Redskins

49ers win NFC West with 27-13 victory over Arizona

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49ers win NFC West with 27-13 victory over Arizona

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) His new red NFC West champion hat on backward, Donte Whitner stayed put at his locker with eyes glued to the Packers-Vikings game on the television above him - the matchup that would determine San Francisco's playoff positioning.

The safety rooted for Minnesota's Adrian Peterson with multiple chants of, ``Break a long one, AP!''

The scene was the same around the 49ers' cramped locker room after their 27-13 win against Arizona on Sunday - and everybody cheered when Blair Walsh's 29-yard field goal sailed through the uprights for the Vikings as time expired to give San Francisco a first-round playoff bye.

The 49ers had to wait all of about 15 minutes once their game ended to really start celebrating.

Albeit briefly, considering Jim Harbaugh is their coach. He will get this group back to work in a hurry to prepare for the NFC divisional playoffs at home the night of Jan. 12.

Yet on this day, Harbaugh offered plenty of praise for the offensive tandem of Colin Kaepernick and Michael Crabtree.

``I thought Michael and Colin really got us going,'' he said. ``That was a great spark those guys gave us.''

Crabtree's career day and dazzling catch-making display sent San Francisco to a second straight division title and into the playoffs with some much-needed momentum.

Crabtree caught touchdown passes of 49 and 7 yards and finished with a career-high 172 yards on eight receptions, leading the 49ers to another rout of Arizona after a slow start.

Kaepernick threw for a career-best 276 yards and two TDs as the Niners (11-4-1) did their part to control their postseason fate - then waited all of about 15 minutes to watch Minnesota beat Green Bay and give San Francisco the NFC's No. 2 seed and a week off before hosting a divisional playoff game.

``It means a lot,'' linebacker Patrick Willis said. ``I was just telling some of the guys that it's something we don't take for granted. I don't.''

Frank Gore ran for a 2-yard score early in the fourth quarter for his franchise-best 51st touchdown rushing, breaking a tie with mentor Roger Craig and late Hall of Famer Joe Perry.

With yet another new face under center, the Cardinals (5-11) lost for the 11th time in their last 12 games in what might have been Ken Whisenhunt's final game as coach. Brian Hoyer went 19 of 34 for 225 yards and a late TD toss in his first NFL start as Arizona's fourth quarterback this season.

He couldn't keep up with Crabtree and Kaepernick.

Crabtree's outstanding outing was the best by a 49ers receiver since Terrell Owens' 166-yard performance on Nov. 25, 2002, against Philadelphia.

``My dude made it happen,'' Crabtree said, looking at Kaepernick. ``I'm really focused on these playoffs.''

Crabtree caught a 31-yard pass to set up his team-leading eighth TD reception on the next play. The sequence put him over 1,000 yards, giving San Francisco its first 1,000-yard receiver since T.O. in 2003.

On the next series, Crabtree made a pretty, one-handed grab with his right hand along the left sideline on third-and-11 for a 19-yard gain and first down. He made a 14-yard catch on fourth down late in the third, and later converted another fourth down with a reception of 7 yards.

What a boost for an injury-depleted receiving corps missing Mario Manningham for the rest of the season because of a knee injury. Plus, tight end Vernon Davis was limited a week after sustaining a concussion.

Struggling San Francisco kicker David Akers missed wide left on a 44-yard field goal attempt midway through the second quarter, then did it again with nearly the same kick - from 40 yards this time - 24 seconds before halftime. Akers put his hands on his knees and closed his eyes in frustration as boos rained down from the sellout crowd at Candlestick Park.

He missed for the fourth time in his last eight spanning three games and 13th time in 40 tries after setting an NFL single-season record with 44 field goals in 52 attempts last year. Akers bounced back by nailing one from 43 yards early in the second half but was later clipped in his kicking foot by Arizona's Justin Bethel. Akers stayed in the game, then booted a 26-yard field goal with just more than 9 minutes remaining.

Coach Jim Harbaugh didn't rule out a change.

``We'll evaluate that,'' he said. ``It's his job to make the kicks.''

Hoyer exhibited poise in the early moments. He completed seven of his first 13 passes and three straight - for 7, 15 and 12 yards - during one drive as Arizona took a 3-0 lead on Jay Feely's 35-yard field goal late in the first quarter. Feely added a 31-yarder early in the second to make it 6-0.

The Cardinals outgained the 49ers 129-15 in the opening quarter and held San Francisco without a first down.

But that didn't last long.

Arizona ended a six-game stretch without a touchdown pass when Hoyer hit Michael Floyd on a late 37-yard score. Floyd had eight catches for 166 yards.

The Cardinals pounded the ball toward the right side of San Francisco's defensive line where Pro Bowler Justin Smith had been stout against the run all season before getting hurt two weeks ago. Now, San Francisco has an extra week for Smith to heal.

``Today's game kind of mirrored our season,'' Whisenhunt said. ``I'm proud of the way our team's worked. You understand this is part of the business. We haven't won enough games this year.''

Former starting quarterback Alex Smith made what could have been his final appearance in a 49ers uniform when he entered the game with 5:57 to go - playing to chants of ``Let's Go, Alex!'' and ``Alex! Alex!''

``It was humbling,'' Smith said. ``It was very surreal.''

Quick Links

Fantasy Football QB Rankings 2019 2.1

Fantasy Football QB Rankings 2019 2.1

With the preseason off and running it is finally time for fantasy football leagues to do the same. Andrew Luck's sudden retirement shook up the sports world and will absolutely alter fantasy football drafting strategies.

For a tiered breakdown of each fantasy football position, click below:

Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End

Quarterback always seems to be the murkiest position during fantasy drafts. There is always that one person that selects Aaron Rodgers, and now this year Patrick Mahomes, WAY too early and throws the remainder of the draft selections out of proportions. The best methodology is to select your quarterback as far back in the draft as possible. The dangers of selecting too early vary, and it's not worth it to blow that high of a pick on a player who puts up comparable stats to someone you can grab much later

TIER 1: Showtime

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
2018 Stats: 5,097 Passing YDs, 50 Passing TD, 12 INT, 272 Rushing YDS, 2 Rushing TD, 2018 QB1
Previous Ranking: 1

TIER 2: Elite Starters

2. DeShaun Watson, Houston Texans
2018 Stats: 4,165 Passing YDS, 26 Passing TD, 9 INT, 551 Rushing YDS, 5 Rush TD, 2018 QB4
Previous Ranking: 2

3. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
2017 Stats: 3,296 Passing YDS, 33 Passing TD, 7 INT, 299 Rushing YDS, 2017 QB5
Previous Ranking: 4

4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
2018 Stats: 4,442 Passing YDS, 25 Passing TD, 2 INT, 269 Rushing YDS, 2 Rushing TD, 2018 QB6
Previous Ranking: 5

TIER 3: Near Elite

5. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
2018 Stats: 3,725 Passing YDS, 26 Passing TD, 14 INT, 131 Rushing YDS, 2018 QB16
Previous Ranking: 6

6. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
2018 Stats: 4,924 Passing YDS, 35 Passing TD, 7 INT, 3 Rushing TD, 2018 QB2
Previous Ranking: 7

7. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
​​​​​​2018 Stats: 3,395 Passing YDS, 24 Passing TD, 13 INT, 488 Rushing YDS, 4 Rushing TD, 2018 QB13
Previous Ranking: 8

8. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
2018 Stats: 3,992 Passing YDS, 32 Passing TD, 5 INT, 22 Rushing YDS, 4 Rushing TD, 2018 QB8
Previous Ranking: 9

TIER 4: Late-round options

9. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
2018 Stats: 3,448 Passing YDS, 35 Passing TD, 7 INT, 376 Rushing YDS, 2018 QB9
Previous Ranking: 10

10. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
​​​​​​2018 Stats: 4,308 Passing YDS, 32 Passing TD, 12 INT, 2018 QB11
Previous Ranking: 11

11. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Previous Ranking:
 12

12. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2018 Stats: 2,992 Passing YDS, 19 Passing TD, 14 INT, 2018 QB21
Previous Ranking: 13

TIER 5: Potential is there

13. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
2018 Stats: 4,688 Passing YDS, 32 Passing TD, 12 INT, 108 Rushing YDS, 2 Rushing TD, 2018 QB7
Previous Ranking: 14

14. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
2018 Stats: 5,129 Passing YDS, 34 Passing TD, 15 INT, 98 Rushing YDS, 3 Rushing TD, 2018 QB3
Previous Ranking: 15

TIER 6: Backup Options

15. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears

2018 Stats: 3,223 Passing YDS, 24 Passing TD, 12 INT, 421 Rushing YDS, 3 Rushing TD, 2018 QB15
Previous Ranking: 16

16. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
2018 Stats: 4,298 Passing YDS, 30 Passing TD, 10 INT, 123 Rushing YDS, 1 Rushing TD, 2018 QB12
Previous Ranking: 17

17. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
2018 Stats: 2,074 Passing YDS, 10 Passing TD, 12 INT, 639 Rushing YDS, 8 Rushing TD, 2018 QB21
Previous Ranking: 18

18. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
2018 Stats: 3,885 Passing YDS, 22 Passing TD, 8 INT, 305 Rushing YDS, 6 Rushing TD, 2018 QB10
Previous Ranking: 19

19. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
2018 Stats: 1,201 Passing YDS, 6 Passing TD, 3 INT, 695 Rushing YDS, 5 Rushing TD, 2018 QB28
Previous Ranking: 20

20. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
2018: Tore ACL in Game 3
Previous Ranking: 21

21. Nick Foles, Jacksonville Jaguars
2018 Stats: 1,413 Passing YDS, 7 Passing TD, 4 INT, 2018 QB35
Previous Ranking: 22

22. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
2018 Stats: 4,049 Passing YDS, 19 Passing TD, 10 INT, 2018 QB17
Previous Ranking: 23

23. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
2018 Stats: 4,355 Passing YDS, 29 Passing TD, 11 INT, 2 Rushing TD, 2018 QB14
Previous Ranking: 24

24. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
2018 Stats: 3,777 Passing YDS, 21 Passing TD, 11 INT, 2018 QB19
Previous Ranking: 25

25. Sam Darnold, New York Jets
2018 Stats:
2,865 Passing YDS, 17 Passing TD, 15 INT, QB26
Previous Ranking: NR

Quick Links

Fantasy Football WR Rankings 2019 2.1

Fantasy Football WR Rankings 2019 2.1

With the preseason off and running it is finally time for fantasy football leagues to do the same.

For a tiered breakdown of each fantasy football position, click below:

Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End

By far the deepest position in fantasy football, wide receiver is also the hardest to predict. Statistics will yield trends in terms of matchups and volume, but can't account for injuries, whether or not the player is heavily targeted in one game or the next, or if a player in a good situation gets moved to an iffy one (see Golden Tate) or vice versa (see Amari Cooper). Some opt to select their wideouts later than others, but some wideouts (see DeAndre Hopkins) will put up just as good numbers as the best halfbacks that you can't afford to miss on them if you are selecting towards the back end of your draft.

TIER 1: First-round talent

1. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans

2018 Stats: 115 Receptions, 1,572 Receiving YDS, 11 Receiving TD, 2018 WR1
Previous Ranking: 1

2. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
2018 Stats: 111 Receptions, 1,386 Receiving YDS, 13 Receiving TD, 2018 WR2
Previous Ranking: 2

3. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
2018 Stats: 125 Receptions, 1,405 Receiving YDS, 9 Receiving TD, 2018 WR6
Previous Ranking: 4

4. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
2018 Stats: 113 Receptions, 1,677 Receiving YDS, 8 Receiving TD, 2018 WR4
Previous Ranking: 5

TIER 2: Borderline WR1's

5. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys
2018 Stats: 75 Receptions, 1,005 Receiving YDS, 7 Receiving TD, 2018 WR19
Previous Ranking: 3

6. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
2018 Stats: 87 Receptions, 1,479 Receiving YDS, 12 Receiving TD, 2018 WR3
Previous Ranking: 13

7. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
2018 Stats: 111 Receptions, 1,426 Receiving YDS, 7 Receiving TD, 2018 WR8
Previous Ranking: 8

8. Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns
2018 Stats: 106 Passing YDS, 2 Passing TD, 77 Receptions, 1,052 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR15
Previous Ranking: 6

9. Antonio Brown, Oakland Raiders?
2018 Stats: 104 Receptions, 1,297 Receiving YDS, 15 Receiving TD, 2018 WR5
Previous Ranking: 12

10. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
2018 Stats: 97 Receptions, 1,196 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR12
Previous Ranking: 9

11. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
2018 Stats: 113 Receptions, 1,373 Receiving YDS, 9 Receiving TD, 2018 WR7
Previous Ranking: 7

12. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
2018 Stats: 76 Receptions, 1,270 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR14
Previous Ranking: 17

13. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2018 Stats: 86 Receptions, 1,524 Receiving YDS, 8 Receiving TD, 2018 WR9
Previous Ranking: 11

TIER 3: High-end WR2's

14. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams

2018 Stats: 40 Receptions, 566 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR50
Previous Ranking: 10

15. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings
2018 Stats: 102 Receptions, 1,021 Receiving YDS, 9 Receiving TD, 2018 WR10
Previous Ranking: 16

16. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
2018 Stats: 57 Receptions, 965 Receiving YDS, 10 Receiving TD, 2018 WR16
Previous Ranking: 20

17. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams
2018 Stats: 157 Rushing YDS, 1 Rushing TD, 86 Receptions, 1,219 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR11
Previous Ranking: 15

18. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
2018 Stats: 74 Receptions, 850 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR20
Previous Ranking: 29

TIER 4: On the cusp

19. Brandin Cooks, Los Angeles Rams

2018 Stats: 1 Rushing TD, 80 Receptions, 1,204 Receiving YDS, 5 Receiving TD, 2018 WR13
Previous Ranking: 18

20. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
2018 Stats: 70 Receptions, 1,063 Receiving YDS, 5 Receiving TD, 2018 WR21
Previous Ranking: 19

21. AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals
2018 Stats: 46 Receptions, 694 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR43
Previous Ranking: 14

22. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2018 Stats: 59 Receptions, 842 Receiving YDS, 7 Receiving TD, 2018 WR27
Previous Ranking: 21

23. D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
2018 Stats: 172 Rushing YDS, 55 Receptions, 788 Receiving YDS, 2 Receiving TD, 2018 WR36
Previous Ranking: 22

24. Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals
2018 Stats: 76 Receptions, 1,028 Receiving YDS, 7 Receiving TD, 2018 WR17
Previous Ranking: 26

25. Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers
2018 Stats: 1 Rushing TD, 43 Receptions, 664 Receiving YDS, 10 Receiving TD, 2018 WR32
Previous Ranking: 39

26. Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
2018 Stats: 65 Receptions, 843 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR26
Previous Ranking: 32

TIER 5: Best of the rest and late-round finds

27. Josh Gordon, New England Patriots 

2018 Stats: 41 Receptions, 737 Receiving YDS, 4 Receiving TD, 2018 WR47
Previous Ranking: NR

28. Will Fuller V, Houston Texans
2018 Stats: 32 Receptions, 503 Receiving YDS, 4 Receiving TD, 2018 WR68 
Previous Ranking
: 23

29. Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns
2018 Stats: 1 Rushing TD, 81 Receptions, 976 Receiving YDS, 4 Receiving TD, 2018 WR18
Previous Ranking: 25

30. Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans
2018 Stats: 65 Receptions, 891 Receiving YDS, 4 Receiving TD, 2018 WR28
Previous Ranking: 35

31. Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
2018 Stats: 64 Receptions, 821 Receiving YDS, 10 Receiving TD, 2018 WR22
Previous Ranking: 38

32. Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears
2018 Stats: 55 Receptions, 754 Receiving YDS, 4 Receiving TD, 2018 WR39
Previous Ranking: 28

33. Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions
2018 Stats: 35 Receptions, 508 Receiving YDS, 5 Receiving TD, 2018 WR62
Previous Ranking: 27

34. Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs
2018 Stats: 40 Receptions, 519 Receiving YDS, 3 Receiving TD, 2018 WR63
Previous Ranking: 24

35. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
2018 Stats: 1 Passing TD, 69 Receptions, 734 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR25
Previous Ranking: 30

36. Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears
2018 Stats: 33 Receptions, 423 Receiving YDS, 7 Receiving TD, 2018 WR59
Previous Ranking: NR

37. Devin Funchess, Indianapolis Colts
2018 Stats: 44 Receptions, 549 Receiving YDS, 4 Receiving TD, 2018 WR58
Previous Ranking: 31

38. Robby Anderson, New York Jets
2018 Stats: 50 Receptions, 752 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR38
Previous Ranking: 37

39. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
2018 Stats: 1 Rushing TD, 41 Receptions, 774 Receiving YDS, 4 Receiving TD, 2018 WR41
Previous Ranking: 40

40. Golden Tate, New York Giants
2018 Stats: 74 Receptions, 795 Receiving YDS, 4 Receiving TD, 2018 WR29
Previous Ranking: 34