clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Fantasy Football Picks: Giants vs. 49ers DraftKings NFL DFS TNF Showdown Strategy

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

More than anything, it’s nice to have definitive player news when heading into these Thursday slates — especially when said player is arguably the most important asset of the game. Thankfully, that’s exactly what happened with Saquon Barkley (ankle), who will be sidelined after leaving Sunday’s win over the Cardinals with a pretty severe-looking sprain.

Who will step in for Barkley? Will it matter at all? Let’s break down this contest between the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $2.25M Thursday Night Millionaire [$1M to 1st] (NYG vs SF)


Captain’s Picks

Christian McCaffrey ($19,800 CP) - You can certainly make the case that McCaffrey is too expensive to stick in the Captain’s spot, but there’s no way you should be fading the former All Pro on Thursday. We don’t even have to dive too deep into the statistics to reach that conclusion. Through two weeks, McCaffrey is playing an eye-popping 92.0% of the 49ers’ offensive snaps — a figure that is almost unheard of for a modern running back. It hasn’t been empty volume, either, as CMC has translated that role into leading the NFL in touches (48), rushing attempts (42) and rushing yards (268). Meanwhile, Giants D/ST ($3,200) surrendered 151 rushing yards and 5.2 yards per carry to Arizona last Sunday. In a script that will likely scream for San Francisco to bleed the clock in the second half, you have to wonder if Kyle Shanahan will be aiming for 200 yards on the ground.

49ers D/ST ($8,700 CP) - I can envision a scenario where this is a very popular way to start a lineup on this slate. Let’s just begin with the basics: The Giants enter Week 3 sitting 29th in offensive DVOA, while the 49ers sit sixth in defensive DVOA. That, my friends, is what we call a mismatch on paper. Heck, New York didn’t score a single point for the first six quarters it played in 2023. Now, the Giants will be facing a San Francisco defense that sits third in QB hurries per drop back (18.9%) and fifth in QB pressure rate (30.6%) without two starting offensive lineman, as both Andrew Thomas (hamstring) and Ben Bredeson (concussion) have been ruled out. Pressure leads to sacks and turnovers — particularly when the quarterback a defensive unit is pressuring is Daniel Jones ($10,200). This could get ugly.

FLEX Plays

Darius Slayton ($5,600) - By the letter of the law, you are required to use at least one Giants’ asset when building lineups. To me, the obvious place to turn is the team’s passing attack. The aforementioned Jones isn’t a terrible play, given his rushing upside and the likelihood he’ll be asked to drop back over 45 times on Thursday; yet New York’s wide receivers are a far more cost-effective option. While it was rookie Jalin Hyatt ($5,200) with two huge receptions last weekend, I’d rather spend the extra $400 for Slayton. Through two games, it’s Slayton who leads all Giants wideouts in snap rate (74.6%). It’s Slayton who is tied for the lead among Giants wideouts in targets (10). It’s Slayton who is posting a very notable 16.5 yard aDOT on said targets. He’s a big play threat and his salary is too low. I’d also keep an eye on Wan’Dale Robinson ($200; knee). If Robinson plays through his questionable tag, he’s an insane value.

Jauan Jennings ($4,800) - Jennings really only has viability on this slate if we find out that Brandon Aiyuk ($8,600; shoulder) is unable to play. That’s because only the Falcons have used 11 personnel less frequently than the 49ers so far in 2023, limiting the snaps and routes for San Francisco’s WR3. That said, Aiyuk has logged a 70.4% snap share and is second on this roster to only Deebo Samuel ($8,800) in targets. Ronnie Bell ($200) is another name to consider if Aiyuk is ruled out, but that’s clearly a move with very little floor.


Matt Breida ($7,000) - I understand the thought process. Barkley is unavailable to play and Breida is the next man up. He’s even a little cheaper than a starting running back usually is on a Showdown slate. But here’s the thing: He’s not that cheap. He’s still $7K. He’ll be running behind an offensive line that’s down two starters and going up against a defense that’s allowing just 65.0 opponent rushing yards per game through two weeks. In fact, opponents have run on a league-low 23.0% of offensive plays against the 49ers in 2023 because the scripts have tended to be that bad. Do we really think it’s going to be all the different a result with the Giants currently checking in as double-digit road underdogs? I want no part of this rushing attack.


I’m going to assume, over the last 1,000 words, you’ve picked up my lean on this contest. Even if we want to ignore the clear advantage the 49ers possess against the Giants in the skill positions; even if we want to acknowledge the funky nature of Thursday games; football is a sport generally won and lost in the trenches — and San Francisco’s defensive line is going to wreck havoc at Levi’s Stadium. It’s that simple.

Final Score: San Francisco 28, New York 13

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $2.25M Thursday Night Millionaire [$1M to 1st] (NYG vs SF)

The Crown Is Yours: Sign up for DraftKings and experience the ultimate host for games and betting experiences!

For sports betting, head over to DraftKings Sportsbook or download the DK Sportsbook app.

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.