Jimmy Garappolo

The Divisional Round kicks off Saturday evening and the first game is certainly not one many expected. The Vikings, coming off a shocking upset over the Saints, will try to now dethrone the 49ers on the road. The Niners, of course, are coming off a bye after finishing the regular season with the top overall seed in the NFC after going 13-3. Can the Vikings pull off another upset? Or will the Niners roll over them as expected? Either way, let’s take a look at how to attack this Showdown slate.

Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices


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— The 49ers have won four of their last five games against teams that held a winning record.

— The Vikings have covered the spread in each of their last six day games against NFC opponents.

— Five of the 49ers’ last six home games have gone OVER the total points line.

— Deebo Samuel has scored a touchdown in three of the 49ers’ last four games as favorites.

— Dalvin Cook has scored at least one touchdown in each of the Vikings’ last six games as road underdogs.


Minnesota Vikings

Kirk Cousins ($9,600) is fairly cheap on this slate. He’s the fourth-most expensive option in what looks to be a tough matchup. The San Francisco defense was great overall, that’s for sure. However, you look at what opposing QBs were able to accomplish over the last four weeks, as they averaged 278 passing yards and 12 touchdowns thrown. Granted, this is a span that included Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Jared Goff and Russell Wilson. But, I think it speaks more to the fact that teams were able to throw on this team. Cousins will likely be in that 30-plus pass attempt range in this game and could bring back a decent fantasy output. Overall, I don’t think you’re crazy for leaving him off certain builds but he certainly warrants some attention.

The honor of being most expensive on this slate belongs to Dalvin Cook ($11,200). After a two-week layoff, Cook carried the ball 28 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns while catching three of his five targets for an additional 36 yards, giving him 28 DKFP. It certainly seems like he’s back to full health but his matchup is a tough one. While the Niners weren’t giving up a ton of yardage to opposing backs, they did allow four rushing touchdowns over the final three weeks. With his bell-cow role in this Vikings offense, Cook is a must and Captain worthy if you can afford the hefty $16,800 price tag. It’s safe to say that Cook had a fairly easy schedule this season but the number of touches he gets brings nothing but massive opportunities. It’s also worth watching the health of Adam Thielen ($8,800), who is questionable with an ankle issue. When Thielen was off the field, Cook did see a slight bump in his target share.

Thielen is the biggest question mark of this game and would have a fairly big ripple effect if he’s out, especially with some of the cheaper receivers. Stefon Diggs ($8,000) has a 18.6% target share when Thielen is off the field followed by Olabisi Johnson ($2,000) at 13.8% and Laquon Treadwell ($200) at 5.6%. Johnson and Treadwell are nothing more than large field dart throws if Thielen is active, but they’re very much in play if he’s ruled out. Johnson would be my preferred option of the two, but you also can’t deny the immense savings you’d get from Treadwell. Diggs will draw a tough matchup regardless, but his upside is tough to beat, even with the likes of CB Richard Sherman or Ahkello Witherspoon on him, but he’s a tough fade for me regardless if Thielen is active or not. If Thielen is active, he’d have the best matchup out of the slot against some backup corners with CB Mackensie Alexander ruled out. Andrew Sendejo could end up covering the slot and while he was only targeted against 13 times this season, he did allow 10 receptions for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson would likely slide into the slot if Thielen is out, something he dabbled in more during the second half of the season.

I expect Kyle Rudolph ($5,600) to be a fairly popular name after grabbing the game-winning touchdown in overtime against the Saints. He’s very active in the red zone with a 22% target share but he’s a tough sell for me this week. Overall, he averaged 3.2 targets per game and is a very touchdown-dependent play against a San Francisco defense that allowed an average of 10 DKFP and 36 receiving yards to opposing tight ends. Personally, if I’m looking to fill in that range, the 49ers D/ST ($4,800) feels like a more attractive play.

San Francisco 49ers

Over the course of the season, I’ve used Jimmy Garoppolo ($10,000) very sparingly. This is not one of those spots to overthink it. He should be spreading the ball around in this game and thus will also put him into Captain consideration. He ended the regular season with six touchdowns over the last four games while averaging 270 passing yards. Sure, we can point at the Vikings allowing just 16 DKFP to the quarterback position but I like the majority of the individual matchups here this week that Garoppolo makes plenty of sense. Regardless of how you think the outcome of this game will go, I think Garoppolo is a must.

There was a time during the regular season where you couldn’t even touch the Niners backfield because of how much of a mess it was. They were consistently running out a three-headed mess, making it nearly impossible to figure out who to roster on a weekly basis. Well, it’s fairly safe to say that Raheem Mostert ($8,400) has emerged, logging double-digit carries in five straight games. However, he’s only suitable for a 49ers’ win, as Mostert lacks any pass-catching abilities. If the 49ers are behind, Tevin Coleman ($3,600) and Matt Breida ($3,200) will be more involved. If you believe the Niners are truly (-7) favorites, then Mostert should be a fine play against a Vikings defense that allowed an average of 95 rushing yards this season. In tournaments, Coleman/Breida are cheap options to consider but are shaky options at best.

The receiving options for the Niners are where I’ll really be looking to load up on. This Vikings secondary is AWFUL, which is one of the biggest reasons I really like Garoppolo is a Captain option. Deebo Samuel ($8,600) is coming off a huge five-catch 102 yard game against the Seahawks which saw him post 27.5 DKFP, his highest of the season. He’ll draw CB Xavier Rhodes in coverage, who allowed a ridiculous 83% catch rate on 74 targets (!) for an average of 12.5 YPR. Rhodes is not someone to fear by any means, so Samuel is a great option in all formats and even Captain worthy. Kendrick Bourne ($3,000) is really interesting salary saving option to consider. While his target share is fairly low, his role as their slot receiver against S Andrew Sendejo has me looking his way. CB Mackensie Alexander has been ruled and he’s been their primary coverage in the slot. Sendejo was only targeted against 13 times this season but allowed 10 receptions and 12.2 YPR. With this in mind, he’s my favorite salary saving option to use. Of course, we can’t forget Emmanuel Sanders ($7,600) and his boom-or-bust output. He’s posted two huge games totaling 269 yards against the Saints and Cardinals but the rest of the way has been disappointing. This is certainly a secondary he can beat but I’d be much more commutable taking Samuel or George Kittle ($9,800) over him. Sanders is a great tournament option and I wouldn’t even hate using him as a tournament Captain to gain leverage on the field.

Finally, Kittle is one of the top receiving options overall and his high salary reflects that. As the third-most-expensive option, he shouldn’t have any issues against the Vikings. Kittle surpassed 70-plus yards eight times this season and in three-straight to end the regular season. I wouldn’t overthink this much and if the salary is available, you most certainly play him here. With a stack of Garoppolo/Kittle/Samuel, you would be soaking up so much with these three and would make for quite a unique build, alternating these players in the Captain’s position.


I’m not giving the Vikings much of a chance in this game and think the Niners should be able to go over them easily. Aside from Cook ($16,800), I’m not really looking to captain any of the Vikings. My captains will mainly be between Garoppolo ($15,000), Samuel ($12,900) and Kittle ($14,700). Make sure to also keep a close eye on any news for Thielen, as it would really open the flood gates in terms of value on the Vikings if he were to be ruled out or limited.

Final Score: Vikings 17, Niners 31

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