This week, the Arizona Cardinals will be traveling to the Bay Area to take on the San Francisco 49ers, a division rival, for the firs time this season. The 49ers currently lead the division with an 8-1 overall record, but the Cardinals come in riding a two game winning streak, hoping to climb back into the division.
Let's take a look at some of the players that will undoubtedly have an impact in this game and see how they may affect your fantasy team this weekend.
Given how stout the 49ers run defense has been this season, it is likely that John Skelton will look to air it out in the direction of Fitzgerald many times in this game. Fitzgerald is coming off a massive performance in the game against the Eagles, hauling in 7 catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns. It was by far his best fantasy performance of the season and he now enters a game where he may be able to do an equal amount of damage. The 49ers defense has given up the 9th most points to opposing wideouts this year, making Fitzgerald a must start not only for the caliber of player he is, but also because of the matchup he has this weekend.
Did you ever think we would see Skelton's name as a fantasy impact player this year? Well, here it is. It looks like Kevin Kolb will have to remain on the sidelines for another week with his nagging turf toe injury, so Skelton will be the one taking snaps under center. As I noted before, the 49ers do not let teams run the ball well against them, so look for Skelton to get plenty of passing attempts in this game. The 49ers D has given up the 11th most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season, making it a decent matchup for the second year player out of Fordham.
With Peterson designated as the team's star punt returner, there is no doubt that he should get a start every week. He brings the threat of running one back on special teams or on defense at any given time if he can get his hands on the ball. Peterson will likely be facing off with Michael Crabtree on Sunday, who has started to become a larger part of the 49ers' offense as of late. Peterson will be targeted a few times throughout the game and with any luck, he might be able to pick one off as well.
Washington will again be delegated as my sleeper of the week. He is still only owned in 8% of all Yahoo! Fantasy Football Leagues, making him more than likely available for your team. The 49ers love to run the ball and Daryl Washington has become a tackling machine this season. He has averaged 9.5 tackles per game over his past two starts and will likely keep that trend going against a heavy run offense. He has the speed and strength to be all over the field at any time and the ability to keep up with just about anyone, so it is a foregone conclusion that he will have a significant impact against the 49ers.
Although Gore is listed as questionable with a knee injury to play against the Cardinals, it is suspected that he will do so. Gore has been the workhorse for his team all season long, rushing for over 100 yards five times this season. Make sure to check his status leading up to game time, but if he is dressed and ready to go, Gore becomes a must start. He has had numerous big games against the Cardinals and will look to do so against them this weekend, as the Cardinals allow the 16th most fantasy points to running backs this season.
Given the Cardinals' propensity to allow tight ends to have big games against them, starting one of the more talented players in the league just makes sense. Davis had a 96 yard, 1 TD receiving game against the Cards last season. Arizona has allowed the 17th most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, which hardly seems correct given all of the players that have had big weeks against the Red Birds.
Crabtree will likely have Peterson draped all over him throughout the day, but he is still a viable fantasy option this week. The Cardinals allow the 6th most fantasy points per game to receivers. If San Francisco's run game begins to stall, look for both Davis and Crabtree to become extremely involved in the offense.
Justin Smith/Ray McDonald:
Smith and McDonald have been one of the best defensive end tandems in the league this season and will look to bring plenty of pressure against John Skelton this weekend. The Cardinals will once again start Levi Brown and Brandon Keith/Jeremy Bridges at the tackle spots, making it highly probable that Smith and McDonald will be able to cause some disruption in the backfield. The Cardinals have allowed the third most fantasy points to opposing DE's this season.
Rogers was able to pick off two passes last weekend against Eli Manning and a talented Giants offense, giving him a total of 5 INTs on the season. Rogers will likely be matched up against Fitzgerald this weekend, with John Skelton throwing him the ball. With what we saw in terms of all the tipped passes in the Eagles game, Rogers may have a chance to get his hands on another ball this weekend.
Willis has made a name for himself as one of the best inside linebackers in the league. As opposed to blitzing and playing near the line of scrimmage, Willis has often been used in coverage quite often this season. The guy is simply a transcendent player. Arizona has allowed the 8th most fantasy points per game to opposing linebackers this season. Willis is a must start.
Are there any other players that you believe will have a fantasy impact this weekend? Leave your suggestions in the comments section.
Stats from Yahoo! Sports.