49ers: Go for the Gore
June 30, 2009
The 49ers made a name for themselves back in the day with Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Roger Craig running a dynamic offense under Bill Walsh. But now that Mike Singletary has the keys to the kingdom, fantasy owners can expect San Francisco to emulate those Bears teams that ran hard and played tough defense on their way to glory.
San Francisco said goodbye to offensive coordinator Mike Martz after one season when it ranked 23rd in total offense and 13th in passing. Those numbers were both vast improvements over the previous season, but Martz's wide-open approach also led to a lot of mistakes -- as evidenced by a minus-17 turnover differential (31st in the NFL).
New coordinator Jimmy Raye has a philosophy that is more in line with Singletary's. That's to say San Francisco will lean heavily on the running game, to the fantasy benefit of Frank Gore. Meanwhile, rookie Michael Crabtree will probably have to wait to make a big fantasy impact.
On defense, the 49ers will try to stick with the 3-4 scheme after alternating between the 3-4 and 4-3 under Mike Nolan. But it's still questionable whether San Francisco has the personnel to make it work. The 49ers did improve their defense last season as the unit finished 13th. But there's still a long way to go before we're reminded of any of those Ronnie Lott-led units -- back in the day.