The NFL schedule makers certainly had great things in mind when they scheduled the Atlanta Falcons and the San Francisco 49ers to face off in the Monday Night Football season finale, with two strong teams battling for playoff seeding in a sendoff to a long-standing NFL stadium. Unfortunately, the Falcons' general implosion on the season has rendered those thoughts moot, and Monday night's game (8:30 p.m. ET Monday night in San Francisco's Candlestick Park) is more likely to be a commemorative 49ers walkover than the envisioned exciting, tight matchup. Here's a look at the fantasy players of note in the game:
Start in every league: Tony Gonzalez
Start if you're desperate: Steven Jackson, Roddy White
With scores in three straight games, Gonzalez has propelled himself back into the upper echelon at the position, despite the fact he hasn't topped 63 yards since Week 9.
Jackson has been hot of late, with at least 13 fantasy points in three of his last four games, and still reaching 71 yards in the worst game of the group. The 49ers have a strong run defense, but Jackson has high upside. ... White has had 10 more catches in his last three games than Douglas, and he's clearly re-taken his place as the team's No. 1 receiver. He still has only one game of more than 74 yards or more than seven fantasy points, but he ought to be fine.
Ryan is averaging only 10.9 fantasy points per game in his last eight, with no game of more than 15 points. He's just got to be looking forward to the end of an awful season. ... Since White's return, Douglas has become an afterthought; he only has 57 yards in his last two games combined. ... Bryant hasn't had more than two field goals in a game since Week 4. ... The Falcons' defensehas climbed out of last in the fantasy rankings, but not by much -- it's the No. 30 unit.
Bench: Kendall Hunter
After three single-digit fantasy games in his first five, Kaepernick has only one since; he's averaging 15 points a game in his last five, and gets a bad defense in Week 16. ... A few weeks ago, it started to look like, for one reason or another, the 49ers were limiting Gore's touches, but their number has increased in four straight games, and his scoring is rising as well. ... Davis has been fantasy's No. 2 tight end, and has scored touchdowns in five straight games. He's a stud. ... The last time Dawson scored fewer than 10 fantasy points, it was Week 8. He's been as consistent as kickers come for three months. ... The 49ers' defense is a top-flight unit, and the Falcons are a bad team. Nice setup, that.
It's easy to envision a scenario in which one of Boldin and Crabtree has a big game Monday; it is much harder to see a game in which both do. Pick your favorite and good luck.
Hunter has a big (for him) game in Week 15, but fantasy owners will need far more before it makes sense to buy in.