Showdown Slant ::
Presented by top Showdown mind Xandamere!
Just one island Showdown in Week 17 but it’s a doozy as the 49ers travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks. Normally in Week 17 we have to think critically about motivation and the potential for teams to rest players, but we shouldn’t have that in this game as both teams are plenty motivated: if the 49ers win, they win the NFC West and are the Number 1 seed, while if they lose they’re a Wild Card team. The Seahawks, of course, win the NFC West with a win but can be seeded anywhere from 1, 2, 3, and 5. Both teams should be going all-out here in a 45.5 total game with the visitors favored by 3.5 points.
We’ll start with Seattle and their run game, because there’s some real weirdness happening here: in the last couple of weeks, the Seahawks have lost all three of their starting running backs and are currently down to rookie Travis Homer (who?), Marshawn Lynch, and Robert Turbin. Turbin is a career backup who maxed out at 80 carries in his rookie year and is unlikely to have a major role, while Homer is a 6th round rookie who has 8 carries and 8 targets in his career. It’s worth noting here that all 8 of Homer’s targets came last week and he caught 6 of them for 26 yards, which tells us that he’s at least a competent pass catcher, though more likely to be used for dump-offs rather than schemed plays. Marshawn Lynch is getting most of the attention as in his career he has been A) a bellcow and B) good. In the Showdown he’s also just $4,200 compared to $7,400 for Homer. It’s hard to have a lot of confidence in how this situation is going to play out, as it’s likely going to be something of a hot hand situation. Lynch is currently listed as the RB1 and should start the game, and if he runs effectively, he probably ends up with the lion’s share of the carries. But if Lynch doesn’t start well and Homer does, the situation could be reversed. In a must-win game, it could even be Turbin who comes out of the gate hot and ends up leading the timeshare, though that’s the least likely of these three scenarios. It’s also entirely possible that the Seahawks dial up a pass-heavier game plan in order to avoid leaning too heavily on guys who haven’t played much or any football in a year or more (keep in mind the Seahawks are definitely in the playoffs and would probably like to use these same running backs throughout the postseason rather than scrambling each week to find new ones). My overall take here is that Lynch is too cheap for his likeliest range of touches, though that range comes with exceptional volatility, while Homer is too expensive for his projected workload and Turbin is most likely to remain a backup and lightly used.
The Seahawks’ pass game has been frustrating to me in Showdowns all year (on Main Slate, I just never play them, but obviously that isn’t an option in a Showdown). DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are the two guys who are on the field the entire game, but both come with highly unreliable volume (Metcalf has a total of 5 targets in the last 2 weeks, Lockett has 16 but went through a 3-week span with 9 total targets in Weeks 10-13). I would not go anywhere near these guys in cash, especially against a 49ers secondary that is ranked 2nd in pass defense DVOA and is getting healthier as the postseason approaches. In tournaments Lockett is the more likely play to hit, with 3 games of 20+ DK points versus just 1 for Metcalf. It’s worth pointing out here, as JM has done multiple times, that Metcalf and Lockett combined have only outscored Russ Wilson twice the entire year (and once was Lockett winning by about 1 DK point). This offense is so spread out that even if one of these guys pops off, it’s likely that Russ is putting up a higher score. I mention this because I normally am not fond of using QB captain in Showdown tournaments, but the Seahawks are one of the few teams that are an exception to that rule. Behind those two the wide receiver situation has given us a bit more clarity as Josh Gordon is suspended (again) and Malik Turner has been ruled out with a concussion. Turner was the favorite to lead the WR3 role with Gordon out, so his injury throws things into a bit of chaos. David Moore and Jaron Brown have had a very close split in snaps for the past several weeks and are both cheap dart throws; personally, I’d just bet more volume goes to Lockett, Metcalf, and Jacob Hollister, but if you want to play one of these guys, it wouldn’t be surprising to see either pull down a touchdown (Moore in particular is a bet for a long one as his yards per catch is over 18). Speaking of Hollister, he still played 75% of the snaps despite Luke Willson coming back from injury, and he also out-targeted Willson 6 to 0. Hollister hasn’t popped off in a few weeks, but the tight end role has been highly productive this year in Seattle’s offense and at $5,000 Hollister is in that dead zone of pricing that tends to lead to lower ownership. He’s a fine play.
The San Francisco run game has been about as unpredictable as Seattle’s passing game. Raheem Mostert has a hold on the lead back role now with 54% of the snaps last week compared to 42% for Tevin Coleman, with touches at 11 to 5. Matt Breida seems to have vanished from the offense through no fault of his own (he did play special teams snaps last week, so he seems healthy), which is weird for a guy who has averaged 5.1 yards per carry this year. While Mostert and Coleman are the safe bets, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Breida make an appearance in a game that the 49ers view as must-win. Keep in mind that the way this backfield operates, nobody is likely to even threaten 20 touches or have very much pass game involvement; a 49ers running back has hit 20 touches a whopping three times this year and none of them have ever seen more than 4 targets in a game. Mostert is priced up to where you absolutely need a touchdown or a broken play that leads to the 100 yard bonus, while Coleman probably needs a touchdown (or several unexpected and unlikely receptions) in order to pay off even at his cheap price.
The pass game for the 49ers is much easier to dissect. It’s George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Emmanuel Sanders, and Kendrick Bourne, in that order (yes, Richie James and Ross Dwelley will play a couple of snaps and might get a target or two if you want to chase a low-owned touchdown in MME). Bourne is the easiest to evaluate: he’s $3,200, which means he needs to outscore the kickers. He doesn’t see much volume and has no real big play ability but he does have a solid red zone role with 4 touchdowns on the year, and he’ll need one to pay off. Kittle is the safest bet for volume, has a great matchup, and is probably going to be the highest owned player on the slate. He deserves to be and is a very strong option (I view him as a safer play than Mostert for cash lineups). Sanders is mostly a tournament play, with 6 of his last 7 games in single-digit DK points, but the 7th at 37.1 (including a passing touchdown!). Deebo has surprisingly shown a higher floor than Sanders lately, in part bolstered by getting a couple of carries per game. Deebo and Sanders are pretty equivalent plays overall (and are at very similar prices), so pick your favorite. In MME I’ll want slightly more exposure to Deebo, but both options have tournament-worthy ceilings.
The most likely way for this game to play out is for both teams to try to keep the ball on the ground initially, as they prefer to do, but despite that being the best way to attack the 49ers there’s a good chance that Seattle will have to turn to the air eventually if the game plays out as Vegas thinks it will (both because they’re expected to fall behind and because their ramshackle run game might well fail completely here).
Some other ways the game could play out:
- We could get the “bad Jimmy G” we’ve seen so many times this year. Seattle is a tough place to go into, especially with so much on the line, and while we’ve seen Jimmy G put up some ceiling games this year, we’ve also seen him really struggle, including the last time these teams met in week 10.
- Conversely, though the 49ers pass defense is elite, so is Russ Wilson, and it’s hard to discount him in any matchup. If the Seahawks come out with a pass-heavier game plan due to their running back situation, and if they are able to find some early success by doing so, this could turn into more of a shootout than Vegas is expecting.
My favorite overall captain in this one is George Kittle, who I expect to be everyone’s favorite captain and the highest owned player. I want to be overweight on him. I also want captain exposure to Lockett, Metcalf, Deebo, Sanders, and Lynch.
Some groups to consider:
- At most 1 kicker
- At most 1 defense
- Pair captain receivers with their QB
- Pair captain Jimmy G with at least 2 receivers and captain Russ with at least 1 receiver
- At most 1 49ers running back
- At most 1 Seattle running back
- At most 1 of Moore and Brown