If you had paid any attention to the Giants/49ers game, you would have noticed that the 49ers had kept Frank Gore, who went into the game with an ankle injury, on the sidelines. The announcers had mentioned it several times as well. Gore didn't look very good during the early part of the game, rushing six times for zero yards. He did manage to play most of the first half, but then a knee injury derailed him and he was knocked out for much of the third and all of the fourth quarter. Not good news for Gore owners who have had to deal with the talented, yet injury prone, player in the past.
Word came out Tuesday that coach Jim Harbaugh is hinting at the possibility of limiting Gore's workload in the team's Week 11 matchup against the Cardinals.
And with that news, I'd like to introduce to you my Week 11 Sleeper Special: Kendall Hunter.
There are two reasons why the 49ers shouldn't feel inclined to force Gore back and use Hunter more than usual in Week 11's game:
1. The 49ers' record: At 8-1, they are a full 5 games ahead of the Seahawks, who stand at 3-6. And in the NFC, they are still a full 2 games ahead of the Giants and the Saints for the No. 2 seed behind the undefeated Packers. I know every win counts. But against the Cardinals, there is no reason why the 49ers can't win without Gore, especially with Hunter's stats. Which leads me to my second reason.
2. Hunter's 2011 Stats: Those should speak for themselves. Unlike other rookie backups in the league, Hunter has had plenty of opportunities to show his worth as Gore's backup. While he is only averaging 28.6 rushing yards a game, his 4.8 yards a carry is rock solid. That right there will give Harbaugh enough reason to lean on Hunter in what figures to be a juicy matchup against a Cardinals Defense that is giving up a little over 19 fantasy points a game to running backs. While Gore was out against New York, Hunter handled himself like a pro, rushing 6 times for 40 yards and gaining a rushing touchdown. Even if Gore does start, I strongly suspect Harbaugh will stick to his guns and let Hunter shine this weekend.
Gore owners should have had Hunter already on their rosters as a handcuff. For those who are looking for a running back to plop in their flex spot, you can certainly do no wrong by adding Hunter during this week's waiver-wire period. He may not be PPR gold (He only has 5 catches on the season). But in this strong of a matchup, Hunter should easily gain enough rushing yards to make him a worthwhile start.