Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2012 Fantasy outlooks: San Francisco 49ers

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Last year expectations were small for the 49ers after going 6-10 in 2010. They finagled Jim Harbaugh away from Stanford to coach the team and kept quarterback Alex Smith. Some thought they could finish 8-8, maybe 9-7.

Check out our Fantasy Football podcast!
There is no better source for entertaining Fantasy advice than our Fantasy Football Today podcast. Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg and Adam Aizer will help you pass the time as you anticipate Draft Day 2014!
Latest episode | Subscribe today!

Instead, they took advantage of a weak division and upset plenty of opponents on their way to a sensational 13-3 record and a trip to the NFC title game. If not for an errant special-teams play, they might have gone on to Super Bowl XLVI.

Now sights are set on making the championship game as evidenced by several offseason moves to boost the offense. The 49ers improved their receiving corps with the additions of Randy Moss (who sat out 2011 after struggling through 2010), Mario Manningham (who helped beat the Niners as a member of the Giants last January) and A.J. Jenkins (who was the team's surprise first-round pick). San Francisco's run game also got some much-needed depth when they signed another ex-Giant, Brandon Jacobs, and drafted Oregon speedster LaMichael James. The three-year extension given to Alex Smith isn't big news compared to these five moves.

A team defined by its defense for several seasons will now try to make gains on both sides of the ball. The Niners' commitment to Smith is a tough pill for some Fantasy owners to swallow even though he set career-highs in pass attempts, completions, yards and rush yards last season. With the new receivers in tow along with Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree still in the fold, there's reason to believe Smith can take another step in his development this season.

Fantasy Value Chart
Player Draft Day value Estimated round
Quarterbacks
Alex Smith 12
Running Backs
Frank Gore 4
Brandon Jacobs 10
Kendall Hunter ND
LaMichael James ND
Wide Receivers
Michael Crabtree 10
Randy Moss 10
Mario Manningham 11
A.J. Jenkins ND
Tight Ends
Vernon Davis 5
Delanie Walker ND
Kickers/Defense
David Akers 13
49ers DST 11
ND - not expected to get drafted

Sleeper ... Randy Moss, wide receiver
From all accounts, Randy Moss isn't parading around like your typical established 35-year-old receiver. Players, coaches, front-office staff and media alike have raved about Moss' commitment and speed during spring workouts. And Moss himself seems particularly motivated to return to the NFL and play like he knows he's capable of playing. Playing on a one-year deal means he'll have to prove himself before earning a larger contract, and it's also worth noting that Moss has put up solid numbers in his first season with each of his first three teams (we're throwing out Tennessee). The days of him catching between 60 and 85 passes seem like history, especially in a receiving corps as varied and deep as the Niners', but he's worth gambling on as a quality reserve with potential to start at points during the season. We even think he could show up in the end zone in Week 1 when he plays at Green Bay, a place he has a lot of history in and an opponent he's scored a personal-best 14 touchdowns against.

Bust ... Frank Gore, running back
If you're looking for the pre-2010 version of Gore, you probably should check out Fred Jackson or DeMarco Murray. The ship has sailed on Gore being a 275-touch, 1,500-yard kind of running back. Though he stayed healthy for all of last season, Gore lost a lot of work on third downs and it showed with a six-year low in receptions (17) after averaging 51 catches in his previous five years. That's thanks to Kendall Hunter coming on for the Niners, and he should keep that role from Gore. But with Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James new to the Niners, Gore could lose even more work including at the goal line -- a Jacobs specialty. He'll still be their primary rusher so long as he's healthy but the last time Gore didn't get 240 total touchdes was his rookie year in 2005. He could be headed for below that total in 2012 thanks to the moves the Niners have made.

Keeper-league target ... A.J. Jenkins, wide receiver
Niners fans have high hopes for 2012 but they'll be patient with rookie Jenkins, a surprise first-round pick. Jenkins came on in his last two seasons in college, totaling 140 grabs for 1,945 yards and 14 touchdowns. He's already said he plans on learning as much as he can from Moss, who probably isn't in the Niners' long-term plans like Jenkins is. Point is, Jenkins might take his time to learn the ropes and make an impact down the line whereas other rookie receivers will get more time on the field and make an impact sooner. Think long-term on him.

Schedule breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
@GB DET @MIN @NYJ BUF NYG SEA @ARI bye STL CHI @NO @STL MIA @NE @SEA ARI

I don't know how the Niners pulled this one off but they'll play one road game (at Arizona) between Weeks 5 and 11. Besides that perk, the schedule is a challenge. Roughly half of their matchups won't be cakewalks for their run game, which means Alex Smith will have to step up in order for the Niners to get close to 13 wins again. His new receivers might make all the difference.

Training camp topics

2011 Touches Leaders
Player Touches
Frank Gore 311 carries, 30 catches
Kendall Hunter 122 carries, 17 catches
Vernon Davis 77 catches, 2 carries
Michael Crabtree 77 catches, 1 carry
Anthony Dixon 32 carries, 1 catch

Of the Niners 1,067 plays in 18 games, 648 of them went through Gore (341), Hunter (139), Davis (79) and Crabtree (78). That's over 60 percent of the offense rolling through four people. Considering the age and abilities of those four people, it's really no wonder why the Niners added so much offensive talent this spring -- how they shake out this summer will be very interesting.

The Niners added a veteran in Moss, a youngster in Jenkins and a receiver in-between in Mario Manningham. Where does that leave Michael Crabtree? Last year's leading receiver will participate in his first training camp this year after holding out in 2010 and getting hurt in 2011. He'll need to get in there and work hard for playing time given the infusion of talent at receiver this offseason. Questions about his speed might haunt him this summer and keep him from being more than a possession-type. Moreover, defensive coordinators won't sweat Crabtree much considering the rest of the threats on the Niners: Of Crabtree's 72 catches last year, 12 went for 20-plus yards and three went for 40-plus yards.

Might the Niners' upgraded receivers impact Vernon Davis? Yes and no. Sure, they'll take some targets away from him, but in theory they should put him in a position to exploit single coverage some of the time. Unlike Crabtree, it wouldn't be a shock to see Davis match the 67 catches and 792 yards he had last season.

The wild card is Smith, and the key for him is being able to make quick decisions and throw with improved accuracy. An elite quarterback at the helm of an offense like this would be considered an elite Fantasy option. But Smith has proven to be far from elite -- in his breakout 2011 he still finished behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton in Fantasy points in standard formats. The Niners are raving about Smith just as they are about Moss, so if he can deliver tight spirals this year, the Fantasy points should follow. A strong preseason showing would help his cause.

We'll also have to see how the Niners use their running backs early on. Gore is still expected to work on most first and second downs, but everything after that is up in the air. Kendall Hunter is pegged into a third-down role and Brandon Jacobs will focus mostly on short-yardage and goal-line work. When the Niners decide to sprinkle in LaMichael James should prove to be interesting; if James picks up where he left off in college he could further push Gore off the field. Obviously the focus is on keeping Gore fresh for the back half of the season and postseason, so the more he can do this summer to prove he can handle over 15 touches per game, the better.

No news is good news for the Niners defense as every single starter and key contributor from last season returns. For a defense that racked up 42 sacks and 23 interceptions, that's a very good thing. It was because the defense returned in full that allowed the Niners to spend as much attention on offense as they did. So long as the principal figures in this defense stay healthy, namely Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith, Dashon Goldson and Justin Smith, the Niners DST will be worth taking first at the position with a pick once the rounds get into the double digits.

Injury update

None to report

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard . Do you have a question or a comment for our Fantasy staff? Drop us a line at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Patriots upgrade center Bryan Stork to probable for Super Bowl
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:31 pm ET) The Patriots have upgraded center Bryan Stork to probable for Sunday's Super Bowl, the team announced Saturday. 

Stork was considered questionable with a knee injury after missing the AFC Championship game and was limited in practice Friday. The Patriots are currently 1-point favorites against the Seahawks Sunday.


Geno Smith hopeful Jets bring back Percy Harvin in 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:48 pm ET) Jets quarterback Geno Smith knows he can't make the ultimate decision, but he wants to see Percy Harvin back in New York in 2015.

"I would love for Percy to come back," Smith said. "Obviously I can’t make that decision, but from my short time with him he’s been a great teammate. He’s obviously a dynamic player and I’d love to see what he can do in this new offense."

Harvin played eight games with the Jets in 2014, catching 29 passes for 350 yards. 

However, Harvin is due $10.5 million in base salary in 2014, and is under contract until 2018.


Eagles' Nick Foles expecting to be starter in Philadelphia next year
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:06 pm ET) Eagles quarterback Nick Foles said he is expecting to be back in Philadelphia in 2015, leading the offesne.

"My expectation is to be out there and be the starting guy," Foles said, according to CSNPhilly.com. "I expect to be out there with my teammates leading them. I’ve never thought otherwise throughout this whole time. 


"I know there’s been a lot of things said, but the only thing I’m worried about is making myself the best player, the best person to help lead my team."

Foles, who threw for 2,163 yards and 13 touchdowns in an injury-shortened season, expects to be back at full strength by the time training camp rolls around.

"Completely healthy, ready to go," he said. "Just grinding away. Just can’t wait to get back out there."


Jets' Geno Smith doesn't know if he will start in 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:00 pm ET) Jets quarterback Geno Smith said Saturday he is unsure of his status with the team and has not received a definitive answer from new coach Todd Bowles on whether he will be the starter in 2015, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.

Smith, who threw for 2,525 yards with 13 touchdowns in 2014, also isn't sure if the Jets will try to draft a quarterback in the first round like Jamies Winston or Marcus Mariota, but he would welcome the challenge as more competition.


Cardinals coach Bruce Arians: 'It's really (Fitzgerald's) decision'
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(10:33 am ET) Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told reporters Friday he really wants to see wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald back in Arizona next season.

"I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t," Arians said. "We definitely, desperately want him to stay. He knows that. It’s really his decision."

Fitzgerald has a salary cap hit of $23.6 million for 2015 and the team will work to get that number down in the offseason. Team president Michael Bidwill said this week contract talks won't start fully until after the Super Bowl.

"I’m hoping and praying every day that it does happen," Arians said. "I’ve expressed to him personally how much it means to us."

Fitzgerald has not reached 1,000 yards receiving in the past three seasons and totaled 784 in 2014 on 63 catches with two touchdowns.


Seahawks corner Byron Maxwell set to test free agency
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(9:25 am ET) Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell is ready to hit the free-agent market during the upcoming offseason and feels the Super Bowl will be his last game in Seattle.

"I’m the prettiest girl at the dance right now," Maxwell said. "But yeah, it’s one of those things I’m excited about it. I would love to be here, but I’m ready to see what’s out there and see how things work out."

Maxwell, who was heavily targeted this year with the Seahawks secondary filled with Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, grabbed two interceptions and defended 11 passes.

"Coming into the season I already knew teams were going to try me," Maxwell said. "But it was cool. I accept that. That’s more opportunities for me to get the rock and put my name out there."


Report: Titans S Bernard Pollard wants to be released
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:52 am ET) Titans safety Bernard Pollard has requested a release from his contract, The Tennessean reports. He is scheduled to make $3.1 million in the final season of his two-year deal in 2015.

Pollard submitted his request to general manager Ruston Webster at the end of the regular season, per the report. He is recovering from a ruptured Achilles and wants to play in 2015, but said on The Tennessean's Bernard Pollard Show earlier this month that he was unsure of his future with the Titans.

"I am not getting any younger, so I want to win, I really do. I want to win,'' Pollard said. "Looking at how things took place this year, looking at where (the Titans) need to be for next year, that is a tough, tough question, and I don't even know if they can give me the answer. I have one year on my deal, but it is going to take some time."

Pollard has been out of his walking boot for a month and is making progress in rehab. He suffered his Achilles injury in Week 5 and was placed on injured reserve.


Patriots fairly healthy heading into Super Bowl Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) The Patriots will be at nearly full strength for Sunday’s Super Bowl as the following players have been listed as probable: Tom Brady (ankle), Dont’a Hightower (shoulder), Chris Jones (elbow), Akeem Ayers (knee), Darrelle Revis (non-injury-related) and Sealver Siliga (foot).

All except Brady were limited participants in practice Friday. The only question mark is center Bryan Stork, who is questionable with a knee injury and was limited in practice Friday.

The Patriots are currently 1-point favorites against Seattle.


Seahawks unveil final injury report in preparation for Super Bowl
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) The Seahawks have listed the following players as probable for the Super Bowl on Sunday: J.R. Sweezy (ankle), Justin Britt (knee), Marshawn Lynch (back), Earl Thomas (shoulder), Richard Sherman (elbow) and Kam Chancellor (knee).

Chancellor was a late addition to the injury report, when he fell on the next-to-last play of practice and missed the last play. He was not limping on his way off. All other players were full participants in practice Friday.

The Seahawks are currently 1-point underdogs against New England.


Saints tight end Jimmy Graham to avoid surgery on shoulder
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he will avoid surgery on his shoulder after testing it at the Pro Bowl. 

"I’ve been doing rehab and I’m going to start back on my rehab Monday and really there’s going to be no surgery," Graham told SiriusXM radio. "I’m just going to do rehab, strengthen the area. That’s what’s best — not having to take six months off and try to heal up with a surgery, but now have those six months to work on all things I need to to try and hopefully get to a place like (the Super Bowl) next year."

Graham, who had 85 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014, fought off the injury for most of the season. He was still unsure about having surgery before the Pro Bowl last week.

"It was something that really needed some rest and unfortunately it wasn’t able to get that during the season," he said. "It happened early and then you have about 10 straight weeks of trying to make it to the game. Now after having about three or four weeks and last week kind of testing it at the Pro Bowl, it feels great."


 
 
 
Rankings