The Matchup ::
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- Kyle Shanahan has faced Mike Pettine’s defense four times with Schaub, Grossman, Beathard, and Garoppolo, increasing his scoring each time from 0 to 19 to 30 to 37
- Against top-10 efficiency offenses, GB has allowed point totals of 16, 24, 24, 37, 10, & 23, with both games under 20 coming vs MIN
- SF ranks 7th in offensive efficiency, averaging 29.9 ppg and scoring 30+ in 8/17 games
- Against teams in the top-half of the league in defensive efficiency (GB is 15th), SF has scored 31, 24, 20, 37, 17, 48, 34, & 27 points
- 15 of SF’s 25 turnovers came in those 8 games, but GB was the only one of the 8 teams not to force a turnover
- GB ranked 7th on the year with 25 forced turnovers
- Against teams in the bottom-10 of the league in defensive rush efficiency (GB is 23rd), SF has scored 41, 31, 9, 51, 24, 37, & 26
- In those seven games, SF’s rushing yardage totals were 259, 275, 137, 232, 87, 112, & 128
- Those 7 games produced 11 games of double-digit DK points from RBs, with Mostert and Coleman both leading the backfield 3 times and scoring double-digits 4 times
- In the first playoff game, touches were distributed: 22 to Coleman, 12 to Mostert, 8 to Breida; Coleman produced the most & received the most valuable GZ touches, while Breida lost a fumble
- It was Coleman’s first game with double-digit touches since the GB matchup in W12
- Coleman has scored a TD in all four of his playoff games with Kyle Shanahan
- In Jimmy Garoppolo’s only 5 games above 18 DK points, his offensive snap totals read: 70, 70, 73, 48, & 64
- Garoppolo’s 18.22 DK points vs GB came on just 48 snaps, his lowest total of the season
- Six TEs to receive 7+ targets vs GB are averaging 84.33 yards/g and 0.5 TDs/g, and that doesn’t even include Kittle who went for 129 yards & 1 TD on just 6 targets
- George Kittle has received 7+ targets in 10/15 games this year
- Target leaders in those other 5 games: Samuel (7, 6), Kittle (5, 6) Sanders (6)
- In Deebo’s only 4 games above 16 DK points, Kittle missed two of them and saw his lowest target total of the year in another (3 vs CIN)
- GB ranks 29th in explosive pass plays allowed to WRs
- When facing offenses ranked in the top half of the NFL for efficiency, SF has allowed 25, 27, 26, 8 (GB), 20, 46, 29, 31, 21, & 10 points
- GB ranks 8th in total offensive efficiency
- After getting Ford, Tartt, & Kwon back, SF holding MIN to 10 points was the first time they held a team under 20 points since GB in W12
- Against teams ranked top-10 in defensive efficiency (SF is 2nd), GB has scored 10 & 21 vs CHI, 21 & 23 vs MIN, and 8 vs SF
- Before holding both Diggs & Thielen under 60 yards, #1 WRs in the four previous games vs SF were averaging 9.5 rec (14.5 targets) for 116.5 yards, 1 TD
- In his last four games, Davante Adams is averaging 8.75 rec (13.25 targets) for 118 yards, 1 TD
- McCaffrey and Drake are the only two RBs to top 20 DK points vs SF this year
- In five games vs rush efficiency defenses at SF’s level or better, Jones has yardage totals of 150 (MIN), 58 (PHI), 38 (SF), 31 (NYG), and 160 (MIN)
- Just 7 of 17 QBs have topped 20 DK points vs SF, and 4 of them only got there because of their elite rushing ability
- Rodgers has only surpassed 20 DK points in 5/17 games, and has been below 15 DK points in 9/17 games
- In 3 NFC Championship games, Rodgers has thrown 4 TDs & 5 INTs
The Game ::
While the Packers — in a top-to-bottom sense — are a better team than the Titans, the Titans are actually the team with the better shot at pulling off the upset in Championship weekend, as the 49ers are just such an aggressive, “downhill” team on both sides of the ball, it will be difficult for the more mild-mannered Packers to consistently break through for profitable plays. We’ll throw away the game these two had earlier in the year (a 37-8 San Francisco victory) and start from scratch in this one, but we’ll also be sure to keep in mind the matchup elements that made this a tough spot for the Packers once already. The 49ers are healthy up front and can generate tremendous pressure with a four-man rush, and they have Richard Sherman shutting down a third of the field on the back end, effectively allowing this team to use six guys to cover the other two-thirds of the field (knowing the quarterback is likely to be harassed), and giving them a constant advantage against opponents.
One element working in the Packers’ favor is the fact that Sherman sticks almost exclusively to his side of the field, which will allow Green Bay to scheme Davante Adams onto Emmanuel Moseley (who seems certain to start over Ahkello Witherspoon this week). Moseley has had a solid season, and with the extra attention the 49ers can dedicate to that side of the field, it’s going to be almost impossible for Adams to get anything big going downfield (when these teams last met, he went for only 43 yards on 12 targets), but with this offense revolving so heavily around Adams (11 targets last week, with no other wide receiver seeing more than one look), it will make sense for Green Bay to actively isolate other wideouts on Sherman, and to see what they can get going with Adams on the other side of the field.
Adams has been the focal point of the Packers’ passing attack all year — seeing far more targets than any other pass catchers — but last week was the first time when the Packers decided to go all-in on Aaron Jones as well; and while Jamaal Williams was coming back from a shoulder injury, it seems that his reduced role (two touches, compared to 22 for Jones) was more by design than “by injury.” Last week, the 49ers manhandled the Vikings run game (a zone-blocking scheme largely built around getting the backs to the outside), and this is the same sort of setup they’ll face this week with Aaron Jones. From a fundamental “defensive scheme and personnel” perspective, we were expecting the 49ers’ run defense to be their one weakness all year, and it was not until injuries began to pile up that this “weakness” became even a little bit of an issue. With everyone healthy, then, we should consider this to be a below-average spot for Jones (especially as the 49ers’ defense as a whole — as explored last week — does not create a good environment for running backs, as this team rarely allows long drives or in-close scoring opportunities), though “role” at least has a good chance to work in his favor.
The 49ers’ backfield (as you may have noticed…) is quite a bit more confusing. Every time the 49ers have been on the Main Slate this year, their backfield has been best viewed as “safe to leave alone, as you can generally capture their ‘ceiling’ scores in other spots with a lot less guesswork,” while the 49ers’ Showdown appearances have largely featured Xandamere reminding us that “While [fill-in-the-blank] has been operating as the lead back lately, it won’t be surprising if one of the other two steps up for a big game in this spot.” Tevin Coleman has remained the “starting back” even as Raheem Mostert received all the glory down the stretch (and last week, it was actually Matt Breida who was on the field first), but the fundamental reality/approach for this team has remained the same ::
Mostert is one of the 49ers’ most important special teams players, and as such, they try to keep his workload on offense somewhat “in check” (only one game all season above 15 touches — with his 12 touches last week in line with his recent touch counts of 12 // 15 // 11 // 11), while Coleman and Breida are both generally given early opportunities, with one or the other afforded a chance for extra work based on a variety of factors (including the unpredictable “hot hand” setup). In other words: we should (same as last week) assume Mostert sees around 10 to 12 touches, with a slim chance he rises higher than that, and we should assume Coleman and Breida are each held below 10 touches, with an opportunity for one or the other to take off if the 49ers control the game and if that “one or the other” is running really well. With minimal pass game involvement from the 49ers’ backfield, all three have low floors, while solid price-considered production is in the mix as well.
As we know by now, the Packers are better attacked on the ground than through the air, and they are better attacked with tight ends than with wide receivers (second fewest wide receiver catches allowed). As we have explored in detail, however, the Packers’ strength against wideouts stretches only so far, as they have been hit for big plays all season — often driven by yards after the catch. On such a small slate, Emmanuel Sanders (recent target counts of 4 // 6 // 4 // 2 — but with occasional opportunity to spike higher than that) and Kendrick Bourne (4 // 2 // 3 // 5 — but with six touchdowns as a solid route runner in tight spaces) can both be considered, but the wide receiver likelier to take advantage here is Deebo Samuel. Samuel only has recent target counts of 3 // 6 // 5 // 6, but his seven carries (and two rushing touchdowns) in this stretch add additional paths to production, while his YAC upside gives him clear paths to a solid game.
Of course, the dip in targets for Deebo (on a team that already runs the ball as frequently as any in football, and will be looking to do the same this week) has matched up with the return to full health for George Kittle, who has recent target counts of 17 // 8 // 7 // 5. Kittle will likely need game flow to tilt unexpectedly pass-heavy in order to crack double-digit targets, but he’s the clear pivot off Kelce on this slate — with a lower median projection, but with plenty of scenarios that give Kittle a clear path to the highest tight end score. If we played out this slate a hundred times, Kelce would pull in more total catches, yards, and touchdowns, but Kittle would have his fair share of production in all three areas, and it won’t be a surprise if he pulls off the minor “upset” and outscores his counterpart this weekend.
JM’s Interpretation ::
Yesterday, I was reading through and organizing all of my notes from the NFL season, and one of the notes I came across was a reminder to myself of something I wanted to talk about at the front end of that week’s Angles Pod :: the fact that I always want to avoid betting on fluky outcomes for my rosters, and instead want to focus on scenarios I can actually build around. This idea arose in my mind once again today while working through this slate, as there is some serious “crapshoot” to this weekend, with the lower-priced plays on this two-game slate almost entirely comprised of “hope thin volume turns into production” options. In other words: the only way to build for this weekend is to “hope to guess right” on fluky production — hoping to guess right on one of the 49ers backs, or hoping to guess right on ultra-low-volume pass catchers with target projections in the “1 to 6” range, and with two of these four teams (the Titans and Packers) facing poor pass-catching matchups. Even if I played the playoff slates, I would consider leaving this one alone — but if I were playing, the first thing I would want to do is recognize that the lower-cost options are universally thin; and because of this, a couple of “acceptable scores” from lower-cost guys could be enough to get the job done.
It’s easy to figure out on this slate that Mahomes is the best quarterback on paper (followed by a very bunched-up ranking of Tanny // Rodgers // Garoppolo), while Henry // Damien // Jones (in that order — with all carrying fairly low floors, but with Henry and Damien likely to hit at least a respectable score, and with all carrying upside) are the top-ranked backs. Kelce // Kittle are the top tight ends (with Jonnu a clear salary-saver option in a game in which the Titans should have to throw more than they’ve had to the last two weeks), while the two highest-priced receivers (Davante // Hill) are overpriced for their likeliest range of outcomes, but Adams carries a solid workload-driven floor, while Hill carries potential for a slate-breaking score. But it’s not quite as easy to figure out how to fit these players — especially as there is no real “game flow build” that can point to one of these lower-priced plays having a clear shot at hitting.
As such, I would keep in mind what we noted above (a couple “acceptable scores” from lower-cost guys may be enough to get the job done), and I would then focus my lower-priced plays around A) players who have a fairly consistent role in their offense (Raheem Mostert is the main guy who stands out here), and B) players who can do a lot of damage at once (Deebo and the Chiefs wideouts). Finally, I would think about game flow in these spots, and recognize that while the matchup is tough for the Titans and Packers pass catchers, there is reason to believe some volume-driven “acceptable production” could emerge from these spots; and on any rosters that bet on cheaper Titans/Packers pass catchers, I would be sure to also bet on the way in which I expect their opponent to build a lead that forces volume to pile up.
Of course, that leaves out Emmanuel Sanders and Kendrick Bourne, either of whom could post one of the top scores in the lower price ranges by simply picking up 40 yards and scoring a touchdown, which once again highlights the challenges presented in trying to do more than “guess right” at the bottom of this slate. Ultimately, the best way to play this slate is to embrace variance this week — building multiple lineups and recognizing that much of your competition will be far too certain in their ability to “figure it out,” while you acknowledge (and build around the fact) that if we played out this slate a hundred times, there would be a hundred different ways to construct a first-place roster. Forget about the stats, then! Try to visualize each game playing out, and build around what you see happening as a result. Then start over, visualize anew, build around this new scenario, and so on. In this way, you’ll give yourself a much clearer shot at first place: focusing on the ways in which production can emerge, rather than focusing too purely on “matchups” in a week in which the “matchups” really just tell us to stay away.
Xandamere’s Showdown Notes ::
- Both of these games suck for DFS purposes, at least to me. I was feeling icky about these games and then I read over JM’s interpretation section and I think I agree with him; I’ll be playing a bit of Showdown, but I don’t think I’m playing the 2-game slate. On most showdown slates, I play because I feel like I have an edge in being able to pick apart how a game is most likely to go. On these 2 games, I don’t feel that I have that edge; ownership should reflect the various likelihoods pretty accurately, I think. Overall, I would focus here on building rosters with strong correlation over trying to figure out which low owned guy is going to smash, but I may just take this weekend (mostly) off.
- It’s hard to figure out the “safe” plays in this game. Kittle, obviously, and he’ll be extremely highly owned (he and Davante should vie for the highest ownership on this slate). Jimmy G is kind of shockingly cheap for a home favorite QB with a very healthy team total. Deebo’s also cheap. Actually, almost everyone in this game is pretty cheap!
- When the season was on the line, Green Bay finally made Aaron Jones their bellcow, feeding him nearly 100% of the snaps and running back touches. Of course, the matchup is much, much tougher this time.
- The only Green Bay guy I can feel halfway decent about here is Davante. Richard Sherman sticks to his side of the field so Davante won’t have to face him, and while he’ll likely struggle with any big plays, there’s a good chance that he can get there via pure volume.
- The other Packers’ receivers are hard to figure out because we don’t really know their plan of how they’re going to use the other guys (no other wide receiver saw more than 1 target last week!). Who gets sacrificed to Sherman? Most likely Lazard, but he’s their WR2 now, so do they try to have MVS run routes at Sherman to keep Lazard a bit more freed up? Good luck figuring out this piece.
- What a difference one game makes, eh? Last week, Raheem Mostert was $8,400 and Tevin Coleman was in the $3k range. Now Mostert has dropped $2k and Coleman’s price has shot up all the way to $8,800. Realistically, at the end of the day, the 49ers “lead back” role has very rarely produced the kind of touch count that we need to justify a lead back kind of price. With Coleman you’re either betting on a very unusual game script that gets him to 20 touches, broken plays, or multiple scores. Mostert (or Breida!) will also get some touches and could be relevant at significantly cheaper prices.
- Last week people were grouchy about Kendrick Bourne scoring a touchdown, but he’s actually tied for the lead in red zone targets since…I want to say Week 11, off the top of my head. He doesn’t get much volume but the 49ers value his role in tight spaces around the end zone. He was a lot more attractive last week in the $3k range than he is at $6k this week (he’s seriously just $800 less than Emmanuel Sanders, which is bonkers to me).
Some groups to consider:
- At most 1 kicker
- At most 1 defense
- Pair captain receivers with their QB (you can consider not doing this with Davante, who could get there purely via volume)
- Pair captain QBs with at least 2 receivers
- At most 2 of the 49ers running backs
- At most 2 Packers skill players besides Davante and Jones
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