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Fantasy Football Picks: Cowboys vs. 49ers DraftKings NFL DFS SNF Showdown Strategy

Pearce Dietrich gives his top DraftKings NFL Showdown picks for Sunday Night Football.

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

DraftKings Fantasy Football features a legendary NFC showdown in Week 5. The DFS main slate may be in the books, but there is plenty of DFS action available for Sunday Night Football. Check out the NFL Showdown Slate DFS picks for the Week 5 Sunday Night Football matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers.

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


Captain’s Pick

Christian McCaffrey (CP $17,700)

Why get cute? McCaffrey is the best pick on a main slate. He’s the No. 1 DFS pick regardless of matchup. That’s with 10 or more teams to choose from with hundreds of players in the pool. With two top-tier teams, there’s a handful of stars but McCaffrey is the biggest handful. Only a fool would fade the full fantasy pull that Christian McCaffrey could command in his conquest of the Cowboys.

There’s little point in pointing out CMC’s fantasy points. They’re great. They’re always great. But this is a DFS NFL article and data is necessary even if the facts are abundantly clear. To avoid narrative generalizations, here are the numbers: 80 carries, 459 yards, 5.7 Y/C, 1 Rushing TD, 18 receptions, 141 receiving yards and 1 Rec. TD.

The Cowboys’ defense was one of the best units in the NFL last season. They’re off to a great start this season, but the numbers are a little misleading. James Conner has been the only back to gouge the Cowboys (98 yards on 14 carries). The Cowboys have shut down everyone else, but that should be expected based on the quality of their opponents and the game scripts. The Giants’ Saquon Barkley is a great back, and the Patriots Rhamondre Stevenson is above-average. Slowing them down is commendable, but those games got out of hand fast. Give credit to Dallas for shutting down their opponents, but facing one-dimensional offenses is not as flattering as the numbers indicate. San Francisco will be anything but one-dimensional. Limiting CMC is a feat rarely accomplished. Even if Dallas has a game plan, and limits CMC for 95% of the plays, the versatile superstar weapon can make them pay for the other 5% with his big-play potential.


Brandon Aiyuk ($8,400)

Since QB Brock Purdy ($9,400) took over last season, Brandon Aiyuk has become WR No. 1 for San Francisco. It’s not that Aiyuk elevated his game. He was already having a solid bounce back season in 2022. The introduction of Christian McCaffery changed the 49ers’ offensive roles. WR Deebo Samuel ($7,600), while still an exceptional gadget player, saw a decrease in volume. As a pure receiver, Samuel is less effective than Aiyuk. This season, Samuel’s best game was a Thursday night affair that Aiyuk sat out. And the only reason Aiyuk sat out was because it was a short week, so there aren’t any injury concerns heading into this matchup.

There are matchup concerns, but that’s common in showdown slates. When NFL DFS players have to choose between two teams rather than a dozen, pristine matchups are much harder to find. The Dallas secondary is elite. Nearly every DB held opposing quarterbacks to below-average passer ratings last season. So far this year, Dallas has not allowed a 200-yard passer and have seven interceptions to just two touchdowns. That being said, they haven’t faced a Murderers’ Row of quarterbacks. Daniel Jones, Zach Wilson, Josh Dobbs, Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe aren’t likely to have a bronze bust in Canton. These guys will be lucky to be on rosters in five years. Brock Purdy isn’t the best thing since sliced bread, but he is surrounded by talented weapons and coaches. Aiyuk should have plenty of opportunities to score fantasy points on Sunday night.

Jake Ferguson ($5,000)

The rise of Jake Fergusson was predicted in the Week 1 NFL DFS Showdown article. The signs were clear. Former Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz averaged 94 targets per year for three seasons. Head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters that tight ends were key to his West Coast scheme. Second-round pick Luke Schoonmaker ($200) was the third tight end listed on the depth chart. Fast forward to Week 5. Fergusson has caught 17 of 25 targets for 147 yards and a touchdown. His 11 red-zone targets are twice that of any Dallas pass catcher. San Francisco is not an easy matchup, but their solid rush defense funnels yardage to opposing pass attacks.

DST Dallas ($3,400)

The 49ers are the better team and are a significant home favorite. They will likely win. That doesn’t mean the Cowboys’ defense won’t score fantasy points. They can allow real life points and still score plenty of fantasy points. With seven interceptions in four games, the Cowboys rank No. 2 in forcing turnovers through the air. Their pass rush is making life easier for the Dallas secondary. Dallas is fifth in sacks (14). Brock Purdy has looked pedestrian at times. He can make mistakes under duress. It is strange to recommend CMC and the Dallas D, but it’s an NFL DFS Sunday Night Football Showdown slate. It pays to get weird in large-field tournaments.


Deebo Samuel ($7,600)

Inspector Gadget lost his starring role. Samuel is still a versatile player when his number is called, but it is rarely called. CMC is better at the job. Pierce Brosnan was a good James Bond. Daniel Craig is a great James Bond. CMC is Daniel Craig. That leaves Samuel in more of a traditional wide receiver role. He’s an above-average pass catcher, but the 49ers have plenty of pass-catching options. Brandon Aiyuk and TE George Kittle ($6,400) are better and are in better roles. Samuel can hit a big one and turn the tide in a GPP. The likely outcome is that he plays well but does not return value in DFS.


It’s always nice to get a primetime matchup that looks good on paper. These teams aren’t paper champions, but they have looked that way at times. Dallas lost to Arizona and the 49ers have struggled in the first half of games. Will the best of both come out on Sunday Night Football? This is a classic NFC matchup. These teams will come to play.

Final Score: San Francisco 49ers 27, Dallas Cowboys 24

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

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) 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.