Which Packers and 49ers should you start in fantasy football on “Thursday Night Football” (8:20 p.m. ET, Fox, NFL Network, Amazon Prime Video) to open Week 9? Between extensive injury and COVID-19 issues for both teams, some key players will not be available, so making your first start ’em, sit ’em decisions of the week will be even more difficult than usual. Before we dive into our one-game lineup advice to get you on the right track in seasonal leagues and DFS, let’s go through the statuses of players on both teams.
For the Packers, running back Aaron Jones (calf) is a game-time decision. With Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon on the COVID-19 list, it would be a committee of scat-back Tyler Ervin and second-year back Dexter Williams against a tough run defense if Jones can’t go. On the more positive news, wide receiver Allen Lazard (core) is expected to be activated from IR to start opposite Davante Adams to give quarterback Aaron Rodgers another key target.
TNF INJURIES: Jordan Reed | Allen Lazard | Aaron Jones
For the 49ers, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle), tight end George Kittle (foot), wide receiver Deebo Samuel (hamstring), running back Raheem Mostert (ankle) and running back Tevin Coleman (knee) are all shelved with injuries. Wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Kendrick Bourne will also miss the game after being placed on the the COVID-19 list earlier this week. It’s also unclear if tight end Jordan Reed (ankle) will be activated off IR to replace Kittle.
Keeping all that in mind, here’s who we like and don’t like to produce from both teams:
MORE TNF: FD single-game lineup | DK Showdown lineup | Betting preview
Packers: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Start: QB Aaron Rodgers
Forget Rodgers’ struggles against the 49ers’ defense last season. This is a shell of that team with pass rush and secondary issues without Nick Bosa and Richard Sherman. Rodgers should also want to throw more with the potential of being down to the fourth- and fifth-string running backs. The matchups on the outside are good for his wideouts, and with safety Jaquiski Tartt (groin) iffy to play, Green Bay’s tight ends can also be active.
Start: RB Aaron Jones (if he plays)
The 49ers’ run defense is tough, but Jones is a no-brainer even coming off a minor injury.
Start: RB Tyler Ervin (if you’re desperate if Jones doesn’t play)
It’s hard to trust Dexter Williams for key touches when it’s been hard for the Notre Dame product to be active. Ervin is playing through a wrist injury but carries more upside in the game because of his receiving ability in what should be a pass-happier approach for the Packers.
WEEK 9 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Start: WR Davante Adams
Adams had his way with the depleted Texans and and Vikings’ secondaries the past two weeks, racking up 20 catches for 249 yards and five TDs on 27 targets. The 49ers can be exploited, too, with Emmanuel Mosley in coverage and a lesser pass rush to rattle Rodgers. Lock him in for another strong week.
Sit: TE Robert Tonyan or TE Jace Sternberger
All of a sudden it’s a real TE-by-committee approach with these two big, talented athletes. Rodgers has been relentless in feeding Adams, and both Tonyan and Sternberger are coming off good receiving games working off that. But having more pop at wide receiver will lower the targets to the position. The matchup isn’t great especially if Tartt returns with Tonyan being a borderline TE1. If you have a viable alternative in a better matchup, go with him.
Start: WR Allen Lazard (if you need him in a deep league)
Lazard’s likely return should see him get chances to stretch the field opposite Adams, as the Packers’ offense was rather compressed last week, which cost them in the end against the Vikings. The 49ers proved to be very big-play vulnerable against the Seahawks last week.
WEEK 9 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Sit: WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
You just “Scant” go there anymore.
Start: K Mason Crosby
The Packers’ long-time field-goal artist is battling through left calf and back injuries but will kick again. The 49ers are a top-10 scoring matchup.
Start: Packers defense/special teams (in deeper leagues)
The Packers’ defense is facing an undermanned 49ers crew and should get take advantage of sacks on Nick Mullens with maybe a takeaway or two, to boot. Just be wary: Green Bay has had only one double-digit fantasy effort by most scoring standards this season.
WEEK 9 FANTASY: Sleepers | Busts | Start ’em, sit ’em
49ers: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Sit: QB Nick Mullens
Let’s hope you don’t need to dig this deep for a starter this week. You might need him with other injury issues at the position for two-QB leagues, but in regular formats Mullens is outside of the top-20 options, with a sleeper such as the Broncos’ Drew Lock being a lot more appealing.
Start: RBs JaMycal Hasty and Jerick McKinnon
Neither looked all that great running against the Seahawks, but McKinnon made an impact as a receiver (four catches, 40 yards) and both at least scored touchdowns. The Packers, who now give up the most points in fantasy to the position, are still reeling after allowing Dalvin Cook to post 226 scrimmage yards and four TDs against them. With the split, Hasty has the more appeal as a RB2 in 12-team leagues while McKinnon would be more of a flex play with stronger value in PPR. The 49ers should feed both often with their receiving issues knowing the matchup is fantastic.
WEEK 9 DFS TOURNAMENT LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel
Start: WR Trent Taylor (in deeper PPR leagues)
Taylor should be busy in the slot and may need to play a little more outside for Mullens with Brandon Aiyuk (COVID list), Deebo Samuel (hamstring) and Kendrick Bourne (COVID) all out. It makes sense to keep him more inside away from cornerback Jaire Alexander and find good room between the Packers’ linebackers and nickel back. Based on game script for Mullens, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Taylor get something like six catches for 65 yards with a good amount of targets.
Start: TE Jordan Reed or TE Ross Dwelley
Tight end has become an absolute mess with few reliable options after Travis Kelce and Darren Waller with Kittle (foot) now down. If you lost Kittle, you can do a lot worse than simply plugging in his top receiving backup. Reed (knee) did score twice filling in for Kittle in a game earlier this season. If he can’t go, know that Dwelley also scored twice in a game filling in for Kittle last season and did score a late garbage TD from Mullens last week. The Packers have good overall numbers against the position but have had struggles against teams that scheme to get the tight end open well.
WEEK 9 DFS CASH LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel
Sit: WRs Richie James and Kevin White
James (ankle) might be available to help with no Samuel, Aiyuk or Bourne after the team decided to waive Dante Pettis earlier in the week. White, the former Bears first-rounder, is also bound to be active to help give Mullens enough healthy bodies at the position. Based on the matchup, it needs to be heavier running back-Taylor-tight end passing game plan for Mullens.
Sit: K Robbie Gould
You can’t really attach a good kicker like this to an offense with so much uncertainty. In addition, Green Bay also doesn’t give up many field goals to kickers because of its bad red-zone defense.
Sit: 49ers defense/special teams
They did damage against the Giants and the Patriots because of the turnover machines known as Daniel Jones and Cam Newton, but it’s been crickets otherwise with all their key injuries.
MORE WEEK 9 DFS: Best stacks | Best values | Lineup Builder
Packers-49ers DraftKings Showdown lineup for Thursday night
Captain: QB Aaron Rodgers ($16,500)
FLEX: WR Davante Adams ($12,400)
FLEX: RB Jerick McKinnon ($8,000)
FLEX: RB JaMycal Hasty ($7,200)
FLEX: TE Ross Dwelley ($4,800)
FLEX: WR Trent Taylor ($400)
Wow, that worked out nicely, didn’t it? We get the marquee Rodgers-Adams stack and take advantage of Taylor’s bargain-bin price to get both 49ers backs into the mix. For now, we should assume Dwelley is the guy for Kittle with Reed being limited all week.