Fantasy Reaction: Anquan Boldin Traded to San Francisco
Wasting no time following divisional rival Seattle’s acquisition of dynamic receiver Percy Harvin, the San Francisco 49ers obtained a pass catcher of their own in Anquan Boldin. The 32-year-old possession receiver is a perfect fit for San Francisco’s brutally physical style of play. While it may seem like the Ravens getting only a sixth-round pick for one of the key pieces to their Super Bowl run is highway robbery, it is important to keep in mind that the Ravens and Ozzie Newsome were planning on shedding Boldin and his $6 million 2013 salary anyway. In reality, they got more than they were expecting. Some will question the ethics of the deal due to the relationship of Jim and John Harbaugh, but that doesn’t have much to do with it in my mind.
The reason this trade happened is simple: Jim Harbaugh knew he needed another versatile playmaker on his offense. He had no intention of paying do-it-all tight end Delanie Walker market value, and Walker has since moved on to greener (pun intended) pastures. Given Boldin’s physicality and route tree, he is essentially a glorified tight end anyway. I anticipate that Harbaugh has a plan to use Boldin very similarly to Walker in a “move” capacity, lining up all over the formation. It should be a seamless transition for the coach and his young quarterback.
The Ravens’ willingness to move on from a player that was so integral to their success this past year is in part due to their tight salary cap situation, as well as their belief that Torrey Smith is ready to step up and become a legit No. 1 wide receiver. I really like Smith on and off the field and think he fits that bill. Keep an eye on 2012 sixth-round pick Tommy Streeter, who was a burner at the University of Miami. He is in line to get more snaps. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ravens addressed the position at some point in the draft as well.
From a fantasy perspective, I think the biggest beneficiary from this is clearly Colin Kaepernick. It solidifies his receiving corps, and I am expecting the steady improvement he showed from his first start to the Super Bowl to continue into next season, where he has the upside to be the top point-getter at the position. I don’t expect the move to affect anyone else on the 49ers’ offense negatively in terms of fantasy. Crabtree and Vernon Davis will still get their targets, and Frank Gore will still get his carries. As well as Boldin played this year, he is still in the decline phase of his career. On the Ravens, Torrey Smith and Dennis Pitta stand to gain a nice bump in targets. Smith can be safely drafted as a mid-tier WR2 with upside for more, and I think Pitta is a viable starter, even in 10-team leagues.
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