Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 16: Chargers vs. 49ers
These two teams were in good shape a few weeks ago. Not anymore.
Things started out well for both the San Francisco 49ers and the San Diego Chargers this year. The 49ers were 7-4, looking like a strong contender for the NFC playoffs. The Chargers were 8-4, in good shape in their own conference. But the two have combined to lose their last five games. The 49ers have fallen out of playoff contention, while the Chargers are hanging on to their own chances by a thread. Saturday, they play one another.
The Chargers appear reasonably likely to get No. 2 tight end Ladarius Green back from his concussion Saturday, but will be without wide receiver Keenan Allen and likely running back Ryan Mathews. For the 49ers, running backs Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde and wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Stevie Johnson are all dicey at best to play in Week 16.
The game between the two is scheduled for 8:25 p.m. ET Saturday in San Francisco. Let’s look at the fantasy considerations:
Start ‘em: The absence of Keenan Allen boosts the stock of Malcom Floyd, who has been an underrated performer most of the year anyway. He’s a low-end WR2/high-end flex. … The recent struggles of the Chargers’ offense have made Antonio Gates an up-and-down performer, but he’s still a TE1.
Start ‘em?: It’s becoming increasingly difficult to trust Philip Rivers. He has nine fantasy points in back-to-back games and 12.3 over his last eight. He’s still a QB2, but a scary one. … The Chargers’ defense hasn’t been super-great of late, but against the recently awful San Francisco offense, you might be able to justify using them.
Sit ‘em: With Ryan Mathews likely out Saturday, the Chargers will use some combination of the fantasy-unusable Donald Brown, Branden Oliver and Ronnie Brown. … Eddie Royal‘s stock gets a bump with Allen out, but it was so low before that you still can’t use him. … Nick Novak has been a fantasy yo-yo all season, and you don’t want to use his unpredictability.
Start ‘em?: If you’re digging deep, Anquan Boldin is still the best weapon the 49ers have on offense, but man is he not excited — eight combined points the last three weeks.
Sit ‘em: Literally, Colin Kaepernick hasn’t put up more than 13 fantasy points since Week 6. He’s utterly untouchable in fantasy. … With Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde either out or questionable, the 49ers have Alfonso Smith, Bruce Miller and the newly signed Phillip Tanner in line for touches Saturday, but those are decidedly not fantasy options. … Remember when Vernon Davis was good? … The deterioration of the team’s offense has robbed Phil Dawson of kicking chances. … The 49ers’ defense has been somewhat competent even as the offense falls apart, but recent injuries and a decent San Diego offense make it hard to use.
Start in every league: Malcom Floyd, Antonio Gates
Start if you’re desperate: Philip Rivers, San Diego defense, Anquan Boldin
Bench: Donald Brown, Branden Oliver, Ronnie Brown, Eddie Royal, Nick Novak, Colin Kaepernick, Alfonso Smith, Bruce Miller, Phillip Tanner, Vernon Davis, Phil Dawson, San Francisco defense