The San Francisco 49ers' 31-21 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon keeps them in the discussion as the NFC's top team. The victory, however, could be overshadowed by a few key injuries—namely a potentially serious knee injury to wide receiver and kick returner Kyle Williams.
While Williams may not be the most important player for San Francisco, and his impact is seldom seen, the depth on this team takes a serious hit if he misses an extended period of time.
Prior to the injury, Williams had tallied 14 receptions for 212 yards and one touchdown. But his biggest contributions have come on special teams where he splits time returning kicks and punts with Ted Ginn, Jr.
Ginn Jr. is a dynamic athlete—and extra touches could help prove his worth in this league—but losing a guy like Williams is never a good thing for a team that prides itself on controlling every aspect of the game.
The injury to Williams will also open up a slot in the back end of the depth chart at wide receiver for the 49ers. Though San Francisco is a run-first team, having Colin Kaepernick under center could begin to open up the playbook.
Veteran wideout Randy Moss—16 receptions for 266 yards and two touchdowns on the season—could be relied on more to stretch the field. Though he may have lost a step, his size lends itself to beating defenders in one-on-one situations.
Another player that could receive a boost is rookie receiver A.J. Jenkins. Though he hasn't seen the field all season, the 49ers should use this opportunity to get the first-year wideout some playing time.
Whether or not San Francisco uses Ginn Jr. in the passing game remains to be seen, since he has only been targeted one time so far this season.
While there may be some shuffling of the 49ers' depth chart, Williams' potential absence could go virtually unnoticed as it relates to San Francisco's game plan—assuming Ginn Jr. can handle the bulk of the special teams load.
As far as fantasy impact, Moss might be the only one to benefit if Kaepernick's presence calls for more downfield passing.
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