The 49ers and Falcons kick off in Atlanta today at 1:05 pm PT. Niners Nation is here to break down the fantasy football implications of the matchup, with sit/start advice, statistical projections from NFL.com, and last minute waiver wire targets at each position.
Both teams give up points in bunches to the QB position. Matt Ryan will absolutely produce big points this week, even missing top target Julio Jones. Start Ryan.
Colin Kaepernick’s performance is tied to his offensive line more than just about any NFL starter. A serious re-shuffling of that line due to injuries should have fantasy owners running scared. The Falcons, however, allow the most points in the NFL to the QB position, making this a high risk/high reward quandary. With Fantasy Football Championships on the line, trust your gut on Kaepernick, because this really is a toss-up.
Need a QB? The thin waiver wire options bring up a classic argument: Colin Kaepernick vs Alex Smith. Smith has a favorable matchup against a Titans team allowing the 3rd most points to QB’s, but he offers a very low ceiling. Smith has only broken 20 points 3 times in 12 starts this season. Kaepernick has 20+ points in 4 of 8 starts. Both QB’s are available in at least 75% of fantasy leagues, so trust your gut and pick one.
Colin Kaepernick: 217 pass yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 30 rush yards, 1 TD - 21.9 points (6th best QB)
Matt Ryan: 254 pass yards, 2 TD’s, 1 INT, 9 rush yards -19.1 points (13th QB)
Against the RB position, the 49ers have allowed the most fantasy points in the NFL, and the Falcons have allowed the 3rd most. The Falcons run true RB platoon, but both backs should be plenty productive. Start Devonta Freeman & Tevin Coleman. Start Carlos Hyde too.
Need a RB? Finding a running back on the waiver wire at this point in the season is a fool’s errand, but occasionally injuries create options. With Melvin Gordon ruled out this week, Keneth Farrow will start for the Chargers. Gordon is the 4th highest scoring RB, so another back in the same role should be productive. Farrow is available to 93% of fantasy GM’s.
Devonta Freeman: 64 rush yards, 1 TD, 23 receiving yards - 14.7 points (8th RB)
Carlos Hyde: 60 rush yards, 1 TD, 14 receiving yards - 13.4 points (15th RB)
Tevin Coleman: 38 rush yards, 1 TD, 17 receiving yards - 11.5 points (20th RB)
Taylor Gabriel has emerged as a go-to target for Matt Ryan, scoring double-digit fantasy points in 6 of the Falcons last 7 games. Julio Jones is out due to turf toe, pushing Gabriel into an even bigger role. The 49ers have allowed the most fantasy points in the NFL to the WR position, making Gabriel a must start. Mohamed Sanu is questionable, pushing Aldrick Robinson up the depth chart, but even though the 49ers are a choice matchup, don’t bank on either. Sit Sanu & Robinson.
Torrey Smith is out for the 49ers, boosting the value of Jermey Kerley & Quinton Patton. Both are very weak starts, however.
Need a WR? GRAB TAYLOR GABRIEL! He is available in 68% of fantasy leagues.
Julio Jones & Torrey Smith: OUT
Taylor Gabriel: 54 yards, 1 TD - 11.4 points (20th WR)
Jeremy Kerley: 40 yards - 4 points (78th WR)
Aldrick Robinson: 38 yards - 3.8 points (81st WR)
Quinton Patton: 35 yards - 3.5 points (85th WR)
Mohamed Sanu: QUESTIONABLE
The Falcons offer a great matchup for TE’s, allowing the 5th most points to that position, but it’s hard to trust Garrett Celek. Sit Celek. Atlanta doesn’t have a viable healthy option at TE, and the 49ers are actually a very tough matchup on that position. Sit all Falcons TE’s.
Need a TE? If active, Bills TE Charles Clay is a good option against a Browns defense allowing the most points to TE’s. Clay is available in 96% of fantasy leagues, but he is questionable for Sunday. If Clay is inactive, look to Vernon Davis, who faces the 2nd most favorable matchup for TE’s, and is available in 85% of leagues.
Garrett Celek: 26 yards, 1 TD - 8.6 points (4th TE)
Austin Hooper: 24 yards - 2.4 points (28th TE)
Matt Bryant is the 2nd highest scoring kicker in all of fantasy football, and the 49ers offer a good matchup. Start Bryant.
Phil Dawson hasn’t been a consistent fantasy performer this season. Given the typical surplus of waiver wire options at the kicker position, it makes no sense to risk a fantasy championship on him. Leave Dawson on waivers.
Need a K? Matt Prater is the 3rd best kicker in fantasy, has a Top 5 favorable matchup, and is a Free Agent in over 80% of fantasy leagues.
Matt Bryant: 6 points (15th K)
Phil Dawson: 5 points (20th K)
From a fantasy perspective, the Falcons defense lives on the matchup-based line at 12th. The 49ers offer the 9th best matchup, making the Falcons DEF a pretty good start, particularly considering the 49ers O-line injuries.
The 49ers defense is very very bad, and the Falcons offense is very very good. Stay far away from the 49ers DEF.
Need a DEF? The Falcons DEF is a decent sleeper this week, available in 85% of fantasy leagues. Otherwise, the Dolphins DEF get the hapless Jets making them another good option. The Dolphins DEF is available in 75% of fantasy leagues.
49ers DEF: 4 points (26th DEF)
Falcons DEF: 4 points (28th DEF)