San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin had a big game way back in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers, with 13 receptions for 208 yards and a touchdown, but he did not have more than five catches or 90 yards in any of the next eight games with just one touchdown over that span.
Boldin had five receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns against the Washington Redskins on Monday night, and he has 11 receptions for 150 yards and three touchdowns over the last two games. With that re-emergence, is Boldin set to be a top option for fantasy football owners during some critical weeks?
The 49ers are expected to get wide receiver Michael Crabtree (Achilles’) back for Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams, which will obviously help quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the league’s worst pass offense (173.5 yards per game) as the season winds down. The recent return of wide receiver Mario Manningham also stands to help a passing game that has centered on Boldin and tight end Vernon Davis up to this point.
The Rams have not been overly generous to opposing wide receivers in general this season (21.6 fantasy points per game; 15th most in the league-ESPN scoring), but they have allowed 37 receptions for 426 yards to the position over their last two games and Boldin had five catches for 90 yards and a touchdown against them back in Week 4.
A Week 14 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks looks difficult on the surface, but they may be without two of their top cornerbacks for the game as Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond are both facing suspensions for violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy, and Browner’s status was already in question due to a groin issue. After that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the slate in Week 15, and they have allowed at least 23 fantasy points (ESPN scoring) to opposing wide receivers in six of their last seven games along with multiple touchdowns allowed to the position four times in that timeframe. Things look even better for Week 16 against the Atlanta Falcons, who enter this week allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to wide receivers (23.6 per game) even after allowing just nine catches for 102 yards to the New Orleans Saints’ wide receivers in Week 12.
Weather should not dramatically impact the 49ers’ passing offense over the next four weeks, with three home games and a road game in Tampa Bay upcoming, so Boldin’s opportunities should not be affected by anything other than the team’s offensive game plan and possibly Crabtree’s return to health.
I don’t think Boldin will be a WR1 for his fantasy owners over the next few weeks, but he is trending the right direction and things are lining up for him to be a solid choice as a WR2 in 12-team leagues with some favorable-looking matchups coming.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.