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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49ers should rest Brock Purdy

With Trent Williams resting on the bench, and Week 18 meaning nothing more than bragging rights, the Niners have zero business whatsoever starting quarterback Brock Purdy.

Purdy likely conceded the NFL MVP award to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson back on Christmas Day, so that's not a factor. On the positive side, Purdy also set a new franchise record for most passing yards in a single season with 4,050. Unless he wants to make the record much tougher to reach, there's no value in him taking the field against All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald and the Rams.

Assuming Donald plays, of course.

Kyle Shanahan doesn't need to mess around here. Purdy can take a seat, and the temporary reins can be handed over to the veteran backup, Sam Darnold, who's a free agent after this season and would love nothing more than to audition for his next employer in a somewhat meaningful setting.

All the while, the 49ers would ensure Purdy would get a clean and healthy path right to the divisional round.

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