FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks on during warm ups against the Baltimore Ravens during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
QB Tom Brady
It’s tough to ever advise benching Brady in a fantasy league, but owners who have a top-rate backup with a better matchup could at least consider the possibility. The 49ers are tough against the pass, and this game doesn’t figure to be a points bonanza. Brady is probably still good for 280 and 2 scores, but that is not an automatic start for most teams who are still playing meaningful games.
WRs Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd
Lloyd was the team’s top receiver last week, and with Welker dropping everything in sight, I wouldn’t bet against him being among their top two pass-catchers again this week. I’d expect him to haul in 5 passes for around 70 yards, and he’s at least a 50-50 bet to score. Welker should see more than his fair share of targets, so I think his statline will be pretty similar to the projection for Lloyd.
RBs Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead
While I have been Ridley’s biggest backer since the preseason (I projected that he’d have over 1000 yards and 10+ scores, thank you), I don’t like him in this matchup at all. The 49ers are extremely tough against the run, so he’s probably not going to get more than 70 yards and an outside shot at a score. Vereen and Woodhead are both safe bets to pick up a few yards on draws, screens and dump-offs. Probably 70 more yards between the two, and I could envision one of them stumbling into a score. You could do worse in a flex spot, particularly in a PPR league.
TE Aaron Hernandez
Who needs Gronk? Hernandez was targeted a team-high 11 times last week, and he converted two scores. He’ll draw plenty of looks from Brady in this one as well. Pencil him in for 7 catches, 75 yards and a score.
New England Defense/Special Teams
I don’t hate this play this week, but I don’t love it. Kaepernick could make a rookie mistake or two, so there is a possibility of a few turnovers and a couple sacks. But the 49ers offense likes to grind out yards and minimize risk while keeping the clock rolling, and even moreso when they’re facing an elite QB on the other sideline. I could see the 49ers scoring 20 points in this one. Middle-of-the-road scoring in most leagues.