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George Kittle, Kyle Pitts and Fantasy Must-Starts in Week 15

Jimmy Garoppolo is tied for second in YPA (8.4) this season and gets a favorable matchup this week against a Falcons defense allowing the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks while also recording the league's lowest pressure rate. With Elijah Mitchell still banged up, it's also possible Garoppolo throws more than usual Sunday, so he can be considered a top-15 fantasy QB in this matchup.

Mitchell has made progress and is working on the side at practice but has yet to pass concussion protocols, so his status needs to be closely monitored. Kyle Shanahan has treated Mitchell as a true workhorse when healthy, so he'd be a top-10 fantasy back if active (the rookie is averaging the fifth-most rushing yards per game this season). If Mitchell sits again, then Jeff Wilson Jr. would be a top-25 RB while losing passing down work to JaMycal Hasty.

Atlanta has allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to running backs this year.

Deebo Samuel has seen a significant drop in target share since George Kittle returned in Week 9, making him more of a top-15 WR than the top-three version he was over the first two months of the season. Samuel should continue seeing carries with San Francisco's backfield dealing with so many injuries.

Kittle has been fantasy's top PPR scorer in each of the past two weeks, which is even more valuable when you factor in just how weak the tight end position is. Kittle has missed practice with a sore knee, but assuming he's good to go, he's the No. 1 fantasy tight end this week and over the rest of the season. Brandon Aiyuk was the hero in overtime last week and has settled into a weekly top-20 fantasy receiver.

Matt Ryan has a 2:5 TD:INT ratio over the last five games, yet Atlanta enters firmly in the playoff picture despite a -108 point differential. The Falcons have played better on the road this season, but Ryan isn't a strong fantasy option this week even against a San Francisco secondary dealing with multiple injuries.

Cordarrelle Patterson has been a revelation this season, but he's being used as more of a traditional back lately (while running fewer routes), and the 49ers have the No. 3 run defense in DVOA, so Patterson's expectations can be tempered this weekend (but he remains a must-start in all fantasy leagues).

While Kyle Pitts has no doubt disappointed fantasy managers, he's fourth in targets and sixth in yards per game among tight ends, so it all comes down to a lack of scoring for the rookie. San Francisco has yielded the fourth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends, but given his volume (Calvin Ridley remains out) and the lack of alternatives at a thin TE position, Pitts is a fine start this week.


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 Week 15 Lineup Advice Amid COVID Chaos and other fantasy insight from around the league, visit here.