The San Francisco 49ers are continue their road trip, traveling to face the Chicago Bears in Week 13, with kickoff scheduled for 10:00 a.m. PST on Sunday. The Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans are on bye, marking the final two bye weeks of the season. This likely marks the last week of regular season play in your league, or you might even already be starting your playoffs. We’re back with some start/sit advice as you set your lineups for fantasy glory.
49ers-Bears: There are not many quarterbacks hotter in fantasy football than Colin Kaepernick. The 49ers offense may still be very inconsistent, but Kaepernick’s dual threat abilities are perfect for fantasy football. And now he faces a Bears defense missing both its inside linebackers. He is a must start. On the other side, Matt Barkley is starting in place of Jay Cutler, who is out for the season with a torn labrum. Barkley had 316 yards passing, with three touchdowns and two interceptions against the Titans in his first start since 2013. I don’t expect the same numbers, but with a weak pass rush, the 49ers could give up some big numbers to him. He’s not clear starter, but if injuries have cost you, he’s someone to at least consider this week. Start: Colin Kaepernick; Maybe start: Matt Barkley; Sit: None
Starts: Fantasy football is about matchups, and while Alex Smith is on the road this week, facing the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome could open up some chances at a shootout ... Eli Manning is quietly on a solid four-game run, with at least two touchdowns in each game. He faces a Steelers defense that isn’t awful, but isn’t particularly great right now ... Tyrod Taylor heads into Oakland for what could be quite a shootout. Add in the running aspect and Taylor is a solid option this week.
Sits: You don’t “sit” Cam Newton, but have lowered expectations this week in Seattle ... Carson Palmer is at home this week, but faces a Washington defense that can be better against the pass than the run. Palmer has been inconsistent for stretches this season, and I think we see it pop back up this week ... Stay the heck away from Blake Bortles as he welcomes the Denver defense in Week 13.
49ers-Bears: It has not been a pretty year for Carlos Hyde, but since returning from a sprained AC joint, he has shown a lot. The 49ers offense is struggling enough that he can’t quite get fully going, but he is productive when he touches the ball, averaging 4.7 yards per carry the past two weeks. On the other side, Jordan Howard surpassed Jeremy Langford as the Bears starter. The 49ers run defense has improved lately, but they are still susceptible to big runs. And with Barkley in only his second start, I think Howard gets a ton of work. Start: Carlos Hyde, Jordan Howard; Maybe start: Nobody; Sit: Everybody else
Starts: A decent sleeper option this week is Kenneth Dixon, who appears to be moving ahead of Terrance West on the Ravens depth chart. He is at home against Miami ... Wendell Smallwood is another sleeper start option with Ryan Mathews likely out again. Darren Sproles might have more PPR value ... Theo Riddick and the Lions have a great road matchup against the New Orleans Saints ... Arizona is a little worse against the run than the pass, so give Washington’s Robert Kelley a start.
Sits: Like Cam Newton, you don’t sit Jonathan Stewart without a clear-cut alternative, but you have to have decreased expectations against the Seahawks ... Thomas Rawls is back as Seattle’s starter, but that offensive line is a mess right now, and they’ll rely more on Russell Wilson ... Stay away from any Jaguars running backs
49ers-Bears: This is an odd matchup from a fantasy perspective in that both quarterbacks could put up decent numbers, but none of the wide receivers is a definite option. On the 49ers side, guys like Torrey Smith, Quinton Patton, Jeremy Kerley, and Rod Streater all could end up leading the team in receiving, but none is likely to go huge. Patton is working through the concussion protocol, and if he is active on Sunday, he is the most likely to have a solid game. But to be honest, none of them is a remotely good start. On Chicago’s side, Cameron Meredith has had some big games, but is coming two straight sub-par fantasy performances, and of his last five games, only one good performance that was due to a single big touchdown catch. Marquess Wilson burst out of nowhere for eight receptions, 125 yards, and a touchdown in Week 12. Given his recent return from the PUP list, he is an intriguing option. Start: None; Maybe start: Quinton Patton, Marquess Wilson, Cameron Meredith; Sit: Everybody else
Starts: Tyrell Williams is on a role with a touchdown in three straight games, and at least 65 yards in each game. He faces a Bucs defense that did well against Seattle, but has otherwise struggled for stretches ... Brandin Cooks was shutout entirely last week, and there have been some grumblings about his role. I have a hunch Drew Brees finds him in a big way this week ... Davante Adams is coming off his second two touchdown 100+ receiving yards performance of the season, and is looking like a strong target for Aaron Rodgers.
Sits: Allen Robinson has been a mess this season, surpassing 70 receiving yards twice this season. He faces a really tough Broncos defense ... DeSean Jackson is a boom-or-bust play facing a good Cardinals secondary. Expectations are low ... Jordan Matthews has been a disappointment this season, and even with Cincinnati struggling, he has a very low ceiling this week.
49ers-Bears: There are some intriguing matchups at the tight end position. None is a must-start, but you could do worse than some of these guys. Vance McDonald has quietly put together some decent numbers this season, putting up at least 46 yards each of the last four weeks, along with two touchdowns during that stretch. He is the one tight end to start on the 49ers against a Bears defense that ranks No. 24 in defending tight ends. The Browns lost Zach Miller to a broken foot and last week Daniel Brown finished with three receptions for 24 yards and a touchdown. The 49ers have been decent against tight ends, but Brown has some deep sleeper value in bigger leagues. Start: None; Maybe start: Vance McDonald, Daniel Brown; Sit: Everybody else
Starts: C.J. Fiedorowicz has quietly become Brock Osweiler’s No. 2 target in Houston. The offense is still a mess, but he’s a strong PPR option, and against the Packers, could be a decent standard option ... Old friend Vernon Davis will likely start in place of an injured Jordan Reed. Davis has had a resurgence and while Arizona is a tough matchup, I think he gets his share of looks ... Rob Gronkowski is out, which means Martellus Bennett is the play.
Sits: Jared Cook had a huge game in Week 11, but reverted to what we’ve come to expect in Week 12. He’s just never going to be a consistent good option ... Dennis Pitta has a good matchup in Week 13, but he’s just not the value he used to be