XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Week 7 closes out with the 49ers visiting the Vikings for a game with a 44 point total and San Francisco favored by 6.5 or 7 (depending on where you look). Fresh off of a rather shocking upset, the 49ers will be looking to get back on track against a Vikings team that on the whole has been successful on offense but struggled on defense and struggled to close out games. The 49ers are second in the league on offense with 30.7 points per game and first in the league on defense, allowing just 14.5 points per game . . . wow, that’s a big gap. Should be a fun one.
On the 49ers side, Christian McCaffrey is questionable with an oblique injury but is expected to play. I’m going to assume he’s in his normal role, but you could certainly make bets thinking he’s limited and that either Elijah Mitchell and/or Jordan Mason get more run as a result. But assuming he plays, there’s really not much to write about CMC. He’s awesome and his role is awesome – even against an elite Cleveland defense he scored 14.2 fantasy points last week in roughly a half. He’s scored at least 22.9 DK points in every full game he’s played that wasn’t a complete blowout (he took a back seat late in the 42-10 win against Dallas). I’m not sure what other clever things I can write about CMC that everyone doesn’t always know. He’s a badass, and he’s a major strategic decision point because he’s $12k and he’s going to be massively owned. Mitchell and Mason are both priced up at $5,600 and $5,800, respectively, so they aren’t very strong options unless you want to bet that CMC is limited or the game’s a blowout and they get a bunch of late run. Worth noting is that in Mitchell’s first game back last week, Mason played ahead of him, which could just be the 49ers being cautious with the oft-injured Mitchell, or it could be that they like what they’ve seen from Mason this season and want to give him the RB2 role. I don’t really know, but I would not play them together under any circumstances given their roles and prices.
Ownership updates automatically
The 49ers passing game now gets super interesting because Deebo Samuel is out and we know that the biggest beneficiary of Samuel being out has historically been George Kittle. So, we’re going to start with tight end. In ten games without Deebo, Kittle has averaged 4.6 catches for 73.7 yards and 0.8 touchdowns . . . yeah, that’s really, really good. A lot of that data was prior to CMC joining the team (as well as with different quarterbacks), so it isn’t quite an apples-to-apples comparison, but at $7,200, Kittle sure looks enticing. He’s only averaging four targets a game so far this year, but he’s at 6.6 per game with no Deebo and something like 5-8 is a fair range of expected outcomes for him here. He’s an awesome play at his price. Backup tight ends Charlie Woerner and Ross Dwelley barely play and can be relegated to the MME punt pile.
At wide receiver, we’ll see Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings, and then Ray-Ray McCloud, who was the primary beneficiary when Deebo left early last week. We’ll likely also see a bit of Ronnie Bell on the field as well. Aiyuk has really looked like the alpha receiver this year instead of Deebo, which validates everything we heard coming out of training camp, but historically his splits with and without Deebo have not shown nearly as much of a change as Kittle’s. At $10.8k, it’s hard for me to get excited about him, but I will admit to having some longstanding bias here. He’s a guy who I’m just so used to seeing in the 7-9k range in Showdowns, so that 10.8 is hard to stomach, but objectively he’s a strong play – he’s already averaging 17.7 DK points per game, and now Deebo’s out. I’m going to try and overcome my bias here and hope that other people see a 10.8k Aiyuk and think “eek, too expensive for him” and that his ownership is lower than it should be as a result (anything under 40% or so is a bargain). As for the other guys, it’s hard to get excited for the non-primary guys on the 49ers offense. Jennings is generally just a floor play and McCloud only saw two targets last week despite playing 71% of the snaps after Deebo left so there’s really nothing to make these guys stand out other than “they’re on the 49ers and Deebo’s missing.” McCloud out-snapped Jennings, as Jennings comes off the field in heavier sets while McCloud is the direct Deebo replacement on the perimeter, so I’ll lean his way based on more field time and a cheaper price, but they’re both thin.