TNF Fantasy Preview: Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ersby Mike Fanelli November 5, 2020 0 comments
Tonight we have a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers. However, unlike last season, both teams will be without several starters because of injuries and Covid-19. Despite that, tonight’s game should provide plenty of fantasy points.
Last week, my recommendations had mixed results. Julio Jones had a great game, finishing with almost 21 fantasy points while several other Atlanta Falcon players struggled. Meanwhile, Curtis Samuel stole the show for the Carolina Panthers, resulting in Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore, and Mike Davis to all underperform. Hopefully, tonight’s game isn’t as volatile as last week’s, so without further ado, let’s dive into this week’s Thursday Night Fantasy Preview.
Green Bay Packers
Quarterback – Aaron Rodgers
After an ugly performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6, Rodgers has put together great back-to-back games. He threw for seven touchdowns compared to zero interceptions while averaging 24.9 fantasy points per game. Meanwhile, the 49ers are giving up an average of 17.7 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. However, that number is misleading as they have given up an average of only 8.9 fantasy points per game to Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones, Jared Goff, and Cam Newton. By comparison, in their other four games, they are giving up an average of 26.5 fantasy points per game to the position. The 49ers defense isn’t the same group as it was in the NFC Championship game, so expect Rodgers to finish the week as a top-five fantasy quarterback.
If by, some chance, Aaron Jones plays tonight, he is the only Packer running back that should be in your lineup. Unfortunately, for the Packers, both Jamal Williams and AJ Dillon won’t play tonight after being placed on the Covid-19 list. With the short week and the new rules regarding how soon a new player can join the team, the Packers will be down to Williams and Ervin at running back tonight. Currently, both are owned in under 15 percent of ESPN leagues, and that’s the way it should stay.
Entering tonight, the duo of Williams and Ervin has a total of four carries for 43 yards this season. Williams was on the practice squad till this season, while Ervin is mostly used on special teams. Furthermore, the duo has combined for 15 carries for 71 yards in their careers. Needless to say, this isn’t ideal for the Packers or your fantasy team. Between the two, I like Ervin more, especially in PPR. When the team dealt with injuries to the wide receiver position earlier this season, Ervin got some work in the passing game.
Meanwhile, the 49ers have given up the fewest fantasy points per game to the running back position, giving up only 17.9 per game. Furthermore, they have held running backs under 100 rushing yards in every game this season while giving up only three rushing touchdowns. Between the uncertainty in the backfield, combined with the unfriendly matchup, fantasy owners should avoid Williams and Ervin. Both backs are high-risk RB3 at best this week.
Very little needs to be said about Adams. If he’s active for the Packers, he’s in your lineup. In the four games he has played start to finish this year, Adams is averaging 32.2 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, in the five games, he has played this season, Adams has scored 30 or more three times. Without a doubt, he is a plug and play WR1 every week.
However, the other wide receivers on the roster are a massive question mark. Packer fans were unhappy when the team didn’t trade for Will Fuller on Tuesday, but the good news is Lazard could play tonight. Before he suffered the core muscle injury, Lazard was playing well, averaging 17.4 fantasy points per game. In two of the three games, Lazard played he scored 18 or more fantasy points and had a touchdown. If he plays tonight, it will likely be on a limited snap count, meaning fantasy owners should wait till next week to put Lazard into your lineup.
With Adams and Lazard missing time this season, MVS had every opportunity to step up for the Packers and fantasy owners; however, he didn’t. Since Week 1, MVS hasn’t scored more than 9.4 fantasy points in any game. He has failed to score a touchdown and is averaging five fantasy points per game since Week 1. If for, some reason, he’s still on your roster, it’s time to drop him. The 49ers gave up 61 fantasy points to the Seattle Seahawks’ wide receivers last week. However, other than Adams, the Packers don’t have any wide receivers that are on the same level as D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Adams is the only Packer wide receiver you should start tonight.
Tight End – Robert Tonyan
Coming off the bye week, Tonyan had back-to-back disappointing games, catching five of six targets for a total of 10.7 fantasy points. However, last week, he caught five of seven targets for 79 yards and 12.9 fantasy points. Last week marked the fourth time this season that Tonyan has scored double-digit fantasy points. However, the 49ers have done a good job slowing down tight ends this season. They are giving up only 8.8 fantasy points per game and have allowed only one touchdown to the position all season. Furthermore, the 49ers have held tight ends to under eight fantasy points in five of eight games this season. Tonyan’s target share and quarterback keep him in the TE1 group for this week but expect a low-end TE1 finish.
Usually, you would stay away from the Packers D/ST as they are the D/ST19 on the season, averaging only 4.3 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, they have only one game this season with more than five fantasy points. However, the matchup offers some appeal. So far this season, D/STs are averaging only 4.6 fantasy points per game against the 49ers. However, the awful Seahawks D/ST scored six points against them last week. With all the injuries on offense for the 49ers, the Packers D/ST is a low-end D/ST1 this week, even with their awful run defense.
San Francisco 49ers
Quarterback – Nick Mullens
Unable to play through his high ankle sprain, the 49ers put Jimmy Garoppolo on injured reserve earlier this week. It is unclear if he will return this season, but until he does, Mullens is the starting quarterback. Mullens has started two games this season and then finished their Week 8 matchup against the Seahawks as Garoppolo’s ankle injury forced him out of the game. In those three contests, Mullens averaged 13.6 fantasy points per game. However, in two of those games, he scored 17.5 or more fantasy points and has four touchdowns this season.
Meanwhile, the Packers have done a good job slowing down quarterbacks this season, giving up an average of 17.6 fantasy points per game. They are giving up an average of only 1.5 passing touchdowns per game. Furthermore, the Packers have held quarterbacks to under 170 passing yards in two of their three games since the bye week. With so many injuries to the receiving core, expect the 49ers to run the ball down the Packers’ throat, thus limiting Mullens’ upside, making him a low-end QB2 this week.
As bad as the Packers’ running back room is because of Covid-19, the 49ers’ running back room is just as bad because of injuries. Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson are on injured reserve, while Tevin Coleman is out tonight after re-injuring the knee injury that cost him five of the last six games. With so many injuries, the duo of Hasty and McKinnon will handle the duties tonight. Last week, both running backs scored 10 or more fantasy points against the Seahawks. Hasty did his damage on the ground, rushing 12 times for 29 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, McKinnon did his in the air, catching four passes for 40 yards while also scoring a rushing touchdown.
If you are the 49ers, you couldn’t have asked for a better matchup tonight. With all their injuries, they will rely even more on the running game, and the Packers have the worst run defense in the league. Last week, the Packers gave up 163 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns, and 48.6 fantasy points to Dalvin Cook. Furthermore, they gave up another 63 receiving yards and a touchdown to Cook. While the 49ers don’t have a running back like Cook on their roster, it doesn’t matter.
The Packers have given up at least 25.5 fantasy points to running backs in every game this season. They have also given up 10 rushing touchdowns to the position. Furthermore, the Packers have given up at least 100 rushing yards to running backs in half these games this season. Between the two, Hasty is the guy to play in non PPR, while McKinnon is the better play in PPR. However, given the matchup and the situation, both running backs are mid RB2s with upside this week.
After failing to find a trade partner for Dante Pettis, the 49ers waived him on Tuesday. However, they might be regretting that decision right now. Not only is Deebo Samuel out for tonight’s game with a hamstring injury, but Kendrick Bourne and Brandon Aiyuk are on the Covid-19 list and will miss the game. This leaves the 49ers with Taylor and Austin as the only healthy wide receivers on the roster. To make matters worse for the 49ers, Richie James, who has zero catches this season, is dealing with an ankle injury and is questionable to play tonight. Meanwhile, the Packers have held wide receivers to under 21.5 fantasy points in two of three games since their bye week. No 49er wide receiver should be in your lineup tonight.
As if the injuries weren’t bad enough for the 49ers, star tight end George Kittle suffered a small fracture in his right foot last week and will likely miss the rest of the season. Earlier this season, Kittle missed two games, and in those games, Reed caught nine of 14 targets for 73 yards, two touchdowns, and scored 28.3 fantasy points. However, he hasn’t played since Week 3 because of a knee injury, and at the time of writing, it was unclear if Reed would play tonight. Whether Reed is active or not, both he and Dwelley shouldn’t be in your lineup.
So far this season, the Packers have given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to tight ends, giving up only 8.4 fantasy points per game. They have given up only one game where opposing tight ends either scored a touchdown or had more than 65 receiving yards. Furthermore, the Packers have held opposing tight ends to under 10.5 fantasy points in all but one game this season. If Kittle could play, he would be a plug and play option, but both Reed and Dwelley are bad replacement options for your fantasy team this week.
Thanks to all the injuries, the 49ers D/ST have underperformed this season, averaging only 5.3 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, they have scored five or fewer fantasy points in half their games this season. Meanwhile, the Packers are the worst team to play a D/ST against as opposing D/STs are averaging negative 0.6 fantasy points per game against the Packers. Furthermore, aside from their total meltdown game against the Buccaneers, D/STs have scored zero or negative fantasy points against the Packers in every game this season.
Rodgers: High-End QB1
Adams: Plug and Play WR1
Tonyan: Low-End TE1
Packers D/ST: Low-End D/ST1
Mullens: Low-End QB2
Hasty: Mid RB2 with Upside
McKinnon: Mid RB2 with Upside
49ers D/ST: Avoid
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