SANTA CLARA, CA - JULY 30: Aldon Smith #48 of the San Francisco 49ers participates in drills during practice at the San Francisco 49ers training facility on July 30, 2011 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
San Francisco linebacker Aldon Smith looks to improve upon his 14 sacks from last season. We break down the fantasy implications.
San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith is setting a new goal for sacks this year, a year after recording 14 of them as a rookie. Last season, Smith was more of a third-down specialist whose primary goal was to get to the quarterback. He a 49ers rookie record for sacks, but recorded just 31 solo tackles and is expected to take on a more involved role in the defense in 2012. He did not set an exact number that he wants, only saying that he wants to improve on what he did last season.
Analysis: Teammate Patrick Willis is the number one overall fantasy player on defense and fellow linebacker Ahmad Brooks is reportedly in great shape after spending the offseason in the Bay Area and concentrating on his diet and exercise. Add in All-Pro NaVorro Bowman and the 49ers could have four highly-valuable linebackers that complement each others ability to create sacks and turnovers, rather than take away from their Individual Defensive Player numbers in fantasy. Smith could be in line for a great season.