Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/22/12

San Francisco 49ers @ Minnesota Vikings

 San Francisco 49ers:  Wow, never thought I’d say this before the season started, but it sure looks like the 49ers are the class of the NFC.  They didn’t ever look very threatened by either the Packers or the Lions in Weeks 1 and 2, two teams that made the playoffs last year and were considered favorites to at least contend for playoff spots again this year, if not the NFC Super Bowl berth.

Outside the stifling defense, the player most responsible for the 49ers success is Alex Smith.  Smith has really turned a corner under Jim Harbaugh’s tutelage, and looks extremely comfortable running the offense.  He’s efficient, rarely makes mistakes, and is able to get the ball into the endzone with enough regularity so the defense can do its job.

The Vikings even made Blaine Gabbert look good, so if there’s any week that you’d consider starting Smith, it’s this week.  Vernon Davis should be a good start from the TE position, and Michael Crabtree will continue being the favorite in terms of targets.  Randy Moss seems to be nothing but a decoy these days, so I wouldn’t use him until he proves otherwise.

Frank Gore has enjoyed the new offensive stability, and he should also have a good game against the Vikings.  However, the 49ers probably jump out early in this one, which means Gore will likely give way to Kendall Hunter earlier rather than later.

Good Start:  QB Alex Smith, RB Frank Gore, WR Michael Crabtree, TE Vernon Davis

Middle of the Road:  RB Kendall Hunter, WR Mario Manningham

Bad Start:  WR Randy Moss


Minnesota Vikings:  So, the Vikings have actually been pretty good in terms of fantasy production in Weeks 1 and 2, and it does help they can’t play defense which means the Vikings should find themselves in shootouts quite often.  But if there’s any game where you’re going to consider benching your Vikings, it’s going to be this one.

The 49ers have the most dominant defense in the league right now, as they’ve shut down two much better teams from the Vikings’ own division.  The Vikings are playing at home which helps, but the 49ers defense is just too suffocating.  I’d still start Adrian Peterson, but don’t expect 100 yards out of him; he’s always a threat to score though.

Percy Harvin is a must start pretty much every week, but don’t expect him to gather 10+ catches and over 100 yards like last week.  I think something along the lines of 6 or 7 for 60 or 70 is more likely, which means he’s still a decent start.  Kyle Rudolph has been Christian Ponder’s go to guy in the red zone, but I really don’t think the Vikings are going to spend much time there, making Rudolph a fringe play at best.

Good Start:  WR Percy Harvin

Middle of the Road:  RB Adrian Peterson, TE Kyle Rudolph

Bad Start:  QB Christian Ponder, WR Michael Jenkins


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