We have a very different game on Sunday night than we saw between the Packers and Lions in the island game last Monday. The 49ers are a far more capable opponent than Detroit, which should lead to a less obvious build in single-game DFS showdown contests. Let’s analyze how to tackle this single-game slate.
From a DFS perspective, the recent iteration of the 49ers is traditionally one of the most challenging teams to peg down in the NFL. While they have a competent offense, they are too spread out to provide much in the way of reliable DFS options. Their quarterback is not a big DFS producer in Jimmy Garopollo due to lack of mobility and low pass volume.
Due to the aforementioned low-pass volume and the extent to which it is spread out, no pass-catcher generally stands out on a week-by-week basis. Tight end George Kittle may be an exception, yet he has disappointed so far this year. However, Brandon Aiyuk is getting little usage. George Kittle is being relied on more for his superb blocking than for pass-catching duties. Deebo Samuel has become a more reliable number one receiver this year than he has been in the past. We will have to see if Aiyuk develops more of a role going forward and/or Kittle gets back to his Kelce-like offensive ways.
SF loves to run the football, but even then, they tend to spread the ball around in the running game as well. It could be a week where we have closer to a workhorse back in Trey Sermon out of necessity due to their injury-ridden backfield. Lead back Raheem Mostert and Jamycal Hasty are out, while Eli Mitchell is doubtful.
Even still, the likes of Trenton Cannon, Jacques Patrick, and Kerryon Johnson lurk behind Sermon, just waiting to vulture touches. I wouldn’t even be surprised to see fullback Kyle Juszczyk steal a TD away from what should be a heavily-owned Sermon, much to the chagrin of those with Sermon shares.
In contrast to the 49ers’ unpredictable offense, the Packers offer us a more clear-cut situation offensively. While not mobile enough to provide the fantasy upside of the Lamar Jacksons of the world, Rodgers does have a reliable fantasy outlook in the passing game. We know that his number one target is undoubtedly going to be Davante Adams.
After that, it does get a bit murky with the likes of Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Robert Tonyan all in and out of fantasy relevance. Aaron Jones is the clear lead back even with AJ Dillon in the fold. It appears that we don’t have to worry about his workload getting cut to the extent that we did when Jamaal Williams was in Green Bay.
Yes, the pass-catching situation for Green Bay is a crapshoot after Adams. Still, we know that most of the offense will run through Rodgers, Adams, and Jones, making this a reasonably predictable offense.
Trey Sermon is the glaring best play on the slate if Hasty does indeed miss and will likely be over 50% owned. He’s too cheap for the lead running back role that he will be thrust into due to the injuries in the SF backfield. The only reason to fade would be ownership.
Aaron Rodgers/Davante Adams/Aaron Jones
These guys are obviously going to be top plays on any showdown slate where Green Bay is playing. The vast majority of the offense runs through them, and if you roster two or three of them, you are scooping up all of that offense. However, they are costly, and playing all of them or even two leads to dipping down elsewhere in your roster construction.
Jimmy Garoppolo/Deebo Samuel/George Kittle
As mentioned previously, these guys should account for the majority of the passing attack assuming San Francisco continues to limit Brandon Aiyuk. The low pass volume is concerning, and you might choose one or the other of Samuel/Kittle.
In large-field GPPs, getting outside of the box with your lineups is essential if you want to get to the top with a unique team. Here are some possible GPP differentiation strategies.
Punt Cheap Plays
You might consider playing one of the fringe San Francisco receivers and hoping for a touchdown or a big play or two. Mohamed Sanu, Trent Sherfield, or Jauan Jennings (if he is active) are options. Since they are also cheap, you won’t be unique if you spend all your salary and use one of these players. That is unless your lineup construction is unusual overall.
You could use Equanimeous St. Brown, Amari Rodgers, or Malik Taylor on the Green Bay side if you are looking for a cheap punt. Make sure to confirm who is active and make sure your punt play is indeed playing.
Wide Receiver Pivots
This year, Brandon Aiyuk has had a minor role, and Deebo Samuel has seemingly grabbed footing as San Francisco’s number one receiver. For this reason, Aiyuk should gain much lower ownership. It would be a leverage move to play him instead of Samuel hoping for a change in their respective roles.
On the Green Bay side, no one will supplant Davante Adams as their number one. Still, recency bias based on the recent fantasy performances of Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard should lead to very low ownership, particularly on Lazard.
Running Back Pivots
As mentioned, Trey Sermon will be the overwhelming chalk running back play at his severe underpricing. We do, however, know that San Francisco likes to get shifty with their backfield usage decisions. Trey Sermon has appeared to be in the doghouse thus far this season despite clearly being their best option this week at the position. Since ownership will be so high on him, Trenton Cannon, Jacques Patrick, and Kerryon Johnson should be low-owned. It wouldn’t be shocking to see one of them take on a more significant role than expected or, at minimum, vulture a touchdown. Again, be sure to stay aware of who is active prior to kickoff. Even fullback Kyle Juszczyk could enter into the red zone fray, as we’ve seen even in total health San Francisco backfields. You also wouldn’t have to fade Sermon to play a second San Francisco running back at their prices to differentiate your lineup. All the other options are very cheap, as is Sermon.
On the Packers’ side, backup running back AJ Dillon was a chalky value piece for Monday Night Football. Still, he failed to have much of a role as Aaron Jones stole the show with an epic four-touchdown performance. Due to recency bias among the field, Dillon should come in much lower-owned this week. The perception may be that he will not fulfill the Jamaal Williams role formerly expected from the Green Bay backup RB. Not to mention that people will be afraid to fade Aaron Jones due to FOMO and not want to play both running backs since they cut into each other’s production. We don’t know for sure that AJ Dillon won’t play a more significant role going forward, and now would be the time to buy low on ownership and price.
Kickers And Defenses
The defenses are projected to be very low-owned in this game, and kickers are almost always under-owned for their floor compared to most position players priced in their range. It is wise to never forget kicker and defense when playing these large-field Showdown GPPs. Robbie Gould and Mason Crosby are certainly in play here.