Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 15: 49ers vs. Buccaneers


The 49ers are 9-4. The Buccaneers are 4-9. Lovers of parallelism must mourn the 49ers not being 4-9.

The San Francisco 49ers are 9-4, holding on to the sixth seed in the NFC playoff race with a one-game lead over the Arizona Cardinals. Meanwhile, after starting 0-8, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have risen to 4-9, making a once-disastrous season now appear just disappointing. Both teams would like to move further to the good side Sunday as the Buccaneers host the 49ers in a 1 p.m. ET game. Here's a look at some of the fantasy-relevant players in the game:


Start in every league: Vernon Davis, Phil Dawson, Defense/special teams

Start if you're desperate: Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Anquan Boldin

Bench: Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham

It's distant, sure, but Davis has still been the second-best tight end in fantasy this year, and he's done it despite missing one game to injury. He's the team's most consistent pass-catching option.... Dawson hasn't scored less than 10 points since Week 8, has multiple field goals in five straight games, and hasn't missed since Week 4.... The 49ers' defense hasn't had many huge fantasy days, but it also hasn't had much in the way of implosions en route to being the No. 6 unit in the NFL.

It's been a disappointing season for Kaepernick, coming in at No. 16 among quarterbacks. He's scoring 12-plus for four straight games, but has scored more than 17 only once in that span. He has big games in his holster, but he has the blowups there as well.... Gore before the 49ers' bye: 13.25 fantasy points per game. Gore since the bye: 7.2 fantasy points per game. His yards per carry haven't dropped off, but his number of carries have as the team tries to keep him fresh. ... Boldin has had 90-plus receiving yards five times, and 30 or less four times. He comes in as the No. 17 fantasy wide receiver, but he's no sure thing.

Until Crabtree actually has a big game, no one should be using him for anything.... Manningham, meanwhile, doesn't even look like he has the possibility of a big game right now.


Start in every league: Defense/special teams

Start if you're desperate: Bobby Rainey, Vincent Jackson, Tim Wright

Bench: Mike Glennon, Tiquan Underwood, Rian Lindell

The Buccaneers' defense has scored 13 or more points three times in its last four games and checks in as the league's No. 8 defense. They're worth it, even against a decent San Francisco offense.

In his four starts in Tampa Bay, Rainey has had a 34-point outing, an 18-pointer, a six, and a three. In the fantasy playoffs, against a tough defense, you probably don't want that kind of wild card.... Speaking of wild cards, Jackson doesn't do middle ground. In 13 games, he has three of 20-plus, eight of seven of fewer. The reality is, if you have him, you're probably using him, but beware all the same.... Wright has three one-point outings in his last five and has only topped 21 yards once in that time. He's on the really low end of an "if you're desperate" play.

Glennon appears to have hit a bit of a rookie wall. After averaging 15 points a start through Week 12, he's totaled 10 in his last two. It was nice while it lasted, but the time to get out is now.... Underwood had that big Week 12, but more and more it looks like a fluke.... Lindell has missed four field goals in his last four games, and is only 24th at the position on the year.

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