It must have been a madman genius that allowed the average sports enthusiasts to immerse themselves even deeper into the sporting genre that they so choose. That genius found a way to make each and every game played a very vital and important contest. Even if the fan didn’t even watch the game. Who would have ever thought it possible to make sports even more competitive than they already were? That person created Fantasy Sports, a game within a game that sets the table for the sporting future. It’s a game that offers sometimes-heated debate, sets a new standard for records held, and puts a focus on statistical achievements for the rest of eternity.
Fantasy Football in particular has taken football nation by storm. With only bragging rights and individual points to fall back on, the armchair football fanatic has been enraptured by mishmash of players selected to their team. This generation of football has now an emphasis on flex players and kickers and two starting running backs that hopefully carry the ball 20 times apiece. Fantasy sports has almost become more important than the games themselves. Never before has a fan of one particular team rooted for an opposing player so wholeheartedly. It allows fans to live vicariously through jerseys of the players that they select. Fantasy Football participants are like coaches, only they never get near the fields. They pick their players as if on a schoolyard choosing teams for kickball.
This year the San Francisco 49ers and their players have done well to make the Fantasy Football coaches that selected them happy. The 49ers have a multitude of standouts on the team this year that would make just about any Fantasy roster. From running backs to kickers, the 49ers nearly have every base covered to strengthen a Fantasy Football team.
Frank Gore: The 49ers running back should be starter on nearly every Fantasy Football team. One drawback to Gore is his rather pedestrian number of carriers he gets each game. But even at only 15 rushes per game, he is putting up healthy numbers, to the tune of 82 yards per game. The other drawback is his lack of touchdowns this year, at four; he is below the standard for starting Fantasy Football running backs. But keep in mind, he is also catching about three passes per game as well. All in all, he is a must start, especially in PPR leagues.
Vernon Davis: Also a starter for most Fantasy Football teams, there are only a handful that are better. He has all the weapons to be an All Pro, he doesn’t drop a lot off passes, he is physically as strong as they come, and he has the speed to break away from defenders. His only drawback is the offense that he plays in; it’s a run first offense with a more or less short yardage passing game. Right now he is seeing about four balls thrown his way, as defenses key in around him. But he is still one of the deadliest tight end threats in the league around the red zone.
Alex Smith: As good as Smith has been playing this season, he is still probably outside of the discussion of Fantasy Football starting quarterbacks. Smith is an excellent back up option for when your starter sits for his bye week. Smith currently has a 102-passer rating, good for fourth best in the league. Unfortunately, as Fantasy Football statistics go, he just does not throw the ball enough to make him a viable starter. He is only attempting 26 passes per game in the run first 49ers offense. And he is not a running quarterback either, like a Michael Vick or a Cam Newton, so his point values are typically not increased by his ability to run the ball. Smith is an excellent fit in the 49ers offense, but for Fantasy Football he should only be taken as a back up.
Defense/Special Teams: Easily one of the best in the league, and should absolutely be started on a Fantasy Football roster, unless your other defense/special team is the Chicago Bears. While the 49ers don’t have as many interceptions or sacks as some of the other teams in the league, and though they don’t score a lot of special team points, their defense is holding opponents to just under 13 points per contest. That statistic is invaluable if the league you are playing in rewards points for lack of scores against a defense.
David Akers: He was great to have on a Fantasy Football roster last year, this year is a bit of a different story though. He kicked a lot of field goals last year, due to the 49ers problems associated with scoring touchdowns in the red zone. Unfortunately for those that drafted Akers, the 49ers have improved their red zone offense considerably, not allowing Akers to take the field as much. And as opposed to last year, when he only missed eight field goal attempts, he has five misses on the year already. Akers is not a must start this year, especially in ten team formats. He’s a great back up kick to replace one on a bye, but you could find better opportunities for a starter.
Michael Crabtree: Chances are, if you drafted a team with two wide receivers, there are better choices for a starter. Not by much, but at this point in the season, Crabtree looks like more of a back up or fill in for the wide receiver position in Fantasy Football. The 49ers number one wide receiver has caught 39 passes this year, but is only averaging 55 yards per game, and only has three touchdowns on the year. Again this is attributed to the 49ers offensive scheme, and their run first game plan. And when he does get his number called, most of the time the passes are of the short yardage variety. Fantasy teams that have him on the roster should be very cognizant of his capabilities within the 49ers offense.
Kendall Hunter: Right now, Hunter is an excellent choice for a back up to fill in for a starting running back on a bye. His numbers are not outrageous, 60 carries on the year and an average of 37 yards per game. But he could be a very productive and dangerous running back down the stretch when the 49ers start to rest Gore by limiting his touches. Which the 49ers will more than likely do if they raise their winning percentage high enough to guarantee them a spot in the playoffs. Hunter could just be the sleeper pick in the Fantasy Football draft down the stretch.
As of right now, that’s about all of the 49ers players to make an argument for their role on a Fantasy Football team. However, there is a deep talent pool on the 49ers roster, and one injury could thrust any individual into the limelight. Whether it be Randy Moss, or Mario Manningham, or Brandon Jacobs, they are all viable options if the script for the 49ers changes.
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