We here at the Bay Area Sports Journal are definitely into fantasy sports, and I don't think there's any question about it that fantasy football rules the fantasy sports world. I would like to devote some time here at this site to talking a little fantasy football throughout the season, just to mix things up a bit. Today, I figured, would be a good time to start our preview of the top projected fantasy players on both bay area football squads, starting with the San Francisco 49ers.
Now, the 49ers are a team that's going to be very tough to predict what they'll do offensively. They don't even have their clear cut number one quarterback yet, and they still have some questions up front on the offensive line. Obviously, their most valuable fantasy performer, and the guy who's held that tittle for the last couple of seasons, is running back Frank Gore. The 26 year-old back is coming of a sub-par season for his standards. He was the 31st ranked player in Yahoo's fantasy football last year, gaining just 1036 yards with 6 rushing TD's in 14 games. Gore saw his production fall off mightily towards the end of the year, right in the midst of the fantasy playoffs, as he rushed for just 202 yards in the final four weeks of the '08 season. However, his good friend and bruising fullback, Moran Norris, is back for his second go round with the Niners, and the consensus is that he will help Gore and the Niners running game out tremendously. Gore had his best season of his young career in 2006, the last time he and Norris lined up in the same backfield, and I'm expecting a similar type year from the all-pro halfback. Look for him to finish among the top 12 fantasy players this year, if he can stay healthy for the whole season of course.
Outside of Gore, there really isn't much value, fantasy wise, on the 49ers offensive roster. Issac Bruce was serviceable at times last year as a back-up fantasy receiver, but as we touched on at the top of the post, the Niners haven't yet committed to a starting quarterback, which makes it even tougher to project how the receivers will go. There is also some hype surrounding first round pick Michael Crabtree, but he's still holding out and it's really anybodies guess as to when he'll take the field. I'm sure the Niners will eventually sign him, but it may not be until late in the preseason, which will definitely set the star receiver back in his first NFL season. Tight-end Vernon Davis is always an attractive fantasy option too, because of his crazy athleticism and pass catching abilities from the tight-end spot, but he's still looking for that breakout season in which he catapults himself into the upper echelon of NFL tight-ends.
As a defensive unit, the 49ers should be pretty average as far as fantasy rankings go. They are getting better and aren't nearly the laughing stock they were 2-3 years ago in the middle of the Mike Nolan era, but they still have some deficiencies. I'd probably try and steer clear from the Niners defense on my fantasy team, but they could be worth a look if your planning to play week to week match-ups, then they could be worth an occasional look.... Also, for those of you looking to do some NFL Wagering this season, be sure to check out our NFL betting forum for our expert picks!