The San Francisco 49ers head into this weekend's season opener against the Seattle Seahawks with plenty of question marks as they start the Jim Harbaugh era. They are implementing a West Coast offensive scheme and make aggressive changes to the defensive scheme and personnel. Frank Gore and Vernon Davis will remain top notch fantasy football options, but beyond that the 49ers feature some tough decisions when it comes time to choose who to start and who to sit.
numberFire.com Projections: 15.90 FP - 80.18 rushing yards, 0.64 rushing touchdowns, 4.35 receptions, 38.72 receiving yards, 0.03 receiving touchdowns
Analysis: Frank the Tank has appeared in training camp to be fully recovered from a hairline fracture of his hip, thus making him a solid start. He is facing a Seattle defense filled with question marks and one against which Gore has historically had some strong performances. His two biggest rushing games and three of his top seven rushing performances have come against the Seahawks. Look for another big day.
numberFire.com Projections: 9.30 FP - 4.33 receptions, 56.79 receiving yards, 0.60 touchdowns
Analysis: Vernon Davis could benefit as much as anybody in the Jim Harbaugh offense as Greg Roman mixed in a lot of plays designed for the tight end at Stanford. Stanford had some solid tight ends last year, but none of them is quite like Davis. There is no reason not to start him at this point, particularly facing a potentially brutal Seahawks defense.
Analysis: Edwards escaped the swift sword of Goodell justice as the league decided not to suspend him for his September 2010 DWI. For fantasy football owners, that could prove huge. Thanks to Michael Crabtree's foot injury, Edwards has worked his way into the heart of Alex Smith and could be an excellent flex or third receiver option. It's hard to tell what will happen with this new Harbaugh offense, but Edwards has been working extra time with Smith to develop necessary timing and chemistry. It's a roll of the dice in week one, but against a questionable Seahawks secondary, it's a worthwhile gamble.
numberFire Projections: 8.21 FP - 20.17 pts allowed, 2.29 sacks, 1.95 turnovers, 0.20 touchdowns
Analysis: Two words, Tarvaris Jackson. The 49ers are implementing a more aggressive, more blitz heavy defense in 2011. Against a questionable quarterback like Jackson, you might as well get your fantasy points while you can.
Analysis: Akers makes his debut with the 49ers against a sufficiently weak Seahawks defense that he should get numerous field goal and extra point attempts. The 49ers had some red zone struggles in the preseason, which could bode well for Akers fantasy performance.
numberFire.com Projections: 3.90 FP - 2.56 receptions, 32.54 receiving yards, 0.11 touchdowns
Analysis: Although Crabtree has worked his way back onto the practice field, it's questionable how effective he can be after only a few days of practice. He is immensely talented, but if you have him on your bench it's worth waiting to see how he bounces back from the injury. He thinks he "should" be ready for Sunday, but there is always the chance he could be a late scratch. Have other options available until you know he's healthy and ready to produce.
Analysis: Morgan is going to start opposite Braylon Edwards on Sunday and could benefit from the new West Coast offense. However, until he proves to be a consistent threat for several weeks in a row, Morgan remains a fantasy sit.
numberFire.com Projections: 125.52 passing yards, 1.01 touchdowns, 0.63 interceptions
Analysis: Alex Smith enters potentially his last hurrah with the 49ers and Jim Harbaugh is hoping to reinvent Smith in his West Coast offense. As the projections show, confidence is not high. Smith could potentially turn into a decent bye week or injury option later this season, but for now it is too early to get crazy and roll the dice on him.
Our weekly 49ers sit/start suggestions are based on a combination of our knowledge as fans and the weekly projections of numberFire.com. Head over to numberFire.com to get a full breakdown of their weekly projections.