Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 17: 49ers vs. Cardinals

Thearon W. Henderson

It's the final week of fantasy football! Those relying on a 49er or a Cardinal to carry them to a championship aren't looking forward to a defensive matchup, but with so much on the line you can rest assure that the starters won't be pulled early.

The final game at Candlestick decided plenty of fantasy football contests last week. Nearly all the 49er fantasy stars put up quality numbers to help gamers to a championship. This Sunday, the 49ers aim to improve their playoff positioning with a difficult matchup against an Arizona team looking for a their own ticket to the tournament. If your league plays all the way to week 17 at least you don't have to worry about either of these teams resting their players. Here is final fantasy preview for the 2013 49ers and Cardinals:

Frank Gore

Well, you can't say Gore has disappointed in 2013. Those who rolled with the veteran last week enjoyed another 100 yard/1 TD performance. Unfortunately, the final week in fantasy brings the most difficult test yet. The Cardinals front seven is arguably the best in the league and have only allowed one 100 yard rusher. That rusher just happens to be Frank Gore. It's tough road game, but Gore is a solid bet to finish in the top 15 at RB any week. He'll get his touches and most chances at the goal line. He's a plug and play RB2.

Colin Kaepernick

It was a rough first half for Kap last week, but he managed to get the job done and gave fantasy gamers a solid performance. He remains a low end QB1 going into week 17. This is a playoff game for Arizona who is playing at home and coming off a huge win in Seattle. Look for Kaepernick to continue using his legs when the pocket collapses and Arizona loves pressure so it will collapse. What saves Kap's bacon this week is Arizona's inability to cover Vernon Davis. This will help his numbers, but I would take at least 10 other quarterbacks over CK7 this week.

Anquan Boldin

It hasn't happened often this season, but the 49er offense actually supported two quality fantasy wide receivers last week. Boldin got his usual 6 receptions for 72 yards and even got his 6th TD. He faces his old team for the second time this season that held him to 3/28 in week 6. Crabtree will demand attention and open up opportunities for Boldin so expect 5-7 receptions for about 70 yards. Start Boldin as a WR3 this week.

Michael Crabtree

He may not be all the way back, but he is still effective. Crabtree registered his first 100 yard game this season against a suspect secondary. He tormented the Cardinals with 13/244/4 in two games last year. However, this defense is much improved and has only allowed 4 TDs to wide receivers since week 10. Crabs will be WR3 on Sunday, but I do like his chances to out produce Boldin.

Vernon Davis

Sadly, Vernon's goose egg last week cost fantasy gamers big. Such is the nature of the TE position in fantasy land. For those still playing, Davis gets the perfect opportunity to bounce back. If the Cardinals have a weakness in their defense it is their ability to cover the tight end. The Niners need a win this week and you can bet Davis is aiming to make up for last week's performance. Despite giving fantasy managers the dreaded donut week 16, roll with Davis this week.

Carson Palmer

It wasn't a pretty game for Palmer last week, but he made the throw he needed to when it counted most. He has actually been a solid option for most of the year, but has turned it on at the end of the end (outside of last week's horror show). He nearly dropped 300 yards on the Niners in their first meeting and the San Francisco secondary is starting to give up big plays. It's not the best matchup, but decent enough to put Palmer near the top 10 in week 17 ranks. Look for 275/2 TD/2 INT in week 17 for Carson.

Rashard Mendenhall

It hasn't been a great fantasy year for Mendenhall, but at the very least he has been a serious threat to get a touchdown in recent weeks. This looks more like an Andre Ellington game as the Niners don't give up much to inside runners. You can start Mendenhall as a FLEX and hope for a touchdown, but don't expect much more since he has only rushed for over 70 yards once this season.

Andre Ellington

Ellington is starting to get significant touches and eat into Mendenhall's production. His ability to catch passes should come in handy as it did back in week 6. The shiftier and more explosive of the two Arizona backs, I think he plays a major role in Arizona's game plan. I'm not crazy about either rusher, but I'd prefer to start Ellington over Mendenhall this week in the FLEX position.

Larry Fitzgerald

There are only two days of the year when I'm not a Larry Fitzgerald fan. I bet you can guess which two days those happen to be. This is the final "I Hate Larry" day of the season and I know he is going to make a play in honor of the holiday. Watching Matt Ryan and Roddy White have their way with the Niner secondary Monday night doesn't give me much hope that Fitzgerald will disappoint fantasy gamers for a second consecutive week. Fitz should flirt with WR2 numbers if not higher. Expect 6-8 receptions for around 80 yards and a good chance for a TD.

Sleeper Pick

Michael Floyd

If not Larry, then Mr. Floyd may be the thorn in the 49er's side Sunday. He only accounted for one reception last week, but that was the dagger that ended the Seattle winning streak. He had some success in the first meeting with 5 catches and a TD. One of the Cardinals receivers is going to have a good day. My money is on Fitz, but the next in line would be Floyd. If you are still playing in deeper leagues I think he is a good gamble at WR3 and a sold WR4.

I hope you had a most excellent fantasy football season. Thanks for reading and leave your questions in the comment section for some quick help.

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