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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Team Talk: San Francisco 49ers

By Adam Filadelfo (@Frostt24)

Just a game away from making back to back trips to the Superbowl, the 49ers gave fantasy owners something to get excited about. While 2013 saw  some special fantasy players come from the bay area, 2014 could see even more exciting fantasy players emerge and help fantasy owners to championships.

Collin Kaepernick
- While Kaepernick may not have had the type of fantasy season most fantasy owners were hoping for, he did post pretty good numbers for owners that rostered him. Passing for almost 3,200 yards and 21 touchdowns, he also rushed for another 521 yards and four scores. The rushing yards were what bothered a lot of fantasy owners since it was expected that Kaepernick's main threat was his legs. He averaged 20 fantasy points per game and with a new mega contract in hand, fantasy owners can expect a big year from Kaepernick in his second full year as a starter.

Frank Gore- Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Frank Gore supposed to have fallen off of a fantasy cliff a few years ago? Well he hasn't and 2013 was another stellar fantasy season for the former Miami Hurricane. Gore rushed for over 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging over 11 fantasy points per game. Looks like the old man still has some gas left in the tank.

Kendall Hunter- The primary backup to Frank Gore didn't really see much action in 2013. He rushed for 358 yards and three touchdowns while averaging just over three fantasy points per game. With the addition of Carlos Hyde in the draft, it may not be long before Kendall Hunter gets buried in the 49ers depth chart.

Carlos Hyde- Selected in the second round of the 2014 draft, Hyde was an outstanding running back at Ohio State. In the four years Hyde played at Ohio State, he amassed almost 3,200 rushing yards and 37 touchdowns. He didn't add much in the passing game but he seems to be able to find the endzone. He will start the season behind Frank Gore but could end up being a fantasy stud sooner rather than later. He is the perfect fantasy player for keeper and dynasty leagues.

Marcus Lattimore- Thought to be the running back after Frank Gore was done, it seems Marcus Lattimore has suffered another setback in his return from a gruesome injury that forced him to miss the entire 2013 season. Now that the 49ers have Carlos Hyde, there's reason to think Marcus Lattimore may not be the clear backup to Gore going into 2014 or at all for that matter. Lattimore's value definitely takes a hit from a fantasy perspective.

Michael Crabtree- Crabtree only played in five games in 2013 due to an injury sustained before the season even began. In the five games he played, he averaged just under seven fantasy points per game and will obviously have an even better season in 2014 provided he stays healthy. He should be Kaepernick's top target this season. His last full season in 2012 saw Crabtree finish with 85 catches for over 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging double digit fantasy points along the way. That's plenty of reason to believe Crabtree can be a top receiver in 2014 again.

Anquan Boldin- Boldin picked up right where he left off in the playoffs in 2012. Last season saw Boldin have 130 targets tossed his way and he hauled in 85 of them for over 1,100 yards and seven touchdowns. Boldin also averaged double digit fantasy points per game in 2013 but his production could take a bit of a hit with a healthy Michael Crabtree back.

Stevie Johnson
- Last season with the Bills, Johnson caught 52 balls for almost 600 yards and three touchdowns while averaging over six fantasy points per game in 12 games played. That was all as the top receiver for the Bills. While he will not be the featured wideout in San Francisco, Johnson does have the potential to produce for fantasy owners while a lot of the attention is on Crabtree, Boldin and Vernon Davis. The only thing that will stop Stevie Johnson from putting up fantasy worthy numbers is his penchant for always getting banged up. At some point, his groin will act up and cause him to miss time. Fantasy owners can expect the same story from Stevie Johnson in 2014.

Brandon Lloyd- Returning to football after sitting out the entire 2013 season, Brandon Lloyd will attempt to make the 49ers roster. His last full season was 2012 with the New England Patriots where he averaged just over seven fantasy points per game. He may be a decent fantasy option late in drafts but owners shouldn't expect too much from a 32 year old receiver who just sat out an entire season because no team wanted him.

Vernon Davis- Vernon Davis showed once again in 2013 that he is still an elite fantasy tight end that can produce with the likes of Jimmy Graham and Gronk. 2013 saw Davis finish with 52 catches for 850 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also averaged almost 11 fantasy points per game. There is no reason to think Vernon Davis cannot have another outstanding fantasy season in 2014. He will once again be one of the top tight ends off of the board come draft day.

- Why wouldn't 2014 be another great fantasy season for the 49ers defense? All of the key contributors are back and fantasy owners can rest easy when drafting the San Francisco defense knowing that they have a top fantasy defense each week. There aren't many consistent defenses in fantasy football from year to year but the 49ers are one of the more consistent units. Draft them with confidence again in 2014.

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