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49ers vs. Titans Week 16 Thursday Night Football Showdown Game Breakdown & NFL DFS Picks

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Welcome to the NFL Showdown Matchups Showdown Highlights for Week 16 Thursday Night Football. Below is provide a quick overview of the game’s key storylines and highlight some of the key insights from Awesemo’s world-class suite of tools to find the best NFL DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel showdown lineups. Let’s dive into the NFL DFS picks today for the Week 16 49ers vs. Titans Thursday Night Football matchup.

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Week 16 Thursday Night Football NFL DFS Picks

The San Francisco 49ers head to Tennessee to take on the Titans, who despite losing three of their last four games remain in first place in the AFC South just one game behind the Chiefs for the top seed in the conference. San Francisco comes into this game as one of the hottest teams in football, winners of five of their last six games. They are also now top 10 in the NFL in both offense and defensive team grades this season. While the Vegas total for this game is not the highest (44), and both teams will be missing key offensive weapons, the star power at the skill positions in this game is enough to pump up the shootout potential.

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The 49ers have a much healthier offense, and had they completed their fourth quarter comeback three weeks ago against the Seahawks, they would be winners of six straight games. Nonetheless, the game plan for San Francisco remains the same week in and week out: Focus on the run game and mix in periodic play-action passes that allow Deebo Samuel ($11,600 DraftKings/$14,500 FanDuel) and George Kittle ($11,200 DraftKings/$13,000 FanDuel) to get open in space. Kittle is in the midst of one of the best stretches of his careers, having earned 425 yards through the air in his last three games combined, by far the most in the NFL during that span. An incredible 49% of those yards have come after the catch, also the most in the NFL during that three-game stretch.

Meanwhile, Samuel continues to be utilized more uniquely than any other skill position player in the league. Samuel ranks outside the top 20 receivers in receptions but inside the top 10 in yards receiving. And he has only had 90 total yards receiving since Week 12 since so much of his production has come via the ground attack. Over his last three starts, Samuel is averaging 6.6 yards per carry, the highest of any wideout. He also has 10 more rushes than any other receiver during that same span. The Titans rank above average in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to opposing offenses but have been much more susceptible through the air, so it will be interesting if the 49ers ultimately decide to use Samuel more traditionally or leave the downfield role for Brandon Aiyuk ($8,000 DraftKings/$10,000 FanDuel).

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With Eli Mitchell ruled out, Jeff Wilson Jr. ($5,200 DraftKings/$11,000 FanDuel) will once again take the reins of the 49ers backfield, just as he did a week ago. Wilson had his best game of 2021 last Week, averaging 5.2 yards per carry while commanding 91% of the team’s running back attempts in Week 15. Wilson likely will not have the chance to be nearly as efficient, as the Titans rank third best in the NFL in yards allowed per carry over the past three weeks and 11th over the course of the season. Wilson’s high expected workload at a middling salary still makes him a superb value option, particularly in cash games and small-field tournaments.

The Titans may trot out both Julio Jones ($6,800 DraftKings/$10,000 FanDuel) and A.J. Brown ($8,800 DraftKings/$12,000 FanDuel), as Jones logged a full practice on Wednesday in anticipation of this must-win game. Brown was designated to return from a chest injury that has kept him out of the lineup since Week 11, but that does not mean he could not step into six to nine targets and a few red=zone opportunities. Brown is always a threat for multiple scores, but his median projection makes him look like a middling value play. The same rings true for Jones, who has been simply unable to log any consistent playing time due to nagging soft-tissue injuries since preseason. If Brown and/or Jones are starting, it will boost the floor and ceiling projection for Ryan Tannehill ($10,000 DraftKings/$15,000 FanDuel), who ranks 15th in quarterback composite efficiency rating this season. The Titans are league average in PFF team offense grade.

The safest skill position bet for the Titans is D’Onta Foreman ($7,600 DraftKings/$11,500 FanDuel), who saw 59% of the team’s running back rush attempts last week and rushed for 100-plus yards. Foreman has been used quite sparingly in the passing game, but his three targets in Week 15 were a season high and an encouraging sign. Foreman’s ownership will be tempered due to the availability of Wilson’s low-salary volume, making Foreman an interesting tournament play, but his current chances of being in the optimal are far exceeded by his projected ownership. As such, Foreman is a negative-leverage play compared to his plus-matchup against Pittsburgh in Week 15.


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The Titans leaned more on Foreman than they had in previous weeks, but that does not mean they will revert to a committee approach in Week 16, especially if they begin playing from behind. Dontrell Hilliard’s ($2,800 DraftKings/$9,500 FanDuel) eight targets since Week 14 are the second most on the team during that span, and Jeremy McNichols ($2,200 DraftKings/$8,000 FanDuel) has seen 18 total opportunities. Especially in large-field tournaments, betting on other fantasy gamers’ recency bias and overweighting their confidence in Foreman looks like a strong way to play. And it is easy to be overweight on them compared to the field if making multiple lineups, as neither player is expected to garner more than 20% ownership. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine ($5,400 DraftKings/$7,500 FanDuel) has been the Titans’ target leader over the last three weeks, but with Brown and Jones moving towards a return, he will be relegated to auxiliary receiver status. Westbrook-Ikhine has roughly the same chance of being in the optimal lineup as Cody Hollister ($400 DraftKings/$5,500 FanDuel), who has seven targets in his last three games, or tight ends Geoff Swaim ($3,200 DraftKings/$7,000 FanDuel) and Anthony Firkser ($2,600 DraftKings/$7,000 FanDuel), who have combined for 15 targets in that timeframe.

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The 49ers’ utilized skill talent becomes highly intriguing in a one-game slate. Kyle Juszczyk ($1,800 DraftKings/$6,000 FanDuel) scored in Week 14, and San Francisco has five players with between a 5% and a 15% target share since Week 10, indicating Jimmy Garoppolo loves to spread the ball around offensively when not utilizing one of their top weapons. Jauan Jennings ($5,000 DraftKings/$7,500 FanDuel) represents the lowest-salary access to double-digit target share and double-digit air yards for the 49ers.

The Bottom Line

While there is always plenty of ways a slate can ultimately play out, this one looks particularly simple for fantasy gamers. The 49ers’ top skill-position weapons all have a higher probability of hitting their ceiling than any of the Titans’ players of equal salary, but the Titans have a great chance of keeping this game close, or even winning outright. It looks like it will be a fantastic slate to roster one or two top-tier players from San Francisco and then round out the lineup with low-salary Tennessee receivers or running backs that have a non-zero chance of hitting value. Even the kickers are viable options, especially Robbie Gould ($4,400 DraftKings/$9,000 FanDuel). Despite being without their top backfield option, San Francisco is simply playing better football right now compared to the Titans, and that should be reflected in the final score.


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We also have showdown projections and DraftKings showdown ownership projections. Take a look at our inactive players, NFL line-ups and NFL depth chart list. View our DraftKings NFL rankings and our FanDuel DFS NFL ownership rankings. If you’re interested in other NFL football DFS for multiple game slates, head over to DFS NFL projected ownership, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, NFL daily fantasy football rankings, and NFL DFS stacking.

A middling athlete who was offered his first sports analytics position at age 14, I've been working on NFL and fantasy football data science since 2017. With a particular passion for data visualization and dashboard building, I love to make data accessible by using graphs and charts to communicate ideas that are difficult to explain with words alone. You can contact me by e-mailing [email protected]

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