, is jittery in the pocket and has never conquered the accuracy problems that have plagued him since day one. But Jim Harbaugh has decided to use Smith as a bridge to rookie QB Colin Kaepernick, for better or worse. This might be fine news for Vernon Davis, a favored Smith target, but we're guessing it's not great news for the 49ers as a whole.
well if you put it that way....
On the other side of the coin is running back Frank Gore, who is ranked 9th amongst starting RB's and one of the highest ranked player the Niners have on ESPN. Gore is coming off a broken hip last year, but is still projected for over 1000 yards rushing and 10 TD's.
2011 Outlook: You won't find a player in his prime who inspires more diverging opinions than Gore. Some are simply fed up with the injuries. Gore hasn't made it through a full season since '06...But others are enamored with the production and potential. When he's been healthy as a starter, Gore has averaged 114 total yards per game and 4.7 yards per carry. We tend to side with the latter argument. His hip is healed and shouldn't limit him in '11, and new 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh sounds committed to keeping Gore as the full-time back. Sure, history says he'll probably miss a couple of games. But when he plays, he'll pile up points for you.
Tight end Vernon Davis comes ranked as the highest 49er in ESPN's fantasy football as the 5th TE in 2011. They have him projected for 65+ catches and 8 touchdowns on the year, and have nothing but good things to say about him:
2011 Outlook: The light bulb stayed on. A season after he exploded with the first campaign of his career that lived up to his No. 6 overall draft-pick pedigree, Davis did it again in 2010. Even as the 49ers were falling apart, he was dynamic, producing downfield (he had more gains of 25-plus yards than any other tight end) and posting the best yards-after-catch average (8.2) of any tight end with at least 25 receptions. Jim Harbaugh is expected to be a tight end-friendly coach in San Francisco, and it'll take just one look at the tape for Harbaugh to understand that Davis is his most reliable receiving weapon, no matter who winds up under center for the Niners.
For more on the 49ers, head over to Niners Nation to get in on the action.