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Fantasy Football 2012 Week 1 Sit/Start: Niners Have Options vs. Packers

Normally when previewing a Packers game, especially for fantasy purposes, one assumes that the game will be a shootout. However, this game may be different for a few reasons. Firstly, the Niners have THE best defense in fantasy football. Not only do they rack up sacks, they collect turnovers and do not allow points. They are fantasy gold.

In addition, the last time the Packes faced a really good defense, the Giants in last year's playoffs, they utterly collapsed and that was at Lambeau where this game will be played. Finally, former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin is now the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

I expect a brutal, physical game, and that spells fantasy success for the following people:

START: Frank Gore. He is the Niners best rusher at this point, and will be until he gets hurt. He won't play all the snaps, but he will be fresh enough to score at least once and break off a few long runs against a weak Packers defense. That's good enough for a RB2 or Flex.

START: Vernon Davis. He is not quite in the Jimmy Graham/Rob Gronkowski echelon, but he is at least as good as Antonio Gates or Jason Witten at this point and if the Niners' new acquisitions at receiver turn out to be good, Davis will be exploiting favorable matchups all day. He is a solid TE option this season, and we know how Harbaugh loves to use tight ends. Keep in mind, Vernon Davis is faster than any of the Niners' wide receivers and any Packer defender.

START: 49ers defense. Normally you never start a team defense against Green Bay, but this week is an exception. The Niners have had a full offseason to prepare for them, and the Packers have no running game to speak of. The Niners can cause enough turnovers to be a solid option in fantasy even if they give up points, as they showed against the Saints in the playoffs last year.

However, this game does not spell good fortune for the following players:

SIT: Alex Smith. The Packers' strength on defense is their secondary, and while they give up a lot of points they are all ballhawks who usually get one or two interceptions per game. In addition, the Niners will probably grind out the game with a ground attack which leaves few opportunitied for Smith to put up good numbers.

SIT: Randy Moss. While Moss may be a good option later in the year, this isn't the week to start him without seeing what he has in the tank.

SIT: Mario Manningham. This week, Manningham will likely be covered by Charles Woodson. That's a bad thing for him. He will be a good player for the Niners, but probably not this week.

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