Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Injuries abound for both sides here.
- CIN: cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, running backs Joe Mixon and Chris Evans, linebacker Logan Wilson, and defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin have all yet to practice this week (through Thursday).
- SF: running backs Elijah Mitchell and Trenton Cannon, linebacker Dre Greenlaw, defensive lineman Maurice Hurst, cornerback Emmanuel Mosely, and wide receiver Deebo Samuel all missed practice on both Wednesday and Thursday.
- These two offenses rank 28th and 31st in pace of play and in the bottom ten in the league in overall pass rates.
How san francisco Will Try To Win ::
The 49ers have continued their run-based attack as the season has progressed, ranking second in the league over the previous four games in total rush rate at 59% (second to only the 60% of the Eagles). They pair these high rush rates with a slow pace of play (28th overall) and a defensive scheme designed to limit splash plays against (below average blitz rates, average depth of target against and YAC allowed, third-fewest air yards allowed). Although Kyle Shanahan is typically regarded as one of the most dynamic offensive schemers in the league, he’ll have his work cut out for him this week with numerous injuries amongst his skill-position players. All of Elijah Mitchell, Trenton Cannon, and Deebo Samuel have yet to practice this week and should be considered legitimately questionable for Sunday. That could leave Jeff Wilson, Jr., JaMycal Hasty, Brandon Aiyuk, Trent Sherfield, Jauan Jennings, and George Kittle as the remaining healthy bodies in what has evolved into one of the more concentrated offenses in the league. The macro matchup against the Bengals should be considered a difficult one, as Cincinnati ranks sixth in the league in defensive drive success rate, fourth in plays allowed per drive, third in yards allowed per drive, and seventh in points allowed per drive.
As the Niners have shown us all season, Elijah Mitchell is the unquestioned lead back if healthy. Keep a close eye on his level of participation Friday after he self-reported concussion symptoms on Monday. Should he miss, it is highly likely we see Jeff Wilson, Jr. operate as the primary rusher while JaMycal Hasty handles change of pace and obvious pass-down duties. The matchup on the ground is a tough one on paper, yielding a disgusting 3.87 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Cincinnati defense that has faced the third-fewest rush attempts against this season (26.3 fantasy points per game allowed primarily inflated by the 11 total touchdowns allowed to opposing backfields). The volume should be there for this backfield, but the matchup is less than ideal, and we should expect a split workload should Mitchell miss.
Things get a little more interesting through the air, particularly if Deebo Samuel misses his second consecutive game. With Mohamed Sanu still on IR, Trent Sherfield stepped into 98% of the offensive snaps run from scrimmage last week, converting two of just five targets for a paltry 16 yards. Brandon Aiyuk played nearly every offensive snap as well, turning six targets into three catches for 55 yards. Jauan Jennings played 50% of the offensive snaps but saw only one target. George Kittle has worked his way back up to an every-down player and went absolutely bananas last week, converting 12 targets (on only 30 Jimmy Garoppolo pass attempts) into 181 yards and two scores. Should Deebo miss his second consecutive contest, expect a large portion of this pass offense to flow through Kittle and Aiyuk against a Bengals defense allowing a 67.26% completion rate (25th in the league), 6.8 yards per pass attempt (18th), and 10.1 yards per completion (14th). Should Deebo return, his role and usage likely depend on the status of Elijah Mitchell. With Mitchell in, we’re likely to see Deebo operate as the alpha wide receiver. Should Mitchell miss but Deebo play, we’re likely to see the same running back-wide receiver hybrid role we saw the last time Mitchell was out (similar to Cordarrelle Patterson).
How cincinnati Will Try To Win ::
The Bengals have been trying to win games in similar ways to how the Niners have been trying to win games, with the league’s 30th-ranked pace of play and sixth-highest rush rate over the previous four games. Also similar to the Niners, the Bengals rank in the bottom half of the league in pass rates when trailing this season. As such, Joe Burrow’s most pass attempts this season sits at just 40 (twice), as the team typically relies heavily on game flow to dictate their level of aerial aggression. Expect the Bengals to start the game with elevated rush rates and moderate-to-deep passing, only changing that plan of attack if forced to do so.
Joe Mixon typically operates in a “greater than lead back but lower than workhorse” role, usually checking in with a 65-75% snap rate role. But because so much of this offense is built around the run, it has led to some absolutely monster workload games recently (three games this season with more than 30 opportunities). Mixon also has at least one touchdown in every game since Week 3 and scored two touchdowns in each of the four games prior to last week. This gives him an elite floor, but he has recently been priced up to a point where his cost-considered ceiling is a tough sell (as in, he’s hit 4x his Week 14 salary only once this year). Should Mixon miss, we’re likely to see Samaje Perine step into a similar role, backed up by recent practice squad addition Trayveon Williams. The rushing matchup should be considered a difficult one, yielding a 3.99 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Niners defense allowing 25.0 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields.
Rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (13.0 aDOT, 7.3 average YAC) immediately stepped into the alpha role on this offense and stands as the only pass-catcher to operate in a near every-down role. That said, Tee Higgins (11.8 aDOT, low 3.4 average YAC) has as many double-digit target games as Chase has on the season (three each). Tyler Boyd (7.5 aDOT, moderate 5.1 average YAC) operates in a prototypical slot role, typically seeing 70-75% of the offensive snaps on a given week. The pass-catching corps is rounded out by tight end CJ Uzomah, who is in a route on only 55% of his snaps that come on pass plays this season. Joe Burrow’s 8.2 intended air yards per pass attempt rank top 10 in the league this season. Keep an eye on any reports out of Cincinnati regarding his injured pinky, as it could affect his ability to target receivers deep here.
Likeliest Game Flow ::
Both of these teams have tried to win games in similar ways this season, each checking in with bottom-five pace of play and bottom-ten pass rates. While they both are capable of slightly increasing their pass rates and pace of play when trailing, neither make it to overly aggressive levels. The Niners do most of their damage through the air via YAC (second highest YAC per reception) while the Bengals typically attack deeper on the field (top ten in intended air yards per pass attempt and intended air yards per completion). All of that to say, the most likely way for this game to unfold is for it to mirror a late-season slugfest, with each team adopting a relatively conservative offensive approach.
Since the Bengals are most capable of generating splash plays through attacking deep downfield, and since the Niners aim to take away these areas of the field on defense, and since the Niners typically generate their splash plays through YAC, and since the Bengals have built a similar defense designed to take away deep passing but have struggled with YAC allowed per reception (bottom ten in the league), there aren’t many paths to this game truly opening up. It is likeliest to have to come through splash play generation from San Francisco. That said, these are two offenses that are well-coached and dynamic, so the possibility always exists for either team to generate the required offensive eruption that would force the other to follow suit, it is simply less likely here. Expect a slow-paced, slugfest-style game environment to start as each team jockeys for field position and control.
TOP PLAYS OF THE WEEKEND
SORTABLE GREEN ZONE TOUCHES
TEAM & PLAYER DK POINTS
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By Dwprix >>
- 2nd highest total on slate (48.5)
- Total has moved up 2.5 pts
- SF is 1.5 pt favs after opening 3.5 pt favs
- SF 6-6 (5-7 ATS) // CIN 7-5 (6-6 ATS)
- CIN totals have went over in the last 5 of 6
- Their previous 5 went under
- SF ranks 13th in pts/g (25.3) // CIN ranks 12th in pts/g allowed (22.3)
- CIN ranks 7th in ppg (27.6) // SF ranks 20th in pts/g allowed (23.2)
- SF ranks 6th in TOP over their last 3 (34:05) // CIN ranks 5th (34:38)
- Jimmy threw for 299 last week w/ 2 TDs & 2 INTs
- His salary ($5.8k) is a season high
- He still has no 3 TD games on the season
- Notable QB scores vs CIN: (Cousins-24.2) // (Mike White-31.1) // (Lamar-23.1) // (Rodgers-23.8) // (Cousins-25.0)
- SF ranks 30th in pass atts/g (29.8) // CIN allows the 6th most pass atts (37.7)
- CIN allows the 13th least DK pts to QBs (12.4)
SF WRs + George Kittle
- Tgts w/o Deebo last week: (Brandon Aiyuk-6) // (George Kittle-12) // (Jauan Jennings-1) // (Trent Sherfield-5)
- Routes run (of 32): Sherfield ($3k) – 31 // Aiyuk ($5.8k) – 30 // Kittle ($6.3k) – 28 // Jennings ($3.3k) – 21 // Elijah Mitchell ($6.7k) – 17
- No WR besides Deebo has a 100+ yd game
- Kittle last week w/ no Deebo: 9:181:2 TDs, 12 tgts
- Samuel & Mohamed Sanu are tied w/ the most RZ tgts for SF. Sanu is on IR & Deebo is Q
- RZ tgts: (Deebo-8) // (Aiyuk-7) // (Kittle-4) // (Jauan Jennings-4)
- CIN allows the 15th most DK pts to WRs (36.7) & 13th least to TEs (12.4)
- Rush atts last 3: (22, 27, 27)
- Tgts last 4: (3, 5, 0, 5)
- CIN D allows the most RB tgts/g (9.8), recs (7.5), & 4th most yds/g (55.1)
- He’s broke 100+ yds in 4 of 9
- His price went up $700 from last week
- Season long price range after Mostert was hurt Week 1: ($5k-$6.7k)
- SF rush // pass ratio: 48.3% (3rd most) // 51.7% (3rd least)
- CIN D rush // pass ratio: 35.81% (3rd least) // 64.19% (3rd most)
- CIN allows the 4th least rush yds/g (92.5) // SF avgs the 6th most (125.9)
- CIN allows the 9th most DK pts to RBs (26.3)
Joe Burrow (Q):
- Burrow ($6.0k) is the cheapest he’s been since Week 4
- He’s priced between Tannehill ($6.4k), Carr ($5.9k) & Garoppolo ($5.8k)
- During an 8 game stretch (Weeks 2-8), Burrow threw 20 TDs
- The other 5 games he’s thrown only 3 TDs (Weeks 1, 9-13)
- He has 3 pass TDs in the last 4 games
- SF is tied for the 6th least pass TDs allowed/g (1.4)
- Burrow has rush TDs in B2B games
- SF allows the most rushing yds (26.1/g) & 4th most rush TDs/g (.4) to QBs
- They allow the 14th most DK pts to QBs (19.3) but 4th least pass yds/g (205.1)
- After having rec yardage totals of 101, 159, 97, & 201 in the first 7 games, Ja’Marr Chase hasn’t broke 52 since
- He had 7 TDs the first 7 games // Just 1 in the last 5
- Chase ($6.9k) is the cheapest he’s been in 5 weeks
- Higgins hasn’t had 20+ DK pts until the last 2 weeks (31.8, 26.4)
- He has 3 games with 10+ tgts (14, 15, 10)
- $6.4k is $400 more than he’s been all season
- Tgts after week 9 Bye: (Chase – 8, 3, 6) // (Higgins-14, 8, 3) // (Boyd – 7, 2, 8)
- SF allows the 16th least DK pts to WRs (36.3)
Joe Mixon (Q):
- Mixon had 19 rush atts in a blowout loss to LAC last week
- The two weeks prior: (28, 30)
- 14 total TDs (12 rush, 2 rec)
- Mixon $7.7k is the 3rd most expensive RB (Ekeler-$8.3k, Kamara-$7.9k)
- SF allows the 13th most DK pts to RBs (25.0)
- SF DK pts allowed to RBs last three: (Travis Homer-19.0) // (Dalvin Cook-15.3, Alexander Mattison-10.8) // (James Robinson-11.8)
- Uzomah tgts last 3: (6, 3, 3)
- He has 2 games with 91 & 95 yds
- All the rest he has less than 35
- $3k is the cheapest he’s been since Week 7
- SF allows the 2nd least DK pts to TEs (8.3)