The San Francisco 49ers bested the Arizona Cardinals, 28-25, on Thursday night in a NFC West showdown and moved to 8-0 on the season. The Cardinals rallied late by scoring eleven points in the fourth quarter, including an 88-yard touchdown pass from Kyler Murray to Andy Isabella, but ultimately came up short, falling to 3-5-1.
Trade deadline acquisitions — Kenyan Drake for the Cardinals and Emmanuel Sanders for the 49ers — played big roles in Thursday’s game. Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, and Matt Breida also had big fantasy performances.
Here are six things you need to know for fantasy football:
1. Kenyan Drake explodes in first appearance for the Cardinals; Alfred Morris a non-factor
Drake had a 36-yard run on the Cardinals’ first play of the game and scored a four-yard touchdown to end the drive. He finished the day with 15 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown, and four catches for 52 yards. Drake was acquired from the Miami Dolphins at the trade deadline due to injuries to David Johnson and Chase Edmonds. With both ruled out for the game, Drake led the team in rushing and will continue to play a big role in this offense while they are out. Alfred Morris only had one carry for four yards. It’s safe to say that Drake will be the workhorse back with Johnson and Edmonds sidelined.
2. George Kittle injured early, scores touchdown
Kittle exited the game following the first snap after taking a helmet hit to the knee. He walked off on his own and went right to the injury tent. He returned a couple of drives later and ended the game with six catches for 79 yards and a touchdown, which came in the first quarter. He was in visible pain, however, and was absent from the 49ers final drive of the game. If he were to miss any time, Ross Dwelley is San Francisco’s backup tight end. Dwelley caught all four targets for 29 yards.
3. Jimmy Garoppolo has best game for fantasy this year
Garoppolo shed his game manager label and attempted a season-high 37 passes for 28 completions and 317 yards. He connected with four different receivers: Sanders, Kittle, Dante Pettis and Kendrick Bourne. Garoppolo’s first career four-touchdown game and first 300-yard passing game this year comes against a bad Cardinals defense, which has given up the most points to opposing quarterbacks this year. His matchups over the next three weeks will be more challenging: the Packers, Ravens and Saints come next.
4. Emmanuel Sanders a welcome addition to weak 49ers receiving corps
Sanders led the team in receiving and caught seven of nine targets for 112 yards and a touchdown. Absent other competition, with Marquise Goodwin sidelined, Sanders has fit into the No. 1 wide receiver role nicely.
5. Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman split carries
Despite being a game-time decision, Breida led the team in rushing with 15 carries for 78 yards, and had two catches for 14 yards. Coleman was less efficient and had 12 carries for 23 yards and two catches for 13 yards. Raheem Mostert had one carry for negative two yards. He is not relevant in fantasy when both Breida and Coleman are on the field.
6. Kyler Murray has a performant evening against a top defense
Expectations were tempered for Murray going into this game up against the second-best defense in the league. He managed to eke out a nice fantasy evening with 17 completions on 24 attempts for 241 yards and two touchdowns. Aside from Drake, he was the only other Cardinal to be involved in the rushing game in any significant way with five carries for 34 yards. This was a nice bounce back after struggling in two games against the Giants and Saints in which he had zero touchdowns. Murray should keep the momentum rolling in a cupcake Week 10 matchup in Tampa Bay.