49ers vs. Patriots: Under-the-Radar Fantasy Performers in Sunday Night's Clash

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 15, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 23:  Danny Woodhead #39 of the New England Patriots runs the ball against Lardarius Webb #21 of the Baltimore Ravens in the first half at M&T Bank Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

As if NFL fans need any more reason to tune into Sunday night's prime-time showdown between the Super Bowl favorite San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots, there will be a number of key fantasy performers in play.

Aside from the obvious stars like Tom Brady, Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick, there are a handful of less-publicized options for fantasy owners in this matchup. From offense to special teams, and on both sidelines.

Here, we break down some under-the-radar performers to keep an eye on in Week 15's can't-miss clash. 


Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots, K

It's no secret that the San Francisco 49ers boast one of the NFL's most complete defenses. Therefore, fantasy owners can anticipate a big night from Pats kicker Stephen Gostkowski.

Gostkowski has connected on 24-of-30 field goals already this season and kicks plenty of extra points. However, in Week 15, expect him to get more high-scoring looks in the form of field goals, as the Niners do their best to stall New England's deep drives.

Gostkowski is an accurate kicker and one that will come through if given the opportunity this weekend. Considering San Francisco's ability to keep opponents out of the end zone, expect a solid outing from this underrated performer on Sunday.


Randy Moss, San Francisco 49ers, WR

Randy Moss will be pitted against his former team on Sunday night and you can bet he'll be slightly more energized than usual to show he's still one of the league's top wideouts.

Sure, Moss has just two touchdowns this season, but he has caught five balls over the last two weeks and has the potential to wreak even more havoc in Week 15, going up against the NFL's 29th-worst pass defense in terms of yards allowed (276 per game).

Despite their blowout win over Houston last week, the Pats are vulnerable to the deep ball.

More than 24 percent of Moss' targets this season have come over the last two games, which suggests he'll get more than a few looks from Colin Kaepernick in Foxborough this weekend. 


Danny Woodhead, New England Patriots, RB

New England Patriots running back Danny Woodhead has been quiet as of late, but that could change on Sunday night, when Tom Brady and the offense could potentially rely on him a whole lot more.

San Francisco's defense ranks second against the run and the pass this season, and will make life hard on Patriots starting running back Stevan Ridley. Therefore, don't be surprised if New England looks to involve Woodhead more often as one of the league's better pass-catching backs.

Woodhead is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry this season, but a whopping 10.9 yards per reception. That statistic will be key on Sunday night.

He also has as many receiving touchdowns as rushing touchdowns in 2012.


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