Sunday, June 17, 2012

32 in 32: San Francisco 49ers

Getting towards the end of this series, but don't worry because I have many more planned. The 49ers were one of the most surprising teams last season, especially since most people had them pegged as the worst of the worst in the NFC West. As we all know by now, this defense showed up in an amazing way, and Alex Smith was utilized in a way that was much more fitting of his play style. He was asked to be more Joe Flacco and less Peyton Manning. Try not to lose the game for us, while the real football players do all the work.

Perhaps that was harsh, but absolutely 100% do not draft Alex Smith in fantasy football. Hell, David Akers had a better passer rating than he did (but that's just a fun fact; Akers had a perfect passer rating on the season with a stat line of 1 pass, 1 completion for 14 yards and 1 touchdown). Seriously, though, when your best statistical season is 3,100 yards with 17 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, you know you aren't going to get big production from him. Instead of Smith, draft Flynn or Bradford or Freeman or Flacco. Any one of those players will have more yards and more touchdowns. Just don't draft him, please.

Speaking of not drafting players, I would suggest not drafting any wide receiver wearing a 49ers jersey. Last season, Michael Crabtree had 874 yards and 4 touchdowns as the 49ers leading receiver. They added Randy Moss and Mario Manningham to the mix, which just means that we have no earthly idea what the depth chart is actually going to look like, or even if we are going to get the same 3,000 yards out of Alex Smith this season. If you have absolutely no one else to draft, feel free to pick up one of these guys, but I'm guessing that 2/3rds of them will be on waivers to start the season and that all three of them will end up there by the end of the season. If there are some injuries, feel free to make a move, but until then just save yourself the trouble. The one worth-while player here is Vernon Davis. Davis would be an amazing tight end if he weren't stuck in this horrendous passing attack. Fortunately, he is the one player who can have an impact with 800 yards, as your tight end. Davis is a legitimate receiving threat, so I would say that he is towards the bottom of the draftable tight ends, thanks to Alex Smith. 800-900 yards and 8 touchdowns is pretty reasonable.

Frank Gore is a huge bust candidate. As a featured back, Gore would be a 1,200 yard rusher, but Brandon Jacobs and Kendall Hunter are threatening to turn this team into a huge backfield logjam that will probably look a lot like Washington did last season. Add to this that the 49ers drafted LaMichael James in the 2nd round and there is just no way I can justify drafting Frank Gore...or any of these running backs, for that matter. Just like the receivers, I would be surprised if all of these guys weren't on waivers by the end of the season. ou just cannot run the ball enough to satisfy all of these players, and there are very few running backs who can make a difference with 200 or fewer carries.

Without David Akers and this defense, there might not be anyone worth owning on this team. Akers proved that he was good enough to carry a team last season, and this defense was dominant. I think Akers and the DST will take a step back this season, but they should both be top-10. I won't be drafting Akers, though. I only draft kickers on teams who put up tons of points.

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