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Week 9 Fantasy Football Primer: Packers vs. 49ers

An unprecedented number of injuries has changed the 49ers plans this season, including turning to Nick Mullens at quarterback Thursday night during the rematch of last year's NFC Championship game with the Packers. Mullens is a capable replacement who's gotten 8.7 YPA during his brief action this year (his 1.7 CPAE is actually a huge upgrade from Jimmy Garoppolo's -3.6 mark, albeit in a limited sample, and Jimmy G deserves some slack for playing injured), but he's more of a Superflex option in fantasy leagues with George Kittle and Deebo Samuel out (and down to their third-string center).

Brandon Aiyuk did most of his work after Mullens took over last week and remains a must-start in all fantasy leagues as San Francisco's clear No. 1 option in the passing game right now, and he ranks top-20 in fantasy points per target as a rookie. That said, Aiyuk has a tough task Thursday night while likely shadowed by Jaire Alexander, who's been the league's best corner this season. Kendrick Bourne and Jordan Reed (if he plays) are sleepers for those in deeper leagues.

JaMycal Hasty and Jerick McKinnon are the only remaining healthy backs, with Hasty clearly possessing more upside. And he gets a Packers defense that's ceded the most fantasy points to running backs this season. Green Bay just allowed Dalvin Cook to become the first player in NFL history to score a touchdown on his team's first four possessions last week, and Raheem Mostert broke records while rushing for 220 yards and four touchdowns when these teams last met in January. So the matchup certainly looks right. Of course, the Packers enter as near touchdown favorites, so the game script might not be as favorable, but Hasty has impressed and should be considered a top-15 fantasy back this week given the situation (now cue McKinnon dominating the touches).

Aaron Rodgers will likely have last year's championship game blowout fresh in his mind (as well as last week's extremely disappointing loss), so it's safe to expect a big bounce back performance from the local QB. Rodgers has been protected as well as any quarterback in the league, while San Francisco's many injuries appear to be catching up to its defense. With Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon all likely out, Tyler Ervin and Dexter Williams should form a committee versus a 49ers D that's shut down running backs this season, making it all the more likely it's a long night of pitch-and-catch by Rodgers and Davante Adams.


Dalton Del Don has been with Yahoo Sports since 2013, covering fantasy football, baseball and basketball. He appears on multiple podcasts each week and currently resides in the Bay Area, where he is an avid fan of the Golden State Warriors and 49ers.

For Del Don's fantasy stats and trends you love to see and other fantasy insight from around the league, visit here.

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