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What to do with Emmanuel Sanders, Deebo Samuel in Week 15 fantasy football

The 49ers have an enticing matchup this Sunday against the lowly Falcons. Is such a opportunity enough to play both Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel?

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel catches a pass for a first quarter touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Sorry to do this 49ers fans, but I’m go to go out on a limb and say your team isn’t going to score 48 points in consecutive weeks. I know, it’s truly a shocking prediction. Still that doesn’t mean the receiving corps isn’t in an incredibly enticing matchup in Week 15. Atlanta comes into this Sunday’s tilt against San Francisco just hemorrhaging fantasy points to opposing WRs. The Falcons have surrendered a whopping 9.8 yards per target to wideouts through 14 weeks of action - a figure that clocks in as the third-worst mark in all of football. Sure, their numbers have been slightly more promising since the beginning of Week 11; however, that span coincides with the return of corner Desmond Trufant, who was just placed on injured reserve with a broken forearm. Atlanta really can’t buy a break in 2019.

So, considering we’ve reached the point where Emmanuel Sanders is almost a plug-and-play WR2 each and every week regardless of matchup, let’s break down the viability of Deebo Samuel. The rookie wideout flourished in his two opportunities to play without the likes of Sanders and George Kittle, registering a combined 16 catches for 246 yards in Week 10 and Week 11 against Seattle and Arizona, respectively. However, consistent success has been a little more difficult to maintain with the 49ers at close to 100 percent health. In fact, if not for a pair of touchdowns in team’s past three contests, Samuel would be an afterthought with a mere nine receptions to his name. Simply put, it’s tough being the clear third-wheel in an offense that owns the NFC’s lowest overall passing rate (49.9%).

Fantasy Football Analysis, 49ers WRs Emmanuel Sanders, Deebo Samuel

I’ll give Samuel this, if you’re going to be a low-volume and touchdown-dependent wideout, a good place to start is by leading your squad in red zone targets, which the rookie does with 13. Being part of a roster that owns this slate’s highest implied team total doesn’t hurt, either. The fact of the matter is Samuel is a high-ceiling wide receiver with a varied range of outcomes and that’s enough to consider him a useful FLEX play, especially in standard scoring formats. The inconsistency is a worry, but upside and a good matchup are a tantalizing duo in fantasy.

Start/Sit Recommendation

Start Sanders. Start Samuel.