I was scouring the preseason box scores looking for intelligence that may make or break a fantasy season when I came across the 49’ers and Chiefs game where the 49’ers thumped the Chiefs 24-6. There was a lot of sloppy ball on both sides of the ball as both teams punted five times, the 49’ers had six penalties for 50 yards (a coaches worst nightmare) and they fumbled the ball another five times. What you’d expect from early preseason ball for sure but something stood out to me in this contest.
Starting QB Jeff Garcia sat this one out with a sore back. Supposedly nothing to worry about as he hasn’t had a back issue before and since new coach Dennis Erickson has his team at full contact with pads and it’s early August, it’s not surprising Garcia may have taken a few licks. But the eye opener to me was what the 49’ers did without Garcia at the helm. Sure there were one’s against two’s and two’s against one’s and three’s against three’s but as a team, the 49’ers had 3 QB’s play the game, Tim Rattay, Ken Dorsey and Brandon Doman and collectively they were 23/28 for 230 yards with 3 TD’s and 0 INT’s. That’s pretty darn good. Tim Rattay went 8/9 and ran the offense near flawlessly with a TD. Brandon Doman went 11/12, again, near flawless.
What this should tell you is not that Brandon Doman is a good QB but that the 49’ers may have a heck of a line this season with depth and with guys like Terrell Owens and Tai Streets flying around they’re going to have the extra time to get open.
To underscore the point, the 49’ers spread the ball around to 14 different players. This while they were busy airing it out all over the field with success to any warm body in a 49’ers uniform. In particular a 39-yarder to Brandon Lloyd, the running game manufactured 122 yards. That’s solid ground support.
Terrell Owens has already sat some due to a sore groin and that’s troublesome to me. I’ve seen this kind of thing happen before, Years ago I declared Isaac Bruce as the best WR to never get to play the game because of his hamstrings (I’m not sure why I use examples that always hurt my argument),. While I’m not quite ready to declare Terrell Owens a high injury risk quite yet, I have a tickle in my being that says something isn’t right with that situation. I’ll bet fantasy players will get burned for a few games because of it.
The one guy I think benefits the most from everything I’m seeing and boiling down is WR Tai Streets. Streets is flying low under the radar in a lot of drafts this season. Certainly, don’t go draft him in the 2nd round as that’s just foolish, but, Streets is one of those guys you should target. The situation is too good to ignore because if Garcia goes down or struggles, Tim Rattay can step in and maybe, just maybe, run this offense better. He has a fantastic arm, has prototypical size and the only reason he isn’t a solid NFL QB on your radar is opportunity. Watch out if he gets the opportunity, he may not give it back.
When Terrell Owens does play he’s the most watched guy on the field by the defense and that will force Garcia, or maybe Rattay, to Streets. Bottom line, Tai Streets can get it done. For some reason people don’t seem to know all that much about Streets this season which is why he’s flying low. Last season the 49’ers started the “JJ Stokes experiment” once again till about Week 6 or 7 when they made the shift to Streets as their #2. Streets on the season had 72 receptions for 756 yards and 5 TD’s. If you follow me at all you know I utilize splits from last season to help determine where a player like Streets is trending this season. Looking at his games 9 -16 and doubling for an entire season, Tai Streets would have had 92 receptions for 860 yards and 6 TD’s on the season.
It’s all about opportunity in the NFL and how that translates to fantasy football. Give me the 8 guys with the most opportunity on my fantasy team and I’ll win running away. 860 yards and 6 TD’s isn’t that much to get excited about but 92 receptions sure are. You never know when all that opportunity will result in 2 or 3 more broken tackles this season that translates into a 92 reception, 1,000 yard 10 TD player. Tai Streets may not be as far away as you think. Keep an eye on him in your draft and grab him when the time is right. I bet you’ll be glad you did.