The 49ers return to the Conference Championship for the third time in four years. This time around they’ll be taking on the Eagles, who return to the NFC title game for the first time since 2017 when Nick Foles led to them to the Super Bowl. This is no David and Goliath. San Francisco and Philadelphia were far and away the best teams in the conference all season. Expect a slobber knocker.
Let’s not waste any more time and into some strategy for how we can approach this game for DFS Shown purposes on DraftKings.
Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $500K Sunday Showdown Special [$100K to 1st] (PHI vs SF)
A.J. Brown ($13,800 CP) - Brown took a backseat to Devonta Smith last week, producing just 22 yards on three catches. You can be sure he’s interested in making his mark these playoffs and the 49ers make for a great opponent to flex against. San Francisco allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to WRs this season and was an impossible team to run against, allowing just eight rushing TDs. That should push the action back Brown’s way this week, especially once the Eagles get inside the 49ers' red zone. Philadelphia looked Brown’s way in that area of the field more than any other receiver on the team this season.
If this game were early in the regular season, then we likely would have seen Brown’s ownership exceed that of teammate Devonta Smith ($13,200 CP; $8,800) by a large margin. However, with Smith averaging over 20.0 DKFP over his last five games — and now coming in $600 cheaper — the leverage might actually lay with Brown who had the superior upside in DFS this season producing four games with 28.0 or more DKFP to Smith’s two.
George Kittle ($11,700 CP) - Kittle’s connection with Brock Purdy ($14,100 CP; $9,400) this season has been fun to watch develop. Over Purdy’s eight starts, Kittle’s found the end zone seven times and has been producing a ton of big plays on limited volume. Over his last two games alone Kittle’s yards per target sits at just under 20.0 yards and his big play ability has also been complimented by being the primary non-RB target in the red zone, producing eight red-zone targets in Purdy’s eight starts.
The Eagles' secondary has been a big talking point this week and the fact they allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points and ninth-fewest receptions is a serious hindrance to the upside for Brandon Aiyuk ($8,700 CP; $5,800) and Deebo Samuel ($12,600 CP; $8,400). Over the middle is a different story for Philadelphia, which can be complacent in that area at times and allowed the most receiving TDs to Kittle’s position just one season ago. Considering that backup Lawrence Cager was allowed to post 8 receptions and 69 yards on 10 targets last week, you have to think Kittle is in a spot to potentially push for a ceiling game here in terms of targets and receptions, especially if the 49ers get behind the eight-ball early in this game. At under $12,000, he offers great flexibility as a captain’s pick and has been the receiver to target in this offense since Purdy took the reigns.
Kenneth Gainwell ($4,800) - Gainwell has really come on down the stretch for the Eagles, posting an absurd 8.61 yards per carry over his two starts. We need to note that both of those games came against the Giants, but it’s still been an impressive run for Gainwell, nonetheless. While he’s still second behind Miles Sanders ($6,200) in terms of total snap count, the two have both taken seven touches inside the red zone over the last two weeks, with Gainwell severely out-touching Sanders in that area last week. It’s pretty clear that the Eagles value Gainwell’s receiving ability and he’s vastly out-targeted Sanders this year on a per-snap basis. Given the 49ers' stinginess against the run, it wouldn't be shocking to see Gainwell out-touch Sanders again inside the 20, where they can release him from the backfield and have him try to beat the 49ers as a receiver in the flat.
49ers DST ($3,800) - The majority of people playing showdown this week will almost certainly be looking at the Eagles DST ($3,600) as the better option in the special teams department, making the 49ers a great leverage option. Brock Purdy may be a rookie, but he’ll be protected by Kyle Shanahan’s offense which utilizes his receiver's after-the-catch ability and protects his quarterback with a lot of low aDOT, low-risk throws. Jalen Hurts ($11,000) is in the exact opposite spot in that he’ll be asked to carry the ball a ton and likely throw into some 50/50 spots against a 49ers DST that ranks second this season in turnovers. The 49ers have averaged 9.4 DKFP per game this year and have scored 15.0 or more DKFP four times this season. As far as flex plays that are being talked about this week, they’ll rank extremely low down on the heat list and make for a great contrarian option to consider once you get under $4,000 in salary.
Dallas Goedert ($6,800) - Goedert is coming off a big game in which he secured six receptions on eight targets, but his overall target share still makes him the clear third option in this offense. Goedert only received more than six targets in a game three times this season and will be facing a 49rs defense whose strength is at shelling down and limiting the gains to TEs and RBs in the receiving game. The 49ers allowed just 6.31 yards perception to TEs and just three TDs all season.
Last week, Dalton Schultz needed 10 targets just to hit five receptions and while he bailed out DFS lineups with a TD, Goedert has a rushing quarterback, a TD magnet at WR in A.J. Brown, and a team that doesn’t prioritize the TE in the red zone. Goedert’s flex salary is under $7,000 making him a very easy and tempting way to get a cheap piece of the Eagles' passing game. Unfortunately, that will also help drive people away from looking at the matchup and just rostering him based on salary alone. Ownership, matchup and the Eagles' plethora of riches on offense make this a great spot to fade Goedert and look for leverage by creating lineups that bypass his range altogether.
The 49ers have won 12 games in a row, with their last eight wins all coming with Brock Purdy at quarterback. The notion that something drastic will change this week just because they are playing the Eagles seems a little far-fetched when you consider the roster of talent that the 49ers have to lean on.
Philadelphia has some concerns that people also seem to be glossing over including a quarterback that may not be at full strength and a defense that ranked just 21st in DVOA against the rush.
The odds say take the Eagles but just like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, teams coached by Kyle Shanahan tend to find a way. I’ll take the 49ers in the minor upset.
Final Score: San Francisco 24 - Philadelphia 20
Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $500K Sunday Night Showdown [$100K to 1st] (PHI vs SF)
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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.