XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Sunday Night Football is an exciting matchup between two of the league’s best teams as the Cowboys visit the 49ers. The game has a 45 total with the 49ers favored by 3.5 (which means that on a neutral field, Vegas is saying these teams are evenly matched). Both teams boast strong offenses: San Francisco has scored at least 30 points in every game so far this season, while the Cowboys have done so in three of four games (with a weird upset by the Cardinals). Both teams also have elite defenses: the 49ers have allowed an average of 14.5 points per game while the Cowboys have allowed just 10.25 points per game (to be fair, the Cowboys have also faced some bottom of the barrel offenses). From a real-life perspective, this is a really interesting game but from a DFS perspective, we have a matchup that could go a bunch of different ways.
On the 49ers side, with Elijah Mitchell already ruled out, Christian McCaffrey is in one of the league’s best roles (perhaps THE best role). He should be on the field for at least 80% of the snaps and handle essentially all of the rushing work, with backup Jordan Mason mixing in for a breather here and there. CMC has at least 18 carries and at least three targets in every game this year, and at least 22.9 DraftKings points. He’s scored SEVEN touchdowns already. He’s averaging a whopping 5.7 yards per carry because A) he’s good and B) the 49ers run blocking is elite. What else is there to say? The dude is elite, he’s the best play in this Showdown, and you just have to decide how to handle it when there’s such a glaringly obvious play on the board. He’s even very reasonably priced at just $11,800! He’ll be massively owned so you can either lock him and just play the best play, you could avoid him entirely and think “football is weird, who knows,” or you could just try to match the field and figure ways to differentiate elsewhere. There’s no wrong choice here. Mason’s role is likely to be too small to be meaningful unless he either lucks into a touchdown or if CMC should get hurt (he’s also playable in 5-1 49ers onslaughts as he could get more work late if the game is a blowout).
Ownership updates automatically
The 49ers passing game is relatively low volume but high efficiency. Brock Purdy has averaged just 28 pass attempts per game but we’ve already seen two 20+ point performances from Deebo Samuel and two more from Brandon Aiyuk. This offense gets there on elite efficiency and elite YAC from their primary pass catchers which makes them tricky to figure out for DFS purposes. Aiyuk has actually looked better than Deebo to start the year, and it’s at least a possibility that we’re seeing something of a changing of the guard here, but his price has also crept up slightly above Deebo’s. Call me a coward here but it’s hard to choose between them. They’re both good options and I have a slight preference for Aiyuk, but that’s also because I think the “brand name” of Deebo as well as his cheaper price is going to cause ownership to lean his way. The WR3 role will be split between some combination of Jauan Jennings, Ronnie Bell, and perhaps Ray-Ray McCloud. In this offense, with limited volume that is so focused on the primary guys, none of them are really any more than punt options with Jennings being the (slightly) stronger option. Tight end is George Kittle but Kittle spends so much of his time blocking that he has a hard time getting highly involved in the passing game when the rest of the offense is healthy. He still has a high ceiling but we’re less likely to see it, as long as all of CMC, Deebo, and Aiyuk are available. Kittle is a tournament-only play to me and one that I don’t have a tremendously high degree of confidence in. There’s nothing to say “Kittle is really likely to have a big game here” beyond that he’s just really good, and so I’m just going to try to match the field on ownership and move on. You can also include backup tight ends Charlie Woerner, Ross Dwelley, and fullback Kyle Juszczyk in your tournament pools but again, there isn’t much volume to go around once you get past the first four guys. I’d have a “max 1” rule of all 49ers pass catchers outside of the big four.