The PYRO Fantasy Football Depth Chart is a rundown of where Team PYRO projects the fantasy production for each team at each position. It is NOT an attempt to inform you of the current starters for each team. For example, we are well aware that Brandon Manumaleuna is currently the starting TE for the Chicago Bears, but if you look at the Bears Team Page, we have Greg Olsen listed at TE. Why? We’re projecting that Greg Olsen will be the most Fantasy Football relevant TE for the Bears this season. Since Olsen will be the Bears leading FF point scorer at TE, it’s his name at the top of the TE column on our PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart.
Sherman, of course, is a compelling figure in the 49ers-Seahawks series given his not-so-cuddly relationship with Jim Harbaugh, his former coach at Stanford, and the fun he’s had at the 49ers’ expense in the teams’ last two meetings.
In the Seahawks’ 42-13 win in December, Sherman had an interception, returned a blocked field goal for a 90-yard touchdown and limited Michael Crabtree (4 catches, 65 yards). In Seattle’s 29-3 win in September, Sherman made Anquan Boldin invisible (1 catch, 7 yard), celebrated an interception by boogying on the sideline with the SeaGals and patted Harbaugh on the rear after the game.
Pyro's take: When Crabtree is on the field it is likely that he will see a large dose of Richard Sherman. That is bad news from a fantasy perspective. It is also bad news for the receivers as a group.
The Seahawks are dominating defense, as if you didn't already know that, and are third best against receivers allowing only 14.4 points per game to all receivers. While Kaepernick has been playing better, this is just the type of match-up that can set you back. Crabtree can pay dividends, just not this week.
Gore looking to get back on track against Washington
On Sunday, against a Saints team that was ranked 23rd in the league against the run and was allowing a league high average of five yards a run, Frank Gore carried 13 times for 48 yards (a 3.7 average).
The Saints defense is vastly improved this year, but Gore said: “It was more us making mistakes. I give them credit, but we made a lot of mistakes.”
Gore was stifled, save for on 24-yard run. But, as they did a week ago, the 49ers seemed to want to win or lose the game on Colin Kaepernick’s arm. Gore carried the ball just six times in the second half, gaining just 15 yards.
Pyro's take: Gore has been held under 100 yards rushing and without a touchdown over the past 2 weeks. The 49ers have not featured a dominant offense this season, but Gore has been one of the stronger performers.
The Tank has a good chance to have his third 100-yard game of the season, as the Redskins are allowing running backs to score over 22 points against per game. Frank should be able to rush for a touchdown this week as Matt Forte rushed for 3 touchdowns against Washington in week 7.
Without Davis this season, Kaepernick has completed 22 of 49 passes for 229 yards with three interceptions (33.5 rating). With Davis, Kaepernick has completed 102 of 171 passes for 1,446 yards with nine touchdowns (seven to Davis) and three interceptions (97.3 rating).
See the difference? Kaepernick does.
“Vernon changes defenses,” Kaepernick said. “He makes them adjust differently. He makes them do things that they don’t normally do. He’s a big loss."
The 49ers have had 18 full drives without Davis this season. The results: 11 punts, 3 interceptions, 2 fumbles, downs, touchdown.
At this point, it’s not known if Davis will be available for Sunday’s game at New Orleans after he sustained his second concussion since Dec. 23.
Pyro's take: Davis suffered a concussion last week, and the 49ers offense went into a coma. Vernon has been the only consistent threat for fantasy points in the passing game for the 49ers. Kaepernick has been absolutely horrible, and without Davis he has been putrid.
Davis is going to need to play if the 49ers have any chance of keeping up with the Saints. If Davis does play, he will be heavily targeted in this game.
Michael Crabtree is practicing with his team... just getting acclimated, nothing that will happen to quickly... but a top 10 wideout is available in most leagues and will play this season.
Pyro's take: If you have a bench spot and a team that will be in the fantasy post season, this is a guy that could help you down the stretch... if you are looking for #FF points right now, Crabby isn't your guy.
Wide receiver Mario Manningham is back for the 49ers, and could make an immediate impact.
That’s the hope anyway. Coach Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers are still looking for a reliable No. 2 receiver to complement Anquan Boldin — and San Francisco has the league’s lowest-ranked passing offense.
Manningham was activated Monday from the physically unable to perform list to the 53-man roster and will be available for Sunday’s home game against the Carolina Panthers.
Pyro's take: This is what the 49ers, and more importantly Colin Kaepernick has been looking for. Manningham has a nose for the redzone, and working the sideline. Back with the Giants in 2010 he had 60 catches for 944 yards, and an impressive 10 touchdowns. Mario will immediately take pressure off of Boldin and Davis, and should find himself in single coverage in his return. Manningham is a sneaky sleeper this week.
After seven games, quarterback Colin Kaepernick has 961 yards, eight touchdowns, two interceptions and a 111.6 passer rating when targeting Boldin and Davis. When targeting other pass-catchers, Kaepernick has 459 yards, no touchdowns, three interceptions and a 54.5 rating.
Manningham began practicing last week after he tore two knee ligaments on Dec. 23. He is not expected to be moved to the 53-man roster for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars, but is likely to return after next week’s bye and could make his 2013 debut on Nov. 10 when the 49ers host the Panthers.
During the 49ers’ practice on Wednesday, Manningham scored a touchdown while running with the first-string offense.
Manningham, 6-0 and 185 pounds, is known for his speed and quickness. But inside linebacker Patrick Willis noted he’d logged some extra time in the weight room as part of his recovery.
“When he had the injury, he was able to rehab and put on some muscle mass,” Willis said. “I still tell him he’s got a ways to go. In his mind, he feels big.”
Pyro's take: Manningham's return will be a huge benefit to Kaepernick. When he does return, he will immediately take over the 2nd receiver role, and could be a real nice pickup if you grab him now.
The 49ers are on a bye after this week, so grab him now before others start paying attention.
Titans coach Mike Munchak would like Colin Kaepernick to keep doing exactly what he’s not doing: running.
In five of the 49ers’ six games this season, Kaepernick has rushed for fewer than 23 yards. In his last four games, he’s averaged 15.8 yards, and he’s had 172 yards this season. That’s nine fewer than he had in last season’s division-playoff win against the Packers, which helped inspire an avalanche of how-will-defenses-stop-the-read-option stories in the offseason.
Munchak’s message in advance of the 49ers’ visit on Sunday: Keep it up, Colin.
“I hope he continues not to run against us,” he said on a conference call this morning with the Bay Area media.
That sounded like a one-liner, but Munchak went on to hail San Francisco’s approach with their franchise quarterback.
“I don’t think he should run,” he said. “You don’t want a quarterback running so much. You’re not going to hold up. I don’t care who you are. And so I think it’s smart. The less he runs probably the better … I think when you have Frank Gore you want him running the ball as much as possible”
Pyro's take: I find it hilarious that Munchak would say this, and I am also very happy he did. Munchak is using the old scare sell tactic to keep Kaepernick from running against him, but, as often happens with this sales approach, it is going to backfire on him.
I have been screaming at my television all season, while watching 49er games, for Colin to RUN!!! He will be a much more successful quarterback by keeping defenses off guard and opening more opportunities for his receivers to get open. Munchak is trying to get a win and is hoping that warning of injury will stop him from running, but here’s to hoping that backfires and we see the running gunning Kap this weekend.
Coach Jim Harbaugh expects top 2012 wide receiver Michael Crabtree to return to game action in mid- to late November after recovering in quick fashion from a torn right Achilles tendon that required surgery.
"It's been very good. It's more November, middle to late November is kind of what we're hoping for," Harbaugh said. "He seems to be on track for that. That's what we're hopeful for, being able to play."
Crabtree recently resumed running as a significant step in his progress.
"I catch it now and then, sometimes even when we're practicing he's doing his rehab work, pretty much talk to him every day and things seem to be going well," Harbaugh said. "He's been very positive and very upbeat and feels like things are progressing well."
Pyro's take: Well, if Crabtree is able to get back by then it would be a major increase to the wide receiver talent of the 49ers. It would also be a major boost for Colin Kaepernick, who has struggled with no other weapons besides Boldin and Davis.
This return would also get Crabtree back before the fantasy playoffs. So...If you have a spot that can hold on your roster and did not grab Percy Harvin, then don't miss out on Crabtree. This is the type of waiver wire add that could win you fantasy playoff games and a championship.
TE Vernon Davis (hamstring) was limited in practice Thursday. He is expected to play against Houston.
Pyro's take: Davis should be on the field for the 49ers this weekend, which is great news for Colin Kaepernick, but he won't be 100%. Davis showed that he can still be a factor in the redzone while injured with a touchdown last week, but that was about all he gave fantasy owners. If you own him you are going to start him, so let's just hope he is back to form this week.
Vernon Davis a gametime decision, but likely to play
Vernon Davis has returned to practice and all signs point to him playing, after sitting out last week. Davis will be the biggest loss for San Francisco if unable to play, as the offense needs as many playmakers as possible on the field, and Davis is the only receiver with any chemistry with Colin Kaepernick.
Pyro's take: This is big news for Vernon as well as Colin Kaepernick. The Kap has been a disappointment the past 2 weeks, and is in desperate to get Davis and his firepower back in the offense. If Davis plays he should see a healthy amount of targets, and Kaepernick will have a great chance to deliver for fantasy owners.
Vernon Davis a gametime decision for Thursday Night
49ers tight end Vernon Davis, who missed Sunday's loss to the Colts with a hamstring injury, probably will be a game-time decision Thursday in St. Louis, offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. Davis was limited in Monday's practice.
Pyro's take: This is a tough break for Davis owners as the 49ers are on the short week turnaround. Davis is absolutely essential to the success of the 49ers and Colin Kaepernick this season and they need him back on the field. That being said I hope he does not rush back and reaggrevate the injury. If it ends up he does not play in week 4 he is 95% assured to play the following week.
Tight end Vernon Davis tweeted Tuesday night that his left hamstring strain shouldn't keep him out of the 49ers' home game Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
"No need to worry y'all. My leg is feeling great just need a little rest till kickoff according to the docs," Davis posted.
Davis hurt his hamstring running a deep route down the right sideline on Colin Kaepernick's third interception of Sunday's 29-3 loss at Seattle.
Pyro's take: Davis did not practice on Wednesday and may not practice all week, which worries me with hamstring injuries. The good news is that this is not a serious injury and they are calling him day to day.
It would be nice to see him practice so you can feel more confident putting him into your starting lineup on Sunday, especially since the 49ers are a late game.
The hamstring injury happened late in the game, I believe on the play where Richard Sherman intercepted a Colin Kaepernick pass to VD. Davis did not make a play on Sherman, and I believe the hamstring was the issue. There is no word yet on the severity, so we'll see what Wednesday's first practice participation report brings.
Pyro's take: This was one of the worst breaks on Sunday, other than Colin Kaepernick getting punked by the Seahawks. If Davis misses some time it will have an effect on Kaepernick and the 49ers passing attack. Vance McDonald would step in for Davis, but he is an unproven rookie that is going to make mistakes, but he has some nice upside. Hopefully Davis won't miss too much time.
The veteran wide receiver is working his way back from major knee surgery after tearing his ACL and PCL in a December loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Stashed away during training camp on the team's active/physically unable to perform list, Manningham was moved to the reserve/PUP list, coach Jim Harbaugh announced Sunday. The designation means he'll miss at least the first six games of the season, making Manningham eligible to play Week 7 against the Tennessee Titans.
Pyro's take: This is not really a surprise and it seemed like Manningham was already out of the plans for the 49ers, as they have brought in Austin Collie.
Manningham will not be eligible to return until week 7, but even after returning he is not worth rostering on your fantasy team.
"From the time he started all the way up to the Super Bowl, totally different guy right now," Vernon Davis said of Kaepernick. "Touch. Precise decisions. He's talking more. He's being a leader. He's working extra hard. I don't know if you guys know, he is not just a worker on the field, but he is a worker in the weight room. Every time I turn around, he’s working. You are going to get 110 percent out of this guy."
Pyro's take: Colin is an elite talent, and what's even better is that he wants to be great. The 49ers are the Super Bowl favorites heading into 2013 and a lot of that hinges on the third year QB.
I would be surprised if he didn't end this season with the most fantasy points of any player at any position, and it's in large part to his work ethic and growth as a player that will allow him to be the best. Harbaugh loves him, and he knows a thing or two about QBs.
One thing I am sure of, even with Crabtree down - #7 is going to explode on numerous occasions this season!
At the last mini-camp Vernon Davis was working exclusively with the wide-receivers for the Niners. With Crabtree down, Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams both on the PUP list heading into camps as well, it's obvious Vernon Davis is going to be getting a ton of targets this season to help fill a void for a Super Bowl win or bust team in the 49ers.
Pyro's take: It's so nice to be able to fill the TE position on your fantasy team with a Pro-Bowl caliber player that is really playing WR. It's a major advantage to be honest. I liken how he'll line up, to what the Cowboys do with Jason Witten. Vernon won't be blocking much if at all, second round rookie pick Vance McDonald will fill that role as the true TE. Vernon is going to be a really big WR for Colin Kaepernick this year - he has to be, Harbaugh has no other choice unless A.J. Jenkins all of a sudden becomes worthy of his 1st round pick a couple years ago (which ain't happening).
I love where Vernon's head is at this offseason as well:
“I’m here to do my job; I’m not here to get statistics. If statistics come, that’s cool. Where I’m at right now as a man and where I’ve grown as a player is in the team. My true identity is in the team.” -VD85
That's a big change from even a season ago when VD seemed to be more of a venereal disease than a team captain ready to score a shite load of fantasy points.
Marcus Lattimore: "I want to be an inspiration. To let people know that with hard work, and when you trust in God, you can come back from anything and do anything."
Orthopedic surgeon James Andrews: "He's twice as far along as we ever expected him to be. He's so self motivated," Andrews says of Lattimore. "This weight he's put on has been all muscle, which is absolutely impossible in most cases. It remains to be seen if he can play this season. We've had to slow him down in certain activities because he'd get ahead of us," Andrews added. "He's one of the finest young men I've ever had the opportunity to help take care of."
Pyro's take: Who knows exactly what the 49ers have in store for Marcus Lattimore in his rookie season, but if he's at full speed and something were to happen to Frank Gore mid-season, why would they not activate him. This team is the favorite to win the Super Bowl now, and that window is a fickle thing. If you are in a Dynasty league (or 5 of them your fantasy freak) then he's the best pick in drafts this summer.
If not earlier than the end of this season by fate, he will be the #1 RB on the best team in the NFL next season. His time is coming sooner or later. A sure-fire top 10 NFL pick prior to surgeries, that slips bigtime due to injury, yet the greatest surgical doctor alive says this kid is amazing and his injury will heal stronger than it was prior to completely repairing his ACL, LCL and PCL. A fairy tail ending seems to be beckoning in my opinion. I'm really high on this dude, he's the next LT21 of fantasy. Just might have to wait a bit to reap the rewards.
With Michael Crabtree hurt there is no one besides 'Quan Boldin for the 49ers at WR with any real NFL experience. With that said, I expect Vernon Davis to be used as a WR plenty to keep this Super Bowl caliber team in the hunt. That means second round pick Vance McDonald is going to get lots of snaps at TE.
Pyro's take: I love this man child for a lot of reasons, and Harbaugh must have as well to use a 2nd round pick on a tight end when they have a top tier guy in Vernon Davis at the position. He's a house, can catch and has the right mindset to step right in. Any of you in dynasty or keeper leagues can net a major steal for the next 3-5 seasons if you grab him in the later rounds this #FF draft. Trust me here, I'm the one who told you to draft Kaepernick a year ago and the people that listened to me are giving up 16th round draft picks to keep him around this year. Good times! I feel something very strong with this kid, he's in the best position possible.
Rookie WR Quinton Patton making waves at 49ers minicamp
Head coach Jim Harbaugh had nothing but good things to say about rookie WR Quinton Patton's play at minicamp this past week.
Pyro's take: With Michael Crabtree (Achilles) out for quite some time, Patton will be squarely in the mix with A.J. Jenkins for the starting spot opposite Anquan Boldin. Whichever one comes out on top could end up being a viable fantasy player for owners this season.