When the Chicago Bears (7-2) take on the San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1) tonight at Candlestick Park the entire football world will be paying close attention considering that this game has a wide array of different playoff seeding implications. By no means does this indicate that we can expect much in terms of fantasy production on ESPN tonight.
Here are the defensive stats for both Chicago and San Francisco entering this heavyweight Week 11 bout.
| Team || PPG || Pass || Rush || Total |
| Chicago || 14.8 (2nd) || 215.0 (10th) || 92.3 (4th) || 307.3 (5th) |
| San Francisco || 14.1 (1st) || 196.8 (3rd) || 95.3 (8th) || 292.1 (2nd) |
As you can see above, both teams rank in the top 10 in each major defensive category. Jay Cutler has been ruled out for Chicago after he suffered a concussion against the Houston Texans last week. This means that Jason Campbell will get the start against a pass defense that ranks third in the NFL.
Meanwhile, Alex Smith is also out with a concussion. San Francisco confirmed that Smith will not play tonight against Chicago. This leaves Colin Kaepernick as the 49ers starting quarterback against one of the best defenses in the league.
With that in mind, let's take a look at each key offensive performer and how they will fare tonight in terms of their fantasy impacts. Of course there won't be a whole heck of a lot to see here.
Jason Campbell, Quarterback, Chicago Bears
If you are relying on Campbell to have any type of fantasy impact tonight you are already in too much of a bind to even worry about winning this week. If you are looking at Campbell as a long-term under-the radar option, that isn't going to happen either. He is a spot start going up against a top five pass defense on the road on Monday Night Football. Nothing to see here as Campbell will be lucky to accumulate more than seven fantasy points against the 49ers.
Colin Kaepernick, Quarterback, San Francisco 49ers
With Smith unable to go, this second-year quarterback from Nevada gets a shot to prove that he is the 49ers starting quarterback of the future. Kaepernick has thrown only 31 passes in his NFL career and is as raw as they come. He did, however, play strong against the St. Louis Rams last week and finished just behind Tom Brady in fantasy points. Kaepernick brings more to the table in terms of fantasy value than Smith.
He has gained nearly 200 yards on the ground this season and is a threat to take it the distance every time he runs the ball. His success here is going to be predicated on playing mistake free football. For the 0.3 percent of fantasy players that have Kaepernick, this should be interesting. For the rest of us, his performance can give us a better understanding of where he stands in dynasty leagues.
Matt Forte, Running Back, Chicago Bears
Normally, I would say that any running back going up against the 49ers is a must sit. After a couple weeks of struggles in the front seven, San Francisco now appears to be vulnerable against the run. Magnifiying Forte's possible fantasy production tonight is the fact that Chicago will be relying a great deal on the run game with Campbell, not Cutler, behind center.
That being said, Forte ranks 19th among running backs in fantasy points and will have to fend off what has to be an angry San Francisco defense that ranks second overall. I don't like the looks of this for the former Pro Bowl 'back.
Michael Bush, Running Back, Chicago Bears
Bush should get the necessary touches here. Whether he actually makes an impact with the carries that he does get is an entirely different story. The only way that Bush makes a dramatic fantasy impact is if he gets on the field on multiple red zone opportunities. Do you see that happening against San Francisco? I don't.
Frank Gore, Running Back, San Francisco 49ers
This dude just continues to defy the notion that older running backs cannot make a consistent impact. Gore ranks second in the NFL among regular running backs with a 5.4 yards per carry average. More importantly for fantasy owners, Gore is averaging 13 points and about 100 total yards per game this season.
While Gore is going up against the fourth ranked rush defense in the NFL, he has had success against elite units this season. He has gone up against four top 10 rush defenses this season and is averaging 110 yards per outing in those games. Expect him to get the carries and provide the production of a RB1 option tonight.
Kendall Hunter, Running Back, San Francisco 49ers
I just don't envision Hunter getting the necessary touches to even be a solid FLEX option tonight. While the second-year running back has had a stellar campaign in 2012, Gore is going to get a vast majority of the carries tonight.
Brandon Marshall, Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears
Marshall's production depends on who the 49ers decide to line up against him. Carlos Rogers has been somewhat of a disappointment following career season in 2011. He has been consistently beat by opposing No. 1 wide receivers. If San Francisco decides to put Chris Culliver, who is having a Pro Bowl caliber season, against Marshall I don't see the latter having a tremendous fantasy game.
Equally as important, Chicago is missing Cutler in this game. Will Campbell actually be able to get the ball to the outside against a top three pass defense? Marshall is a must start every week, but I am expecting a down game tonight.
Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears
After a solid start to the season, Jeffery has been hit with the injury bug recently and isn't at 100 percent. He was a full participant in Friday's practice, but will leave a lot to be desired in terms of fantasy production. Even as Campbell's secondary receiver, I just don't see Jeffery getting the necessary targets to make much of an impact.
Michael Crabtree, Wide Receiver, San Francisco 49ers
Don't look now, but Crabtree is quickly becoming a viable fantasy option. He has put up 10 catches for 142 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games. More impressive is the fact that he did this against the likes of Patrick Peterson and Cortland Finnegan. In short, Crabtree will not disappear against Charles Tillman tonight.
Am I expecting WR1 numbers tonight? Of course not. I do, however, believe that Crabtree can be penciled down for 70 yards and a touchdown.
Randy Moss, Wide Receiver, San Francisco 49ers
As I have stated in the past, Moss is a no go in PPR league. He will, however, help out a great deal if he is able to get the ball deep. Moss has only 15 receptions this season, but is averaging nearly 17 per pop. I am expecting Kaepernick to look deep a couple times. If so, the future Hall of Fame receiver could put up a big play or two.
Kellen Davis, Tight End, Chicago Bears
While Campbell might have to rely on his tight end a great deal tonight, I don't see San Francisco giving up too much against this lackluster tight end. The likes of NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis and Dashon Goldson going up against Davis cannot look good for the Bears. Davis has actually put up negative fantasy points in his last two games. That's hard to do.
Vernon Davis, Tight End, San Francisco 49ers
This Davis started out the season extremely well. He was the best fantasy tight end in the NFL through three weeks. Then something changed. The former Pro Bowler became a lost man in San Francisco's passing game and was being relied on to block more than receive. Davis has 101 total yards and just over 10 fantasy points in his last four games. Simply put, it is all about Smith actually going to him.