cowboys vs. 49ers: Daily Fantasy Sleepers, FanDuel Roster Picks, DraftKings
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The most electric fantasy football player of recent years exceeded expectations in his first playoff game with the San Francisco 49ers.
Christian McCaffrey’s successful wild card round means he will be the target of most daily fantasy football players in Sunday’s contests on FanDuel and DraftKings.
McCaffrey is a great building block to have, but it won’t just win you a contest because of the expected high roster percentage.
Making the right sleeper picks of the 49ers and Dallas Cowboys could make all the difference in getting into winning positions on Sunday.
McCaffrey’s backup, Elijah Mitchell, could be one of the under-the-radar stars to watch. Dallas could use his depth at wide receiver and tight end to hurt the 49ers.
Stars on both rosters, like McCaffrey and CeeDee Lamb, will get the most touches, but a big play from potential sleeper stars could upset where you land in DFS’s contests for the two-game playoff roster.
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Elijah Mitchell, RB, San Francisco
Elijah Mitchell is the sleeper alternative to McCaffrey and the other top running backs on Sunday’s slate.
The 49ers backup running back scored last week against the Seattle Seahawks, but that’s about all he did to contribute to DFS rosters.
Mitchell had nine rushes for two yards and two receptions for 25 yards. One of those catches resulted in his touchdown in the second half.
Mitchell’s nine carries against Seattle is the stat that should make DFS players believe in him for another week.
The 49ers are willing to use him to spell McCaffrey, so it’s not useless even if McCaffrey has another big yardage day.
Mitchell’s best DFS position is probably the FLEX, so he can work on two top-tier running backs with high usage rates. He could emerge as an unlikely big point winner if he gets used more in the red zone, or gains more confidence in the passing game.
Noah Brown, WR, Dallas
One of Dallas’ lesser-known wide receivers needs to make a big play on Sunday.
TY Hilton has been that kind of reference for Dak Prescott, but Noah Brown can fill that role too when called upon.
Brown caught both of his passes for 18 yards in a wild card round win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He was attacked five or more times eight times in the regular season, including six times in a Week 18 loss to the Washington Commanders.
Brown’s yardage production has dipped of late, but he still has the target rate that suggests he could break through with a big play or two inside Levi’s Stadium.
Jeans Lineup Picks
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CeeDee Lamb has the potential to put up massive numbers if wild-card games are any indicator of what’s to come on Sunday.
Dallas’ No. 1 wide receiver had 68 receiving yards and a touchdown against Tampa Bay.
San Francisco’s defense gave up 136 receiving yards on 10 catches to Seattle’s DK Metcalf.
Lamb could be the key to Dallas pulling off an upset inside Levi’s Stadium and hosting an NFC East Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Lamb saved his best football for the end of the regular season, as he put up three straight 100-yard performances in Weeks 15, 16 and 17.
A Dak Prescott-Lamb combination is a good start to completing a Dallas lineup. Dalton Schultz, Michael Gallup, Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard are the team’s other top options.
Schultz will be a popular pick after his 95-yard, two-touchdown performance at Raymond James Stadium.
San Francisco gave up only 676 receiving yards to tight ends in the regular season, which was the seventh-lowest total in the NFL, so it could stop Schultz and force the Cowboys to beat him with different players.
Elliott and Pollard had an even rushing split Monday, but Pollard was much more productive with 77 yards on 15 carries compared to Elliott’s 27 yards on 13 carries.
Pollard’s effectiveness in the passing game could lead to a lineup pick over Elliott, especially if you think the 49ers can clog up the middle and disrupt Elliott, just like the Buccaneers did.
Gallup, Brown and Hilton are the wild card options in Dallas’ offense. Any one of the three wide receivers could produce a game-changing long gain, but none of them will be attacked as often as Lamb and Schultz.
49ers roster picks
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Christian McCaffrey lived up to the hype in his postseason debut with the 49ers.
The former Carolina Panthers running back totaled 119 rushing yards on 15 carries, as well as 17 yards and a touchdown on two receptions.
The best fantasy football option in recent years will once again be the focal point of the 49ers’ offense and DFS lineups on Sunday.
McCaffrey is a mandatory starting option in Sunday’s divisional round games and will likely have the highest roster percentage of any player in both FanDuel and DraftKings.
Any San Francisco lineup stack has to start with McCaffrey. In fact, any DFS lineup can simply start with the running back.
Deebo Samuel is the 49ers’ second option that should be taken. He had 165 total yards in his return from injury last week.
A McCaffrey-Samuel combination has the potential to generate a whopping DFS point total for the second week in a row.
Brock Purdy could be used at quarterback, but the impact McCaffrey and Samuel have on the running game could take some of the rookie’s production away from other quarterbacks.
However, Purdy has the lowest salary of any quarterback and could be included in a roster if he needs to save some salary for other positions.
A Purdy-McCaffrey-Samuel-George Kittle lineup stack could produce a massive point total. Kittle only had two catches last week, but he built a strong bond with Purdy while Samuel was out.
Kittle’s seven touchdowns in four games to end the regular season shouldn’t be ignored just because he had a low reception total.