Matchup: 49ers @ RedskinsMonday, November 25, 2013
Monday Night Football
San Francisco @ Washington
The Redskins' Jekyll & Hyde offense enters Monday's date with San Francisco's No. 7 defense in injured disarray. Starting Z receiver Leonard Hankerson (LCL/ACL surgery) is done for the year. Dynamic rookie TE Jordan Reed is out with a concussion. The 49ers have held dual-threat quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Cam Newton this season to a combined 24-of-51 passing (47.1%) for 311 yards (6.10 YPA), one touchdown, and two picks. Neither Wilson nor Newton topped 33 rushing yards in their earlier-year meetings with the Niners. Robert Griffin III is eighth in fantasy quarterback scoring, but I'd rank him among the QB2s in Week 12. ... Although Alfred Morris is more RB2 than RB1 this week, the Redskins are more likely to have offensive success on the ground than through the air against a 49ers defense that ranks top ten versus the pass and 12th against the run. San Francisco's run defense has been strong but not suffocating, giving up nine rushing scores through ten games and a 3.87 yards-per-carry average, the ninth stingiest clip in the league. Morris has notched at least 93 rushing yards and/or a TD in six consecutive games.
Griffin's target distribution since the Skins' Week 5 bye: Pierre Garcon 65; Reed 44; Hankerson 26; Santana Moss 22; Roy Helu 18; Logan Paulsen 11; Aldrick Robinson 8. ... No member of Washington's offense has a truly favorable Week 12 matchup, but Garcon comes closest with 49ers RCB Tarell Brown sidelined by cracked ribs. With at least five catches in every game this year, Garcon is an every-week WR1/2. ... The Redskins will turn to some combination of Morgan, Robinson, and Moss to replace Hankerson in the lineup. Morgan's strength is blocking. Robinson is a situational deep threat. Moss is a 34-year-old slot receiver who hasn't cleared 50 receiving yards since Week 3. I wouldn't want to start any of them in a fantasy league, but would go with Moss if forced to choose from the three. ... Reed was formally ruled out for Week 12 on Saturday. The Redskins will turn to a combination of Paulsen and Fred Davis. Paulsen is a plodding in-line blocker type, while Davis has been inactive for every game since Week 6. Keyed by coverage maven ILB Patrick Willis, San Francisco is allowing the fifth fewest fantasy points in the league to tight ends.
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Whereas Washington's offense is in for difficult Week 12 matchups across the board, the 49ers should be licking their chops. The Redskins are allowing the fifth most yards and third most points per game in football. ... Frank Gore's seven-game streak of 100 total yards and/or a touchdown came to an end in last Sunday's loss to New Orleans, but Gore continues to run at a highly effective clip with 688 yards and six touchdowns on his last 145 carries (4.74 YPC). Coach Jim Harbaugh fouled up by getting Gore one solitary fourth-quarter touch against the Saints despite entering the final frame with a 17-14 lead. Look for Harbaugh to feed Gore against Washington's 19th-ranked run defense, a unit that entered Week 12 tied for an NFL high in rushing touchdowns allowed (15). Gore's RB1 shine didn't wear off in one slow week. ... Colin Kaepernick's passing and rushing yardage have been season-long disappointments, but he's still accounted for eight touchdowns compared to three turnovers over his last five games. Entering the week, Kap was tied with Tom Brady and Carson Palmer for 15th in fantasy quarterback scoring. Washington's No. 26 pass defense has a 19:10 TD-to-INT ratio against and is permitting the fifth highest passer rating (99.2) in football. Due in large part to his cake matchup, Kaepernick should be squarely on low-end QB1 radars this week. I’d definitely start him over RG3.
The Redskins are allowing the ninth most fantasy points to tight ends. Third at his position in touchdown catches (8) behind only Jimmy Graham (11) and Julius Thomas (10), Vernon Davis is a cinch top-five TE1 on Monday night. ... Anquan Boldin dropped 78 yards and two TDs on the Redskins last December. Although he's cleared 60 yards just once over his last six games, Boldin is worthy of a WR3 start in this favorable matchup. ... In two games since coming off PUP, Mario Manningham has turned in stat lines of 3-30 and 1-8, starting both contests but playing just 62% of San Francisco's offensive snaps. He's essentially rotating with Jon Baldwin on a run-heavy team with a scuffling passing attack. Manningham's playing time could be further affected when Michael Crabtree (Achilles') and Quinton Patton (fractured foot) return to the Niners' lineup.
Score Prediction: 49ers 23, Redskins 13