That’s because one of the many scary dudes on the 49ers defense likely won’t play tonight. Less scary men = a slightly less scary fantasy starting quarterback.
San Francisco has been trying to say as little as possible about the status of Justin Smith’s elbow this week. That attempt at confusion came to a head Friday when the defensive end was listed as doubtful, and then head coach Jim Harbaugh called him questionable. Funny guy, that Jim.
But predictably, it’s now becoming clear that Smith won’t play, and when the inactives for tonight’s primetime divisional clash are announced around 7 p.m. ET, his name will be on that digital communication. For those who are currently pondering starting Wilson against one of the league’s best defenses, that’s splendid news.
Sure, the Niners still have that other really good Smith guy. I believe his first name is Aldon, and he has 19.5 sacks, with an opportunity to break the single-season sack record over the final two weeks. But due to both his mobility and the Seahawk’s strong offensive line, Wilson isn’t sacked much, as he’s only had two games this year when he’s been taken down more than twice. And indeed, when these two teams first met this year back in Week 7, Wilson was sacked only two times.
So if you were contemplating a risk with Wilson and needed a little bit of last-minute encouragment, welp, there you have it, as Seattle’s O-line will now be able to concentrate on stopping Aldon Smith when Wilson drops back to pass, and pretty much only Aldon Smith. He has over half of the 49ers’ sacks this year (55 percent), and while he obviously has tremendous and rare skill off the edge, the presence of Justin Smith on the other side has helped those numbers.
There’s also the matter of containing Wilson when he looks to run, a task that will become more difficult now without Justin Smith’s outside speed and lateral movement.