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Offseason Primers: San Francisco 49ers

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The 49ers fell three points short in Super Bowl XLVII last year in a 34-31 loss against the Ravens. And now San Francisco will try to become the first Super Bowl loser to make it back to the big game the following year since Buffalo did it four years in a row from 1991-94.

The 49ers will have plenty of weapons to make another Super Bowl run. Colin Kaepernick, who took over for Alex Smith midway through the season last year, will start from Week 1, and he has the potential to be a Fantasy stud. Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis -- all starting Fantasy options -- return to lead the offense, and the 49ers replaced Randy Moss with Anquan Boldin, which is an upgrade.

2012 Touches Leaders
781 total touches (rush attempts + receptions)
Frank Gore 286 (258 car., 28 rec.) 36.6%
Michael Crabtree 86 (1 car., 85 rec.) 11.0%
Kendall Hunter 81 (72 car., 9 rec.) 10.3%
Mario Manningham 45 (3 car., 42 rec.) 5.7%
Vernon Davis 41 rec. 5.2%
All Others 242 30.9%

The defense is again stacked even with the loss of safety Dashon Goldson as a free agent to Tampa Bay, and the inconsistent David Akers was replaced by Phil Dawson. The 49ers also have 14 picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, so there's a lot to like about this team.

Fantasy owners will look at Kaepernick, Gore and Crabtree as must-start options, and Davis should rebound to be a No. 1 Fantasy tight end. Boldin is a key reserve, but he'll be an upgrade over Moss based on his all-around receiving skills. The 49ers also could get a boost if Mario Manningham (knee) returns at 100 percent or A.J. Jenkins steps up in his second year. And we may even get some production from backup running backs LaMichael James and Kendall Hunter, depending on how much the 49ers want to rest Gore during the season.

Michael Crabtree -- Worth the price

2012 Target Leaders
436 pass attempts
Michael Crabtree 127 29.1%
Vernon Davis 61 13.9%
Mario Manningham 57 13.0%
Randy Moss 50 11.4%
Delanie Walker 39 8.9%
All Others 102 23.3%

Kaepernick being named the starting quarterback for the 49ers helped Crabtree become a star last year, and we expect him to play well again this season. In the seven starts Kaepernick made in 2012, Crabtree had 41 catches for 595 yards and five touchdowns. If you project that over 16 games, Crabtree would have finished with 94 catches for 1,360 yards and 11 touchdowns. That equates to 202 Fantasy points, which would have made Crabtree the No. 3 Fantasy receiver last year in standard leagues behind Calvin Johnson (214) and Brandon Marshall (210). Crabtree also had double digits in targets in four of the seven starts with Kaepernick. Crabtree enters this season as a low-end No. 1 Fantasy receiver. He's worth drafting as early as Round 4 in the majority of leagues, and we look forward to his rapport continuing to grow with Kaepernick as the two spend more time together.

Vernon Davis -- Bounce-back candidate

Will the real Vernon Davis please stand up? Davis was a huge disappointment in 2012 based on his regular-season stats, but he was a star in the playoffs. Davis finished the regular season with 41 catches for 548 yards and five touchdowns. It was easily his worst stats since 2008, the year before his breakout campaign. Davis struggled to develop a rapport with Kaepernick -- until the postseason, when Davis took off. In his final two postseason games he had 11 catches for 210 yards and one touchdown against the Falcons and Ravens. We hope he can build off that performance coming into this season, and Davis is too talented to overlook as anything but a No. 1 Fantasy tight end. He has a lot to prove based on last year's down stats, but he's definitely capable of being a standout option. And maybe with Delanie Walker now gone, Davis could get more attention as those 39 targets Walker had last year have to go somewhere. Plan on drafting Davis with a pick in Round 7 or 8.

Colin Kaepernick -- Breakout

Expected 2013 Draft Averages
Colin Kaepernick 57-63 overall
Frank Gore 23-30 overall
LaMichael James 115-122 overall
Kendall Hunter 128-134 overall
Michael Crabtree 37-44 overall
Anquan Boldin 127-133 overall
Mario Manningham Undrafted
Vernon Davis 90-99 overall

Kaepernick gets the chance to start for the 49ers from Week 1 this year, and there's a lot of optimism for his Fantasy value this season based on his play in 2012 when he took over for Smith. He had five games with at least 18 Fantasy points in seven starts in the regular season, and he carried the 49ers to the Super Bowl with two standout playoff games. If you project Kaepernick's regular-season stats over a full 16-game season he would have finished with 4,146 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions and 948 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns and seven fumbles. That equates to 435 Fantasy points, which would have made him the No. 1 Fantasy quarterback in standard leagues, ahead of Drew Brees (423 points). Kaepernick is a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback and a breakout candidate, and we like him with a pick beginning in Round 6 in the majority of leagues. Since he's unproven, you'll still want to pair him with a quality backup option later (think anyone from Eli Manning to Jay Cutler), but Kaepernick has the look of a standout Fantasy quarterback heading into this season.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Report: Saints' Mark Ingram could earn '18 to 22' touches Sunday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10/25/2014) In an interview on CBS Sports Radio Saturday, Saints sideline reporter Kristian Garic indicated that injuries to running backs Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson could potentially mean "18 to 22" touches for Mark Ingram Sunday night against the Packers, per CBS Senior Fantasy Writer Dave Richard.

The Packers rank 31st against the run, allowing 147.9 yards per game on the ground this season. Ingram has rushed for 159 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries, averaging 4.7 yards per attempt.


Report: Saints Jimmy Graham primed for bigger role Sunday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10/25/2014) In an interview on CBS Sports Radio Saturday, Saints sideline reporter Kristian Garic indicated that tight end Jimmy Graham will have a "little bit more of a bigger role" Sunday night against the Packers, per CBS Senior Fantasy Writer Dave Richard.

Because of a nagging shoulder injury, Graham was limited to only 41 percent of the team's snaps in Week 7 at Detroit and was held without a grab. He was a limited participant in practice all week and was labeled questionable for Week 8.

Graham has 34 catches for 376 yards and three touchdowns this season.


NFLPA to review how Chargers handled Addae's concussion
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10/25/2014) The NFL Players Association is formally reviewing the handling of Chargers safety Jahleel Addae's concussion, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora on Saturday.

Addae kept playing despite taking a couple brutal shots to the neck and head area, and even came up wobbling in one instance, in Week 8 against the Broncos. The team initially called his injury a stinger on Thursday and he wasn't diagnosed with a concussion until Friday.


Saints promote Edwin Baker from practice squad
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10/25/2014) With Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson sidelined for Week 8 against Green Bay, the Saints have signed running back Edwin Baker from the practice Saturday, according to the NFL Network. Baker has yet to play a game this season. He will likely serve as the team's third option at running back, behind Mark Ingram and Travaris Cadet.

Chiefs re-sign Jerel Worthy to practice squad
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10/25/2014) Just a few days after being waived from the practice squad, the Chiefs have added defensive lineman Jerel Worthy back to the practice squad on Saturday, per ESPN. Worthy, who suffered a torn ACL in 2012 and spent most of the 2013 season on the PUP list, has yet to take a snap this season.

Saints part ways with Tom Crabtree Saturday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10/25/2014) The Saints waived tight end Tom Crabtree Saturday, just a day before Sunday's matchup against his former team, the Packers, ESPN reports. Crabtree has yet to appear in a game this season.

Raiders place LaMarr Woodley, Usama Young on IR
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/25/2014) The Raiders placed defensive end LaMarr Woodley (bicep) and safety Usama Young (knee) on the season-ending injured reserve list Saturday.

Woodley suffered a torn bicep muscle in Week 7 against the Cardinals. Young tore his ACL and MCL in the same game.


Raiders activate D.J. Hayden, sign Denico Autry
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/25/2014) The Raiders activated cornerback D.J. Hayden from the PUP list Saturday and added defensive end Denico Autry to the active roster from the practice squad.

Hayden missed the first seven weeks of the season while recovering from a foot injury, but he's ready to roll for Sunday's Week 8 matchup with the Browns. Autry was signed to the team's practice squad on Sept. 1.


Rams place Brandon McGee on IR, sign Jamea Thomas
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/25/2014) The Rams placed cornerback Brandon McGee (foot) on injured reserve Saturday. He hasn't played since Week 2 and will miss the remainder of the season with the injury.

The team promoted defensive back Jemea Thomas from the practice squad to fill the open roster spot. He has yet to play in a regular-season game this season.


Seahawks send Derrick Coleman to IR, sign Phil Bates
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/25/2014) The Seahawks have placed Derrick Coleman (foot) on injured reserve, ending his season. He fractured his foot during pregame warmups in Week 7.

To replace Coleman on the active roster, the team signed wide receiver Phil Bates off the practice squad.


 
 
 
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