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Fantasy Football Picks: 49ers vs. Cardinals DraftKings NFL DFS MNF Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Monday’s 8:15 p.m. ET contest between the 49ers and the Cardinals with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

For those of you keeping track at home, this will be the NFL’s fourth game in Mexico City and its first since 2019. That doesn’t include a scheduled contest between the Chiefs and the Rams in 2018 that had to be moved due to poor field conditions — a matchup that maybe turned into the greatest regular season game of all-time. Sorry, Mexico.

Tonight’s rendition will feature the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers. Let’s break it all down from a Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Monday Night Showdown [$500K to 1st] (SF vs ARI)


Captain’s Picks

Christian McCaffrey ($17,100 CP) - McCaffrey is in an interesting spot. While it initially appeared that the former All-Pro would be back to his “bell cow” ways in San Francisco — McCaffrey posted an 81% snap rate and a 36% target share in his first full game with the team — Elijah Mitchell ($5,800) has seemingly thrown a wrench into that narrative. The sophomore RB returned from injury in last weekend’s victory over the Chargers, racking up 19 total touches in 25 offensive snaps. Eight of those touches were in the red zone. Still, while that certainly limits McCaffrey’s ceiling, it remains a tremendously high ceiling. McCaffrey logged a 65% snap share versus Los Angeles. He had a stunning 73% route participation rate and finished with six targets — the second-most on the 49ers. On a team that sits inside the top 10 in rushing rate, that’s more than enough volume to survive.

DeAndre Hopkins ($15,600 CP) - It appears that Hopkins will be able to play through his questionable tag in Week 11, while Kyler Murray ($11,200; hamstring) will not. That’s obviously not an ideal situation for Arizona’s No. 1 target, though Murray’s status had little bearing on Hopkins’ output last Sunday. With Colt McCoy ($9,400) under center against the Rams, Hopkins registered a 40% target share, 10 receptions, 98 receiving yards and 19.8 DKFP. Since returning from suspension in Week 7, Hopkins leads all wide receivers in the league with 46 targets. Within that four-week span, the veteran is also second in red zone targets (9) and third in receiving yards (396). Considering how stingy 49ers D/ST ($5,000) is against the run — they rank fourth-best by DVOA — and how lopsided the game script might end up, I’d envision another contest with double-digit targets for Hopkins in Mexico.

FLEX Plays

Brandon Aiyuk ($7,600) - San Francisco is flush with All-Pro receiving talent. Between McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel ($8,200) and George Kittle ($7,000), there’s more All-Pro awards among the team’s starting skill-position players than should be legal. However, it’s Aiyuk that has my eye on Monday. Heck, he clearly has the eye of Jimmy Garoppolo ($9,600), too. Going back to the beginning of Week 6, Aiyuk leads all qualified 49ers in virtually every single receiving statistic. That includes targets (34), yards (330), touchdowns (3) and aDOT (8.8). Aiyuk has also been far and away San Francisco’s first option near the end zone, with 10 red zone targets and a 29.4% target share within the 20 yard-line. As a point of reference, Samuel has seen just four red zone targets within that same span of time. Now, the 49ers aren’t nearly as creative about how they get the ball into Aiyuk’s hands, but with 80-plus receiving yards in four straight contests, I’ll take the consistency over the upside of a Samuel.

Trey McBride ($1,000) - Zach Ertz (knee) played just nine snaps before suffering a season-ending injury against the Rams. As a result, McBride stepped in and managed both a 91% snap share and a 76% route participation rate. Yes, the end result was just a single reception and target for seven yards, but that’s a whole lot of volume that’s currently priced at just $1K. The rookie was an absolute force in his senior campaign at Colorado State, hauling in 90 passes for 1,121 yards. The result? McBride was the first TE off the board in this year’s Draft, going at pick 55 to the Cardinals. He’s clearly a capable pass-catcher and this is McBride’s time to shine.


Deebo Samuel ($8,200) - Here’s a couple things to think about with Samuel. First, he hasn’t been the most efficient receiver in the world in 2022, catching a career-low 56.7% of his targets. Second, Samuel hasn’t been nearly as involved in the the 49ers’ rushing attack as you might suspect. In fact, after 17 carries through the first three games of the season, Samuel’s only racked up 11 rushing attempts in his last five contests. With McCaffrey and Mitchell healthy, I doubt that trend changes any time soon. I also just don’t think this is going to be Samuel’s night. San Francisco’s run-heavy style limits the upside of their receiving weapons in general, and I have Samuel behind both Aiyuk and Kittle in my personal rankings. In particular, Kittle is interesting. Usually his underwhelming offensive stats are the result of increased pass protection assignment, but the TE had a 93% route participation rate last week versus the Chargers. With the Cardinals allowing the most DKFP per game to opposing tight ends, I have to have Kittle higher.


It really feels like the 49ers are coming into their own. While the team’s Week 7 loss to the Chiefs was painful, it’s more than understandable in hindsight. Since, San Francisco has fully integrated McCaffrey, had Mitchell return to full health and, most importantly, physically dominated both the Rams and the Chargers. I simply can not see Colt McCoy overcoming this ferocious defense.

Final Score: San Francisco 27, Arizona 14

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Monday Night Showdown [$500K to 1st] (SF vs ARI)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.