The San Francisco 49ers are back home this week to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with both teams looking to improve to 4-1. The 49ers pulled off a big victory in Philadelphia, putting together a 21-point second half comeback to knock off the Eagles. The 49ers fantasy prospects were much improved against the Eagles, particularly with Frank Gore blowing up coming off the bench behind Kendall Hunter.
Both players had notable performances against the Eagles, which raises a question of which is worth starting in a given week. Gore would seem to be the go-to guy given his history with the team, but Hunter has shown an explosiveness that makes him almost a Darren Sproles-type weapon as a rookie. Many think he could turn into more of a full-time back than Sproles, but for now that might be his role.
numberFire.com Projections: 12.40 FP - 81.32 rushing yards, 0.32 touchdowns, 2.37 receptions, 16.58 receiving yards
numberFire.com Projections: 3.82 FP - 23.02 rushing yards, 0.16 touchdowns, 0.92 receptions, 4.55 receiving yards
Analysis: I would actually argue that both 49ers running backs are worth a start in a week that has numerous running backs on a bye. Frank Gore will likely get more of the carries, but Hunter is an explosive threat that would seem to have earned more touches. It's a roll of the dice, but there's some decent upside with Hunter.
Analysis: The 49ers are starting to take the gloves off their offense, which should only mean bigger and better things for Vernon Davis. With Aqib Talib potentially sidelined on Sunday, that's one fewer defensive back on the field to try and contain the big tight end. I could see a very big afternoon from Davis.
numberFire.com Projections: 12.66 FP - 220.71 yards, 1.40 TDs, 1.45 INTs
Analysis: This might catch you off-guard, but Alex Smith could be in line for a nice day against the Bucs secondary. If Curtis Painter can put up 281 yards and two touchdowns against the Bucs defense, what's to stop an improving Alex Smith? More importantly, the offense is opening the playbook up more and more each week. And just to put my money where my mouth is, in one of my money leagues I have Josh Freeman and Alex Smith on my roster and I'm starting Smith over Freeman. We'll see if this plays out poorly.
numberFire.com Projections: 7.97 FP - 18.89 pts allowed, 2.56 sacks, 1.70 turnovers, 0.16 touchdowns
Analysis: The 49ers gave up a sizable number of points to the Eagles last week, but they were able to use turnovers and sacks to get some of them back. I think this shapes up to be a tight game and I think the 49ers defense can continue to win the turnover battle, which has been a key for this fantasy defense.
Analysis: Last week was a brutal week for the 49ers kicker, but I think the return to Philly might very well have had something to do with his struggles. I think he returns to form back at Candlestick and remains a safe option.
numberFire.com Projections: 5.68 FP - 3.36 receptions, 43.82 receiving yards, 0.22 touchdowns
Analysis: Why not go for a clean sweep of 49ers. Crabtree is slowly improving after a foot injury got him off to a slow start. He led the team with 68 receiving yards and is due to get in the end zone sooner rather than later. With Aqib Talib questionable with a knee injury, Crabtree could have an intriguing matchup opposite Joshua Morgan and Vernon Davis. For a bye week, he's not a bad option.
Of the remaining 49ers, only Joshua Morgan is really a borderline fantasy play. He is connecting with Smith, but we have to draw the line somewhere. Kyle Williams and Ted Ginn remain non-entities, and Delanie Walker is only getting inconsistent looks this season.
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.