The San Francisco 49ers face the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football to kick off the 2016 season, which means you might have a player or two to track late in your fantasy football week. There are not a ton of fantasy options on 49ers and Rams, but there are some key figures that will impact quite a few matchups. I thought we’d look at each major position today, focusing on the 49ers and Rams, but offering some additional options of note.
49ers-Rams: Blaine Gabbert and Case Keenum is not exactly a high profile fantasy matchup for Week 1. If you’re starting either of these guys, you’re either in a really huge league, or you’ve made some error that will be fatal to your fantasy chances in 2016 ... Start: Neither; Sit: Both
Other starts: I don’t think Brock Osweiler is a great start all season, but against the Chicago Bears, I’ll take my chances ... A similar option is Robert Griffin III. I think the Browns will upset the Eagles in Week 1, and RG3 will have a solid performance in the victory ... The Falcons had a disappointing 2015, and I think they bounce back in 2016. I look for Matt Ryan to start strong at home against the Bucs.
Other sits: People keep waiting for Ryan Tannehill to emerge, and I think it could happen. But not in Week 1 against the Seahawks ... People are going wild for Dak Prescott. He might emerge, but I think Week 1 we see the Giants fluster the rookie.
49ers-Rams: This is where the money’s at in this matchup. Carlos Hyde and Todd Gurley are expected to carry these offenses throughout the season. The Rams feature a projected stronger defense than the 49ers, but San Francisco could see notable improvement on that side of the ball in 2016. Gurley is the better start, but both are must starts in Week 1. Shaun Draughn, Mike Davis, DuJuan Harris could all get significant opportunities in 2016, but we don’t know what that will entail quite yet ... Start: Carlos Hyde, Todd Gurley; Sit: Everybody else
Other starts: There have been questions about what kind of touches Ameer Abdullah can expect in 2016. I really like his matchup in Week 1 against the Colts, and I think this could be more on the boom side for him ... The Patriots send out Jimmy Garoppolo for the first four games, and I think that bodes well for LeGarrette Blount’s usage ... I don’t know how long it will last, but Christine Michael is likely to be the starter early on ahead of Thomas Rawls. People have been waiting for his emergence for some time, and this could be his big opportunity.
Other sits: People are heavy on the Eagles over the Browns, but as I said above, I think we see the upset. Ryan Mathews is not a good start this week ... The Baltimore Ravens running back situation is a mess with the return of Justin Forsett. I guess he’s the starter, but it could end up an ugly fantasy platoon for the time being ... The same holds true for the Miami Dolphins running backs in a tough matchup with the Seattle Seahawks.
49ers-Rams: Neither passing attack has high expectations, primarily due to the quarterback positions. Torrey Smith and Tavon Austin are flex options in deeper leagues. Kenny Britt was third in the NFL in air yards per target at 16.1, per ESPN, which makes for some boom-or-bust potential. Must start: None; Maybe start: Torrey Smith, Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt; Sit: Everybody else
Other starts: Washington hosts Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football, and I expected DeSean Jackson to be part of a potential home upset ... The Raiders have added a lot of options, but I think Michael Crabtree will remain a consistently solid start, particularly in PPR leagues ... Marvin Jones is the guy to watch in Detroit. Golden Tate will get plenty of targets, but with Calvin Johnson’s retirement, Jones is a very intriguing options ... If you’re looking at rookies, Sterling Shepard has a great matchup against a questionable Cowboys defense.
Other sits: Look for Jimmy Garoppolo to target Martellus Bennett and his running backs more than his wide receivers, which does not bode well for Julian Edelman. We’ll likely see a strong 2016 from Jarvis Landry, but not against the Seahawks.
49ers-Rams: There is a chance Vance McDonald emerges as a decent option for Blaine Gabbert. In fact, I expect him to have a decent 2016, and could find fantasy relevance. But for the time being, he is a sit-and-wait option. You could roll the dice if you want, but I don’t think it’s worth it right now. Start: None; Sit: Everybody
Other starts: One of my favorite tight ends in 2016 is Coby Fleener. I think he is in line for a huge season with Drew Brees, and I think is a must start every week for the time being ... Rob Gronkowski is dealing with a hamstring injury, but is expected to play, according to one report. That being said, Martellus Bennett is going to be a solid option even with a healthy Gronk. The Patriots could be looking at a similar pairing to when they had Gronk and Aaron Hernandez ... Dwayne Allen gets a huge opportunity in Indianapolis with the departure of Coby Fleener. There are several notable targets for Andrew Luck, but look for the Colts quarterback to work Allen into the mix.
Other sits: The Packers are rolling out Richard Rodgers and Jared Cook, and it is hard to get excited about either for the time being ... Jordan Cameron has had his moments in the past, but in case you’re sensing a theme, you really don’t want to start Dolphins this week.