ONE TO START, ONE TO SIT
One to Start, One to Sit is a weekly column where each NFL game will be evaluated and the best/worst fantasy match-ups will be listed.
Tonight’s Matchup: San Francisco 49ers @ St.Louis Rams
SF- Frank Gore
STL- Daryl Richardson
While the Rams rushing defense has only given up 105 yards a game on the ground, looking at the competition they’ve played against (ATL Without Steven Jackson, Zona, and Dallas), that is a very fake stat. Last week, DeMarco Murray broke out for 175 yards on this defense, averaging 6.7 yards a carry. I’d consider Frank Gore on the same level of DeMarco Murray, if not better. While some carries may be stolen from Hunter and Kaepernick, I’d expect Gore to once again lead the 49ers in carries/yards and even TD’s.
Surprisingly, the 49ers defense is 29th in the NFL in rushing yards per game (139.7 yards surrendered through the ground). More alarming is the teams San Fran has played so far (Seattle, Green Bay, and Indy), only one of them is known for running the ball. Certainly the issues off the field with Aldon Smith and no Patrick Willis has effected them on the field. Enter Daryl Richardson. The former 7th round RB taken from Abilene Christian has yet to topple 100 rushing yards in a single game this season (in fact he hasn’t rushed for 100 yards after 2 games). He did sit out last week’s matchup against Dallas due to a foot injury, so fellow RB Isaiah Pead may play into this game as well. However, Richardson is considered probable for tonight’s game and with his pass catching ability (he’s got 10 receptions in 2 games) as well as San Fran’s incapability to stop any running back this season (Ahmad Bradshaw nearly rushed for 100 yards against them last week, averaging 5 yards a carry). I firmly believe the 49ers are going to see a big dose of D-Rich in tonight’s contest, which will lead the Rams in fantasy points.
SF- 49ers Def/ST
STL- Jared Cook
The 49ers defense is another reason why you don’t take team defenses early. 7 sacks in 3 games, 2 ints, and 1 fumble recovered is hardly the type of numbers you’d expect from a fantasy defense projected 2nd overall in drafts. Add in the a questionable run defense, the Rams only having 5 turnovers (4 if you don’t count Jared Cook’s boneheadedness) this season, and now without NFL sack leader Aldon Smith. What’s there to like about the 49ers defense tonight? I know Thursday night games are usually low scoring (when they don’t include Peyton Manning), but I’d expect another 4-7 point outing from this defense tonight. If you’re looking for a big scoring defense, I’d look elsewhere this week.
The 49ers have yet to give up 100 yards total to opposing Tight Ends this season. While their Run defense may be something to be desired, the secondary has held qb’s to just under 200 yards a game. This is after giving up 333 yards to Aaron Rodgers in week one. Cook has been up and down so far this season. After becoming a huge fantasy factor in week one vs Arizona (7 catches, 141 yards, 2 tds), Cook has only managed 54 yards on 6 catches in his last two games. The Rams seem to be playing “Whack a Mole” with their WR’s every week in terms of game planning and who’s going to step up. (Vs. Atlanta Austin Pettis and Tavon Austin received a combined 23 targets, vs. Dallas, Chris Givens received 8 targets while Cook, Isaiah Pead, and Tavon Austin all received 7). While the boom/bust qualities in Cook may entice some to start him, I’d avoid Cook and seek my fortunes elsewhere.