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Week 15 fantasy sit/start: Niners face tough test against Patriots

What players will be the most reliable in this, the second most important week of the fantasy season?

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

Well folks here we are, the fantasy football playoffs. If you drafted the Niners defense or Frank Gore, you probably had a good season. If you drafted Alex Smith or Randy Moss, may God have mercy on your soul. This week, the Niners play the team I would least have liked them to face in Week 15- the Patriots, who are firing on all cylinders after steamrolling the Texans on Monday night.

The Patriots are scary. They have a much better defense now than they did last year or even the one they had to start this season. Tom Brady is playing as well as he has since the undefeated regular season he enjoyed a few years ago, and now the Pats actually seem able to run the football. They wil be a tough out in the playoffs. Good thing the Niners won't have to play them again until the Super Bowl.

But this week they do have to play them. Here are the guys you should start.

START: Michael Crabtree. The Pats have one good corner, Aqib Talib, and he won't be covering Crabtree all the time especially when Randy Moss is on the field. Crabtree should be good for 80 yards and maybe a score.

sTART: Vernon Davis. Teams in recent weeks have made a conscious effort to lock down Davis, and that has resulted in Colin Kaepernick being able to run wild. The Patriots will not allow Kaep to do that and will probably spy him all game. That leaves one less linebacker to cover Davis, who won't be stopped this many weeks in a row.

That's about it. Here's who you should bench:

SIT: Frank Gore. I know, he's got you this far, but the Patriots made Arian Foster look like Ron Dayne on Monday and it was not pretty. Vince Wilfork is a monster (I actually think he may be a real monster) and the Patriot linebackers are excellent in run stopping. Gore may not have much success this week.

SIT: Colin Kaepernick. Belichick knows how to deal with young quarterbacks- show them different looks, confuse them, harass them, make them so cross that they will make a mistake. Kaepernick has faced better defenses than the Patriots', but he hasn't gone up against a coach as good as Bill Belichick.

SIT: Niners defense. This one is painful, but I don't think there's a defense in the league that can stop Tom Brady right now. His play action is flawless and his accuracy is exceptional, even on his deep throws. The Niners will be fortunate to surrender fewer than 30 points.