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Fantasy Football Picks: Rams vs. 49ers NFC Conference Championship DraftKings NFL DFS Showdown Strategy

Geoff Ulrich preps you for Sunday’s Rams vs. 49ers Conference Championship game with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

Welcome to the DraftKings NFL Showdown article for Sunday’s NFC Conference Championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers. Below, I analyze the Showdown slate and give plays to consider.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1M Sunday Night Showdown [$200K to 1st] (SF vs LAR)


Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers

Captain’s Picks

Matthew Stafford ($16,200)

There aren’t any extreme values to help us out in this game, so we have to be mindful of what we’re spending at the top. From an upside perspective, Matthew Stafford has cracked 25.0 DKFP six times this season and realistically offers the best upside of any non-Cooper Kupp options on the Rams. Kupp and Stafford are obviously intrinsically tied, but Stafford’s success also isn’t exclusively linked to Kupp either. The former Lion put up over 24.0 DKFP in the Wild Card round against Arizona, while Kupp produced over 7.0 points less. A similar scenario played out in the Rams’ loss to Green Bay where Stafford went over 26.0 DKFP and Kupp stalled at 18.6.

The 49ers’ rush defense is likely going to force Stafford to come up with another monster performance to beat them this week and we could see him push for close to 40 attempts like he did against the 49ers in Week 10. From a performance perspective, Stafford has been great thus far, completing over 71% of his passes for four touchdowns and no interceptions in his last two games. From that point of view, there’s not much comparison between him and Jimmy Garoppolo either, who last cracked 24.0 DKFP back in Week 8. Using Stafford in our Captain slot means we can still grab Kupp in the flex, who is over $6,000 cheaper in that position, and fill out the rest with reasonable plays. He’s the Ram to focus on in Showdown.

Deebo Samuel ($15,000)

On the flip side of the ball, we can rely on Deebo Samuel being a part of the game no matter what the script. Samuel took 10 carries in each of his last two games and is now holding up the 49ers’ rush game, which has lagged behind Eli Mitchell, who has averaged under 4.0 YPC in his last three starts. Samuel’s upside games haven’t been as frequent as Kupp’s, but his dual status on offense means he’s also likely to exceed Kupp in overall touches at least.

Like Stafford, Samuel may have a slightly lower floor than Kupp, but his upside remains very similar. Deebo has gone for over 25.0 DKFP seven times and two of those games came against the Rams. We’ll almost certainly see plenty of rush and short passes to Samuel again to counteract the Rams’ coverage strengths. The 49ers are a less condensed offense for fantasy purposes, but if you’re playing their side, Samuel should be the target as there’s no reason for the 49ers to hold back any of Samuel’s touches or designed plays in this spot.

FLEX Plays

Cooper Kupp (12,200)

We don’t have to get into it much with Kupp. With the Rams having lost Robert Woods and now also potentially having a less than 100% Van Jefferson for this week, Kupp’s importance only rises again for this game. As we saw against Arizona, there are scenarios where he can be held to under 20.0 DKFP, but even a high-teen output would still make him a big enough producer to most likely factor into any winning lineups on a Showdown slate. Fading Kupp in the Captain’s slot is fine considering the other options we have, but you should still be looking to squeeze him into the flex slot where even a floor game would likely put faders into the poor house.

George Kittle ($7,400)

The 49ers have tended to do well attacking the Rams down the middle of the field under Kyle Shanahan and George Kittle has certainly excelled against the Rams during his time with San Francisco. Prior to this season, Kittle had gone for 5+ catches and 70+ yards in his last three starts against Los Angeles and also landed three touchdowns against them in that span. Kittle also grabbed a touchdown against the 49ers in Week 10, upping his recent total to four in his last five games.

Maybe he should be on your radar as a touchdown bet too on DraftKings Sportsbook, but for Showdown purposes, the $7,400 salary and recent history against the Rams also make him a great upside option for fantasy purposes at this price. With the Rams so good at stopping the run, look for the 49ers to deploy Kittle less as a blocker this week and take advantage of his amazing after-the-catch ability more often.

49ers DST ($4,000)

We simply don’t have a ton of viable plays under $4,000 in this spot to warrant overlooking the DST units. The 49ers may have the tougher matchup at quarterback but they’ve also been a great unit for fantasy purposes on the road. San Francisco has averaged 9.2 DKFP in 11 road games this season and comes in with a stout 15 sacks over their last three games as well.

It’s worth remembering that Matthew Stafford threw 17 interceptions in the regular season and turned the ball over four times on interceptions alone in two games against the 49ers. The San Francisco DST unit should be the lesser rostered of the two this week, and with no viable punt plays under $3,000, taking the solid production they’ve been putting out lately makes them a great flex option.


Cam Akers ($7,000) and Eli Mitchell ($8,200)

Both running backs in this game feel like trap plays. Yes, Cam Akers touched the ball 27 times last game but that produced an insanely inefficient 68 yards on the day in one of the worst statistically graded performances of the season by an offensive player. Akers will get no help this week either from the 49ers’ front seven, who ranks first in yards per carry against over the last three games (3.1 yards per) and has allowed exactly one running back to go over 60 yards rushing since Week 9—and that was Travis Homer, who broke off a flukey 60+ yard run.

Eli Mitchell has his own injury issues as he began the week limited in practice again. The rookie has clearly been gutting things out for the 49ers but has produced 4.0 yards per carry or worse in his last three games. He’s also got a Deebo Samuel problem as the wideout has now taken 10 carries in each of his last two games. The Rams’ defensive line is right up there with the 49ers in terms of against the run effectiveness and they held Mitchell to zero catches and 4.0 YPC or less in each of the regular-season meetings between these teams.

Let the field gobble up these running backs, as it feels like there’s better upside with the receivers—or even paying down for a DST—in this spot.

The Outcome

The Rams don’t have a versatile run game that can put away games for them like the 49ers. They’re also hurting on the offensive line and may be down their best field stretcher in Van Jefferson (or at least have him limited) on offense. The Rams’ current starting running back has also just recovered from Achilles surgery six months ago and looks very much like a player who is less than 100%.

San Francisco may have limitations at quarterback but their playmakers at every other position have been pulling them through in the big moments. Garoppolo seems likely to play at least marginally better this week, and if he does, it’ll force the Rams to be less balanced on offense—and likely force Matthew Stafford into some bad decisions (or sacks). I have the 49ers going back to the Super Bowl this week, in style, with a convincing win.

Final Score: 49ers 27, Rams 20

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1M Sunday Night Showdown [$200K to 1st] (SF vs LAR)

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