4 players Kyle Shanahan, 49ers must rest vs. Rams in regular-season finale

Unless there are some contractual incentive-based stats to chase, these four Niners players should ride the bench on a break in a relatively meaningless Week 18 game against the Rams.

San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23), quarterback Brock Purdy (13) and left tackle Trent Williams (71)
San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23), quarterback Brock Purdy (13) and left tackle Trent Williams (71) / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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9-7. 49ers-Rams opening. 11-4. 49ers -3.5. 51. Fox. Sunday, Jan. 7. 42. 4:25 p.m. ET

Kyle Shanahan is on the fence about resting his starters against the Rams in Week 18, but these four players definitely deserve a break.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan will be wise if he treats the Week 18 home matchup against the Los Angeles Rams like a preseason game.

In some ways, it is like a preseason game. The Niners have already clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture and will get home-field advantage and a first-round bye in the postseason regardless of what happens against LA on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles is locked in as a Wild Card team as the No. 6 seed and can't advance any higher or fall any lower, which likely means head coach Sean McVay rests a lot of his players, too.

Shanahan has already ruled out injured running back Christian McCaffrey with a minor calf injury, and defensive tackle Arik Armstead has been sidelined for weeks with a foot ailment.

But what healthy players should Shanahan sit, even though he's been relatively non-committal in announcing his intentions?

Here are four who'd be wise to rest on Sunday against the Rams.

49ers should rest Trent Williams

The "rest versus rust" argument has plenty of merit, and having momentum can be just as important as avoiding injury.

Yet the argument should not apply to All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams whatsoever.

Williams, the best member of an otherwise questionable offensive line, has been phenomenal this season. Yet fans can recall when he was out two-plus games because of an ankle injury earlier in the year, which happened to coincide with San Francisco's three-game losing streak.

There isn't any reason to subject Williams to any potential injury, and he won't suffer the drawback of being potentially rusty for the divisional round of the postseason either.