Kickoff: Saturday, December 24th at 4:05 PM ET
Location: Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA
Betting Odds: SF -7, 39.5 Total on Oddsshark
Writer: Justin Herrera (@semtexmex93 on Twitter)
Taylor Heinicke (Sit)
Taylor Heinicke has been a top-24 QB for the past four weeks. Heinicke has only had one game over 20 points and has scored double-digits in six of eight games. Heinicke is a tough kid, but has his physical limitations and has been sacked eight times in the last two games. The 49ers have the hottest defense right now and have no problem getting to the QB with DPOY candidate Nick Bosa. Overall, the Niners allow 12.9 fantasy points per game to QBs and have shut down better players this season. I don’t know if you were considering it, but don’t start Heinicke.
Brian Robinson Jr. (Sit), Antonio Gibson (Sit)
Brian Robinson has been on a roll with three straight 100-yard games. Robinson may be the best running back in Washington, but on Sunday, he may not be the best choice for a starter on your team. The 49ers have allowed 10.4 fantasy points on average to the RB position in the past five games. What’s going to hurt him is his lack of targets, averaging two in the last three games. Insert Antonio Gibson, who has been more active as a receiving back, getting targeted eight times in the last two games. The Niners have allowed 470 receiving yards and 0 touchdowns to RBs, and since both have a role that doesn’t infringe on each other, I can safely say it’s not a good idea to start either.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
Terry McLaurin (Start, WR2), Jahan Dotson (Start, High-End Flex), Curtis Samuel (Sit), Logan Thomas (Sit)
Terry McLaurin caught all six of his passes last week and has averaged eight targets a game in the last three games. This week against Charvarius Ward poses a tough challenge, but I think McLaurin can overcome it. The 49ers have allowed 21.8 fantasy points per game to wide receivers and have been known to give up a deep pass here and there. A garbage-time touchdown is a very likely outcome for McLaurin in this game.
Jahan Dotson is an exciting prospect this week, as he’s been targeted 15 times and has caught nine passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games against the Giants. The matchup might’ve helped, but I do think he has an opportunity to be a serious threat and take the top off the 49ers’ secondary.
Curtis Samuel hasn’t been as good as his first two weeks of the season. Last week he was robbed of a chance at a touchdown on a pass-interference no-call. While he’s still gotten 12 targets in the last two games, his numbers have left a lot to be desired, and against a team that defends the middle of the field well, he might have trouble. I’m sitting Samuel this week.
Logan Thomas has 8.3 fantasy points in the last three games. The 49ers are the sixth-best team against the tight end position, allowing 4.8 fantasy points per game. I’m easily sitting Thomas this week.
San Francisco 49ers
Brock Purdy (Start, QB2)
Brock Purdy has been a competent substitute for the 49ers this season, with three top-20 performances in as many games. Purdy has completed 69% of the passes in those three games and has averaged two touchdowns a game. The real reason we are talking about Purdy is the weapons around him. The Commanders have been a middle-of-the-pack defense against the QB position, and the 49ers have been making it look easy. Purdy should be a very solid QB2 this week, with some QB1 upside with all the injuries. He’s a smart kid and has proven his relevancy in this league; needless to say; he’s “Purdy” good.
Christian McCaffrey (Start, RB1), Jordan Mason (Sit)
Christian McCaffrey has been crucial to the 49ers’ success this year, and his fantasy scores have reflected it. CMC has only missed being an RB1 twice since joining San Francisco. In the last three games, he’s averaged 145 total yards a game and has scored four touchdowns. While the Commanders have been tough against RBs, averaging 15.6 points per game, they have allowed the most receiving touchdowns to running backs (6). I expect this game to be incredibly physical and tough for CMC to dominate, but we can take solace in knowing that he’s a swiss army knife that can score from anywhere. Start CMC this week. Jordan Mason is someone to look at in Week 17 because the 49ers may officially be out of the number 1 seed race. Mason had 64 yards last week and has been a beast when given the opportunity. The problem is CMC’s most trusted back on the roster, and he’ll get all the red zone carries in important games.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
Brandon Aiyuk (Start, High-End Flex), Jauan Jennings (Sit), George Kittle (Start, TE1)
Brandon Aiyuk has been too inconsistent this year to be considered a true number-one receiver. He’s only finished top-12 twice this year and has had trouble when Deebo Samuel is missing. The Commanders have been good against top receivers in the past five games, averaging 12.72 points to WRs. Aiyuk should be considered a high-end flex this week against a team that has held better receivers in check this year.
Jauan Jennings has been a non-factor with the increased opportunities. His best week was 16.9 against the Saints, but last week he caught three of five targets for 31 yards. Jennings could go off this week, but that’s not what you need in fantasy playoffs; sit him.
George Kittle showed why he is one of the most valuable tight ends in the game last week; he caught four passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns. Brock Purdy seems to have developed a rapport with Kittle, while the Commanders are the third-best team against fantasy tight ends. I think he’s a must-start with Deebo out and Aiyuk underperforming in his absence.