The San Francisco 49ers will once again be without wide receiver Deebo Samuel due to a hamstring injury, which moves Brandon Aiyuk to the top of the wide receiver depth chart in Week 16. However, this week it’s not quite so clear-cut a situation. The 49ers are welcoming back tight end George Kittle from injured reserve. He is expected to be on a pitch count on Saturday against the Arizona Cardinals, but he is the 49ers best playmaker and will impact the other pass catchers.
Fantasy Football analysis: 49ers WRs Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne, Richie James
Dating back to Week 7, Aiyuk has played in six games and missed two games. During that six game stretch, he has reached double digit scoring every time in both standard and PPR leagues. He’s caught at least five passes and 73 yards in every game, and found the end zone in four of the six games. He hasn’t been used in the ground game like they did early on, but he has been a key target.
Bourne is coming off his best game of the year, catching four passes for 86 yards and a touchdown last week against the Cowboys. James is coming off a four reception, 56 yard performance, which is his second best game of the season. He has not come close to his Week 9 highs of nine receptions for 184 yards and a score.
Bourne and James have limited value in general, and Kittle’s return likely bumps them further down. Aiyuk has shown he can regularly make plays and even with Kittle’s return remains a solid start in most leagues, even against a solid Cardinals defense. They rank 12th in fantasy points allowed to the wide receiver position.
C.J. Beathard is starting over Nick Mullens this week, but that really doesn’t make much of a difference for this fantasy decision.
Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation
Start Brandon Aiyuk.
Sit Kendrick Bourne and Richie James.