The San Francisco 49ers stunned the football world by not only trading for talented wide receiver Anquan Boldin (h/t the Baltimore Sun)—they only had to give up a sixth-round draft pick—but by making a deal with the team they just lost the Super Bowl to in the Baltimore Ravens.
Fantasy football owners are taking notice.
While there were rumblings of a potential contract issue between the Ravens and Boldin (h/t NFL.com), few thought the result of the rift would be a trade. The veteran WR was likely unwilling to restructure his deal, and it became clear to Baltimore that the only option was moving Boldin.
One team’s mistake is another team’s gain.
San Francisco is looking for all the offensive talent it can find to surround young quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and a wide receiver that battles across the middle of the field or take the lid off a defense like Boldin is exactly what the 49ers needed.
While this is a great move for San Fran, how it affects fantasy teams next year is just as important to many hardcore fans. These are Boldin’s realistic 2013 fantasy expectations.
Realistic Fantasy Expectations
While a transition to a new team, new division and new conference normally hinder a player’s fantasy output, Boldin is a veteran and knows what it takes to be effective at the NFL level in any system.
Lucky for Boldin, though, he will have a few months to work out with his new quarterback and coaching staff before the team ever takes the field. By the time Week 1 of the regular season arrives, Boldin should be on the same page as every member of the 49ers’ offense.
Add in the fact that the veteran spent plenty of time in the NFC West as a member of the Arizona Cardinals—seven years in the desert—and the transition will be as simple as a cross-country trade could be.
Boldin will likely contend for the No. 1 receiver job with fifth-year starter Michael Crabtree, but no matter where the veteran ends up on the depth chart, expect San Francisco to feed the ball to the tough receiver early and often.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh loves hard-nosed football players, and Boldin will be rewarded for his work ethic and attitude in the 49ers’ system.
While the team will be looking to get the ball to Boldin often, there is serious talent in the NFC West at the cornerback position. Not only does Seattle boast arguably the most dangerous secondary in the league—Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Brandon Browner—but St. Louis also has Cortland Finnegan and Arizona has Patrick Peterson.
Despite all of the talent that will be dedicated to stopping him, Boldin should have success in the unpredictable pistol offense San Fran runs, and fantasy owners must consider snagging Boldin around the seventh or eighth round.
Boldin will be a serious target in the red zone, so taking him for the touchdowns alone is a safe play.
Projected 2013 Stat Line: 60 receptions for 858 yards and eight touchdowns