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NFL DFS Preview & Projections: 49ers vs. Packers NFC Divisional Round Playoffs




Welcome to the NFL Showdown Matchups Showdown Highlights for Divisional Round Saturday Night Football. This column will 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 us dive into the NFL DFS picks today for the Divisional Round 49ers vs. Packers Saturday Night Football matchup.

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NFL DFS Preview & Projections: 49ers vs. Packers NFC Playoffs

The San Francisco 49ers pulled off the road upset in Dallas last weekend and take on the top-seeded Packers in a rematch of one of the wildest games of the 2021 season. At one point in that Week 3 game the Packers led 17-0, but the 49ers came roaring back, eventually taking a 28-27 lead, only to have Aaron Rodgers lead a game-winning drive in the final moments. These coaches also know each other extremely well, as Packers coach Matt Lafleur and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan coached on the same staff in Washington. Despite the three-game differential in the standings, these two teams are extremely evenly matched and know each other’s tendencies quite well. The 6-point spread in Green Bay’s favor might be overly generous to the Packers as well. With temperatures expected to creep into the single digits by kickoff, this game has all the makings of a run-oriented, defense-focused game. Fantasy gamers, even those trying to win large-field tournaments, need to ensure they build adequate floor into their lineup, as overall scoring may be down.

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Top NFL DFS Options (FanDuel New York Betting Offer)

The visiting 49ers are arguably the most run-oriented team in the NFL. During the regular season the 49ers ranked first in game script-adjusted run rate and bottom 10 in game-adjusted pace of play, indicating this team much prefers to slow drives. This requires a stellar run game, which means Elijah Mitchell ($8,200 DraftKings/$13,000 FanDuel) will likely need to find creases in a Green Bay line that ranked eighth best in the NFL in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to running backs. The Packers did, however, rank fourth worst in the NFL in yards allowed per carry this season, which gives Mitchell and Deebo Samuel ($11,200 DraftKings/$15,500 FanDuel) an outside chance of breaking the game open on the ground. The two have combined to average 145 yards rushing per game over their last three starts.

While the strategy has worked handily in recent weeks, San Francisco’s offensive plan of attack does not come without its downsides for fantasy gamers. The 49ers remain intent on hiding Jimmy Garoppolo’s ($9,000 DraftKings/$14,000 FanDuel) shortcomings by overcommitting to the run, which has limited the receiving volume for George Kittle ($7,200 DraftKings/$10,000 FanDuel) significantly, exacerbated by Kittle being one of the best run-blocking tight ends in the NFL. As such, Kittle has only two games with six-plus targets in his last five starts and has had under 30 yards receiving in four straight. Brandon Aiyuk ($6,800 DraftKings/$10,500 FanDuel), on the other hand, has enjoyed much more consistent usage in recent weeks, seeing at least five targets in four straight games and earning over 65 yards receiving in each of his last three starts. However, Awesemo’s tools suggest that trend might end this Saturday. At nearly equal salaries on DraftKings, the Awesemo projections much prefer Kittle, suggesting he is nearly three times as likely to be in the optimal DraftKings lineup as Aiyuk this Saturday night. One thing is clear, playing multiple San Francisco pass catchers, especially the high-salary options, is a risky endeavor. With Green Bay getting back star cornerback Jaire Alexander, there is a high probability that only one of the 49ers’ big three receiving weapons will reach their median projection. Samuel, with his built-in rushing volume, remains the safest option.

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The Packers will rely on the near-telepathic connection between Aaron Rodgers ($10,800 DraftKings/$16,500 FanDuel) and Davante Adams ($11,600 DraftKings/$14,500 FanDuel), but getting access to both will be costly for other positions. Rodgers’ salary is intriguingly low, as it sits at $10,800 on DraftKings, below both Adams and Samuel. Rodgers finished the season top 10 in the NFL in yards passing and top five in touchdowns despite ranking 12th in total attempts. He ranked first in adjusted yards per attempt, total QBR and true passer rating. However, he averaged just over 21 fantasy points per game this season, reaching 25 fantasy points or topping 300 yards passing just three times since Week 5. Rodgers is certainly capable of scorching a San Francisco secondary that ranked league average in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to opposing offenses this season but likely belongs in the Flex spot rather than the Captain or MVP. He has less than a 15% chance of being the optimal Captain on DraftKings this Saturday night.

The Green Bay backfield will remain a timeshare between Aaron Jones ($9,200 DraftKings/$12,500 FanDuel) and A.J. Dillon ($5,000 DraftKings/$12,000 FanDuel), but it is worth noting that Jones is the healthiest he has been all season, practicing in full all week. Dillon’s projection compared to salary-based expectations on DraftKings, where his salary is an absurdly low $5,0000 make him an unignorably strong value option. But on FanDuel, where the players’ salaries are nearly identical, Jones is the preferred option, as he should see more work in the passing game. Jones finished with the sixth-most receptions of any running back this season, averaging over 3.5 per game.

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While Jauan Jennings ($4,800 DraftKings/$8,000 FanDuel) is a viable value play, Dillon is essentially the exact same salary on DraftKings and could see a dozen total touches. Jennings will see at most six targets, so there is no comparison, at least on that platform. Jennings makes much more sense on FanDuel. Mohamed Sanu ($200 DraftKings/$5,000 FanDuel) and Kyle Juszczyk ($2,600 DraftKings/$7,000 FanDuel) are two dart-throw options but are likely to see between zero and two total opportunities. They are both extremely low-probability plays.

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The Packers have at least three valid options for players looking to differentiate themselves in tournaments. Josiah Deguara ($3,000 DraftKings/$7,500 FanDuel) had three receptions in Week 18, including a 62-yard catch and run for a touchdown, by far his best game as a pro. He still loses occasional snaps to Marcedes Lewis ($1,200 DraftKings/$6,500 FanDuel) but has a significantly higher ceiling than his veteran teammate. Meanwhile, Allen Lazard ($5,600 DraftKings/$11,000 FanDuel) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($5,200 DraftKings/$8,000 FanDuel) combine to earn over 29% of team targets and 47% of team air yards, making both viable punt plays on both platforms. Valdes-Scantling has a significantly higher average depth of target, meaning he is the big-play option. However, over the last six weeks, Lazard has averaged over 5 expected fantasy points per game more than his teammate. Awesemo’s projections prefer Lazard, even at a slight salary increase.

The Bottom Line (FanDuel New York Betting Offer)

With both teams as healthy as they have been all season, this game could end up being one of the best real football games of the weekend. But from a fantasy production standpoint, there are a ton of signs pointing to this game underwhelming. Outside of the very top options (Adams, Samuel), almost every player’s range of outcomes has increased due to drastic fluctuations in volume, and that trend permeates all positions. Even Rodgers, who still has an extremely high percentage chance of being an optimal Flex play, has a relatively small chance of reaching a “have to have it” ceiling score, and his chances of being the optimal Captain are much smaller than expected.

Still, this game features a bevy of players on both sides of the ball capable of multiple scores and 150-plus total yards, and two defenses that have allowed massive fantasy performances when struggling. Deciding which one it will be is a much more difficult task. This looks like an excellent week to play 5 to 20 lineups with a similar starting core: Start lineups with a superstar like Adams or Samuel, add a primary back and a quarterback, and then simply mix and match auxiliary weapons from there.

Divisional Saturday Night Football Prediction: Packers 27, 49ers 21

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

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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