Numbers show Manningham needed

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers are getting receiver relief in the form of Mario Manningham this week against Carolina and his return couldn’t come soon enough.

The 49ers have gotten virtually no production from their receivers beyond Anquan Boldin. Mannigham, out since last December with knee injury, will step in and become an immediate part of the passing attack along with Boldin (who is probably the happiest man in San Francisco to see Manningham come back because he may see less double teams) and tight end Vernon Davis.

The 49ers have used the least amount of three-receiver sets in the NFL, on just 102 snaps and for 558 yards.

Also, San Francisco is 31st in the NFL with 679 yards after catch.

Mannigham is not an elite player, but he is a legitimate threat and he will surely breathe life into this receiving crew while the 49ers wait for Michael Crabtree to come back from a torn Achilles in the next few weeks.

Crabtree should have a bigger impact than Manningham. He was targeted on 34.5 percent of the 49ers’ plays last year. It was the second most in the NFL over the past two seasons.