• Matt Woolsey

Victory in a Land Called Fantasy: Who to Start, Who to Sit

Week 1 of the regular season is upon us and so is the fantasy football season. The Draft is done and now it’s time to set your lineups. As you set your lineup for this upcoming week, I’m going to tell you who from the 49ers you should start and who you should sit.

The Running Backs

The devastating news of Jerick McKinnon’s ACL tear from Saturday has put a fantasy dark cloud over the 49ers backfield in 2018. From the football side of things, I believe Matt Breida and Alfred Morris will be able to carry the load (pun intended). However, in Week 1 I cannot confidently say you should start either one of them.

It will be easier to see how Kyle Shanahan uses them to determine whether you could start them. But last season the Vikings were also number one against the running back in points given up. They only allowed 100 yards rushing six times all season. Without knowing how they will be used and with a tough matchup ahead, keep Breida and Morris on your bench. SIT: Matt Breida and Alfred Morris

Jimmy Garoppolo

We finally get to see Jimmy Garoppolo as the starter after a full off-season. There is a lot of hype surrounding this team and what can Garoppolo do in the Kyle Shanahan offense. As a reward the NFL gods have chosen to schedule Garoppolo against the Vikings defense.

Last year the Vikings were once again number one against the quarterback in fantasy football. Ten times they held the quarterback to under 200 yards. Quarterbacks averaged less than 16 points against the Vikings and had an average ranking of 20. I hope you have another quarterback on your team because this is not a great matchup for Garoppolo. SIT: Jimmy Garoppolo

The Wide Receivers

Unless you are in dynasty or a 16- to 20-team league, chances are Trent Taylor and Dante Pettis went undrafted in your league. So, you obviously will not be starting them. Which brings us to Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin as the potential fantasy starters. Obviously, if Garoppolo will not be in a position to score a lot of points then neither would the wide receivers. If you own Garçon, you probably did not draft him until double-digit rounds, so the need for you to start him is not that high. This is not the game to take a chance on him.

Goodwin however was the 23rd wide receiver off the board. It is very possible he was drafted to be your wide receiver two. But can you start him? When Garoppolo got the starting job last year, Goodwin was his go to receiver due to Garçon out on IR. The two built a nice rapport with each other. Goodwin had 99 yards on eight receptions during Garoppolo’s first start. He would then gain over 100 yards his next two games, but had a down game against the Jaguars.

If he had a bad game against the Jaguars you would be hesitant to start him against the Vikings, and I understand it’s not the most ideal matchup. But I think you can start Goodwin Week 1. Garçon will likely take most of his snaps against Xavier Rhodes, the Vikings’ number-one cornerback. With Goodwin’s speed and the fact he is becoming a better route runner, he will have some ideal matchups in this game. The yards Garoppolo does get in this game means hehas to throw to someone, and I think I can see Goodwin being the beneficiary of those targets. START: Marquise Goodwin, SIT: Pierre Garçon

The Tight Ends

The Vikings last season were 12th against the tight ends, averaging almost 11 points. In fact, it was the tight end that exploited the defense more than any other position. If you are like me and do not draft tight ends early it’s possible you may have drafted George Kittle to be your tight end. I am willing to bet Garrett Celek went undrafted and is still sitting in free agency, I would leave him there for now.

First, Kyle Shanahan does not use his tight end heavily in the passing game. This was something I covered this past offseason. But he does create good matchups for his tight ends and the Vikings defense did give up some points to the tight end. Over the last five weeks of the season George Kittle averaged almost four targets a game. It may not seem like a lot, but Shanahan likes to send his tight ends up the middle of the field, so those four targets can turn into huge gains. Plus Kittle was a top ten tight end against the Jaguars last year. Remember what Jalen Ramsey said this past June?

It will be “scheme” once again that will allow Kittle to be open for big gains in Week 1 of the regular season. START: George Kittle, SIT: Garrett Celek

This week is not a great week to be starting players from the 49ers. That will change, but this week they have a very tough matchup ahead of them and I would not be comfortable with them in my lineup.


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