27. San Francisco 49ers
Coach: Mike Singletary (first full season).
Last year: 7-9 (Singletary was 5-4 after taking over for Mike Nolan).
NFL rankings: Offense - 23rd in yards, 22nd in scoring; Defense - 13th in yards and 23rd in points.
Additions: FB Moran Norris, QB Damon Huard, DE Demetric Evans, OT Marvel Smith, CB Dre Bly, S Jimmy Williams and rookie WR Michael Crabtree.
Substractions: WR Bryant Johnson, OT Jonas Jennings, QB J.T. O’Sullivan, S Keith Lewis, LB Tully Banta-Cain.
Overview: San Francisco will certainly be a tough team to play - Singletary will count on that. But the 49ers need too many things to go right to overtake Arizona in the NFC West. The quarterback job appears to be Shaun Hill’s to lose and with Frank Gore, the 49ers will run it. The WR spot is a little thin - Isaac Bruce is 36 and Michael Crabtree is a rookie. Defensively, San Francisco is exclusively a 3-4 team but it had only 30 sacks last year and didn’t add a pass rusher. CB Walt Harris has already been lost for the year with a knee injury. The 49ers will be solid against the run with ILBs Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes.
Fantasy pick: RB Frank Gore. The 49ers are expected to run more this year with Mike Martz out as play caller. Gore rushed 240 times for 1,036 yards and six TDs last year.
Offense: QB Shaun Hill, FB Moran Norris, RB Frank Gore, WR Michael Crabtree, WR Isaac Bruce, TE Vernon Davis, LT Joe Staley, LG David Baas, C Eric Heitmann, RG Chilo Rachal, RT Marvel Smith.
Defense: DE Ray McDonald, NT Isaac Sopoaga, DE Justin Smith, OLB Parys Haralson, ILB Takeo Spikes, ILB Patrick Willis, OLB Manny Lawson, CB Dre Bly, SS Michael Lewis, FS Dashon Goldson, CB Nate Clements.
Specialists: K Joe Nedney, P Andy Lee, KR/PR Allen Rossum.
Projected record: 5-11 (third in NFC West). The 49ers have a tough opening three games - at Arizona, vs. Seattle, at Minnesota and a middle section of at Indianapolis, vs. Tennessee, vs. Chicago, at Green Bay. San Francisco’s offense isn’t good enough to challenge Arizona (or Seattle) in the division.