SANTA CLARA – Here’s who to start and sit when the 49ers (6-6) visit the Cincinnati Bengals (7-5) on Sunday afternoon:
START HIM: TE George Kittle
Kittle looks on a mission to produce in the passing game, after a nine-catch, 181-yard effort that included two touchdowns before halftime at Seattle. Yes, it followed a one-catch outing but Kittle is a reliable target for a quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, who needs that down the stretch. Deebo Samuel’s return could attract attention and allow Kittle to spring free off the line.
Three other nominees: RB Jeff Wilson Jr., WR Brandon Aiyuk, WR Deebo Samuel
SIT HIM: RB Elijah Mitchell
The 49ers haven’t shied away from using Mitchell when he’s been hurt in the past. But he’d have to overcome a concussion as well as a sore knee that required an MRI to reveal no structural damage. We’ve learned not to count out the rookie, but check back Monday to see if he’s not ruled out first. Don’t bank on JaMycal Hasty going big in his place, even if he’s the only fully healthy running back.
Three other nominees: 49ers defense/special teams, RB JaMycal Hasty, K Robbie Gould.