How will Colin Kaepernick and Vernon Davis fare this week?
The only thing nicer than watching your football team win on Sunday is watching key players on your fantasy team simultaneously excel. For fans of the San Francisco 49ers, it’s shaping up to be a bittersweet weekend.
The Tennessee Titans boast an improved team from last season, and while I don’t think they’re quite ready to take down San Francisco in this contest, they do present various matchup nightmares for a few key fantasy players.
Still, all is not lost; part of the reason that the Titans are not yet real contenders is that their defense has shown some serious balance issues.
Who, then, is ready to propel you to victory in this game? Who should you consider leaving on your bench? Take a look at the next few slides and get a preview of what’s in store.
There’s a lot of fantasy value in this game, but beware, because a few duds are also in store.
Colin Kaepernick probably won't be your key to victory.
Colin Kaepernick might be the hardest guy in all of fantasy football to peg. He possesses the skill and all-world talent that should theoretically make him a top-five play each and every week. Yet so far this year, he’s cracked the 20-point benchmark just one time.
What on earth is going on?
This week’s matchup against the Titans doesn’t look like a particularly daunting one based on their 3-3 record, but upon closer examination, we find that the Titans have been particularly good against the pass this year, giving up the fourth-fewest points overall.
So do we go all-in on Kaepernick’s talent and hope that he finally has his breakout performance? Or do we acknowledge the fact that he hasn’t been very good this year and his matchup is less than appealing?
I’m leaning towards the latter in this one.
I don’t think Kaepernick will have an abysmal performance like he did in Weeks 2 and 3, where he dropped 5.78 and 4.00 points, respectively. But I also don’t think he comes anywhere near the 36.68 he dropped against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1 either.
The 49ers have shown their cards, and the running game is where their identity lies. Kaepernick will be a middle-of-the-pack option this week, somewhere in the 18- to 22-point range.
You most likely drafted Kap with a high pick this year and probably don’t have a better option stashed on your bench. If that’s the case, go ahead and start him as I do think he’ll give you a decent performance. Just don’t go into your week thinking he’ll be the reason you win.
Anquan Boldin looks to have drawn the short stick in this game.
Like Kaepernick, Anquan Boldin is another hard one to peg because he’s been feast or famine this year. To be perfectly honest, I’m getting a famine vibe going into this week.
You saw in the last slide that I’m not particularly high on Kap this week. As Kaepernick goes, so does Boldin.
The problem with Boldin’s fantasy value is directly related to the 49ers’ real-life offensive issues. With little help in the passing game, Boldin receives the brunt of the opposing secondary’s attention. At times it doesn’t matter because Boldin is just so big and strong. In this one, though, it will.
The Titans have allowed the second-fewest points to opposing receivers this season. Earlier this year they managed to hold Andre Johnson to 76 yards and no touchdowns. Although that’s not terrible production, it’s not quite WR1 numbers.
As good as Boldin is, he’s no Andre Johnson and he doesn’t have a receiver as talented as DeAndre Hopkins on the other side drawing away coverage. But, in the NFL anything can happen and numbers can be misleading.
I just don’t see it happening this week for Boldin. The matchup aside, he’s been far too inconsistent this season to garner any real support. If you have him you’re probably starting him, but unless he manages to reach the end zone, all signs point to a disappointing week for the San Francisco receiver.
Frank Gore has regained his groove in a big way.
I know this article started out as all doom and gloom, but fear not San Francisco fans and fantasy fanatics, because as is always the case, there’s some good news to counteract the bad.
The brilliance of Frank Gore has not only revitalized the 49ers’ season, but also the teams of owners with the faith to draft him early in their fantasy drafts this season.
Aside from a three-point dud of a performance in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks, Gore has been as reliable an option as you’ll find, finishing with at least 10 points in every other game this season.
With the 49ers once again hitching their wagon to Gore and the running game, opportunities have been plentiful for the 30-year-old back. What has been encouraging for Gore this season has been that his value is not solely dependent on touchdowns.
In two of the three games this season that Gore has not found the end zone, he’s still managed to put together decent performances. He gets a lot of touches and has proven to make things happen with those touches.
With the Titans being particularly susceptible to the run, ranking as the 10th worst in the league, Gore could have a field day. He’s a top-10 running back play for me this week and could prove to be your ticket to victory.
He might not throw them down anymore, but Vernon Davis is a Slam-Dunk play this week.
Coming off the finest game of his career, Vernon Davis comes into this game as Kaepernick’s unquestioned favorite target. And to be honest, what’s not to like?
With all due respect to Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowksi (when healthy), Davis should be the best tight end in football. He’s one of the finest athletes and physical specimens in the league and has an automatic mismatch, regardless of who is covering him.
He is the ultimate combination of size and speed.
We’ve gotten glimpses of what Davis is capable of, but the fact remains that he has been one of the most frustrating players in fantasy football for years. Every time we think he’s finally put it all together and is ready to emerge as an elite option, he lays an egg. It’s been a vicious, never-ending cycle.
While I do need to see more on a consistent basis, he does represent Kaepernick's best option in the passing game and has shown the ability to convert big plays. He has a great matchup this week, as the Titans have proven to be as bad at covering tight ends this year as they are good at covering wide receivers, giving up the 10th most points in the league.
I like the matchup, I love the talent and I love the play this week. He might not lead all tight ends in points again this week, but he’ll finish near the top. You can take that to the bank.