The Week 4 Thursday game features two teams struggling to find a rhythm in the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams. These two NFC West rivals sit behind the Seattle Seahawks at 1-2. The 49ers’ defense doesn’t look like the powerhouse we saw last year, and the Rams’ offense is too young and inexperienced to score enough points to win games. This should be a telling game as to where both teams are heading for the rest of the season.
Here are my predictions for each offensive player for Thursday night’s game.
Colin Kaepernick has stumbled over the last two games, throwing zero touchdowns and four picks. He’s combined for just nine fantasy points in those two games. The 49ers don’t have that many offensive weapons for Kaepernick to throw to. This could be a good thing, however, allowing him to accumulate a lot of rushing yards.
The Rams are one of the worst passing defenses, averaging 288 passing yards and 28.7 points per game. Kaepernick should rebound nicely this week.
Prediction: 18-of-30, 250 yards, one TD; 30 rushing yards, one TD (23 points)
Sam Bradford enters Week 4 with a six-to-two TD-INT ratio. After three games last year, that ratio was four-to-three. As I mentioned at the beginning, he has a young group of receivers around him. The short week could benefit the Rams as the 49ers travel to St. Louis.
However, despite their record, the 49ers’ pass defense is still one of the best. They average only 199 passing yards per game. Bradford is averaging 19 fantasy points per game, so expect him to drop to the 11-12 range.
Prediction: 15-of-31, 215 yards, one TD, one INT (11 points)
In his first two games, Frank Gore averaged two yards per carry. He then had 11 carries for 82 yards against Indianapolis Colts. However, backup running back Kendall Hunter scored the only rushing touchdown.
Owners should feel confident starting Gore this week. The Rams were torched by DeMarco Murray last week, allowing 175 yards and a score.
Prediction: 13 carries, 75 yards, one TD (13 points)
Daryl Richardson injured his foot on the first snap of last week’s game. This led to Isaiah Pead totaling 63 yards (20 on the ground, 43 in the air). Richardson practiced Tuesday, but he is still questionable heading into Thursday’s game. He’s been ineffective in his first two games, averaging only 3.2 yards per carry.
If news breaks of Richardson sitting out, Pead will be a good bye week fill-in. The 49ers have, surprisingly, allowed the most fantasy points to running backs.
Prediction: Richardson—10 carries, 44 yards (four points); Pead—12 carries, 55 yards, one TD (11 points)
With tight end Vernon Davis questionable, Anquan Boldin could see more targets. The Rams are a great matchup for Boldin as they have given up the sixth-most fantasy points to wide receivers so far. He has proven that he can still explode on offense and be the No. 1 guy.
As for No. 2 wideout Kyle Williams, he won’t make an impact as far as fantasy is concerned. He’s only scored seven points in three games.
Prediction: Boldin—eight receptions, 93 yards, one TD (15 points); Williams—two receptions, 32 yards (three points)
Tavon Austin is getting consistent targets, six in each of the last three games. Yet, he’s not getting the yardage fantasy owners were hoping, only 118 yards. He has big-play ability, but it may be hidden again this week. The 49ers have allowed the 12th-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers.
Austin’s teammate, Austin Pettis, has scored a touchdown in two straight games. However, he isn’t worth starting, especially this week, in 10 or 12-team leagues.
Prediction: Austin—seven receptions, 48 yards, one TD (10 points); Pettis—four receptions, 38 yards (three points)