Kickoff: Sunday, January 2nd at 4:04 PM ET
Location: Levi Stadium, San Fransico, California
Betting Odds: SF -12.5, 44 over/under total via Oddsshark
San Fransico 49ers
Trey Lance (Sit, QB2)
With Jimmy Garoppolo having a thumb injury the starting job goes to rookie Trey Lance. Lance has only one start on the year which came back in week 5. He finished with only 192 passing yards and 1 interception. He was able to make his fantasy day not horrible by adding 16 rushing attempts for 89 yards. He will have to do much of the same this week against a tough Texans passing defense. They are susceptible to the run which could make for a decent day for Lance but not something you can count on with the running backs and Deebo Samuel getting plenty of rushing work.
Elijah Mitchell/Jeff Wilson Jr (Start the Starter, RB1), Trey Sermon (Sit), Kyle Juszczyk (Sit), Jamycal Hasty (Sit)
The Niners running game is pretty high-powered. Even against tough matchups like the Titans in week 16 they still manage to manage 4 yards per carry. Elijah Mitchell has been out the past 3 weeks which has given Jeff Wilson Jr the starting job. If Mitchell is back for the week 17 matchup against the Texans he should be an RB1. If it’s Wilson I think he will be an rb1 as well. No doubt there will be those who will wonder what role Wilson will have if Mitchell is available. I believe it will be minimal. The same could be said for a returning Trey Sermon. Sermon hasn’t shown much this season despite his draft capital. Pro Bowl fullback Kyle Juszczyk has picked up some passes each week but outside of a fluke touchdown, he isn’t startable. The other running back on the roster like Jamycal Hasty and Trenton Cannon arent a factor at all.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Brandon Aiyuk (Start, WR2), Deebo Samuel (Start, WR1), Trent Sherfield (Sit), George Kittle (Start), Jauan Jennings (sit)
It finally seems like the wide receiver duo of Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel are playing up to what fans and Niner’s front office has been expecting since bringing them both in. I expect Samuel to be the better of the two. With the Texans having a strong pass defense and a weak run defense I’m expecting Samuel to continue to get worked into the rushing game. Aiyuk is somewhat touchdown dependant and has only scored double-digit points twice in games where he hasn’t scored. He will probably draw PFF’s 7th ranked cornerback, Tavierre Thomas most of the game. The 49ers will exploit Desmond King and Terrance Mitchell who rank 94th and 105th by PFF. Outside of the two main wide receivers, it is George Kittle who despite his disappointing week 16 stat line is still one of the best tight ends in the game. He has a decent match-up and will be fine in the fantasy playoffs. You can’t really start any other pass catchers from San Fran. The rest all need a fluke touchdown to be fantasy-relevant.
Davis Mills (Sit, QB2)
Davis Mills has played fairly well the past 2 weeks and looks to continue that trend in week 17 against the 49ers who CBS ranks 25th in giving up points to the QB position. Houston doesn’t have much to play for other than being the ultimate spoiler team. They are riding high after knocking off the L.A. Chargers. Mills could be the quarterback of the future and is making Houston fans forget the name, Deshawn Watson. Despite all of that, much like his counterpart across the field, it hasn’t really translated into fantasy success. He’s not worth starting right now even against a good matchup but is worth taking note of his play for next year.
Rex Burkhead (Start, Flex), Royce Freeman (Sit)
The 49ers boast a stout run defense and will be looking to bottle up week 16 star Rex Burkhead. Burkhead played on just 62% of the week’s 16 snaps but still managed to pile up 149 yards and 2 touchdowns. Giving Burkhead a rest was Royce Freeman. Burkhead also got all the passing work against the Chargers all though there wasn’t much since the defense picked apart the Bolts offense. I think given the tough matchup against the Niners, the volume for Burkhead will make him an easy flex play.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Brandin Cooks (Start, WR2), Nico Collins (Start, Flex), Chris Conley (Sit), Chris Moore (Sit), Phillip Dorsett (Sit, Flex), Brevin Jordan (Sit)
With the ascension of Davis Mills, we have seen the emergence of pass-catching weapons in Houston. Brandon Cooks missed week 16 due to Covid and should be back for week 17. He remains the main weapon in the passing attack. The 7-year vet has 5 touchdowns on the year and 80 receptions. He needs only 5 more reception to surpass his career-high in that category. I expect he could get that this week. He will most likely get covered by Emmanuel Mosley who PFF ranks as the 43rd best corner. Nico Collins is starting to live up to his post-draft hype. He is just two weeks removed from a 10 target game. Even if Cooks were to miss, the corners for SF are not great and Collins comes in at 6′ 4”, 215 lbs. It’s a great matchup for Collins so I would put him in my flex and hope for a true break-out game. Chris Conley and Chris Moore have both had weeks where they flashed but haven’t shown it week to week. Phillip Dorsett has had back-to-back flex-worthy weeks but it remains to be seen if he can do it once Cooks returns. Tight end Brevin Jordan looks to be building chemistry with Mills and has taken the starting role from Jordan Akins. the rookie has had 3 good weeks and 3 not so good weeks since the Texan’s bye. He is a risky start at tight end given the 49ers are ranked 6th against the tight end position.
– Dustin Ludke (Dunit13dl on Reddit)
Curious if you take weather into account (GB vs. Minnesota)?