Week 3 of the NFL season has arrived and we kick it off with a potentially ugly game out West with the New York Giants visiting the San Francisco 49ers. The New York Giants offense looked horrendous through six quarters to start the season. But on Sunday they overcame a huge deficit to beat the Arizona Cardinals, but Saquon Barkley suffered an ankle injury and he’s not playing Thursday night. On the other side of the ball, the San Francisco 49ers just keep on rolling. They’ve been a highly effective offense through two games and we should expect nothing less for Thursday’s NFC matchup. Let’s take a look at the top NFL DFS Showdown plays and strategies for Thursday’s contests on DraftKings and FanDuel!


Before we begin, I do want to acknowledge that this type of game isn’t exactly ideal for NFL DFS Showdowns. When the games appear very one-sided, the chalk comes in a little heavier. And in general, this is Thursday Night Football. It’s a short week for both teams so don’t be too surprised if this game is sluggish from the start. Remember last week’s game? The Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings put up 62 points. But 20 minutes into the game there were only ten points on the board. At halftime there were just 20 points. Both offenses came to life in the second half, but this game may not have that kind of flow. So if you wanted to dial it back this week, nobody would really blame you.

New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers

Spread: 49ers (-10)

Over/Under: 44.5 points

Weather: This game will be kicking off at 5:15pm local time so it’ll still be fairly bright out. Temps will start in the mid-70’s but likely drop ten degrees by the end of the game. Winds will be moderate at around ten miles per hour, but overall there are now real weather concerns.

Notable Injuries

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

  • Brandin Aiyuk, Wide Receiver – Questionable (Shoulder)
  • Ambry Thomas, Defensive Back – Questionable (Knee)

NFL DFS Showdown MVP/Captain

Christian McCaffrey, RB, San Francisco 49ers

DraftKings is trying to bait us into not playing McCaffrey. And truthfully, this is probably a good leverage spot on the most expensive player on the slate. To play him at Captain on DraftKings will cost you nearly 40% of your lineup salary. He’s by far the most expensive Captain I can remember in recent memory. He’s likely a lock for 20+ touches and probably three catches as well. But if this game gets out of hand, they may not lean on him as heavily in the second half for the sake of keeping him healthy. But he’s gone for 100+ rushing yards and a touchdown in each of his first two games. His odds of scoring in this game are (-320) on FanDuel Sportsbook. Those are the shortest odds of an anytime touchdown scorer over the past three seasons. He’s played 115 of the 125 running backs snaps through two games in this offense. In Week 1 Tony Pollard rushed for 70 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Last week, James Conner had 102 rushing yards and a touchdown halfway through the third quarter. You really don’t need much else to know that CMC is a good play at Captain. But if you’re only making a few lineups, you have a good chance of gaining leverage over the field by either fading him or playing him at the Flex. I would expect McCaffrey to come in around 85-90% rostered in all lineups in large-field GPP’s while also being in about 25-35% of lineups at Captain.

Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants

With Saquon Barkley and Andrew Thomas ruled out for this game, Daniel Jones will have his hands full. This is either great or awful for his fantasy outlook. Barkley being inactive likely means that Jones throws more or he’ll run it more as well. Jones did rush for 59 yards on Sunday and he found the end zone with his legs. Even in Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys, he ran for 43 yards. However, the absence of Andrew Thomas will be huge as well. Jones isn’t great at getting rid of the ball quickly with the second slowest average time to throw this year. Jones does jump off the page as a boom-or-bust kind of play in this matchup. There’s a greater chance he busts, but even in garbage time he might be able to do enough to rack up fantasy points.

Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers

I love this option at Captain especially if Brandon Aiyuk is inactive. Aiyuk didn’t practice on Monday (but take that with a grain of salt) and he was limited on Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m of the mindset the 49ers don’t risk it with his shoulder and they either sit him or use him sparingly. That could open things up for Deebo who caught six-of-nine targets against the Los Angeles Rams and also ran five times for 38 yards and a score. He’s touched the ball 18 times through two games and is a nice pivot off the chalkier option of Christian McCaffrey. Per Football Insights (@fball_insights on Twitter), Deebo has a 94% target rate with at least a step of separation, and he trails only Chris Olave at 95%. Brandon Aiyuk is likely Brock Purdy’s preferred target. They’ve shown a great rapport. But with Aiyuk nursing a shoulder injury I’m more partial to Deebo in this matchup.

Darren Waller, TE, New York Giants

With Saquon Barkley inactive for Thursday night’s game, the Giants may lean heavier on Waller. He didn’t find the end zone on Sunday but he did have six catches on eight targets against Arizona. What you really have to like in this matchup is that Waller isn’t on the injury report so he won’t be limited. He played just 38 of 70 offensive snaps in Week 1, but that inflated to 61 of 68 snaps in Week 2. The 49ers have only allowed six catches for 34 yards and a touchdown to opposing tight ends through two games. It’s not a great matchup, but at the end of the day he is likely to be targeted by Daniel Jones so long as the 49ers don’t scheme to take Waller away… Which they absolutely could do.

San Francisco 49ers D/ST

The 49ers D/ST is priced at $5,800 which is one of the most expensive prices for a D/ST that I can ever recall for a Showdown slate on DraftKings. And if you’ve read my Showdown Playbooks in the past, you’ll know I despise this call. I normally don’t play D/ST’s at Captain. But I can make an exception when it’s one of the three best defenses in the league going against a team without its best offensive weapon. The Dallas Cowboys D/ST had a slate-breaking performance against the Giants in Week 1. On top of that, Andrew Thomas will be out and I’ve already mentioned that Daniel Jones is slow to get rid of the ball. This seems like it’ll be fairly easy for Nick Bosa to get ample pressure on Jones and the same applies to the rest of the defensive line. Make no mistake about it, you’ll likely need a touchdown from this group to be optimal but in what could be an ugly game, you have to like this D/ST given the circumstances surrounding the Giants offense.

Mid-Tier & DFS Value Plays

Brock Purdy, QB, San Francisco 49ers

I’m sure if I play 20+ lineups, Purdy makes it at Captain in some of them. But he doesn’t have a ton of upside. He’s attempted just 54 pass attempts through two games and he’s not a prolific runner although he did score a rushing touchdown last week to elevate his score on DraftKings to 14.74 points. That kind of score is okay in the Flex for a Showdown slate. But you need more of a ceiling at Captain. That’s why Deebo and McCaffrey are such great Captain candidates. If Purdy’s ceiling is 20 fantasy points, then he’s better suited at the Flex especially when he would cost you 28.2% of your salary at Captain.

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, New York Giants

Obviously if Aiyuk is active you can get exposure. You could even play him at Captain if you’d like. The injury has me somewhat worried especially in a matchup that should be an easy win for the 49ers. In Week 1, we saw the massive ceiling and connection he has with Brock Purdy. He caught all eight of his targets for 129 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Last week, while playing through the shoulder injury, he had just three catches for 43 yards. There’s no denying the talent, but on a short week where he’s a game time decision, I don’t love the outlook. Update: So Brandon Aiyuk is still Questionable as of Thursday morning. If he plays and has no pain in the shoulder he could have a big night. Aiyuk thrives against man coverage. Deebo excels against zone as we saw last week. The Giants defense operates man coverage on about 40% of their defensive snaps and that would benefit Aiyuk greatly. However, if he's out there's about a 26% target share up for grabs. I don't think CMC would see a big uptick. I imagine some of that goes to Deebo but I think a larger portion would go to George Kittle and this could be a game the 49ers feed him after two slow games to start the year.

Darren Waller, TE, New York Giants

As it stands right now, Waller is the best target for Daniel Jones. He’s developed some chemistry with Jones so far this year with nine catches on 13 targets. He’s yet to find the end zone and hey, he might still be waiting after this week. The 49ers have been pretty good against opposing tight ends. They gave up a touchdown to Pat Freiermuth in Week 1 but ultimately, they’ve limited the damage and haven’t allowed a ton of receptions or yards to opposing tight ends. But at the end of the day, Jones will be looking Waller’s way and he’s viable at Captain despite the incredibly difficult matchup.

Matt Breida, RB, New York Giants

This isn’t a play I’ll be heavily exposed to. I would’ve liked the play if he were more affordable. $7,000 for a Showdown slate is reactionary because of the injury to Saquon Barkley. At this price tag, in this matchup it’s not great. The 49ers have given up 130 rushing yards in two games. He’ll need to channel his inner Saquon Barkley and catch many passes out of the backfield if you want him to pay off this price tag. The good news is that the 49ers have given up 16 catches to opposing running backs so far.

George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

It’s been quiet for Kittle through two games. He’s caught just six passes on nine targets so far to start the season. Here’s the good news for Kittle, the Giants were horrendous against tight ends last year. The Giants only gave up two catches for 11 yards to Jake Ferguson, but that game script didn’t call for much passing from the Dallas Cowboys. Last week against Arizona, the Giants surrendered eight catches for 88 yards to Zach Ertz and Trey McBride. With Brandon Aiyuk listed as questionable and a game time decision, this could be a great spot for Kittle. He had an 85% route involvement rate last week, which was tied for seventh-best among tight ends. I’ll be playing him at Captain in some of my lineups because of New York’s struggles against the position. I anticipate he could be a popular Captain option given that he’s priced beneath Waller and Breida.

Jauan Jennings, WR, San Francisco 49ers

Jennings probably gets the biggest value bump if Aiyuk is out. He typically leaves the field for two-wide receiver sets but obviously that could change Thursday. He caught two-of-three targets on Sunday for 51 yards. Jennings came up big on critical downs against the Los Angeles Rams so if his role is expanded with Aiyuk out then he’s worth the $4,800 price tag on DraftKings.

New York Giants D/ST

This will be quick. I’m only acknowledging them just to emphasize how I won’t be playing many shares of this group. Plus, if I left them out I’m sure there would be questions in Discord about them. They haven’t forced a turnover or a sack through two games and they’ve allowed 62 total points to opposing offenses. I can’t really get excited for them in this matchup so they’re an easy fade for me when the 49ers have an implied total of 27 points.

New York Giants Wide Receivers

A couple weeks ago I covered the Showdown Playbook for the Giants/Cowboys game on Sunday night during Week 1. I collectively lumped the receivers all together in the same section and I find myself once again in the same spot. Isaiah Hodgins was pretty involved last Sunday against Arizona, but he’s priced a little too high for a guy who may only see a few catches Thursday night. But you could make that argument for any Giants pass catcher regardless of the pricing. Darius Slayton has big play potential, but we’ve also seen him bust plenty of times. He has just six catches for 77 yards through two games. I like to believe Parris Campbell can become a thing playing out of the slot. He at least had six targets last week. Jalin Hyatt is the one everyone should want to see more of. He caught both his targets last week for 58 yards and 31 yards respectively. He’s still kind of buried on the depth chart and Sterling Shepard has just one target in each game so far. This is such a horrendous group of pass catchers at Jones’ disposal. If the matchup was better, there might be a diamond in the rough here. And that diamond still might just be Hyatt. I’ll be mostly exposed to Hodgins, Campbell, and Hyatt for Thursday’s game, but we’re really just hoping to strike gold with someone in this group with a big play for a touchdown.


Correlate your kickers everyone! I try to emphasize that on every Showdown slate, but it’s a tried and true method for DFS success if you have a wide receiver, running back, or quarterback at Kicker. San Francisco’s third round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Jake Moody, has been great to start the year. The 49ers offense has been so potent that he’s kicked three field goals and three extra points in each of his first two games for 14 fantasy points each time. That’s actually outstanding. He’s a nice piece to have regardless which teammate of his you have in the Flex. I don’t think we can be as exuberant about Graham Gano for the New York Giants. The consensus is that everyone is down on the G-Men in this matchup. And Gano is one-for-three on field goals throughout the year. It could be one of those matchups where he just doesn’t have many attempts to put points on the board.

NFL DFS Dart-Throw Bargains

Elijah Mitchell, RB, San Francisco 49ers

Elijah Mitchell didn’t play a single snap in Sunday’s 30-23 win over the Los Angeles Rams. So the good news is… He’s at least rested? There is a game script where he potentially comes in and gets some work. Am I playing him at Captain? I’d rather not despite the fact he’d be so cheap. That’s really gambling on a ton of garbage time for a player that’s only been on the field for ten snaps this year. But at the same time, if the 49ers have the game in hand, they can preserve CMC and get Mitchell some reps. If it’s any consolation, Kyle Shanahan has said they need to make more use of Mitchell so I expect him to be more involved overall especially on a short week.

Eric Gray, RB, New York Giants

Gray might see an uptick in snaps with Barkley out. Truthfully, the $1,400 price tag is manageable, but not one I’m dying to build around. His pass protection was pretty awful in the preseason and it may not be a spot the Giants trust him in. Sure, he’s cheap. And he is also listed as the team’s returner. But I’m not looking to pay down to him in too many builds.

Ray-Ray McCloud, WR, San Francisco 49ers

McCloud has some appeal as a $200 play on DraftKings if Brandon Aiyuk is out. His snaps likely go up, but keep in mind he doesn’t have a target through two games. But he is San Francisco’s return man. So this is a potential “double dip” spot by playing the 49ers D/ST and McCloud in some builds together. Ronnie Bell is another $200 play on DraftKings that could see more snaps should Brandon Aiyuk be inactive. He’s more of a fan favorite for this block on Ahkello Witherspoon last week but plays like that sometimes get rewarded during the next game.

Wan'dale Robinson, WR, New York Giants

I'm adding Robinson because he is set to make his debut tonight after recovering from a torn ACL last year. He had a nice start in his rookie season but his role is fairly unclear for Thursday's game. At just $200 on DraftKings he's worth a look in some lineups.