The Ravens head to the Bay Area today in desperate need of a win. The 2,821-mile trip is their longest of the season and considering it's their second consecutive road game, the Ravens will have to keep their focus, even against a seemingly shorthanded, weak opponent.
Steve McNair, QB: McNair was limited by the groin injury earlier in the week, but practiced Friday. He's a trooper and will probably play but be somewhat hindered. Nonetheless, the bottom line is that Brian Billick and the Ravens probably don't want to see him put up 53 pass attempts again. Fantasy owners, on the other hand, probably won't mind. I don't expect a good day from McNair fantasy-wise. The San Francisco 49ers know that they have to win this game on defense and coach Mike Nolan should have them ready to face his former team.
Willis McGahee, RB: McGahee continues to increase his rushing yardage each week, piling up 104 yards on 14 carries last week against the Cleveland Browns. While the rest of the offense seems to be lost, he is getting stronger by the week. He is a must start and will likely be a major factor in whether the Ravens win the game, considering the 49ers' run defense is ranked 25th in the NFL.
Derrick Mason, WR: Although he has vowed to play, Mason is dealing with nagging injuries. It looks like he took Friday off just to rest, but I don't see him offering a ton of fantasy help going up against Nate Clements or Walt Harris -- two Pro Bowl-caliber corners.
Mark Clayton, WR: Is this the week Clayton breaks out? Ask Lady Jane, not me. He hasn't been as much of an enigma as people think -- he's just been dealing with injuries. But with Mason and Todd Heap battling injuries of their own, I could see Clayton being the McNair's top offensive target this week. Maybe that's just a hunch, though.
Todd Heap, TE: Listed with a thigh injury, Heap is questionable for this week's game. He would be a nice weapon in what figures to be a closely contested game, but it is tough to gauge whether he will be available/effective. Watch the news wire to make sure that he's active before making a decision on whether to start him.
Baltimore defense: So at first, they were struggling to close out games in the fourth quarter. Now they are just struggling. The Ravens should keep things simple and be aggressive this week, but I don't know if we'll see what is supposed to be the best fantasy defense. They are going up against Trent Dilfer, who finished with a passer rating of 0.0 last week, but keep in mind that the Ravens are playing their second straight game on the road. They aren't completely healthy on defense and haven't been getting much help from the offense in the points department. Even so, if you have them, you have to start them this week -- and pretty much every week.