FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Divisional Round (Cowboys at 49ers)
The Divisional Round closes on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET with the matchup that is drawing the tightest spread of the round on FanDuel Sportsbook. The San Francisco 49ers are 3.5-point favorites over the Dallas Cowboys, and the game also has the lowest over/under of the weekend (46.5).
For those unfamiliar, single-game slates feature five flex spots with identical scoring to main slates. However, kickers are included in these contests, and there is an "MVP" roster slot. The MVP receives 1.5 times his total fantasy points, making this spot crucial.
Our Brandon Gdula has done a deep dive on single-game strategy, and we have projections for the single-game slate if you select the game from the slate tab. It's worth checking out both of those things before you make your lineups.
Christian McCaffrey ($16,500) has been an absolute beast for the 49ers, and over the last six games where he's played a full complement of snaps, he's scored more than 20 FanDuel points in five of them. According to numberFire's model, he's projected for the game's most FanDuel points, even coming out ahead of both quarterbacks.
However, it's worth noting that McCaffrey saw a significant decrease in adjusted opportunities (carries plus 2x targets) alongside a healthy Elijah Mitchell ($8,500) in the Wild Card Round. McCaffrey logged just 19 adjusted opportunities, compared to the 31 he averaged across his last five full games sans Mitchell.
That shouldn't be enough to write off McCaffrey as one of the top MVPs -- he still scored 20.6 FanDuel points and held a substantial snap rate advantage over Mitchell (73.4% vs. 21.9%) last week -- but he could have a greater chance of a down game if his opportunities don't bump back up. Our projections still peg him for roughly 28 adjusted opportunities.
Sharing the chalky MVP spotlight with CMC will be Dak Prescott ($16,000). Brock Purdy ($14,500) ought to draw his share of attention, too. Both players exceeded 30 FanDuel points last round and trail closely behind McCaffrey in our projections.
While Prescott and Purdy are in run-heavy offenses that rank among the lowest in pass rate over expectation, efficiency has allowed them to find success this year. Among quarterbacks with at least 100 drop backs, Prescott is sixth in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, and Purdy actually ranks first. The lack of pass volume has typically limited the upside of both, but as last week proved, they have enough talent around them for efficiency to still win out.
With those three taking up the bulk of the MVP pie, everyone else should come at much lower roster percentages for the multiplier slot. The other players projected for double-digit FanDuel points are CeeDee Lamb ($13,000), Tony Pollard ($11,500), Deebo Samuel ($11,500), and Brandon Aiyuk ($10,000).
Dating back to Prescott's return in Week 7, Lamb has averaged 8.5 targets per game with a 25.8% target share and 31.9% air yards share. He's hit 100 receiving yards and/or scored a touchdown in five straight games. San Francisco has a ruthless defense, but against wideouts, they're 25th in adjusted fantasy points allowed per target, and they've given up the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to the position. Lamb is an intriguing choice if you want to avoid the more popular plays.
In the wild card round, Pollard logged a solid if unspectacular 21 adjusted opportunities, which is on par with what we've seen from him when Ezekiel Elliott ($10,500) is active, and it was encouraging to see him get a slight bump in snaps (58.0%). But Elliott's presence remains a major hurdle to Pollard's ceiling, and this is a brutal spot against a defense that's allowed the fewest FanDuel points per game to running backs. I'm not ruling out a big game for Pollard -- he scored 20-plus points in back-to-back games in early December -- but he'll be up against it.
There are a lot of mouths to feed on the 49ers, so it's anyone's guess who will have a big game between Samuel, Aiyuk, and tight end George Kittle ($11,000).
Samuel was the big winner against Seattle, recording nine targets (a team-high) and three rushes and converting them into 25.5 FanDuel points. His unique role probably gives him the best shot of the three at a spike week.
Aiyuk has generally been a floor play this year, but he's projected for the most targets on the 49ers (second on the slate overall behind Lamb). The matchup benefits the 49ers' wide receivers, as the Cowboys are 26th in adjusted fantasy points allowed per target against the position.
Kittle's role is hit or miss, but he's boomed for 20-plus FanDuel points three times. Samuel might see a bump in MVP roster percentage following last week's performance, but I doubt any of these San Francisco pass-catchers are popular as a multiplier.
With Prescott back, Schultz has ranked second in target share (20.2%), and Gallup is third (16.4%). Last week, Schultz was the star, leading the team in targets (8), receptions (7), and yards (95) while also scoring two touchdowns. While we shouldn't expect a repeat of that, his inclusion is obvious. Gallup was tied for second with Lamb in targets (six), and he's an excellent value at his modest salary.
Elliott is coming off a dud and isn't particularly exciting at $10,500. This is still a split backfield, though, and he'll be the guy the Cowboys turn to when they're near the goal line. He could crack the optimal lineup if he finds paydirt.
T.Y. Hilton ($7,500) and Noah Brown ($6,500) round out the Cowboys' pass-catchers but only as dart throws. They played a little over a third of the snaps last week and are projected for around three to four targets apiece.
We already run through most of the viable 49ers, so Elijah Mitchell and Jauan Jennings ($7,000) are the only other guys worth highlighting.
Mitchell earned 15 adjusted opportunities against Seattle despite playing roughly a fifth of the snaps. Most of his touches came late, with the game well in hand, but a similar outcome isn't out of the realm of possibilities. At just $8,500, Mitchell could be worth a roll of the dice and is a bit of a leverage play in non-CMC lineups.
Jennings is practicing on a limited basis, so keep an eye on his status. He's behind too much talent to be anything more than a touchdown-or-bust play, but the salary is right to at least consider him.
Due to the solid over/under and efficient offenses on both sides, this doesn't feel like a prominent kickers game. That said, with two strong defenses playing, you never know. We could see several drives stall out in scoring territory. Robbie Gould ($8,500) has put up double-digit FanDuel points in three of the last four games. No one will want to roster Brett Maher ($8,000) after he got the yips on Monday night, so he qualifies as a contrarian play.
The defenses don't project particularly highly, and I don't think they're a big priority this weekend. Prescott struggled with interceptions this year, though, so the hometown San Francisco D/ST ($9,500) would be the preferred choice of the two.