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49ers Must-Starts for Fantasy Championship Week

It's unclear who starts at quarterback for San Francisco this week after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a potentially serious thumb injury during the team's loss to the Tennessee Titans. Although Trey Lance has reportedly taken big strides in practice and is fully recovered from finger and knee injuries, expect a run-heavy attack regardless of who's under center. The raw rookie is sure to make mistakes if he gets the start, but Lance's incredible rushing ability makes him an immediate Top-10 fantasy QB. The Houston Texans defense enters Sunday ranked 26th against the run in DVOA while also allowing 7.8 YPA through the air.

The 49ers backfield is another uncertain situation with Elijah Mitchell questionable to return from a knee injury. Houston has given up 4.7 YPC and the second-most rushing scores (27) in the league this season, allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs. Mitchell may not see his usual massive workload after being a limited participant in practice this week and not playing for a month, but he'd be a strong fantasy start anyway in this matchup and as Kyle Shanahan's clear preferred lead back.

If Mitchell sits again, then Jeff Wilson Jr. becomes a top-15 RB during fantasy championship week. Mitchell and/or Wilson Jr. are going to benefit from gaping running holes should the mobile Lance take over at QB.

Deebo Samuel became the first player in NFL history with 1,200 receiving yards and 300 rushing yards in the same season and is a top-10 WR this week. Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle also remain fantasy must-starts no matter who is under center for San Francisco. Both have been producing with Garoppolo, while Lance's bigger arm should theoretically help Aiyuk downfield, and the rookie QB frequently targeted his college tight ends in the red zone.

Rex Burkhead was surprisingly the No. 3 fantasy back last week, but he's best left on benches Sunday against the No. 2 ranked San Francisco run defense in DVOA. However, rookie Davis Mills has been playing well lately, getting 7.5 YPA with a 5:1 TD:INT ratio over the last three games that have all come against top-15 pass defenses. Mills gets Brandin Cooks back this week and faces a 49ers pass-funnel defense that's been hit hard by injuries to their secondary. Mills is a superflex option, while Cooks is a top-20 WR.


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.

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