PYRO® breaks down the Week 3 Conference Championship Matchup and fantasy implications between the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons
San Francisco 49ers (12-4-1, 5-3 on the road)
2012 Offensive Ranks
San Francisco Rush Offense: 155.7 Yards/Game (4th) || 17 TDs (T-6th)
San Francisco Pass Offense: 205.9 Yards/Game (23rd) || 23 TDs (T-16th)
Opponent 2012 Defensive Ranks
Atlanta Rush Defense: 123.2 Yards Allowed/Game (21st) || 16 TDs Allowed (T-24th)
Atlanta Pass Defense: 242.4 Yards Allowed/Game (23rd) || 14 TDs Allowed (1st)
San Francisco Offensive Cast
Colin Kaepernick (QB Playoff Week 3 Fantasy Ranking: 1 of 4)
2012 Season: 136/218 for 1,814 Yards, 10 TDs and 3 INTs || 63 Carries for 415 Yards and 5 TDs
Divisional Game vs. GB: 17/31 for 263 Yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT || 16 Carries for 181 Yards and 2 TDs
Considering what’s going on with Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco, these Harbaugh brothers sure know what they’re doing—as does the main man here at Pyro®; d-Rx®. He’s a forward-thinking fantasy guy and has been high on Kaepernick since he was sitting on the bench in the beginning of his 2011 rookie season. Why, you ask? Because he noticed that the league was changing, and not only did he realize that Kaep had some really nice quarterback skills, but that he also had the potential to be one of the best running QBs in the league. It’s a reality now, folks. The best fantasy quarterbacks aren’t just passing machines anymore—like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees—but they’re also the most athletic, like Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, RGIII, Andrew Luck and Cam Newton. With the way fantasy scoring rules are today, if you want the best fantasy score, you simply have to take a chance on Kaepernick this weekend.
Frank Gore (RB Playoff Week 3 Fantasy Ranking: 2 of 13)
2012 Season: 258 Carries for 1,214 Yards and 8 TDs || 28 Receptions for 234 Yards and 1 TD
Divisional Game vs. GB: 23 Carries for 119 Yards and 1 TD || 2 Receptions for 48 Yards and 0 TDs
Of the four teams left in the playoffs, the Atlanta Falcons are the easiest to score big fantasy points against—no doubt about it. Gore has been rested all year for this exact reason and I expect the 49ers to use him accordingly in this game. Yes, Colin Kaepernick will take his fair share of keepers for a good amount of yards, but Gore should find some wide open holes because of it and turn them into a good 100 rushing yards and a touchdown. To be honest, Gore’s fantasy value just went up exponentially next season with the recent play of Kaepernick. Awesome combo.
LaMichael James (RB Playoff Week 3 Fantasy Ranking: 9 of 13)
2012 Season: 27 Carries for 125 Yards and 0 TDs || 3 Receptions for 29 Yards and 0 TDs
Divisional Game vs. GB: 3 Carries for 21 Yards and 0 TDs || 1 Reception for 7 Yards and 0 TDs
LaMichael didn’t see a whole lot of action this past weekend, but that was to be expected as a rookie running back in a playoff game. Still, the ‘Niners DID trust him enough to get him the ball four times (21 rushing yards, seven receiving), so he’s obviously still in the gameplan from week to week.
Anthony Dixon (RB Playoff Week 3 Fantasy Ranking: 10 of 13)
2012 Season: 21 Carries for 78 Yards and 2 TDs || 0 Receptions for 0 Yards and 0 TDs
Divisional Game vs. GB: 1 Carry for 2 Yards and 1 TD || 0 Receptions for 0 Yards and 0 TDs
Dixon is a LOT better than he’s given credit for, but he happens to be on a team with far superior running backs right now. Seeing how he gave the 49ers a touchdown on his sole touch of the day last week, I suppose it’s possible he gets the call again… though I wouldn’t exactly count on it.
Michael Crabtree (WR Playoff Week 3 Fantasy Ranking: 2 of 14)
2012 Season: 85 Receptions for 1,105 Yards and 9 TDs
Divisional Game vs. GB: 9 Receptions for 119 Yards and 2 TDs
Who doubted Michael Crabtree when the season started? I’ll admit, I am one of those raising their hands. Plain and simple, the kid is the hottest wide receiver left in the 2012 NFL playoffs and should probably be the top wide receiver this week… However, with Asante Samuel likely covering him this Sunday, I can’t endorse him as the number one guy. Colin Kaepernick obviously loves him, so Crabby will get his targets no matter what… as he should. That being said, the Falcons don’t normally allow many fantasy points to opposing wide receivers (eighth fewest during the regular season) and let up the least amount of touchdowns to them in 2012. So even though I have Crabtree ranked high this week, believe me, the kid will have his work cut out for him.
Randy Moss (WR Playoff Week 3 Fantasy Ranking: 9 of 14)
2012 Season: 28 Receptions for 434 Yards and 3 TDs
Divisional Game vs. GB: 2 Receptions for 25 Yards and 0 TDs
Moss didn’t see many balls flying his way against the Packers last weekend, and I can’t see much changing against Atlanta this Sunday. The Falcons boast one of the league’s more formidable secondarys, so with his skills obviously nowhere near where they once were, I’m not expecting too much out of Randy.
A.J. Jenkins (WR Playoff Week 3 Fantasy Ranking: 14 of 14)
2012 Season: 0 Receptions for 0 Yards and 0 TDs
Divisional Game vs. GB: 0 Receptions for 0 Yards and 0 TDs
Jenkins was on the field for only seven snaps last weekend and saw zero targets from Colin Kaepernick. For no particular reason, I think he improves on those numbers and sees eight snaps this Sunday along with one target. He still won’t make a catch, though.
Ted Ginn (WR Playoff Week 3 Fantasy Ranking: 13 of 14)
2012 Season: 2 Receptions for 1 Yard and 0 TDs
Wildcard Game vs. GB: 1 Reception for 3 Yards and 0 TDs
Ginn actually caught one of his two targets last week and turned it into a three-yard gain. Hey, at least it was more productive than what A.J. Jenkins did! Anyway, his real value comes from his special teams play where the chance he takes a punt to the house gets him ranked one higher than the bottom.
Vernon Davis (TE Playoff Week 3 Fantasy Ranking: 5 of 7)
2012 Season: 41 Receptions for 548 Yards and 5 TDs
Divisional Game vs. GB: 1 Reception for 44 Yards and 0 TDs
Vernon Davis has been nearly invisible in the stat column for over a month now, but things can change pretty quickly in this crazy game of fantasy football. Last week versus the Packers, Vernon saw the second most targets on the team behind Michael Crabtree with five balls thrown his way. Actually, he was tied for the second spot with the ‘Niners OTHER tight end, Delanie Walker. Davis, however, was able to put up more fantasy points going for 44 yards compared to Walker’s 17. The ugly part of that last equation is that both players caught just one ball in the game. Who wins the duel this week is up for grabs, but it’s at least promising for both seeing how the Falcons allowed the tenth most fantasy points to tight ends this season.
Delanie Walker (TE Playoff Week 3 Fantasy Ranking: 4 of 7)
2012 Season: 21 Receptions for 344 Yards and 3 TDs
Divisional Game vs. GB: 1 Reception for 17 Yards and 0 TDs
Walker was on the field for 73 percent of the offensive snaps last week compared to 95 percent for Vernon Davis. However, those numbers don’t mean much of anything when your quarterback likes you more than the other guy. Over the last five weeks of the season, Walker caught 10 passes on 16 targets for 160 yards and two touchdowns. In the same time, Davis caught just six passes on 11 targets for 61 yards and zero touchdowns. I doubt either one has much of an impact on this game, but I’d probably have to go with the one Kaepernick likes more if I had to choose.
Atlanta Falcons (14-3, 8-1 at home)
2012 Offensive Ranks
Atlanta Rush Offense: 87.3 Yards/Game (29th) || 12 TDs (T-13th)
Atlanta Pass Offense: 281.8 Yards/Game (6th) || 32 TDs (5th)
Opponent 2012 Defensive Ranks
San Francisco Rush Defense: 94.2 Yards Allowed/Game (4th) || 7 TDs Allowed (4th)
San Francisco Pass Defense: 200.2 Yards Allowed/Game (4th) || 19 TDs Allowed (T-7th)
Atlanta Offensive Cast
Matt Ryan (QB Playoff Week 3 Fantasy Ranking: 4 of 4)
2012 Season: 422/615 for 4,719 Yards, 32 TDs and 14 INTs || 34 Carries for 141 Yards and 1 TD
Divisional Game vs. Sea: 24/35 for 250 Yards, 3 TDs and 2 INTs || 1 Carry for 6 Yards and 0 TDs
I still believe that Matt Ryan is one of the best fantasy quarterbacks in the game and I will likely be ranking him in the top ten guys going into the 2013 season. With Roddy White and Julio Jones as your wide receivers, how can’t you? Be that as it may, this will NOT be one of Ryan’s better outings going up against this dominant 49ers defense. I didn’t think Ryan would do much against the Seahawks last week, and even though he threw for three touchdowns, his 250 passing yards were the fewest of any QB in the divisional round. I guess what I’m saying here is that even though Ryan may very well have a decent game this week (though his fantasy numbers were far inferior at home this season), he still won’t outperform Brady, Flacco and Kaepernick. It’s as simple as that.
Michael Turner (RB Playoff Week 3 Fantasy Ranking: 5 of 13)
2012 Season: 222 Carries for 800 Yards and 10 TDs || 19 Receptions for 128 Yards and 1 TD
Divisional Game vs. Sea: 14 Carries for 98 Yards and 0 TDs || 0 Receptions for 0 Yards and 0 TDs
I’m impressed. Give me whatever reason you want as to how Turner ripped apart the Seattle Seahawks defense last week and I’ll still be impressed. Has he been underestimated? Absolutely. Is he 30 years old? Yes. Not what he used to be? Yes. However, Turner was rested enough throughout the season to make a difference RIGHT NOW, and THAT is what is important. The Falcons knew they would get here; it was just a matter of how much they actually needed Michael Turner in order to get there. Well, it’s time to unleash the Centaur, and though he won’t go for more than 60 to 70 yards in this game, it won’t be for lack of trying because I expect at least 15-20 carries in this one. You HAVE to do that against the 49ers… or they’ll kill you for lack of respect.
Jacquizz Rodgers (RB Playoff Week 3 Fantasy Ranking: 6 of 13)
2012 Season: 94 Carries for 362 Yards and 1 TD || 53 Receptions for 402 Yards and 1 TD
Divisional Game vs. Sea: 10 Carries for 64 Yards and 0 TDs || 2 Receptions for 8 Yards and 0 TDs
Quizz is the X-factor. Could he get more touches in this game than Michael Turner? It’s entirely possible, yes. However, it won’t be on the goal line and the fact that he hasn’t scored a postseason touchdown in his career definitely makes a difference when choosing between the two. I love his game and I love his toughness, but he won’t give you more fantasy points than the rundown Centaur will.
Jason Snelling (RB Playoff Week 3 Fantasy Ranking: 12 of 13)
2012 Season: 18 Carries for 63 Yards and 0 TDs || 31 Receptions for 203 Yards and 1 TD
Divisional Game vs. Sea: 0 Carries for 0 Yards and 0 TDs || 1 Reception for 5 Yards and 1 TD
One touch, one catch, one touchdown. If you take him on your fantasy team, that is the absolute best you’ll get the second time around… and I give it maybe a three percent chance of happening again.
Roddy White (WR Playoff Week 3 Fantasy Ranking: 5 of 14)
2012 Season: 92 Receptions for 1,351 Yards and 7 TDs
Divisional Game vs. Sea: 5 Receptions for 76 Yards and 1 TD
Roddy White is the goods. I’ve been drafting this kid out of Alabama-Birmingham for years now and let me tell you; the guy rarely disappoints. When it comes to the playoffs, he’s managed to catch a touchdown in three of his four appearances, including last week against the Seattle Seahawks. He’s also never had less than five catches for 52 yards in a playoff game. Basically, he’s as steady as you could hope for as a fantasy owner and would be the one to snag when you’re debating between him and another receiver. Regardless of his price, Roddy will be the guy you want.
Julio Jones (WR Playoff Week 3 Fantasy Ranking: 3 of 14)
2012 Season: 79 Receptions for 1,198 Yards and 10 TDs
Divisional Game vs. Sea: 6 Receptions for 59 Yards and 0 TDs || 1 Carry for -1 Yards and 0 TDs
Julio Jones is probably the most talented of the remaining receivers, but his skillls don’t always translate into production. Julio’s track-record at home has been less than impressive over the past two years and though he may be DUE to have a big statistical home game, I can’t very well believe it will happen against the 49ers pass defense. I'm a huge fan of yours, Julio, but you’re going to have to prove yourself before I give you my top ranking.
Harry Douglas (WR Playoff Week 3 Fantasy Ranking: 10 of 14)
2012 Season: 38 Receptions for 396 Yards and 1 TD
Divisional Game vs. Sea: 2 Receptions for 29 Yards and 0 TDs
Douglas was in the game just 40 percent of the time against the Seahawks, but he actually ended up playing three more snaps than Michael Turner did, and I fully expect the same this weekend. Leadfoot Turner won’t be able to bust through the ‘Niners front seven and he certainly won’t be able to run around them, so I expect the Falcons will turn to the passing game in order to move the ball. Douglas may be ignored a bit with Julio and Roddy running around out there, so he could come up with some sneaky numbers here if Ryan can’t buy enough time in the pocket to throw it to his big guns.
Tony Gonzalez (TE Playoff Week 3 Fantasy Ranking: 3 of 7)
2012 Season: 93 Receptions for 930 Yards and 8 TDs
Divisional Game vs. Sea: 6 Receptions for 51 Yards and 1 TD
Gonzo is going to get his targets, especially in the red zone, but you can bet your ass the 49ers will be watching him like a hawk all over the field this Sunday. The ‘Niners gave up the fewest yards to tight ends in 2012, so Tony G might have a bit of a problem keeping up with Pitta and Hernandez in that department. However, they also allowed eight touchdowns to tight ends in 16 games this season, so Gonzo could make up for his lack of yards with a 6-pointer. Considering how this could actually be the final game of his career, I expect Matt Ryan to show him a little extra love this weekend.
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