The 49ers and Rams will begin Week 4 in St. Louis on Thursday night, and fantasy owners are once again faced with decisions that will help or haunt them through the weekend. Both offenses are coming off of some poor performances from Week 3. Which team will rebound? Which players will give you a strong Week 4 foundation on your starting fantasy roster? Let's take a look.
Colin Kaepernick: It hasn't been going well for Kaepernick. He went from being a top fantasy quarterback in Week 1 to a fantasy quarterback barely unable maintain top-20 numbers heading into Week 4. St. Louis allowed Tony Romo to put up top-10 numbers on Sunday, and Kaepernick is certainly due for a rebound performance. However, Kaepernick has now entered into wait-and-see territory for fantasy owners. If you grabbed a solid quarterback behind Kaepernick, don't hesitate to play the better match-up this week.
Wide receivers: There isn't much to work with when Kaepernick has only thrown for a total 249 yards over the last two weeks. Anquan Boldin is still the favorite of the 49ers receivers, but even Boldin has been lackluster ever since Week 1. Boldin is worthy of a start, especially in PPR leagues. Keep an eye on 49ers receivers in Week 4, because someone needs to step up other than Boldin and Vernon Davis.
Running backs: Frank Gore is still getting the majority of carries in San Francisco, and DeMarco Murray just ran for 175 yards against he Rams. His recent gripe with getting limited opportunities in Week 3 is both a positive and a negative. Jim Harbaugh could game plan Gore heavily after the complaints surfaced just as easily as he could stubbornly focus on allowing Kaepernick to redeem himself in the passing game. Regardless, Gore is a strong RB2 play this week.
Tight ends: There was speculation that Vernon Davis didn't suit up against the Colts because of the short week before facing their division rival in St. Louis; he should be active on Thursday. He's a borderline top-10 start if he suits up. The 49ers clearly needed him against Seattle in Week 3.
San Francisco defense/special teams: The 49ers should be able to capitalize on St. Louis' inability to move the ball downfield consistently, but San Francisco has under-performed a bit in fantasy. St. Louis is arguably the weakest offense they've faced this season, and it's likely that many fantasy owners have dropped them this early in the season (99% owned in Yahoo! leagues). Start them and hope for the best.
Sam Bradford: Those focusing on Week 3 will probably avoid Bradford as a starting quarterback in Week 4. He spent most of the game against Dallas under duress as he was sacked six times. However, his offensive line protected him well in the first two weeks of the season. Bradford has put up respectable fantasy numbers to start the season, and San Francisco has allowed a lot of production to fantasy quarterbacks. He's a strong QB2, especially when you consider he's playing at home. You'll likely find better match ups in 12-team leagues or less, but he has a shot to keep your team afloat if you're in a jam.
Wide receivers: Chris Givens was the most targeted wide receiver against Dallas in Week 3, but Bradford's constant pressure behind the line resulted in pedestrian numbers for everyone on the Rams offense. He'll be a low-end WR3 start that could see a boost in PPR leagues if he can translate his targets into catches. Odds are you'll have much more appealing match ups to play over Givens. Tavon Austin is still building toward becoming the first-round player he was drafted to be in 2013. Fortunately for Austin owners, Bradford seems to lean on short passes, which often target Austin. He's a flex play in standard leagues, but can be considered a WR3 start in PPR leagues as he's now averaging six catches a game. Austin Pettis has scored two touchdowns in three weeks, but his value will continue to rely on end zone opportunities until St. Louis' receivers separate themselves more.
Running backs: Daryl Richardson returned to practice on Tuesday and should see playing time on Thursday. He did nothing for fantasy owners on Sunday against the Cowboys after he left the game with a foot injury. Owners should be cautious with Richardson. He'll likely get some work against the 49ers, but shouldn't be considered more than a flex play. Isaiah Pead is inactive for Thursday night, which should help Richardson more than any other running back on the roster.
Tight ends: Jared Cook hasn't performed well since his 141 yard, two-touchdown performance in Week 1. He'll continue to remain a low-end TE1 as one of the Rams better weapons on the roster. If the Rams can move the ball more efficiently on offense, Cook will likely be a benefactor.
St. Louis defense/ special teams: The 49ers have given up the 7th most fantasy points to team defenses in three weeks. However, St. Louis hasn't been much of a factor in fantasy production. They'll certainly have a boost in value as the 49ers work toward redeeming themselves offensively, but this may not be the week to test San Francisco. There should be better match-ups out there in Week 4.