2013 Fantasy Football Dark Horse Sleeper: Mario Manningham

By Dustin Manko

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Mario Manningham made his 2013 debut in week 10 catching three of six targets for 30 yards. With Vernon Davis being questionable for week 11, Manningham could be a sneaky option for fantasy football owners this week against the New Orleans Saints. He was not eased back into the lineup, playing 45 of 57 snaps and has essentially locked himself as the number two wide receiver for the 49ers, along with leading the team in targets.

San Francisco already has a few offensive weapons and the addition of a healthy Manningham will only help their fantasy values. Heading into week 10 in standard scoring formats, Frank Gore was ninth in running back scoring and Vernon Davis third amongst tight ends. Colin Kaepernick was 10th in quarterback points per game average over the last four weeks, and is a dual threat in both the passing game and on the run. Anquan Boldin may rank outside the top 25 in wide receiver scoring this season, but has shown that he is still capable of having monster games. Defenses have to account for each of those players and when Manningham gets inserted into the lineup, someone will have the ability to produce. If I was an opposing defensive coordinator, I would be much more concerned with stopping Gore, Davis and Kaepernick than I would be Manningham, and would leave Manningham in single coverage while focusing on stopping the other three.

Regular readers of mine know I love talking about the matchups, so let’s look at that. San Francisco has some great matchups down the stretch run for wide receivers. In week 12, they face the Washington Redskins who are currently allowing the second most fantasy points against to wide receivers. They also have a good matchup in week 15 against a surprisingly leaky Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary and face the Atlanta Falcons Swiss cheese defense in week 16.

I wouldn’t expect Manningham to come in and save your season, but he does have appeal as a WR3/4, depending on the matchup. He obviously gets a boost if Davis misses any time. There are some enticing matchups ahead in games that should be high scoring and it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect four to six catches, 40-60 yards each week along with a few touchdowns mixed in. If you need some depth at the position, he could be an interesting option.

As always, I welcome your comments. If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to listen. Just back it up with some facts and solid evidence. Thanks for reading and good luck this season.

Dustin Manko is an author at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @DustinManko, ”Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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