The 49ers have gone from Super Bowl contenders to multiple personality sufferers in the span of two weeks. Who are they? What are they? Can they turn this offensive and defensive funk around, starting tonight at St. Louis? Or are the 49ers truly on the slide, and we’re just seeing it now?
The Rams are improved over last season, albeit slightly so far. The pass game is hot, the run game is cold and injured. The defense is capable but not sterling. St. Louis usually gives the Niners fits, and I don’t expect anything different tonight…probably in the 23-20 area.
Niners Offense Vs. Rams Defense:
Do not play Colin Kapernick until he redeems himself. Three TDs, four picks, eight sacks. Speaking of freefalls, RB Frank Gore is averaging 3.5 ypc and one TD through three games. WR Anquan Boldin is averaging 94 ypg receiving and might be the only guy worth a start tonight on the 49ers offense. Vernon Davis sat out last week and is a game-time decision tonight. Employ caution.
The Rams (#16 R; #23 P; #26 overall) will be keying on read-option renegade Kapernick. If they successfully keep him in control, someone other than Boldin will have to rise for the Niners to win on the road. Nobody you’d start, though…J
Rams Offense vs. Niners Defense:
Sam Bradford has proven to be a quality fantasy starter to date, ranking 8th among starters with 6 TDs and just 2 interceptions. He led the Rams to a tie and a win over the 49ers last season, with two TDs and no picks. He’s a likely 1-2 TD guy tonight.
RB Daryl Richardson had one carry in Week 3, then re-injured his foot. That makes Isaiah Pead a start if you’ve got nothing else at RB. WR Chris Givens has been invisible so far; I’m banking on him getting a score tonight. TE Jared Cook is a must-start. Rookie WR Tavon Austin leads the team in targets and should be a play as well unless you’re stud-ridden at that position.
Defensively for San Francisco (#29 R; #8 P; #12 overall), LB Patrick Willis is a game-time decision. I wouldn’t be surprised if he sits this one out, and without their heart and soul, the 49ers D is going to suffer at some point.
Expect great things from Rams K Greg Zuerlein. Expect a 50-plus FG. Expect above average performance from SF K Phil Dawson also, as the 49ers may struggle to get points in sixes, and settle for threes.