Overall outlook: Michael Crabtree’s injury removed one potent fantasy weapon from this squad, but there are others.
Bye week: 9
Quarterback: Colin Kaepernick
Ranked 25th among fantasy quarterbacks with 194.1 FOXSports.com fantasy points in 2012, but played approximately eight games when factoring in his seven starts and partial appearances … Depending on how you look at it, Kaepernick’s pro-rated stats could have had him in fantasy’s top-five QBs … Blew up in the posteason, with 798 passing yards, 264 rushing yards, four passing TDs and three rushing TDs in three games … Don’t let Kaepernick’s speed fool you into thinking he’s just a runner – he can throw … Could suffer as a result of Michael Crabtree’s absence … A bit of a wildcard on fantasy drafts, as he’s going anywhere between QB6 and QB 12 … Ridiculous fantasy potential.
Running back: Frank Gore
Ranked 10th among running backs with 202.8 fantasy points in 2012 … Tenth in rushing yards (1,214) and 12th in attempts (258) … 26th among RBs in receptions (28) and 24th in receiving yards (234) while scoring nine times overall … Some fantasy analysts seem a bit hesitant about Gore due to the presence of Kendall Hunter and the potentially expanded role of speedy LaMichael James … Grab Gore in the third round if you want him.
Running back: LaMichael James
Ran 27 times for 125 yards over the final four games in 2012 after seeing no offensive action before that … Could be a change-of-pace back that gets 8-10 touches per game, but it’s tough to make a guy like that one of the top four fantasy backs on your roster.
Running back: Kendall Hunter
Ranked 54th with 53.1 fantasy points in 2012 … Ran 72 times for 371 yards and two scores in 11 games as Gore’s sidekick … Hunter, James and Gore give the Niners lots of options, but unless your league is deep, who wants to draft one of the options that’s likely to share the second-fiddle workload?
Wide receiver: Michael Crabtree
Ranked 14th among wideouts with 165.3 fantasy points in 2012 …Was 11th with 85 receptions, 14th with 1,105 yards, and scored nine touchdowns … Unfortunately, Crabtree tore his Achilles’ tendon during offseason workouts, and isn’t expected to return until November at the earliest … Probably undraftable unless you have a deep bench to stash him on.
Wide receiver: Anquan Boldin
Ranked T-31 with 118.4 fantasy points in 2012 … Was T-25 in receptions (65), 24th in receiving yards (921), and scored four touchdowns … The 32-year-old hasn’t surpassed 1,000 yards since 2009 and looked slow last season before exploding for 36 catches, 380 yards and four TDs in the postseason … Going as a WR4 in drafts.
Wide receiver: A.J. Jenkins
The 2012 first-round draftee didn’t catch any passes last season, but has been drawing raves in training camp … Keep him on your early-season free-agent radar.
Tight end: Vernon Davis
Was a huge fantasy disappointment in 2012, ranking 15th among tight ends with 84.8 points … Perked up in the playoffs, with 19 receptions for 254 yards and a score in three games … With Crabtree out, Davis has been lining up as a wideout during training camp, causing his draft stock to rise into the top five among tight ends.
Placekicker: Phil Dawson
Dawson’s predecessor, David Akers, was T-6 with 141 fantasy points in 2012, but could have been much better … Akers led the NFL with 42 field goal attempts, but converted just 29 of them … Akers was also T-8 with 44 extra points … Despite kicking for the hapless Browns, Dawson was T-14 with 125 fantasy points after making 29 of 31 field goal attempts … The 38-year-old Dawson is 11th among active kickers in FG%, and should be a top-five fantasy PK.
Team defense (DST)
After being a consensus top-tier DST in last year’s drafts, the Niners ranked 15th with 118 fantasy points in 2012 … Ranked second in points allowed (273), third in yards allowed (4,710), T-11 in sacks (38), T-13 in fumble recoveries (11), and 16th in interceptions (14) while scoring three touchdowns … Added CB Nnamdi Asomugha, who may be a has-been … Still worthy of a top-five DST selection.