Posted: 10:15 a.m. Friday, Oct. 11, 2013
By DuckNeck Merton
Last week's win against Houston didn't yield many fantasy points for the offense, but when your defense generates turnovers and gives the team short fields you don't complain. Gamers starting Kaepernick are understandably concerned, but the young QB will need more than 6 completions if the Niners hope to win against the Arizona Cardinals. This isn't a great matchup for fantasy purposes for anyone, but here is a quick breakdown on what to expect.
Another week and another useful stat line from #21 as he continues to be the focal point of the San Francisco offense. Gore owners shouldn't expect a phenomenal performance Sunday. Frank hasn't hit the 100 yard rushing mark in the past two seasons against the Cardinals. Arizona's legit run defense pushes Gore down the RB2 ranks this week, but he will get his touches so another TD run is well within reach. The other top rush defense the Niners faced was Green Bay and they kept Gore to a 2.1 yard average. I wouldn't feel great starting Gore on Sunday, but at least there is a strong chance for a short TD and 18+ touches.
Yes, those who drafted Kaepernick should be worried. The team is winning with the run, he runs like each attempt takes years off his life and the 4000/1000 season is a distant memory. On the bright side, Arizona presents an opportunity for a bounce back game. The Cards are one of the better run defenses in the league and they have Daryl Washington back who is a game changer at linebacker. The Niners will have to pass to move the ball consistently. The attempts will be there and he did look more confident and smooth against Houston. CK7 has elite talent, but until we see him being asked to do more he is not must start material in 10 team leagues and a low QB1 in deeper leagues.
Boldin has put on some miles since catching passes from Kurt Warner and it may show this week. Only Calvin Johnson has been able to go above 80 yards receiving against the Cardinals this season. Until one of the other San Francisco receivers steps up, Boldin will be no better than a WR3. At least you know the targets will be there.
He made the most of his 3 receptions last week, but he still seems to be hesitant to spring full bore. With no reports of a setback this week, he may be approaching 100%. The Cardinals can lockdown receivers and running backs, but they were burned badly this year by Jared Cook and Jimmy Graham. Look for Vernon Davis to register a top 3 TE day. Kap's favorite target will be needed to keep heat off Boldin and keep the defense honest.
Much like Boldin, Fitz hasn't been the same since a fantastic week 1. It's like the poor guy can't escape poor QB play. Michael Floyd has also stepped up, vulturing targets while benefitting from defenses focusing on Fitzgerald. Also like Boldin, he is no more than a WR3 this week. The Niners haven't allowed a receiver to top 60 yards since week 1, even without the Aldon Smith's pass rush. It's a tough break for one of the best receivers in the game. Keep your expectations low for Fitzgerald this week.
The Niners will host a struggling QB for the second straight week. Palmer has been protected well, but he has 9 interceptions in 5 games. That dog won't hunt against a confident pass defense that has been performing well lately. The game should stay relatively close which lessens his chances for garbage time points. Even in 2 QB leagues I'd still prefer Pryor, Henne, Geno Smith or Bradford over Palmer this week.
After 5 weeks it's hard to see Mendenhall resurrecting his career in Arizona, at least from a fantasy perspective. The former Steeler is struggling to keep his YPA above 3.0, only has 2 TDs and hasn't rushed for over 70 yards in any contest. The emergence of Andre Ellington has cut into Mendenhall's touches and goal line carries are the best you can hope for. The Niners aren't what they used to be against the run, but it's difficult to imagine Mendenhall submitting a drastically improved stat line on Sunday. Sit Em.
The Rashard Mendenhall experience in Arizona has left much to be desired, but their running game has some hope with the speedy Ellington. It's similar to the Gio and Green-Ellis scenario in Cincinnati where the slower veteran is getting far too many carries over the more promising rookie. Ellington is worth a FLEX play in PPR leagues this week. The Niners can be hurt with the run and Ellington is getting work as a rusher and receiver. Projection: 80 total yards, 1 TD
Not sure if you should start Kapernick? Do you think you may have a better RB2 option than Frank Gore? Leave a question in the comment section!