Preview: Raiders at 49ers

The Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers each harbored lofty aspirations of franchise-changing seasons entering 2018, but the Bay Area rivals are mired in downward spirals in what has become a battle of attrition for both teams. When the Raiders visit the 49ers on Thursday night, the most noteworthy similarity is the number of wins by each club: one.

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“This is going to fun for the fans and fun for both teams,” said Oakland coach Jon Gruden, who was lured back to the Raiders’ sideline with the hope of bringing back the team’s glory days. Instead, the Raiders traded away both their best player (Khalil Mack) and arguably their top offensive talent (Amari Cooper), and have been increasingly non-competitive during a three-game slide, losing by an average of 18 points. Injuries have victimized the 49ers, who lost their starting quarterback (Jimmy Garoppolo) and top running back (Jerick McKinnon) to season-ending torn ACLs and have dropped an NFL-worst six games in a row — with the last three on the road coming by a combined eight points. “We’re fighting,” San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman said. “Unfortunately we’re not getting the results. These have been some of the toughest losses I’ve seen.”

TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, FOX, NFL Network. LINE: 49ers -3. O/U: 46

ABOUT THE RAIDERS (1-6): Despite rumors of more moves at Tuesday’s trade deadline, Oakland opted to stand pat, although cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie announced his retirement on Instagram. Derek Carr registered a season-high 136.6 passer rating in last week’s 42-28 loss to Indianapolis, throwing for three touchdown passes before the Raiders were torched for 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Doug Martin rushed for 72 yards in place of an injured Marshawn Lynch and tight end Jared Cook continued his stellar season with four catches for 74 yards and a score. Mack’s loss has killed the pass rush, which has an NFL-low 7.0 sacks.

ABOUT THE 49ERS (1-7): Its losing streak aside, San Francisco has a major injury concern as quarterback C.J. Beathard was unable to practice Tuesday due to a sore right wrist. “We feel C.J. would be good if we were playing on Sunday but it’s going to be a test for Thursday and we probably won’t know until then,” said 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who would go with undrafted free agent Nick Mullens if Beathard can’t go. The one reliable offensive option for San Francisco is tight end George Kittle, who has a team-high 37 receptions and at least five in six of eight games. The 49ers are surrendering 262.5 yards passing and have posted only two interceptions.

EXTRA POINTS

1. The 49ers rank 28th and Raiders 31st in points allowed with 29.5 and 31.1, respectively.

2. Kittle and Cook are third and fourth, respectively, among tight ends in yardage with 584 and 474.

3. Carr has thrown for 901 yards in his last three road games.

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Posted in NFL, Top Fantasy Picks

Complete NFC West Preview

Here is a look at what you can expect from the Rams, Seahawks, 49ers and Cards this season…

Los Angeles Rams

There’s no other way to interpret the Rams’ aggressive offseason: L.A. is aiming for the Super Bowl. A once-middling defense now might boast the best interior rush and secondary in the NFL. An explosive offense replaced one Pro Bowl vertical threat with another, better weapon and still has a 2,000-yard MVP candidate in the backfield. All signs point to the Rams continuing their NFC West supremacy and pushing toward a deep playoff run. But do they have enough for a Super Bowl run? In an insanely deep NFC race, they’re going to need all the weapons they can muster.

San Francisco 49ers

If the 49ers’ season-ending five-game winning streak wasn’t a mirage, they could contend for a playoff spot, assuming QB Jimmy Garoppolo stays healthy. The 49ers haven’t made the playoffs or had a winning record since going 12-4 and reaching the NFC title game in 2013, former coach Jim Harbaugh’s next-to-last season with the team.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks lost far too much talent in one offseason to improve their situation. They conducted a major housecleaning that proved disconcerting to both fans and returning players. A glory era ended. “Every year it’s not fun when guys leave, but this hurt pretty bad,” outside linebacker K.J. Wright says. Realistically, a team revamp as extensive as this is going to take a few seasons — and more moves — to take hold. Expect Seattle to hover around .500 and be home during the playoffs again.

Arizona Cardinals

A healthy Sam Bradford at quarterback might be enough to make even the most skeptical critics rethink their conclusions about the Cardinals, but history isn’t on Bradford’s side, and with the departures of so many key players across the board, it’s difficult to believe this is a credible playoff team. If Arizona’s defense can keep the team in games and Johnson once again threatens 1,000 yards as both a rusher and a pass catcher, then maybe there’s a chance of a winning record. The wild card could be Josh Rosen. If the rookie quarterback gets thrust into the spotlight early, a lot of things could change.

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Posted in NFL

NFL Draft Fantasy League

NFC West

One day, that is all that separate us from the 2016 NFL Draft, and it has yet to be determined who will go number one this year. There’s plenty of candidates, but there’s only one team with that significant pick. The Rams are in the midst of a major change. They will be relocating from St.Louis to Los Angeles starting next season. In fact, they will be making their return to the city of angels for the first time since 1994. This will increase their fanbase significantly. With a much higher population count, a wealthier metropolis and being the neighborhood of stardom, the Rams should do just fine there. They’ve already doubled in value from $1.5 billions to $2.9 billions, catapulting them in third place for the most expensive teams in the league. The number one pick, whoever that will turn out to be, will have an immediate popularity that will follow him in L.A. Does that mean that the other NFC West teams should be worried about this new franchise? What should they do? To maximize your selections for the NFL Draft Fantasy League contest, let’s find out what the NFC West teams needs are!

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona will have to be on the lookout for a high-pressure pass rusher. It would be time to look for younger option at defensive end rather than to bank on Frostee Rucker and Cory Redding for another few years. A young and talented middle linebacker with good size needs to be addressed as well. While Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu are already receiving much of the defensive backfield play time, adding an additional playmaker who’s formidable against the pass could definitely help the Cards.

Top 2 round picks: 29th selection.

Seattle Seahawks

Entering the draft, the Seahawks should covets playmaking secondary players. It would also be a possibility that they could look for some cornerback talents. Since moving Justin Britt to inside guard, Seattle needs to figure out who should helm the tackle spot opposite Russell Okung. The middle of the D-line looks empty since the loss of Brandon Mebane, and Bruce Irvin’s speed will also be missed off the edge of the second-tier. The Seahawks have made a tremendous job at building their defense through the draft, they are expected to do so again.

Top 2 round picks: 26th and 56th selections.

San Francisco 49ers

What to say about the saga that is Colin Kaepernick! New coach Chip Kelly as likely already set up a plan to grab a quarterback in the first-round. The offensive line woes will have to be attended to in the following rounds. The 49ers should also target some wide receivers to fit into Kelly’s offensive scheme. On the defensive side, linebackers would be needed.

Top 2 round picks: 7th and 37th selections.

Los Angeles Rams

Yet another draft where the Rams have to find a premium wide receiver, where they can build their passing game around. And even if they can find a true number one wide receiver, they will first need a quarterback. Finding some more cornerback and safety should help the team, especially with the departures of Rodney McLeod and Janoris Jenkins.

Top 2 round picks: 1st selection.

Posted in NFL

San Francisco 49ers versus New York Giants

Sunday Night Football Fantasy Cash League Picks 10-11-2015

The New York Giants will host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football. Fantasy football draft GM’s can tune to NBC TV on October 11th at 8:30PM Eastern Time to track the results of their NFL roster picks.

This San Francisco 49ers team is a much different club than the one that defeated the Giants 16-10 on the road last year. There has been a head coaching change as well as heavy turnover on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. The 49ers drop to 1-3 after they lose 17-3 to the Green Bay Packers at home last week. San Francisco has been held to seven or fewer points in their past two games. The offense is 31st in yards per game (289), 32nd and last in passing yardage (158 per game) and 32nd and last in the league in scoring (12 per game). Over on defense the 49ers sit 29th and fourth last in the league by allowing 27.5 points per game.

The Giants sit at 2-2 and is on a two game win streak with a home win to Washington and a road victory at Buffalo last week. In their 24-10 victory against the Bills it was a good performance by the New York defense by limiting the Buffalo run game to just 55 yards on 24 carries. They were also aided to victory by 17 Bills penalties for 135 yards. The Giants are the number one run defense in the NFL by allowing 69 yards per game on the ground. The offensive numbers have not been trending in the top half of the league but the Giants rank 9th best in scoring offense by producing 25.5 points per game.

San Francisco 49ers QB:

Colin Kaepernick

The 49ers signal caller is hitting on 62% of his throws for 727 yards with two touchdowns and five picks. He completed 52% of his throws last week against Green Bay with a pick and 160 yards.

San Francisco 49ers RB:

Carlos Hyde

The replacement for Frank Gore has rushed 62 times for 282 yards with two touchdowns. He is running for 4.5 yards a carry on the season but has ran for 3.3 yards per rush in week two, 3.4 yards a carry in week three and a miserable 2.5 yards a carry last week at home to Green Bay as he ran for 20 yards on eight carries.

San Francisco 49ers WR:

Torrey Smith

The fifth year wide out has caught nine passes for 185 yards and a touchdown. Over the past two weeks Smith has caught just two balls for 54 yards.

Anquan Bolden

Bolden has 15 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown. It has been a poor past couple of games for the 35 year old wide receiver with five catches for a total of 28 yards.

New York Giants QB:

Eli Manning

The 12 year veteran has hit on 63% of his throws for 976 yards with seven touchdowns and only one pick. He has had issues with interceptions the past several years and in 2015 he has avoided the multi-pick game. In the win at Buffalo Manning completed 20 of 35 throws for 212 yards with three touchdowns and one pick.

New York Giants RB:

Rashad Jennings

Jennings is splitting carries with Andre Williams and even Shane Vereen is taking carries away from him. The seventh year back has 42 carries for 134 yards and a touchdown. Last week at Buffalo Jennings had nine carries for 38 yards. He did catch two balls for 54 yards and a touchdown.

New York Giants WR:

Odell Beckham Jr.

Beckham Jr. has caught 24 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns. In his two home games against Washington and Atlanta the second year wide receiver caught a combined 14 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns.

Rueben Randle

Randle is being asked to step up his game with the injury to Victor Cruz. The fourth year receiver has 14 catches for 175 yards and two touchdowns. He had one good game in his four games this year. It came in week three with seven catches for 116 yards and a touchdown.

NFL Sunday Night Football Fantasy Picks

QB: Eli Manning (Giants)

RB: Shane Vereen (Giants)

WR: Odell Beckham Jr (Giants), Rueben Randle (Giants)

TE: Garrett Celek (49ers)

Posted in NFL