It's hard to bench someone playing as well as Manning is right now. The 49ers are middle-of-the-road in terms of fantasy points allowed to QBs. Although some are predicting a low-scoring game, it looks like Hakeem Nicks will play, bumping this matchup up a bit.
Finally getting substantial touches, Jacobs had his best game of the season against the Patriots. Don't expect similar results this week; the 49ers allow the least rush yards and the least fantasy points to running backs. Jacobs is a borderline RB2, but I'd look elsewhere.
The Niners can be beaten through the air, and Manning will look to get his number one target involved often if he is truly healthy. San Francisco doesn't have anyone who can cover Nicks one-on-one, so if Nicks can play a full complement of snaps, he should put up solid numbers. There are always risks with trusting a player who is not 100%, however, especially considering that this is a 4:00 game.
With big contributions in five of his last six games, Cruz has moved into every week starter territory. He is getting consistent targets and is always a threat to take one all the way. Although it looks like he's not one of Eli's preferred red-zone targets, that hasn't been a hindrance in the past. At this point, he's more of a sure thing than Nicks.
He's fallen below Cruz in the receiver totem pole, but with touchdowns in two straight (and a couple of near-misses against Buffalo), it appears that Manningham is still one of Eli's preferred target.
Yes, the former Buckeye had a big-time game last week, but it was a quiet day until the final drive. He's been consistent, with 55 yards or a touchdown in six of eight games, and is suddenly someone who should be owned in all leagues, as Manning loves to target him near the goal line. Still, don't expect 65 yards and a touchdown every week.
Although Alex Smith has limited his turnovers this season, he has not had to deal with a pass rush like the one he will see this week. If they get an early lead, the Giants may be able to force a few sacks and interceptions, but they've been far too inconsistent to bank on that happening. The Niners are allowing only the 8th least fantasy points to opposing defenses. As always with defenses, there's some volatility here.
49ers Worth Starting
The Giants rank 21st against fantasy running backs, making Frank Gore (matchup: 8.5) a no-brainer, as always. Michael Crabtree (matchup: 6.5) has had a growing presence in this offense, but its hard to count on any wide receiver with Alex Smith's limited upside and the 49ers' run-heavy offense.
Vernon Davis (matchup: 6.5) is the team's most explosive weapon in the passing game, but he's been asked to block far too much and been targeted far too seldom to be considered the top-flight option he has been in the past. The Giants have been victimized by big, athletic tight ends (Fred Davis, Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski), so if the 49ers are ever going to feature Davis, this is the week.
The 49ers Defense (matchup: 7) is the third ranked fantasy defense, behind only the Ravens and Jets. However, the Giants are allowing the 10th fewest points to fantasy defenses, making this a tough call. In fact, if you take out the two games in which the Giants' offense allowed defensive touchdowns, they are giving up 1.5 fantasy points per game, so if the 49ers don't force a defensive touchdown, it could be a rough day.