The San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers get going at 1:05 p.m. PST on Sunday. The Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys both have a bye this week. Coming off a bye, the Bucs fantasy players have been plagued by injuries while the only fantasy stud on the 49ers will also likely be inactive.
We’re back with some start/sit advice as you set your lineups for week 7.
49ers-Buccaneers: After 5 weeks sitting behind Blaine Gabbert, Colin Kaepernick made his first start in 2016. He had a decent first half of football and but accuracy issues led to a mediocre fantasy debut for the signal caller out of Nevada. Kaepernick was able to post a respectable 66 yards on the ground to stay relevant in fantasy leagues. It will be interesting to see what Kap can do with a second straight week of first team reps. With another week of practice and his ability to make plays with his legs I am ready to move Kap to the “Maybe Start” category. Jameis Winston has had an up and down start to his second year in the league with 9 touchdowns to 8 interceptions on the year. Winston will not muster many points on the ground so fantasy owners will need him to put the ball in the endzone. The 49ers defense has been terrible, but with running backs running roughshod over them, quarterbacks have not needed to throw the ball much against them. There will surely be better options this week at quarterback but if your quarterback is on bye or you play in a deeper league, both quarterbacks in this contest should be adequate. Start: None; Maybe Start: Jameis Winston; Colin Kaepernick; Sit: None
Other Starts: Derek Carr should have a bounceback game in Jacksonville. He was held in check against the Chiefs but his previous two games he combined for over 500 yards and six touchdowns. Phillip Rivers is a must start this week against a porous Falcons defense that has already yielded 14 passing touchdowns this year. A slow start to the year has not deterred Marcus Mariota from turning in back to back weeks of explosive fantasy numbers. The past two weeks Mariota has posted a combined seven touchdowns to go with over 120 yards rushing, His dual threat ability has been on full display and should continue this week against the Colts. Andy Dalton should continue as a serviceable fantasy option against a much-maligned Browns defense that has allowed 16 passing touchdowns this year.
Other Sits: Ryan Tannehill continues to disappoint fantasy owners and has not managed to throw more touchdowns than interceptions this year. He faces a Bills defense that had no problem bottling up Kaepernick and the 49ers last week. Carson Wentz has put together a solid season for a rookie but against a Vikings defense that has only allowed four touchdowns to their seven interception he simply cannot be trusted. Russell Wilson has looked like a shadow of his former self and throwing for zero touchdowns against a soft Falcons defense does not bode well when he next travels to Arizona.
49ers-Buccaneers: Carlos Hyde is expected to miss his first game this year so it will be intriguing to see how the snas are split between Mike Davis, Shaun Draughn, and DuJuan Harris. My money and hope is on Mike Davis receiving the lion’s share of the touches but, until we see what the rotation looks like they should all remain on your bench. On the other side of the ball, Doug Martin and Charlie Sims will both be shelved this week so Jacquizz Rodgers is expected to get the start. After watching the Bills decimate the 49ers last week I am prepared to put Rodgers in the start column after his first start netted him nearly 130 all-purpose yards last week. The 49ers are the only team to have already given up 1,000 rushing yards, so Rodgers should be in line for a lot of work on Sunday. Start: Jacquizz Rodgers; Sit: Everybody else.
Other Starts: Demarco Murray is enjoying a nice year and faces a Colts defense that has been susceptible to the run all year. The Colts are giving up over 100 yards per game on the ground so Murray should find plenty of running room. Likewise, Melvin Gordon’s furious touchdown pace has slowed a bit but he should get back on track against a struggling Falcons defense who just allowed Christine Michael to rumble for two scores last week. Has Giovani Bernard finally taken over as the main threat out of the backfield for the Bengals? This week against divisional rival Browns is as good a week as any for him to put up a good fantasy stat line. The past two weeks he has received more work and fantasy owners can only hope that the trend continues.
Other Sits: Christine Michael did not look spectacular last week but was able to find paydirt twice against the Falcons. He will not find the sledding as easy against the Cardinals this week in a divisional road game. Matt Forte looks primed to play this weekend but Bilal Powell has been stealing snaps and the Jets face a Ravens defense that is giving up the least rushing yards per game. Oh yeah, and the Ravens have only allowed two scores on the ground all year. The Vikings are a terrible matchup for any running back and with Ryan Matthews struggling the past three weeks fantasy owners should let him ride the pine. With Jerick McKinnon shouldering the bulk of the carries but Matt Asiata sniping the goal line carries neither running back should be started until something changes in Minnesota.
49ers-Buccaneers: With Kaepernick under center Jeremy Kerley tallied his worst statistical game of the season.On the other hand, Torrey Smith turned in his best game of the year and Quinton Patton contributed the most since week 1. Kerley did see his share of targets so he will likely be an important cog in the 49ers aerial attack. At this point it seems like Patton could be a weak start in PPR leagues and Smith is likely to be a boom or bust option. Until we see more snaps with Kaepernick at the helm I don’t trust any of the 49ers wide receivers. With the possible season-ending injury to Vincent Jackson the Buccaneers have few reliable options behind star wide receiver Mike Evans. Adam Humphries is expected to see more time this week but is unlikely to make much of a fantasy impact with Evans and Cameron Brate dominating the targets. Evans has a touchdown in four out of five games this year and is clearly Jameis Winston’s favorite and most reliable target. Start: Mike Evans; Maybe Start: Torrey Smith, Sit: Everybody else.
Other Starts: Fantasy owners should continue starting Amari Cooper with confidence as he has caught fire the past two weeks posting a combined 267 yards with one touchdown. With a game in Jacksonville, Cooper should have no problem adding to his already impressive season totals. Kenny Britt now has nearly 500 rec eiving yards this year and he has a great opportunity to show off his skills to the London crowd, against the Giants. While the Ravens have been stout against the run they have allowed 12 touchdowns through the air this year. The Jets have been struggling but with very little running room I expect Brandon Marshall to have plenty of chances to put up fantasy points. I don’t expect new incumbent, Geno Smith, to look great but I believe he will be good enough to give Marshall a chance to score some points.
Other Sits: Fantasy owners should temper their expectations for Antonio Brown this week against a tough Patriots defense and Landry Jones under center. In what should be a battle of defenses I don’t like the wide receivers for the Broncos or Texans. Emmanuel Sanders is coming off an injury and has not scored in the past two weeks. Demaryius Thomas had lots of looks last week but finished with a measly 35 yards and one fumble. I don’t like either Broncos’ chances of bouncing back against a Texans team limits passing yards to under 200 per game. The only team in the NFL giving up less passing yards per game will be on the other sideline. DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller are both dealing with injuries and a difficult road test.
49ers-Buccaneers: Vance McDonald returned to the lineup and regained his starting role last week. That is the extent of the good news for fantasy owners since he only saw two targets and was invisible for most of saturdays tilt against the Bills. With Colin Kaepernick looking to his outside options more than Blaine Gabbert the 49ers tight ends may have just been sent to the fantasy graveyard. Conversely, Cameron Brate has settled in nicely after the Bucs parted ways with Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Tight ends have not been lighting up the fantasy world as they have in the past and Brate is a solid start with Greg Olsen on a bye. Don’t forget what tight ends like Greg Olsen and Jimmy Graham have posted against the 49ers. Start: Cameron Brate; Sit: Everybody else.
Other Starts: Rob Gronkowski is finally healthy and has posted back to back weeks with 100 yards or more. He should be a must-start from here on out. Fantasy owners that snagged Hunter Henry a few weeks back can continue patting themselves on the back. Henry has caught touchdown passes the past three weeks and the return on Antonio Gates has not slowed him down a bit. Continue to ride him. Fantasy owners should expect Travis Kelce to get back on track after a letdown in Oakland. The Chiefs will likely need to pass the ball to keep up with Drew Brees and Co. and Kelce is one of Alex Smith’s favorite targets.
Other Sits: Coby Fleener scored in the air and ground last week but the Chiefs have been tough on tight ends this year and have already recorded nine interceptions. With an inexperience quarterback in the lineup I sit Jesse James this week despite his two touchdowns over the past three weeks. Jimmy Graham is dealing with yet another injury and squares off against a Cardinals defense that has picked off nine passes and only allowed five passing touchdowns this year.
If you have other start/sit questions drop them in the comments below!