Thursday games are always tricky, though that’s not groundbreaking news. Let’s take a quick look at some of the more questionable decisions for tonight’s game and try to decide who we should trust and who should be avoided:
For One Week, Do We Have Clarity In San Francisco’s Backfield…
Outside of Tevin Coleman, the other three running backs that the 49ers have used in their rotation are battling injuries:
- Matt Breida – Ankle Injury
- Raheem Mostert – Ankle/Quad Injuries
- Jeff Wilson – Stinger
Coleman has been the favored option all year, though Breida still carried appeal as a low-end RB2/FLEX option. That would’ve rung even truer this week against an Arizona defense that’s allowed the sixth most points to opposing running backs over the past two weeks (294 yards, 3 TD). Instead Coleman should be viewed as a locked in RB1 with the others (Breida & Mostert are both listed as questionable) likely too risky to utilize this early in the week.
Is Emmanuel Sanders A Must Use Option…
San Francisco is a run first offense, but with the injuries and a little bit more time to get acclimated Sanders’ outlook does change a little bit. Arizona has been a little bit better against opposing wide receivers since the return of Patrick Peterson, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be opportunities to exploit. Obviously Sanders is no Michael Thomas, but just look at his performance last week (11 receptions, 112 yards, 1 TD).
While Sanders isn’t a must use option, there should be chances for him to make plays. A borderline WR2, he’s a much better fit as a WR3 (something that we should get used to given the offense).
Could Arizona’s Injuries Create Sleeper Opportunities…
It’s hard to imagine either Chase Edmonds (hamstring injury) or David Johnson (ankle injury) dressing for the Thursday contest, leaving the newly acquired Kenyan Drake to likely operate as the “lead” back (Johnson could play, created a bit of a timeshare). Of course a matchup with the 49ers defense (who have allowed the second fewest points per week to opposing running backs), Drake’s questionable performance in Miami and this news bit casts quite a bit of doubt on the outlook:
Recently acquired running back Kenyan Drake went through drills Tuesday. He’ll be given a manageable workload Thursday, coach Kliff Kingsbury said, to help his transition to a new team and a new offense on a short week. pic.twitter.com/XPxCO5Powp— Josh Weinfuss (@joshweinfuss) October 29, 2019
Expecting more than a dozen touches would seem to be misguided, even if Johnson is sidelined, and in this type of matchup that’s simply not going to get it done.
So where does Arizona turn to offense? Will Larry Fitzgerald suddenly reemerge? Could Christian Kirk be leaned on as a viable option? As it is the 49ers have also been strong against the passing game, allowing the third fewest points per week to opposing wide receivers. Without a running game to scare them, that will allow San Francisco to focus even more on stopping Kyler Murray and company. That just creates more of an issue, leaving the bulk of the offense as players to ignore. If you are searching for sleepers, turn your attention to Sunday’s slate of games.
San Francisco 49ers Start/Sit Decisions:
- Jimmy Garoppolo (QB) – Sit ‘Em (borderline plug-in QB1, viable as a solid QB2)
- Tevin Coleman (RB) – Start ‘Em
- Matt Breida (RB) – Sit ‘Em
- Raheem Mostert (RB) – Sit ‘Em
- Jeff Wilson (RB) – Sit ‘Em
- Emmanuel Sanders (WR) – Start ‘Em (better used as WR3)
- Deebo Samuel (WR) – Sit ‘Em
- Marquise Goodwin (WR) – Sit ‘Em
- George Kittle (TE) – Start ‘Em
Arizona Cardinals Start/Sit Decisions:
- Kyler Murray (QB) – Sit ‘Em (only usable as desperation QB2)
- Kenyan Drake (RB) – Sit ‘Em (desperation FLEX play)
- David Johnson (RB) – Sit ‘Em (even if he surprisingly dresses)
- Chase Edmonds (RB) – Sit ‘Em
- Larry Fitzgerald (WR) – Sit ‘Em
- Christian Kirk (WR) – Sit ‘Em (desperation WR3, but not a recommended option)
- Charles Clay (TE) – Sit ‘Em
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 9 rankings: