TNF Fantasy Preview: San Francisco 49ers vs. Tennessee Titans

TNF Fantasy Preview: San Francisco 49ers vs. Tennessee Titans

by December 23, 2021 0 comments

Tonight, Week 16 of the 2021 NFL season kicks off with a matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Tennessee Titans. While everyone loves Thursday Night Football, fantasy owners struggle with which players they should put in their starting lineups. To help them decide which players they should start and which they should sit, let’s dive into this week’s Thursday Night Fantasy Preview.

All stats are based on four-point per passing touchdown and PPR scoring.

San Francisco 49ers

Quarterback – Jimmy Garoppolo

Last week Garoppolo scored only 13.8 fantasy points despite a great matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. However, he had only 23 pass attempts, leading to the poor fantasy performance. While the San Francisco 49ers blew out the Falcons last week, they won’t be able to do that this week. When Garoppolo has at least 28 pass attempts this season, he has averaged 19.5 fantasy points per game. For reference, opposing quarterbacks have averaged 37.2 pass attempts per game against the Titans this season. More importantly, the Titans have given up an average of 18.2 fantasy points per game this season to quarterbacks. They have given up 19 or more fantasy points to quarterbacks in half the games this season. This week, Garoppolo offers a safe floor option for fantasy owners.

Running Back – Jeff Wilson Jr.

With Elijah Mitchell is out for tonight’s game, Wilson will get the start. Last week he had 21 rushing attempts for 110 rushing yards, a touchdown, and 19.9 fantasy points against the Falcons. However, the matchup this week is far from ideal. Tennessee has held running backs to only 18.3 fantasy points per game this season. Last week they held Najee Harris to a career-low 18 rushing yards and 4.6 fantasy points. Furthermore, they have held running backs to under five fantasy points in two straight weeks. More importantly, the Titans have given up only 11.4 fantasy points per game and only one touchdown to running backs over their past four games. While the matchup is far from ideal, Wilson is a low-end RB2 that belongs in your fantasy lineups.

Wide Receiver – Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk

Over the first eight games of the season, Deebo averaged 6.1 catches and 20.7 fantasy points per game. He has averaged only 2.4 catches but 19.9 fantasy points per game in the five games since. The difference is Deebo’s new role in the running game. In the first eight games, Samuel had six total rushing attempts. By comparison, he has averaged 6.6 rushing attempts per game over the past five games. His new hybrid role makes Deebo a must-start every week regardless of the matchup. On the other side, Aiyuk has been very inconsistent this season, scoring under nine fantasy points in over half the games. Furthermore, he had only two targets and 4.6 fantasy points last week despite the matchup against the Falcons. However, this week Aiyuk could rebound.

While the Titans held the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers to only 19.3 fantasy points last week, they have been one of most fantasy-friendly defenses this season. They have given up an average of 41 fantasy points per game this season to wide receivers. The Titans have given up 64 or more fantasy points to wide receivers in 21.4 percent of the games this season. However, they have played better lately, holding wide receivers to only 28.4 fantasy points per game over the past four games. Fantasy owners can start Samuel with confidence like usual this week. However, Aiyuk’s recent struggles make him a mid WR3.

Tight End – George Kittle

Since the bye week, Kittle has averaged 20.1 fantasy points per game, scoring six touchdowns in seven games. Over the past three games, he has stepped up his play, averaging 29.7 fantasy points per game, scoring three touchdowns during that span. More importantly, Kittle has scored at least 13 fantasy points in six of the seven games since the bye week. Meanwhile, the Titans have held tight ends to only nine fantasy points per game this season. They have also given up only three touchdowns to tight ends this season, giving up zero touchdowns to the position over the past six games. Despite the tough matchup, Kittle is a top-two tight end this week.

Defense/Special Teams

The 49ers have won five of their past six games. They have held their opponents to 18.3 points per contest during that span. More importantly, the 49ers D/ST has averaged 10.2 fantasy points per game over the past six weeks, scoring eight or more fantasy points in all but one game. The 49ers have forced 12 turnovers and 18 sacks during their winning streak. Meanwhile, opposing D/STs have averaged 6.5 fantasy points per game against the Titans this season, about a point higher than the league average. Last week, the Steelers D/ST scored a season-high 15 fantasy points against the Titans. Furthermore, opposing D/STs have averaged 11.3 fantasy points per game against the Titans over the past four contests. This week, the 49ers D/ST is a top-10 unit.

Tennessee Titans

Quarterback – Ryan Tannehill

Coming off a career year in 2020, many had high expectations for Tannehill this season. However, he has struggled this season, averaging only 15.2 fantasy points per game, his lowest average since joining the Titans. More importantly, Tannehill has averaged only one passing touchdown per game this season compared to 2.1 passing touchdowns per game last season. Tannehill also has 14 interceptions this season, the most since his second year in the NFL. However, despite his struggles this year, Tannehill is a possible streaming option this week. The 49ers have struggled to slow down quarterbacks lately, giving up an average of 1.7 passing touchdowns and 17.5 fantasy points per game over the past three weeks. Tannehill is a solid mid QB2 option for fantasy owners in super flex leagues.

Running Back – D’Onta Foreman, Dontrell Hilliard, Jeremy McNichols

With Derrick Henry sidelined, the Titans have used several running backs. Over the past two weeks, Foreman had 35 rushing attempts compared to 29 rushing attempts for Hilliard and McNichols combined. Furthermore, Foreman has averaged 14.9 fantasy points per game since the bye week. By comparison, Hilliard and McNichols combined for 20.9 total fantasy points per game during that span. While all three have a role in the offense, Foreman is the lead back. Meanwhile, the 49ers have held running backs to 22.8 fantasy points per game this season. More importantly, they have held running backs to under 16.5 fantasy points in four of the past seven games. Fantasy owners can trust Foreman as a low-end RB2 this week. On the other hand, Hilliard and McNichols are desperate flex plays.

Wide Receiver – A.J. Brown, Julio Jones, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine

While there was plenty of preseason hype for this wide receiver unit, injuries have ruined this season for Brown and Jones. The wide receiver duo has missed eight games this season, leaving several others early because of injuries. Tonight, the Titans could have both star wide receivers for this matchup as Brown was designated to return from injured reserve earlier this week. However, a final decision on Brown will likely come later today. While Julio left last week’s game early with a hamstring injury, he will play tonight. However, if either star wide receivers is out, Westbrook-Ikhine becomes an intriguing flex option. Over the past four games, Westbrook-Ikhine has averaged six targets and 10.4 fantasy points per game.

Meanwhile, the 49ers have given up an average of 35.9 fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season. Over the past four weeks, they have given up an average of 180 receiving yards, 1.8 receiving touchdowns, and 42.3 fantasy points per game to wide receivers. If Brown plays, he is a low-end WR2 with upside whether Julio plays or not. For Jones, he has scored under nine fantasy points in all but one game this season. At this point, he belongs on the waiver wire. Westbrook-Ikhine is a low-end flex option if both Brown and Jones are out.

Tight End – Anthony Firkser, Geoff Swaim

When the New England Patriots signed Jonnu Smith in the offseason, many expected Firkser to take on a bigger role this season. However, he is split time with Swaim instead. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, neither tight end has done much this season, averaging a combined 8.3 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, Firkser has just one game this season with over 7.5 fantasy points, while Swaim has two. More importantly, tonight’s matchup is a nightmare one for the Tennessee duo. The 49ers have held tight ends to only 10.4 fantasy points per game this season. More importantly, they have held tight ends under seven fantasy points in half the games this season, including two of the past four weeks. Both Firkser and Swaim belong on the waiver wire.

Defense/Special Teams

Even though they have dealt with several injuries this season, the Titans D/ST has played well, averaging 5.9 fantasy points per game. However, they have picked up their play lately. Over the past eight games, the Titans D/ST has averaged 9.1 fantasy points, scoring 12 or more fantasy points in half of the games. They have held their opponents to 18.5 points per game, giving up over 22 points only twice during that span. Meanwhile, opposing D/STs have averaged only 4.1 fantasy points per game this season against the 49ers. Furthermore, opposing D/STs have averaged only 3.3 fantasy points per game against the 49ers over the past six weeks. While they have played well this season, fantasy owners should avoid the Titans D/ST tonight.

Recap

Garoppolo: Low-End QB1

Wilson: Low-End RB2

Samuel: Plug and Play WR1

Aiyuk: Mid WR3

Kittle: Plug and Play TE1

49ers D/ST: Mid D/ST1

Tannehill: Mid QB2

Foreman: Low-End RB2

Hilliard: Desperate Flex

McNichols: Desperate Flex

Brown: Low-End WR2

Jones: Avoid

Westbrook-Ikhine: Potential Low-End Flex

Firkser: Avoid

Swaim: Avoid

Titans D/ST: Avoid


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Mike Fanelli is the Editor in Chief and fantasy football expert for Prime Time Sports Talk since 2018. He is a featured writer for FantasyPros. Follow him on Twitter @Mike_NFL2 and reach out anytime with any fantasy football questions.

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