As I write this article I recognize there are many readers and a few writers who are dealing with issues much greater than fantasy football. To everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy, we hope all of you stay safe during a difficult time as our thoughts and prayers are with you.
San Francisco 24, Arizona 3
Like Godzilla entering Tokyo, this game was absolutely dominated by the 49ers defense holding Arizona to three points on the night. San Fran was so overpowering the Cardinals could only muster seven yards rushing, forcing Arizona into a one dimensional attack. With their backs against the wall, Michael Crabtree had an awesome performance hauling in all five of his targets for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Most impressive was Crabtree absolutely dominating Arizona's young shutdown cornerback, Patrick Peterson. As always, Crabtree's fantasy value is hindered by the stifling 49ers defense keeping the score low, and run heavy game plan. Over the last six games his fantasy production reads: 4, 1, 17, 2, 3, 19. Nothing bothers me more than sporadic production. However, at seven targets per game, Crabtree has some value if you can stomach the swings.
Excuse me, have you seen Vernon Davis? Like Crabtree, Davis is being limited by the run heavy game plan installed by the San Fran coaching staff. Over the past five weeks Davis' fantasy points are as follows: 2, 10, 3, 0, 3. It's becoming apparent that he won't survive on yardage alone, needing a touchdown to be starter worthy. Odds are you don't have other options, but Davis is slipping into the lower TE1 range.
After suffering a week eight rib injury, Frank Gore showed no ill effect ripping through the Cards defense picking up 55 total yards on big chunky runs. With a bye upcoming, the 49ers built a comfortable lead that allowed Gore to rest for much of the game giving way to Kendall Hunter. Gore owners shouldn't worry, he'll be back to RB1 status in week 10.
Commenting on Alex Smith's rotation of coaches over the years, John Gruden said, "The only change is no change for a change." Love me some Gruden.
The desert version of Darren Sproles, LaRod Stephens-Howling opened the game in the Cards backfield. Already a down matchup, "Stephens-Howling at the moon" found absolutely zero running room picking up six yards on eight carries. At 180 lbs, LSH had a tough time slowing down the blitzing linebackers, often getting bulled over opening his quarterback up to big hits. On the upside, William Powell didn't receive a single carry. However, a Week 10 bye, and Beanie Wells set to return in Week 12 and Stephens-Howling is mid RB3 as a desperation spot start.
Early in the game, Larry Fitzgerald went down head first on what appeared to be a normal play, but came up dazed. I found this particularly odd considering the litany of big hits he has taken over the years, only to bounce up to his feet. He was seen attended to by the medical staff on the sidelines, but did return to the game on the Cards' next possession. Regardless, Fitz owners should certainly monitor his status during the coming week.
There are some very bad offensive lines in the NFL, and Arizona is on the low end of the totem pole. Playing a dominant defense made a small cut seem like an open wound. Be aware that poor O-line play will hinder the fantasy value of every player on this team moving forward.
Am I the only one alarmed that John Skelton couldn't get the football to the end zone from 55 yards out on a 'Hail Mary' just before halftime?
"Do what you have always done, and you will get what you have always got" - Anthony Robbins