The San Francisco 49ers will have a very new look in 2009.
The team’s offense will now be run by coordinator Jimmy Raye, who promises to run the football much more than his predecessor, Mike Martz. That’s positive news for the value of Frank Gore, who should post solid numbers if he can avoid injuries.
While Gore is a staple from seasons past, the Niners’ pass attack will have new components in prominent roles.
Shaun Hill is clearly the favorite to open the season as the No. 1 quarterback, and he’ll be a viable fantasy sleeper if he can fend off Alex Smith and Damon Huard in training camp.
The Niners will also have a new pair of starting wide receivers, as Josh Morgan and Brandon Jones appear to have moved up the depth chart.
Morgan, another nice sleeper in fantasy circles, has high expectations.
In fact, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that the team expects him to emerge into a “top-flight” wideout at split end in 2009. Jones saw time in the “Z” or flanker spot in a recent workout.
Isaac Bruce, who could decide to retire, played in that spot last season. If the veteran does decide to return, it could be in a reserve role.
Raye has also expressed his desire to utilize TE Vernon Davis in the pass attack. He even went so far as to describe Davis as a matchup “nightmare” for opposing defenses.
The veteran tight end won’t become a fantasy superstar, but a season with 50 receptions and 500-plus yards is much more likely this season. Those numbers would make him worth a late-round pick in most drafts.
Fantasy leaguers won’t mistake the 2009 Niners for the teams that featured stars like Joe Montana, Roger Craig, Jerry Rice or Brent Jones, but there is some definite value on the roster.
Much like the actual 49ers did back in the Gold Rush days of 1849, you just have dig around to find it.