San Francisco 49ers

NFC West

2014 Schedule

  • Week 1

    SF @ DAL

    09/07/14

    4:30 pm

  • Week 2

    CHI @ SF

    09/14/14

    8:30 pm

  • Week 4

    PHI @ SF

    09/28/14

    4:30 pm

  • Week 5

    KC @ SF

    10/05/14

    4:30 pm

  • Week 6

    SF @ STL

    10/13/14

    8:30 pm

  • Week 7

    SF @ DEN

    10/19/14

    8:30 pm

  • Week 8

    bye

  • Week 9

    STL @ SF

    11/02/14

    4:00 pm

  • Week 10

    SF @ NO

    11/09/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 11

    SF @ NYG

    11/16/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 12

    WAS @ SF

    11/23/14

    4:30 pm

  • Week 13

    SEA @ SF

    11/27/14

    8:30 pm

  • Week 14

    SF @ OAK

    12/07/14

    4:30 pm

  • Week 15

    SF @ SEA

    12/14/14

    4:30 pm

  • Week 16

    SD @ SF

    12/20/14

    8:30 pm

  • Week 17

    ARI @ SF

    12/28/14

    4:30 pm

PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart

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.

San Francisco 49ers - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview

 


MichaelCrabtree


 


 


The San Francisco 49ers are trying to kick a bad habit… losing down the stretch. Jim Harbaugh came aboard the organization in January of 2011. Since then, they have made it to the conference championship every single year. Close, but no cigar. In 2011, they lost the NFC championship to the Giants, the eventual Super Bowl champs. The next year, they made it to the big dance, but lost to the Ravens. In 2013, they made it to the conference championship again, only to lose to the eventual Super Bowl victors, the Seattle Seahawks. Losing is a tough habit to break. The question the 49ers TRIBE is asking… Can they kick it?


 


 







 


 


One thing to keep in mind with their running game. For the first half of the season, they have the 8th best strength of schedule. However, for the second half, they are rated #31 in rushing strength of schedule. So, if you draft a 49er RB, keep them in mind for a mid season trade. You might want to capitalize on the schedule. This type of fantasy goo is what is available for you on the Pyro draft kit. If you are looking for a weapon to bring into your draft room, look no further. When that all important day rolls around at the end of August, and the guy next to you pulls out a magazine published in early July, you will feel a Zen-like calm wash over you. Pyro’s draft kit gets updated 5 times, right up until the season opener. No matter when you buy the kit, you will be sent all the updates when they come out.


 


http://pyromaniac.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/copy-of-2014-fantasy-football-draft-kit-v3


 


 


As James Brown almost said: “I don’t know karate, but I know (Kaepernick)”…. And so do you, thanks to this site. If you have been on the Pyro brand for awhile, you know the name Colin Kaepernick. D-rx called this one long before the Alex Smith injury, long before anyone was talking about him. I drafted him as a late round flier his 2012 season. He was not even drafted in most leagues. Although last season did not go as well as hoped for (sans week 1), Kaepernick ended up as the 9th best fantasy quarterback, with 264 total points.  Chances are, he will finish about the same spot this year. He completed 243 passes after 416 attempts. All in all, he had 3,197 yards through the air, and 21 TDs. He added 524 rushing yards and another 4 TDs on the ground. One big plus is his lack of INTs. Last year, he only threw 8 picks. This was the lowest for guys in the top 10 at the position. This only resulted in a loss of 16 total points. Heck, Andy Dalton lost 40 points for his interceptions (most for the top 10 at the position). This year, Kaepernick should run the ball more, as the team was perhaps a bit too cautious with him last year. Statistically, 19.7% of his total fantasy value came from his rushing yards. That’s what guys like Kaepernick and a Russell Wilson give you. However, we always stress “know your league”. If quarterbacks score the full 6 points for passing touchdowns, then a running quarterback is not as valuable, unless they are also throwing for 30 or more.


 


This year, a healthy Crabtree could spell fantasy success for Kaepernick. The two have an obvious chemistry. If Crabby can stay healthy all year, than fantasy QB #9 might just be Kaepernick’s floor. Plus, he is carrying a serious chip on his shoulder after coming so close the past few years, yet not getting that ring. Colin Kaepernick was back in the weight room 4 days after they lost to the Seahawks, the boy is determined and that equals fantasy goo. If James Brown was the hardest working man in show business, Kaepernick might be one of the hardest workers in the NFL.


 


 







 


 


Another factor in Kaepernick’s favor this year, he has his favorite target back. The Crabby-Patty cometh. Crabtree returned for the last five games of the regular season. If you ranked fantasy quarterbacks for just those weeks, Kaepernick was #5, right behind Nick Foles and ahead of Andrew Luck. The fact is, Crabtree is undoubtedly their #1 receiver and he boosts the performance of players around him. In 2014, Crabby-Patty will be looking to tear it up on the turf after missing the first 11 games last year. Plus, many Americans remember the Super Bowl as the play where Richard Sherman handed Crabtree his own ass. If that is not incentive enough, this is also a contract year for him, and Lord knows money is a motivator, especially for him. We all remember his holdout as a rookie. The 49ers have the 23rd easiest schedule for wide receivers, but they bump up to #14 during the fantasy playoffs. He was trending upwards last year. Once the team made it to the post season, he seemed to have his confidence back. In their three playoff games (including the Super Bowl), he scored a total of 3 touchdowns, and had 20 catches for 285 yards. Crabtree should pick it back up from where he left off. Pyro likes him as a solid WR #2. He is slightly undervalued in ADPs. As of early August, he is going at the end of the 4th round in 12 team leagues.


 


Crabtree’s on-field presence seems to up the play of his teammates. Anquan Boldin, when Crabtree was on the field for those last five games, was ranked the #9 fantasy wide receiver. Boldin does not receive enough accolades for his hands. In 2013, he caught 66.4% of his passes. Not only that, on average, Boldin was 9.21 yards downfield when he was targeted. That is almost 2 yards farther down field from where the average receiver was targeted. Plus, the league average catch rate is 58.6%. Boldin is a tough SOB. The dude played with a broken face.


 


 


Now, I have not had anything that severe, but I like to think I have what it takes. I once had a wicked paper cut. When we went out for tacos, I still used that hand to open the packet of hot sauce… A little bit got in there. I didn’t care. That’s just how I roll. But you have to give it up for Boldin.


 


The rest of the receiving crew consists mainly of Stevie Johnson, Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington, and Brandon Lloyd. It is hard to believe Lloyd was actually a top receiver just four years ago. Last year, he was not even in the league. Patton was a rookie in 2013, he started out with some promise, broke his foot in week four, and showed a little bit here and there in the end. He and Ellington have been talked about in camp. But, if I were putting money down, I would back Johnson. The best of this group, Jonson had a decent three year run. Last year was a down year as he was injured, but from 2010-2012 he broke 1,000 yards each year and totaled 23 receiving TDs in that same span. He should be on the field for most three receiver sets, and if anyone goes down with an injury, I think he can still put up a decent fantasy season. Chances are, someone might take a flier on him in the last round. Personally, you can get guys like him off the waivers, if I am taking a flyer, I like to swing for the fences.


 


The 49ers have a great deal of talent in their back field as well. If all of them were healthy, this would be one hell of a committee. But as of now, Kendall Hunter went unclaimed off waivers, thus he reverted back to San Fran. He is out for the season on IR.  He will rehab and hopes to return in 2015. Unless you run a deep roster in a dynasty league, don’t bother.  I don’t think he is worth eating up a roster spot for a full year. To continue with dynasty leagues, Marcus Lattimore has been burning up bench space for a year now. There is still no time table on his return. He is a good kid and people are holding out hope he may return to his dazzling South Carolina form. But it appears doubtful he sees time on the field this year. Harbaugh has gone on record saying he will be on the team in “some form or fashion”. Those are not exactly reassuring words for fantasy.  There is a chance he makes the PUP list, in which case, the earliest he could contribute would be game 7. Many times however, guys just coming off the PUP list do not see actual game time until weeks later. Odds are, Lattimore does not make a legitimate fantasy contribution until 2015. Keep your eyes on camp for this one.  Finally, the last of the walking wounded is LaMichael James. After dislocating his elbow, an injury that he has sustained three times, James is expected to be ready for the start of the season, but he is likely on ice until week 1.


 


So, essentially the last two men standing are Gore and rookie Carlos Hyde. If Lattimore is indeed saved for legitimate playing time in 2015, this would be Gore’s last real year as the main guy in San Fran. He is 31 years old. Because of the organizations success in the last three years, they have made deep runs into the playoffs. These added games have taxed his body. In that time, Gore has accumulated 1,035 touches. The average back has not taken the same abuse. Gore has proven amazingly resilient and has been fantasy relevant throughout his career. In seven out of the last eight seasons, he has rushed for over 1,000 yards. Even in the one down season, he still saw enough action in the receiving game to go over 1,200 all purpose yards. Frank “the tank” is a rarity in the NFL these days. There are few guys who are those 3-down backs anymore. While our Pyro proverbial hats are off to him, it is better to jump off early than go down with the ship. He is definitely a bust candidate this year. As of early August, he is going in the first part of the 5th round in 12 team leagues. I would rather draft Joique Bell, Pierre Thomas, or Lamar Miller all of whom are currently being drafted after Frank “the Tank”.


 


 


Frank the tank


 


 


The other back still firing on all cylinders is rookie Carlos Hyde. This guy is not going until the 9th round in current ADPs (as of early August). Both D-rx and Dawg have Hyde just one tier below Gore. That equals value. Coming from Ohio State, he was the Big Ten’s running back of the year. The conference is not what it once was, but the Buckeyes went up against some serious defenses last year, and Hyde put up some impressive stats. He ran the ball 208 times for a total of 1,521 yards and 15 touchdowns. In case you have not updated your calculator app, he averaged 7.5 yards a carry. Let me say that again, 7.5 yards a carry was his average last season. He played in 11 games counting the bowl game. He rushed for over 100 yards in all but his first two games. He even cracked 200 yards twice. Hyde was the first running back taken in this year’s draft. Seriously, researching this guy got me so excited, when I retired for the evening, my wife thought I was making amorous advances. While you never want to tell your wife another lady got you excited, how the hell do you say, “no honey, it’s not you, it’s Carlos Hyde… I mean damn!”


 


Take a look at Hyde’s rushing ability from their first preseason game in 2014.




 


Last year, San Fran had the 11th best schedule for a tight end. This year they come in at #26. Vernon Davis ended up the #2 fantasy tight end last year. There is no way this is happening again. In fact, Smaug has a better chance of blazing it up as a fantasy tight end this year, and he’s a freakin’ mythical dragon!


 







 


 


Out of the top 10 rated fantasy tight ends last year, Vernon Davis was the most touchdown dependant. In fact, 48.4% of his fantasy points came from touchdowns. Looking at the exact same group, he had the least amount of receptions (52) and the least amount of targets (84). Don’t build a team on last year’s stats. Let the lumps in your league do that. They are the guys that look backwards, they are the guys that buy into the douche canoe sites, some of which are ranking Davis as their #4 tight end. His average ADP currently has him going as the 5th TE off the board, usually being picked in the 6th round for 12 teamers.


 


A side note on those aforementioned douche canoe sites. While indeed they supply all the lumps in your league with their outdated information, it is important to pay attention to those ratings, out of whack as they may be. Here’s how you can use it to your advantage when it comes to tiers. First, make Pyro tiers your own. Use them as a basis, but certainly make adjustments. You have to keep in mind your personal league and how they score. Also, maybe you have favorites, or want get a guy or two off your home team. Those tiers are a guide for you, they are not the Ten Commandments written on stone tablets.


 


 


Moses


 


 


Thou shall draft like this! So after you make some adjustments and make the tiers your own, I like to write down what the douche canoe site rates the players and place that ranking in parenthesis. 


 


 























Tier VI - 19 - 21
 
Eric Ebron (13)
Garrett Graham (23)
Jared Cook (24)


 


 


 


This will give me an edge. In the above example, my tier VI shows the three guys I feel are about equal. Yet, the douche canoe site clearly ranks Ebron at the #13 spot, way above the other two guys. So I have a fairly good idea that Graham and Cook are going to be hanging around for awhile. I can go ahead and use my pick at another position, because chances are, Graham and Cook are still going to be waiting for me next time around. Remember on draft day, you want to use any bit of info you can to give you an advantage.


 


Now, Davis is entering his 9th year. He has been dependable, only missing 9 games in 8 years. But he does have an interesting back up. If you had a working flex capacitor and the 1.21 gigi-watts necessary to fire up that bad boy, you would see that Vance McDonald was on Pyro’s deep sleeper list last year. He was a rookie so naturally he did not get much playing time. But he does become an interesting waiver wire grab if Davis happens to miss any time.


 


 









 


Finally, they are an NFC West team and that means a big time defense.  Again, while defensive fantasy production is so hard to predict, they are definitely one of the better real defenses in the league. With their talent, they should end up inside the top five if not the top three (if healthy). However, they will play the first portion of the season without some of their brightest stars. NaVorro Bowman tore his ACL in the NFC Championship game last year. It was one of those injuries that almost hurts to watch, the human body is not supposed to bend certain ways. Currently he is on the PUP list. If he begins the season there, he will not be eligible until week 7. Glenn Dorsey, their nose tackle, is also out for the first portion of the season. Finally, they should be without Aldon Smith for some time as well. These losses will undoubtedly be felt on the field. If so, we could see them fall outside the top 5 for fantasy. Aldon Smith is awaiting a suspension decision by the henchman, Roger Goodell. The comish has made some curious decisions as of late, so who knows how long the Smith suspension will be. Personally, I think Goodell went light on Ray Rice because he using that to set up an even lighter slap on the wrist for disgraced Colts owner, Jim Irsay. Although Irsay’s actions may have given a black eye to the organization and the league, he is still the kind of guy I want to roll into Vegas with on a Friday night.  


 


JimIrsayMugShot


 


 


 


By Mo 





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The Catch

the catch - dwight clark


The history of the National Football League is filled with many great players, teams, coaches and iconic moments.  The most iconic moments in the game involve all of the above.  One of the most iconic moments in the game was “the catch”. 

In 1981 the San Francisco 49ers were facing the Dallas Cowboys, a team that had dominated the NFC in the 1970’s.  The 49ers had hired Bill Walsh in 1979 following a 2-14 season and he made Joe Montana the starter in 1980 and in 1981 they found themselves facing America’s Team for a chance to go to Super Bowl XVI.  It was Walsh facing off against Tom Landry and Joe Montana facing off against the Doomsday Defense.

The game was an epic battle that went back and forth.  In the 4th quarter the 49ers were trailing 27-21 when they took over with the ball at their own 11 yard line.  Joe Montana, as he became famous for doing, led the 49ers down the field until they were at the Cowboys 6 yard line with 58 seconds left and facing a crucial 3rd down play.  The 49ers went to a play that worked for a TD earlier in the game; the play is famously called Sprint Right Option.  The intended target was Freddie Solomon, but the Cowboys smelled it out and had him completely covered.  Montana had to look elsewhere, but he was under heavy pressure from D.D. Lewis, Larry Bethea and the 6 foot 9 inch Ed “Too Tall” Jones.  Montana continued to back pedal and looked like he was going to throw the ball away when he pump faked and got Jones to jump and then threw a high pass to the back of the end zone that was grabbed by a leaping Dwight Clark by his fingertips to score the go ahead TD, “The Catch”. 

The Cowboys had a chance to with 51 seconds left and only needing a FG, but Danny White, the Cowboys quarterback, was sacked and fumbled the ball spoiling their chances.  The 49ers went on the win Super Bowl XVI over the Bengals and became the team of 1980’s and won 3 more Super Bowls.  The reason this catch became so famous also has to do with NFL Films.  It was NFL Films that had the camera down behind the endzone that caught the best view of the catch.  I was 7 years old when “The Catch” occurred and watching the replays and seeing how amazing the shot was of Montana throwing over Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Clark making the improbable catch just blew me away, and it still does to this day.  The catch made by David Tyree of the Giants in Super Bowl XLII was great but Montana to Clark is and will always be “The Catch”.


 







 


By Houdini

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Bill Walsh "The Genius"

bill walsh and a young joe montana


There have been many great coaches in the long history of the NFL and each generation has a coach that helps to define the time and change the game.  In the current generation it is Bill Belichick who is considered the genius, but the Real Genius in my mind was Bill Walsh. 
Bill Walsh took over as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers following the 1979 season and quickly built the 49ers into the Dynasty of the 1980’s.  He won 3 Super Bowl’s (XVI, XVIIII, and XXIII), helped to innovate the offensive game with his West Coast Offense and left a legacy of a coaching tree that just adds to his greatness.    In his 10 seasons as the 49ers head coach he amassed a record of 102-63-1, with 10 wins in 14 postseason games.  The 49ers won 10 or more games and made the playoffs in 7 of his final 8 seasons and were the juggernaut in the NFC.  He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.

The reason Bill Walsh was call “The Genius” was due to his innovation of the West Coast offense (even though he always hated the name and never used it).  When Walsh took over in San Francisco the NFL model was to have a good running game and a solid defense.  The idea was you set up the pass with the run, but what if you did not have a running back that could carry the ball 25+ times a game effectively?    Walsh had the answer and that was set up the run with the pass. 

The norm for the passing game in the NFL dealt with 5, 7 or even 9 step drop backs, which was a major issue if you did not have the strongest offensive line.  The other norm was that you would have at most 3 options in the passing game with your two wide receivers and your tight end.  Walsh threw all of this out the window and in the end his innovation changed the professional game. 

There were three main principals to his offense:  protect the quarterback, time the pass and use multiple receivers including your running backs.  The other main innovation was going to a three step drop which would force the quarterback to get rid of the ball quicker and not let the pass rush have a chance.  There were also at least 4 if not 5 options for the quarterback in the offense.  The routes they ran were shorter slant routes and precise timing routes so that Joe Montana would throw the ball to the spot before Jerry Rice made his cut.  Utilizing these shorter drop backs and slant routes Walsh was able to ensure protection for Joe Montana.

Montana was the perfect quarterback for the offense because he was so cerebral was able to process all the options in the offense with ease.  Montana and Walsh are forever linked for the greatness they were able to achieve together.  Walsh also knew he needed to have the right weapons around Montana to make the offense work. 

Having Roger Craig in the backfield was the perfect guy for Walsh and Montana.  Craig was tough enough to run the ball inside but also had great hands and was a deadly receiver.  Craig became the first player to ever run 1,000 yards while also having 1,000 yards receiving in the same season.

The tight end position was the other key to the offense.  Dwight Clark was another player that fit Walsh’s system to a tee.  Clark was big enough to put on the line and block defensive ends, which allowed the running game in the system.  Clark was also a huge weapon in the passing game, as the offense threw most of its passes up the middle of the field.  Then all you need is one more piece.

Jerry Rice, the Greatest Of All Time, made the offense click on a whole new level when he arrived.  The wide receivers in the passing game needed to catch short passes and break them for longer gains.  It was a ball control type of passing game that made it easy to pick up 5 yards easily.  Rice was able to take a 5 yard pass and turn it into an 80 yard TD. 

Walsh proved that he was always one step ahead of everyone else as he dominated the 80’s with his 3 Super Bowls over a 7 year span.  The 49ers were always relevant.  The thing about Walsh was that he mentored such an amazing group of assistant coaches that went on to great success as head coaches.  Just check out this coaching tree of Walsh below.


Bill Walsh coachig tree

This just showed what kind of a coach Walsh was, that he included his assistants to the point that he was trying to get them hired for other jobs.  He empowered everyone around him from his assistant coaches to his players to everyone he dealt with in his life. 

Bill Walsh passed away from Leukemia at 75 years old in 2007.  He was taken too soon but we can be thankful for the legacy he left and what he did for the game.   Walsh also created the Minority Coaching Fellowship program in 1987, which helped minority coaches get a foothold in a white dominated profession.  Marvin Lewis was among those who went through the program.  Walsh was always about giving back and helping others.

As you watch football now and see all the wide open passing and the scat back running backs that are catching passes all over the place you can think back and think what the game would look like today if Bill Walsh had not come along.  All I know is that I would not be as interested in that game.


By Houdini

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Deion Sanders One and Done with the 49ers

Primetime on the  49ers


Deion Sanders became a free agent after 5 years with Atlanta Falcons and signed a one year deal with the 49ers.  Prime Time had what could be argued the best season in his illustrious career. 


It is very safe to say that Neon Deion Prime Time Sanders comes with a lot of bravado and ego.  The team he came to in San Francisco was put together with the sole purpose of winning the Super Bowl.  Prime Time was the missing piece on the defense and he provided the shut down corner that helped change games and win the title.  That would cause friction in the off season as Jerry Rice felt the media gave all the credit to Sanders and not the rest of the players in the locker room.  Sanders left after that year and the 49ers did not win another Super Bowl, maybe they were right. 


In 1994 Deion Sanders was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.  Sanders had 6 interceptions during the year along with an NFL best 303 interception return yards.  The moment of the season for Prime Time was his return to the Georgia Dome.  First Sanders gets into an altercation with his former teammate Andre “Bad Moon” Rison, and then he made his impact on the game.  Jeff George had the Falcons inside the 15 yard line when he made a pass toward the sideline at the 6 yard line that was intercepted by Sanders and returned 94 yards for a TD.  As he was running down the sideline, which happened to be the Falcons sideline, he had his arm out and looking at all the player before high stepping into the endzone doing his Prime Time dance. 


 







 


By Houdini

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Fred Dean

fred dean


Fred Dean was a dominant defensive lineman in the NFL from 1975-1985.  Dean split his career between San Diego, who drafted him, and the San Francisco 49ers.  Dean’s presence on the defensive line was felt throughout his career.

When Dean was drafted by the Chargers he was moved from linebacker to the defensive line.  His speed and agility made an immediate impact as he made 93 tackles and 7 sacks and 4 fumble recoveries in his rookie year.  His best season as a member of the Chargers was in 1978 when he recorded 15.5 sacks and helped to add balance to the Chargers high flying offense.  Dean’s real impact on the Chargers defense was shown when he was traded to the 49ers.  The Chargers defense fell apart when Dean left and would take years to rebuild. 

Just being traded from one team to another is something, but in the History of the NFL this was a significant trade, due to the fact that it occurred mid-season.  The other stunning part about the trade was that Dean was a man possessed for the 49ers and while playing only 11 games for them was named the NFC Defensive player of the year.

The most telling point for the impact felt was in his first game for the 49ers.  Dean was only able to practice with the team twice before facing the Dallas Cowboys, who were the team to beat in the NFC.  He put pressure on Dallas QB Danny White all day and sacked him 3 times.  Dean only built the legend as the 49ers faced the Rams the following week and Dean led the 49ers to their first win over the Rams at Candlestick Park while recording 5 sacks.  He would finish the season with 12 sacks for the 49ers in 11 games.  That year the 49ers would also go on to win the Super Bowl (XVI).  It is fair to say that if Dean was not traded to the 49ers, they would not have made the Super Bowl. 

Dean would win another Super Bowl (XIX) with the 49ers, but he had his best year in 1983.  He led the NFC with 17 sacks and at the time held the single game record with his 6 sack performance against the New Orleans Saints in a 27-0 victory.  Sacks were not an official stat when Dean started in the league, but his unofficial career sack total has been argued to be between 93 and 97.  Dean was named to 4 Pro Bowls (1980-82, 1984) and while he played for both the Chargers and 49ers he will always be remembered as a 49er.


By Houdini

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Anthony “Tony” Morabito

tony morabito


Anthony J. “Tony” Morabito was the founder of the San Francisco 49ers.  Morabito had made some good money in the lumber hauling in the 1930’s and early 1940’s in the San Francisco area.  He had a realization that air travel would make it possible to expand the NFL for coast to coast rivalries.  That is what inspired him to found the San Francisco 49ers.

Morabito had been rejected for a few years when he got a meeting with in 1944 with the league commissioner and one of Notre Dame’s legendary Four Horsemen.  They patronized Morabito in the meeting and the lasting impression for Morabito was that he was told “Well, sonny, you better go out and get a football first and then come back.” according to Al Ruffo (longtime friend, teammate, business partner and lawyer).  Morabito did not take kindly to being called “sonny” so he walked across the street to meet with Arch Ward, the sports editor from the Chicago Tribune, who was organizing the All-American Football Conference (AAFC).  Morabito told him he wanted to join the league.  The league had its first meeting on June 6th, 1944 (D-Day), in St. Louis.  They decided the league would begin after the war ended.

On October 27th, 1957, Anthony Morabito died of a heart attack while watching his 49ers play the Chicago Bears at Kezar Stadium.  Morabito had suffered a coronary occlusion in 1952 and had been told he was living on borrowed time.  His doctors did not want him watch or be part of football anymore because of the high emotional factors and the toll it would take on Morabito.  Morabito, though, loved the game of football and could not leave it behind.  He suffered a heart attack during the game and was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  The 49ers were trailing 17-7 at halftime when the team got word of what happened to Morabito.  The football team was notified by a note that was sent to the coach that read “Tony’s gone”.  The 49ers rallied that day and shut down the Bears on the rest of their offensive possessions and in the 4th quarter they surged over the Bears en route to a 21-17 upset victory.  Morabito definitely played a part in that win. 

Morabito is the reason the San Francisco 49ers came into existence, and his passing showed the same determination that he brought to bring a franchise to San Francisco. 


By Houdini

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Leo “The Lion” Nomellini

Leo “The Lion” Nomellini was the first every NFL draft choice of the San Francisco 49ers.  Nomellini was the face of the organization in the early days and will always be remembered by 49er fans for his brilliant 14 year career. 


Nomellini had never seen a football game played when he played the game for the first time, while in the Marines.  He went to college at the University of Minnesota and was an All-American tackle twice.  He was a beast, at 6’3” and 260 pounds, in the era he played in. 


As a member of the 49ers he played in 174 straight regular season games and including all his appearances, played in 266 professional games.  That is a pretty stunning number when you consider the violent nature of the game during the 50’s and early 60’s.  Then you have to realize just how tough this guy was, as he played on both the offensive and defense lines, a true two way player.  Not only was he as two way player, he was the first ever player to be named All-NFL on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.  He was also named to the Pro Bowl 10 times and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1969. 


The other interesting fact about “The Lion” was his occupation during the offseason.  He was a professional wrestler, so the nickname of “The Lion” was a perfect fit, and wrestled against Lou Thesz who was the Hulk Hogan of his era.  So you see professional football players have had a fascination with wrestling going way back. 



The Lion throwing down against Lou Thesz


By Houdini

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From the AAFL to the NFL

Anthony J. “Tony” Morabito was the founder of the San Francisco 49ers.  Morabito had made some good money in the lumber hauling in the 1930’s and early 1940’s in the San Francisco area.  He had a realization that air travel would make it possible to expand the NFL for coast to coast rivalries.  That is what inspired him to found the San Francisco 49ers.

Morabito had been rejected for a few years when he got a meeting with in 1944 with the league commissioner and one of Notre Dame’s legendary Four Horsemen.  They patronized Morabito in the meeting and the lasting impression for Morabito was that he was told “Well, sonny, you better go out and get a football first and then come back.” according to Al Ruffo (longtime friend, teammate, business partner and lawyer).  Morabito did not take kindly to being called “sonny” so he walked across the street to meet with Arch Ward, the sports editor from the Chicago Tribune, who was organizing the All-American Football Conference (AAFC).  Morabito told him he wanted to join the league.  The league had its first meeting on June 6th, 1944 (D-Day), in St. Louis.  They decided the league would begin after the war ended.

In 1946 the 49ers became part of the All-America Football Conference.  The 49ers, the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Colts were the best teams in the league.  The other members of the league were the New York Yankees, Brooklyn Dodgers, Buffalo Bison’s, Miami Seahawks, Chicago Rockets and the Los Angeles Dons.   The Browns were the class of the league with the 49ers being a close second.  The league expanded football, the way Morabito hoped it would, to cities and areas that had previously been left out by the NFL. 

The AAFC lasted until 1949 when the league dissolved.  The NFL saw many good things in what the AAFC was trying to do, and poached three of the best teams from the league to join the NFL in 1950.  The 49ers, Browns and Colts were the teams that the NFL brought in.  I know you thought it was going to be the Miami Seahawks, so did Jackie Moon. 


By Houdini

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Len Eshmont Award

the fordham flash


Len Eshmont was one of the great men of the game in the early days.  He played his college ball at Fordham 1936-1940 and was known as the “Fordham Flash”.  He then played one year with the New York Giants before joining armed forces in 1942.  While serving in the Navy as a physical education instructor he also played on Navy’s football teams and was named All-Service for 3 straight years, the only player to do so. 


After leaving the Navy he found himself in San Francisco and hooked up with the 49ers of the AAFC.  Eshmont, Frankie Albert, Norm Standlee and John Stryzkalski provided the 49ers with one of the best running attacks in their league.  It seems like a lot of guys in the backfield, but most of the game was running the ball back then.    He averaged 5 yards per carry in his career with the 49ers. 

Eshmont passed away in May of 1957 due to a hepatitis infection.  After his death the 49ers created The Len Eshmont Award, which is given to the 49er player that best exemplifies the “inspirational and courageous play” of Len Eshmont. 


By Houdini

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To Retire

Adam Caplan has stated via twitter that "RB Marcus Lattimore is expected to retire due to knee issues, a league source confirmed."RB Marcus Lattimore is expected to retire due to knee issues, a league source confirmed."

Pyro's take: The 49ers showed a lot of patience with him as he would get closer to rehabilitation, the farther away he would be able to heal. He was never a factor in redraft leagues, and now should be considered to be released in dynasty as well.

11/03/14, 02:07 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Finally Healthy?

Can Inman, 49ers reporter is stating that "Marcus Lattimore will make season debut on practice field Wednesday"

Pyro's take: Maybe the 49ers will finally be able to get Lattimore out on the field. He has been with the 49ers two years now. He must be one great talent, because most teams wouldn't even consider keeping a player this long, with this kind of injury. We shall see what they were hanging on to very soon.

10/28/14, 07:37 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Practices

Matt Maioco has reported that TE Vernon Davis is practicing again. He is on target to play Monday night.

Pyro's take: Looks like time is on Vernon Davis' side as he may be ready to go on Monday Night Football. Get him in your lineups!

10/11/14, 12:42 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Vern back?

Vernon Davis could make it back this week, after being held out last Sunday against the Cardinals. He does not need the crutches and walking around the practice field without a limp. “I’m feeling great,” Davis said at his locker. “This is going to be a good week for me.”



Pyro's take: It looks like Davis will be available in an important match-up against the Eagles. The 49ers have lost the last two games, even though they held the lead into the second half. Look for a heavy targets to go Vernon Davis' way, and he should put up top tier numbers.

09/24/14, 06:16 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.sacbee.com

To Start?

Derek Carrier is a probably starter at tight end for the 49ers this week, as both Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald are possibly out. Also, the 49ers brought in TE Asante Cleveland from the practice squad.

Pyro's take: Keep an eye on Vernon Davis for the game on Sunday. With the log jam of Sunday game's early, I would go with plan B if nothing is mentioned before the first set of games are set to kick-off.

09/20/14, 10:41 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Fined $11,025

Colin Kaepernick will be fined $11,025 for inappropriate language. "Kaepernick, who said he will appeal, was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after his pass was intercepted by cornerback Kyle Fuller on the fourth play of the fourth quarter." The comment was directed toward defensive end Lamarr Houston

The interesting aspect is that both Kaepernick and Houston declined that it occurred. Colin Kaepernick stated he didn't say anything and Houston, reconfirmed by stating he didnt hear anything either.

Pyro's take: Kaepernick could sell a hair follicle for this amount, so it is really no big deal, but this leads to the crazy calls that went on the field Sunday Night.

09/17/14, 07:05 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: blog.sfgate.com

Davis could still play on Sunday

Vernon Davis had an MRI on Monday and the x-rays showed deep bruise and no structural damage to his left ankle, according to the source. He got injured with 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter, and was seen on crutches in the locker room.

Pyro's take: The importance is no structural damage to the ankle, therefore rest is all that he may need to get back at it on Sunday against the Cardinals. At the very least it looks as though he may just miss one week of game action.

After losing on Sunday to the Bears, the game against the division rival has risen in importance, as the Cards are 2-0. Vernon Davis will do whatever he can to get ready and with a little luck, he will be a go.

09/16/14, 03:46 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.csnbayarea.com

Vernon Davis still a low catch TD machine

In the first 2 drives for the Niners, Vernon Davis scored 2 TDs - a 29 yarder and one for two yards. He ended the game with 4 catches for 44 yards in the victory against the Cowboys.

Pyro's take: Last year Vernon ended second in fantasy scoring for TEs despite just 52 catches. I was low on him heading into this year because there are so many mouths to feed and I just didn't know how Colin was going to distribute the ball.

Vernon just catches TDs and scores fantasy points for his #FF owners even though he gets so few catches. Not many do more with less than VD85.

09/08/14, 11:47 AM CDT by d-Rx
Source: blogs.mercurynews.com

Lattimore to the NFI

As Marcus Lattimore continues to make his comeback from a torn ACL he suffered in college in 2012. It’s unclear whether Lattimore’s absence traces to the knee or some other injury. The team hasn’t said much about Lattimore’s condition.

The NFI list will mean that Lattimore will not be able to see action until at least practice after the first six weeks of the 2014 regular season. A window then opens for the players to be added to the active roster or placed on a season-ending reserve list.

Pyro's take: Lattimore has tremendous talent, but his tear was absolutely brutal. He has struggled to return, but just can't seem to get there. Since the 49ers dont want to cut him, they chose to place him on the NFI.

San Francisco has a crowded back field with Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde, and LaMichael James, so at this point they can take their time with Lattimore, the rest is up to his body to heal properly. He should only be drafted in dynasty or keeper leagues.

08/26/14, 04:58 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

Stevie needs to work on chemistry with Kap

From OC Greg Roman's press conference:

I know you made some comments the other day about WR Brandon Lloyd. What about WR Stevie Johnson? Have you seen enough from him to really know how he can fit into your offense?

"Yeah, I think we definitely understand how he can fit in. I really believe [CSN Bay Area reporter] Matt [Maiocco] that we just need to keep working to develop the level of chemistry that we want. And that's an ongoing process. That's not something that'll never stop. Hopefully it peaks the last day of the season. That's something we have to improve upon every day. That's really everything, every player and the unit as a whole. So, I think, really happy to have Stevie and I think he'll bring a lot to the table. Have a good feel for his skillset. I love his energy out there and just us as a unit need to continue to work every day to develop that chemistry."

Pyro's take: This is not the ringing endorsement that things are going well for Stevie in San Francisco. The 49ers are not a team that throws the ball a lot, and with Crabtree, Boldin and Davis being the main targets, that does not leave a lot for Johnson. Add to that Brandon Lloyd has looked much better, Stevie is not a viable fantasy option at this time.

08/21/14, 05:32 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.ninersnation.com

49ers waive good-bye to Hunter

The San Francisco 49ers have waived Kendall Hunter in the attempt to resign him, barring he gets through waivers. Hunter tore his ACL in late July, and has an injury tag, also he’s an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

Kendall Hunter is a valuable resource for the San Francisco 49ers, as he is a durable back-up for them. Especially with the aging Frank Gore, injured Marcus Lattimore, and rookie Carlos Hyde on the roster.

Hunter has rushed for 1202 yards on 262 carries (4.6 ypc) and seven touchdowns. He also has caught 27 receptions for 268 yards and zero touchdowns in 43 games played.

Pyro's take: A team like the Giants, may take a inquiring look at Hunter, but everything is a big risk, knowing he's out for the year and is a unrestricted free agent. Kendall Hunter will find a team, whether its back to San Francisco or another designation. In the mean-time, he should remain off your draft list.

08/04/14, 04:43 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

Undisclosed injury

Michael Crabtree and Brandon Lloyd will miss one or two weeks because of injuries that are unspecified but believed to be leg related. "Maybe a week, maybe two weeks," Harbaugh said Friday of Crabtree's status, "and same with Brandon Lloyd."

Crabtree, who did not practice Thursday, is battling a sore hamstring, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson. Harbaugh would only say that Crabtree's injury is not related to his surgically repaired right Achilles or previously fractured feet.

Pyro's take: Michael Crabtree is a training camp disaster, he always seems to get hurt. A two week injury should not change any of your rankings or projections of either Crabtree or Lloyd.

08/02/14, 02:43 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.mercurynews.com

Lattimore on PUP list

On Thursday, Jim Harbaugh explained the reason for the second-year running back's pre-camp designation.

"The trainers, doctors evaluate and they make those decisions," Harbaugh said. "As an organization, we do what’s best for the member of the team, the youngster on the team, because, ultimately, that’s in our best interests."

Harbaugh said Lattimore's setback was due to hamstring and knee issues.

"It’s a combination of the two," the coach said. "Again, doctors would be in a better position to talk about that. [Vice President of Football Operations] Jeff Ferguson, our trainer, would probably be in a better position to talk about that. We believe, talking to them, we’re doing the best thing for Marcus.”


Pyro's take: This is rough news for Lattimore, who now will see rookie Carlos Hyde jump him on the depth chart. This is especially frustrating when you consider that Kendall Hunter was lost for the season, and LaMichael James just suffered an injury that will cost him at least a month. If you stashed Lattimore last season this is bad news. The more time that he misses being on the practice field will see chances of being an impact player fall by the wayside.

07/27/14, 10:43 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.49ers.com

Hunter Tears ACL

"The San Francisco 49ers suffered a significant injury on the second day of training camp when valuable reserve running back Kendall Hunter tore his ACL in a non-contact drill, the team confirmed Saturday morning.

Hunter was hurt Friday while catching a swing pass. He went down to the grass, and several teammates and coach Jim Harbaugh quickly attended to him. Hunter was able to walk off on his own power and was escorted to the locker room without a noticeable limp."

Pyro's take: Hunter was part of what looked to be one of the most talented backfields in the league but is looking thinner and thinner by the day. Hunter will now miss the rest of the season and Carlos Hyde's ADP should begin a rise over the next few weeks, especially with Marcus Lattimore still nursing a number of ailments.

Hunter will now spend the season rehabbing and try to prove to teams he is healthy for next season as he was in the final year of his contract with the 49ers. Frank Gore still remains the starter but he is in the last year of his deal as well so getting Hyde in dynasty leagues just became even more enticing.

07/26/14, 02:07 PM CDT by Stagg Party
Source: espn.go.com

SF looking to pass more

Jim Harbaugh's key to success has been the ability to have the team run the football, but no offensive coordinator Greg Roman has hinted he wants to open up the passing game. The 49ers have not been anywhere near a passing threat, since 2011, San Francisco has rated 31st in passing attempts.

They brought over Stevie Johnson and Brandon Lloyd in from free-agency, and key players such as Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, and Vernon Davis are explosive play-maker's.

Another reason, is that Colin Kaepernick is more familiar with the offense. Greg Roman stated about Kaepernick: “That’s definitely a factor,” Roman said. “It really is his second full year starting … So he’s seeing things now that he didn’t see before.”

Pyro's take: I don't believe the 49ers are going to change much of their offense to fit in an a large increase passing regime, but I do foresee an uptick. Something needs to change, and a raised level in passing will put off the wear and tear of the running game. Take a look at camp and see how the 49ers use their passing game, and then adjust your tiers accordingly for players:
Colin Kaepernick, Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, and Vernon Davis.

07/18/14, 09:18 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: blog.sfgate.com

Gore's carries expected to decline

According to Bill Williamson via espn.com Frank Gore's carries are expected to slide. Gore is 31 years old, and with rookie Carlos Hyde, second year pro Marcus Lattimore and veterans Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James, there is no need to push him, but dont expect a dramatic decrease.

Pyro's take: Frank Gore is entering his final year of his contract and even though its likely that he wont see the 276 carries he did last year, it wont be reduced enough to hurt is free-agency chances. Gore had nine touchdowns and 1,128 yards rushing, with a 51 yard long, which shows he still has "it."

Most likely your going to see a dip in touchdowns as Carlos Hyde will most likely be the goal line back, and for PPR owners he has not caught more than 50 passes since 2009, and has a total of 61 receptions over the last three years.

Its time to put his place as back-up and possible three on your fantasy depth charts, and drop him a tier or so in your books.

07/06/14, 08:26 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: espn.go.com

Kaepernick Signs Extension

Jason La Canfora has reported that Colin Kaepernick has signed a six year extension through the 2020 season. This extension is worth a reported $126 million, and it includes a guarantee of $61 million. This is not a full guarantee, as Colin will need to be on the roster at a certain date, but I don't see the 49ers releasing him in the near term. Kaepernick fits in with the 49ers style of offense very well, and his athletic ability is bar none tops for all quarterbacks. He has led San Francisco to two NFC Championships and one Super Bowl.

Pyro's take: The fantasy angle on this is that he has not been able to elevate his passing numbers. It has taken him 29 games to throw over 5,000 yards, which leads to a 173 per game average, and his touchdowns are low as well at 31 in that same 29 game span. Where he makes up for low passing production is in the running game. He has rushed for 936 yards and nine touchdowns, over the last two years, but a quarterback cannot continue to take that many chances, without getting hurt. When reviewing your fantasy tiers, double check your scoring, because Kaepernick is a liability in touchdown only leagues, but he will bring fantasy gold to those that use standard scoring.

06/04/14, 03:20 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: mweb.cbssports.com

Hyde with 49ers creates a crowd at RB

There’s been a distinct trend with Trent Baalke as the draft-day conductor for the San Francisco 49ers.

The general manager has selected a running back every year he’s been the lead voice in the draft room.

Baalke continued the trend that dates back to 2010 when he selected Ohio State's Carlos Hyde with the 57th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft on Friday evening.

“We felt that it was a great value,” Baalke said. “He can give us great competition at the position.”

San Francisco viewed the 6-foot, 230-pound runner as the “best player available” at the time of the selection.

Baalke said it wasn’t indicative of how the team feels about second-year runner Marcus Lattimore. He did, however, admit that Hyde could be part of an eventual replacement plan for 10-year veteran Frank Gore, who enters the final year of his contract.

"I think you can look at it that way in some respects," Baalke said. "But the bottom line is (Hyde) was the best player available."

Pyro's take: This pick was a surprise, and it puts a damper on the early love we have been pouring over Marcus Lattimore. Hyde is a bruising back coming out of the Big 10, a running conference.

The 49ers know that Frank Gore can't last forever, and they have been looking for potential replacements. While finding another Frank the Tank is not going to happen, Lattimore and Hyde could become a formidable duo of the future. What it means for this season is a lot of confusion at this point.

05/12/14, 09:13 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.49ers.com

Johnson traded to the 49ers

"Filed to ESPN: 49ers trading a conditional 2015 4th-round pick to Buffalo for WR Stevie Johnson, per sources. Pick can become a 3rd."

Adam Schefter on Twitter

Pyro's take: Johnson is a useful receiver and is still relatively young at 27 years of age. He will definitely have a quick impact on the 49ers receiving corps. With Johnson now in the fold for the price of a potential third round pick rather than spending a round 1 selection on a wide receiver, the 49ers are a better team than they were yesterday.

The glutton of wide receivers now looks tough for one of the receivers to shine, but with a 1-2-3 punch of Crabtree, Johnson, and Boldin the 49ers might have one of the best receiving corps in the league. As for Johnson's fantasy value it looks to be about the same as before the draft. A 1,000 yard receiver in the past now looks to have trouble surpassing 800 yards with a slew of other options in the passing game.

Johnson should provide a solid ROI for the 49ers but potential fantasy owners should tree lightly until we see how the rotation in going to shake out in training camp.

05/09/14, 03:00 PM CDT by Stagg Party
Source: bleacherreport.com

It's Super Bowl or bust for Vernon

“We must win a Super Bowl title,” 49ers tight end Vernon Davis tells NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk in an interview that will air on Tuesday. “You play this game, that’s what you play this game for. You play the game to go to the Super Bowl and that’s the only reason why we play to win and make it to the Super Bowl. So anything short of that would not be acceptable and I think my teammates know that as well.

“I mean, we’ve had multiple opportunities to make it and to win it. When we were playing back in New Orleans we played the Ravens we had a great opportunity in front of us but we just didn’t seize the moment but you know what the unique thing about it is we get another chance. We still have the same chemistry, the same guys that are back in the locker room but we have another chance to do it again.”

Pyro's take: I think we all knew that already, but why not fuel the off-season fire. The 49ers will have a more prolific offense this season, with everyone back and healthy. Davis has proven that he is a major redzone threat, and a player who can a lot without a ton of targets(only 84 targets last season).

Davis will be a top five tight end this season, with potential the potential to finish second to Jimmy Graham for a second straight season. Which when you think about it makes him the best tight end, as Jimmy is no tight end.

04/22/14, 11:08 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

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