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Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 7: 49ers vs. Broncos

The 49ers wrap up their two game road trip with a meeting against gridiron wizard, Peyton Manning. The sorcerer is on a quest for another record Sunday night and it’ll take a near perfect game from the 49ers. The good news is that there really isn’t a bad fantasy play among the notable starters. Here are a few thoughts on their match-ups.

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These guys will be busy Sunday night.
These guys will be busy Sunday night.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Must Starts

Colin Kaepernick: Well, didn't see that coming. Kaepernick started slow, but eventually found a groove and had his way with the St. Louis defense. Hopefully, he saved some of that magic for Sunday night. The Broncos clamp down on wide outs, but have surrendered plenty of fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. That'll happen when opponents have to play from behind all game. Kaepernick is starting to spread the wealth. This is great for his chances to shine Saturday night as he'll need to use all his weapons in a game that will likely feature 2 of the top 5 fantasy quarterbacks this week.

Peyton Manning: As long as he isn't kidnapped for a few hours prior to the game (not to give anyone any ideas) you start him. San Francisco's secondary is improving, but should struggle to keep tabs on one of the most talented receiving units in the league.

Demaryius Thomas: It's the NFL and strange things happen every week, but he is arguably the best wide out in fantasy going against a secondary extraordinarily generous to big receivers. If Thomas finishes outside of the top 10 at his position it will be a major disappointment.

Julius Thomas: Maybe if Patrick Willis was healthy you would have reason to hesitate, but as it stands he is a game changer in real life and in fantasy. The TD streak will most likely continue uninterrupted.

Quality Starts

Frank Gore: It was a slow week 6 for Gore and it doesn't get easier for the bruiser this week. The Broncos have kept opposing backs under wraps all season. However, Gore rarely strings together quiet games and he should be plenty involved as the Niners try to keep Manning off the field. He keeps his RB2 status this week, but keep an eye on Carlos Hyde's workload.

Michael Crabtree: A savvy route led to his touchdown last week and the 8 targets were encouraging, but fantasy managers need to see more from Crabtree. He still looks like a primary target, but with other receiving options emerging, Crabs doesn't generate enough yardage to keep him in the WR2 conversation. I'm not sold on the Broncos pass defense. Other than the Colts, they haven't played an intimidating QB-WR duo. Reggie Wayne went 9/98 against this squad and if Crabtree keeps is normal target rate he could do the same.

Anquan Boldin: "Q" got his touchdown last week in his best fantasy performance of the season. Opposing corners Talib and Harris are solid, but in a game where I think the 49ers may have over 35 pass attempts you probably could do worse at your WR3/4 position.

Vernon Davis: He was flat out bad Monday, but he was involved and didn't appear to suffer any setbacks. Similar to the other San Francisco receiving threats, passing volume should help Davis' fantasy numbers. This is the same defense that allowed Jace Amaro to catch 10 balls from Geno Smith last week. He's the second best fantasy tight end in this game, but both should have top 5 days.

Emmanuel Sanders: Slow game last week, but that probably won't last in a Peyton Manning offense. Sanders should fill your WR2 slot as Vegas predicts this to be one of the highest scoring games of the week.


Ronnie Hillman: He'll need to break a few long runs or catches to reward fantasy gamers this week. He is a talented back who may have just stole the lead gig, but San Francisco is still one of the better run defenses in the league.

Wes Welker: Of course, this could be the week they give him a larger role in the offense, but out of all the fantasy relevant receivers in this game he seems to be the least involved.


Carlos Hyde: It wasn't Frank Gore, but Carlos Hyde on the field during the final crucial plays Monday night. Hyde's role is growing and I wouldn't be surprised if he becomes a startable FLEX option after the 49ers bye week. It may happen as soon as this week if he gets another 8-10 touches. A likely scenario as keeping the Bronco offense off the field is part of a winning formula.

1000's of fantasy games will be decided Sunday night. It should be a good one to watch as a 49er fan and as someone with significant fantasy shares in both the Bronco and 49er offenses. Good luck to the Niners and to all you fantasy heads!

Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $250,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 7's NFL games. It's only $5 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts Sunday, October 19 at 10am PT. Here's the link.