We close out Week 7 of the NFL season with a premiere NFC matchup even if some superstar players are a little beat up on both sides of the ball. The Minnesota Vikings enter this game with a 2-4 record and are desperate for a win. Kirk Cousins has historically struggled in primetime and that will be a narrative we need to monitor as we build out our lineups. Losing this game means they would remain three games behind the Detroit Lions for the division lead. On the other side, the San Francisco 49ers limp into this game after an embarrassing loss to the Cleveland Browns last week who were led by PJ Walker. They’ll be without Deebo Samuel for this matchup and while Christian McCaffrey has been questionable all week, it does look like he’ll suit up for this matchup. Hopefully we get a competitive game Monday night so let’s take a look at the top NFL DFS Showdown plays to help you build your winning lineups!
Spread: San Francisco 49ers (-7)
Over/Under: 43.5 Points
Weather: This game will be played in a controlled environment.
- Aaron Banks, Guard – Probable (Ankle)
- Dre Greenlaw, Linebacker – Questionable (Hamstring)
- Christian McCaffrey, Running Back – Probable (Oblique)
- Deebo Samuel, Wide Receiver – OUT (Shoulder)
- Trent Williams, Offensive Tackle – Doubtful (Ankle)
- Isaiah Oliver, Defensive Back – Probable (Knee)
- George Odum, Defensive Back – Probable (Quadricep)
- Ezra Cleveland, Guard – OUT (Foot)
- Akayleb Evans, Defensive Back – Questionable (Oblique)
- Patrick Jones II, Linebacker – Probable (Shoulder)
- Jalen Nailor, Wide Receiver – Questionable (Hamstring)
NFL DFS MVP/Captain
I don’t think we really need to say too much. The guy is an absolute cheat code. Despite the injury we can probably assume he touches the ball 20+ times. He’s involved in the passing game, probably more so with Deebo out. Since joining the 49ers he’s averaged just over a touchdown per game. You can’t stop him. You can only hope that he shows mercy and doesn’t go off in too big a way. He’s fourth in the league in yards after contact per attempt (3.32) and he’s good for at least five targets so long as he’s healthy. He’s actually underperformed his last two games, but he did get hit with an injury last week and the 49ers blew out the Cowboys in Week 5. Even though he costs you 36% of your budget to play him at captain, he’s worth the price because he has multiple-touchdown potential.
I noted this in yesterday’s Showdown Playbook but there are only two receivers in the league who have a grade of at least 90 against both man and zone coverage according to Pro Football Focus. The first is Tyreek Hill. And the second is Aiyuk. He’s 11th in the league with 2.26 yards per route run and we know he has a good rapport with Brock Purdy. Aiyuk hasn’t found the end zone since Week 1. But with Deebo Samuel out, and the Vikings essentially holding the door open for receivers to get in the end zone, we have to love his potential in this matchup because I don’t see how Minnesota has much of an answer for this guy. He should be Purdy’s top target among wide receivers and tight ends.
It’s a horrible matchup but if we assume the Vikings are playing from behind in this game then they have to throw it to somebody and Hockenson is arguably Cousins’ best target sans Justin Jefferson. He has at least eight targets in five of the first six games this year, but he hasn’t scored since Week 2. There will be volume for him in this matchup. He touts a 19% air yard share in this offense and he has seven red zone targets through six games which is tied for fourth among tight ends. The 49ers haven’t allowed a touchdown to the tight end position since Week 1 and I believe Pat Freiermuth even got hurt on that play. Over their last five games they’ve kept tight ends out of the end zone, and they’ve limited four of them to under 30 receiving yards. I think part of the problem is that the pass rush for San Francisco is so lethal that previous teams have probably asked tight ends to block. I doubt that happens with Hockenson as they’ll need him to make plays over the middle.
Similar to Hockenson, it’s a terrible matchup for any pass catcher on Minnesota. But we have to imagine that they’ll be airing it out to keep pace with San Francisco. The 49ers have allowed just three touchdowns to opposing wide receivers. To no surprise, Addison ran a route on all 33 of Kirk Cousins’ drop backs last week and, on the season, he has four touchdowns in six games. Entering Week 6 he has six end zone targets which puts him in the company of Ja'Marr Chase, A.J. Brown, Stefon Diggs, and more. Again, the matchup is ugly, but the Vikings potentially throw it 40+ times Monday night and there is garbage time potential with Addison and Hockenson.
Mid-Tier & DFS Value Plays
Volume should certainly be abundant, but then again, it’s Kirk Cousins in primetime. This hasn’t exactly been a fruitful scenario in the past. He’s 2-10 lifetime on Monday Night Football and this doesn’t help his case either…
The 49ers have allowed just five passing touchdowns all year to opposing quarterbacks and only Joshua Dobbs has put up more than 15 fantasy points in four-point per passing touchdown leagues. Cousins has attempted 40+ pass attempts in four games already this season and he’ll need that kind of performance to make a fantasy impact Monday night.
Given the weapons at his disposal, and the defense he’s going up against, it’s hard to fade Purdy in this spot. You put him in the Flex with any position player on San Francisco that you plug in at captain. Purdy has just two turnovers all season with 10 passing touchdowns and two more on the ground. Prior to last week’s dud against Cleveland, he had put up 20+ fantasy points in three straight games. Last week’s game was an outlier because the weather was awful and he struggled gripping the ball at times. This game will be in a controlled environment and he provides a good floor in this matchup. The Vikings have only yielded two passing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in their last three games. Truthfully, teams can just as easily run the ball on this defense. But I’m expecting 250+ passing yards and at least two touchdowns for Purdy in this spot.
Kittle only has seven targets in his last three games. We largely forget about the small workload because the three-touchdown performance from a few weeks ago against Dallas still looms large. It would behoove Purdy to get Kittle involved. The absence of Deebo Samuel does open up some extra targets and Purdy had a passer rating of 146.8 prior to Week 6 when targeting Kittle. Again, last week was an odd game and Kittle had just two targets. But he shouldn’t be asked to block too much Monday night and he seems optimistic he’ll find the end zone considering he celebrates National Tight End Day every day…
I’m skipping right over Alexander Mattison ($6,600). Is he playable? Sure. He gets enough work. But even in good matchups he needed a lot of volume to get to roughly 13 fantasy points. Osborn has more variance but he’s cheaper and should see plenty of work. Like Addison, he ran a route on all 33 of Kirk Cousins’ drop backs last week and he was on the field for 93% of the offensive snaps. He only had five targets last week, but he finished with more receptions and yards than Addison and he’s far cheaper. Addison had the luxury of finding the end zone, but Osborn has seen his share of looks there as well. And if we expect Cousins to air it out 40+ times then there are enough targets to go around.
So pricing came out when it was believed McCaffrey might miss this game. Obviously, that’s not the case at this point. Mason is $5,800 on DraftKings and Mitchell $5,600. I won’t be playing either because CMC likely gets most of the work. These two being priced over $5,000 is an eyesore but there may be work for them later in the game. I’m fading these two. Play them at your own risk.
Jennings is a far better play than the two San Francisco running backs priced in the $5K range. With Deebo Samuel out, Jennings should see more work in two-wide receiver sets and the increased snaps make him an intriguing Flex play at just $4,000. He should see a season high in targets so hopefully that leads to some production at this reasonable price tag.
I’m actually not crazy about either kicker in this spot. For starters, Jake Moody ($5,400) is way too expensive for a guy who already has two games this year where he didn’t see a single field goal attempt. That could actually happen in this game as well. On paper, the 49ers should have no issue scoring at will against the Vikings. But this game isn’t played on paper. Yet $5,400 is still a lot to pay for a kicker. He won’t pay off that price tag simply with extra point attempts. He’ll need at least two field goal attempts to go with the XPA’s so if you think the 49ers will have a few drives stall in the red zone then play him.
On the other side for the Vikings, Greg Joseph ($4,400) saves you $1,000 off Moody. However, now you need to ask yourself will the Vikings be in position for field goal attempts. We have Kirk Cousins in primetime. This is also a potential game script where field goal attempts may not be abundant late in the game. Joseph has just SEVEN field goal attempts through six games but five of them have at least come in the last two weeks. I don’t particularly think either are a great play. But for Moody it’s because his salary is stupid, and Joseph just may not be called upon in this game.
This is a position of variance. I try to emphasize that as much as I can. I actually thought the 49ers would be priced up between $5,500-$6,000 but $5,000 is reasonable. But as dominant as they’ve been this year, they only have two performances this year with double-digit fantasy points. Only one offense has scored over 20 points on them this year but surprisingly they only have 15 sacks through six games. Garbage time could put them in a spot where they bleed points. I can’t predict a pick six or a kick return for a touchdown. But that obviously would bode very well for them and increase their chance at being optimal. I personally don’t like playing D/ST’s that cost $5,000+. But they do generate pressure and if Cousins is throwing 40+ times in this game, we should assume he’ll be dishing out some turnovers.
The Vikings D/ST has taken advantage of some great matchups the last couple weeks. Against the Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears, the D/ST stepped up and found the end zone so that juices their fantasy point output a bit. In their other four games they’ve totaled 14 fantasy points on DraftKings. Against an offense as potent as San Francisco’s most will skip right over Minnesota as they could give up 24+ points and 400 yards of offense.
NFL DFS Dart Throw Bargains
Addison and Osborn ran a route on all 33 of Kirk Cousins’ drop backs last week. Brandon Powell ran 25. That’s 25 more than N’Keal Harry and Trishton Johnson. He has seven receptions on 10 targets over his last two games. $2,800 is a little steep for a player who could give us a goose egg but at the same time this is still affordable and he’s likely on the field in three-wide receiver sets.
McCloud and Jennings benefitted the most among depth chart receiving options when Deebo left last week. Ronnie Bell saw just one snap when Deebo left and we know McCloud also gets work as a kick returner. It is kind of stupid that he was $200 in every game before this matchup and is now $2,200 so if you want to find a cheaper option, by all means keep digging.
Akers’ usage last week was odd. He saw just nine snaps and had just two touches while Alexander Mattison played 43 snaps and only rushed for 44 yards. This is a game where the Vikings need to ride the hot hand. They can’t stay too committed to Mattison if he’s not getting it going. I’m not calling an Akers breakout game, but at the same time, we know what the upside is and he’s only $1,800 in this matchup.