If you read my article from earlier on the Steelers and The Football Team I am sure you gathered that I don’t have the highest hopes for a shootout in that contest. However with the Bills and the Forty Niners on tap for tonight, I have the exact opposite of aspirations.
With explosive players on both sides of the ball and two defenses that are riding a bit more on reputation than on hard cold statistics, I personally can’t wait for this game (and on top of that I need Raheem Mostert to get more points than the Ravens defense on Tuesday and I get a bye in my number one season long league so … Go Niners! haha). So let’s not waste any more time and let’s talk some DFS.
My Captain/MVP Picks
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that your top plays in this game from an ownership standpoint project to be Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, both projecting for 65% ownership share. Of the two, if I was to choose, I would go with Allen. I don’t think I need to necessarily break down his game logs to be able to explain why I feel this way. Allen should be slinging the rock tonight against the 49ers but it is his rushing – specifically his goal line rushing, that has me most interested. Much to the Chagrin of his Running Backs, Allen has 6 Rushing Scores on the season including 1 in 3 of his last 5 games and I will take that kind of upside all day long and twice on Sunday. BUT at close to 70% ownership, I actually prefer using Allen in the Flex – along with Diggs. I just don’t know how different of a lineup you can build with either in at Captain as in addition to the high ownership, they are also the most expensive plays on the slate as well.
So for me, my first Bills pick at Captain is Gabriel Davis. Over the last three games John Brown has been out, in and on IR. So in the two games in that span Brown has missed, Davis has seen in and out of the lineup, Davis has had 70 or more yards and a touchdown in each. I do not mind following that trend and at a projected 22% ownership, I love the pivot from the much more chalky Diggs. I also think you can take a look at Cole Beasley who is another favorite of Allen’s, But also in competitive games (which I do feel like this will be a competitive game) Beasley has seen a significant uptick in usage. Most notably the 30 – 32 loss to the Cardinals where he went for over 100 yards and a score. So I like Beasley at Captain, though his ownership is 20% higher than Davis, he could be in line for a big game and still makes a nice pivot from the uber chalk of Diggs.
None of the San Francisco Forty Niners are projected higher than 45% ownership, which says something about how popular a play Allen and Diggs will be when 45% ownership makes for pivots – but tonight they do. My favorite Forty Niner is Raheem Mostert (for obvious reasons that you saw above unless you skipped over it). Last week was his first game back from a lengthy stay on IR but now in his second week back and second week back at practice I expect him to reclaim the lion share of this backfield and the Bills have been torched with run first running games all season long averaging nearly 130 yards on the ground and ranked 26th in the league against running backs. It has been a long time since we have seen Mostert run over DBs on a mighty gallup to the endzone and I man do I hope we see it tonight. (Sorry a bit biased I know). Anyway the other reason why I like Mostert here is that he actually is carrying slightly more ownership than some of the other Forty Niner “weapons” and what that signals to me is he will be used heavily as a flex play in Diggs or Allen Captain’d lineups. For me though he makes for a fine Captain, My Captain.
Additionally – doesn’t it just make you feel good to see Deebo Samuel back playing football? Last week in his first full return to the field Deebo SMASHED. 133 Yards on 11 Catches and what is to stop him from doing the same tonight? Only bad quarterback play … kinda. Do you know that Deebo’s average depth of target is 5 yards or less, yet his YAC (Yards after the Catch) near the top of the league at 8.5? So while Tre’Davious White will be guarding the perimeter, I think Deebo is going to eat the middle of the field up and I will take a share at the top spot in my lineups. Again if I am reading the ownership projections right, there will be a lot of Allen or Diggs Captain’d lineups tonight with a lot of Forty Niners in the flex spots. So for me I’d rather do the opposite. I’ll have some Deebo in my Captain’s chair.
Editors note: When I am saying, if I am reading the ownership correctly it is because right now Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs are projecting to be close to 25% higher owned than any other player on the slate. That leads me to believe, based on past experience, that there will be a significant presence at Captain/MVP of these two players, with extremely similar flex plays underneath them as most of the Forty Niners and some other notable Bills all hover in the 40-45% ownership ranges. So in other words there will be a lot of Duplicate lineups tonight in contests and perhaps even the winning lineup will be duplicated multiple times causing a split pot in the winnings. So for me I’d rathe buck that trend and use players I perceive as being Flex plays for most, as my Captain/MVP picks. Perhaps that can give me leverage as I fill out the rest of my lineup with different plays… hopefully that makes sense to you.
The Last Forty Niner I will mention that is in my pool for Captain/MVP is Nick Mullens. This is not a statical play, though the Bills do rank 18th in the league against the pass giving up an average of 258 yards per game through the air. This is purely a leverage play off of the uber chalky Allen as well as I will be able to save some salary with Mullens at the Top spot over Allen. I will have some lineups with Mullens as Captain/MVP.
Flex, Flex, Flex it up
My Bill’s strategy will have Davis or Beasley at Captain with Allen in the Flex and Diggs. I also think including a Tight End be it Dawson Knox or Tyler Kroft in a four man stack is not a bad idea. Kroft is the cheaper of the two, so I favor him. While you can run on the Forty Niners, I am not as high on Devin Singletary or Zack Moss for a couple reasons. First the goal line touchdown stealing Quarterback Allen. Second, I don’t see the Bills being able to establish the run throughout this game and at some point it will be all about Allen making things happen on the ground with his legs and through the air. So while I will have a share of Singletary in some lineups as well a a share of Zach Moss, I won’t have them both in the same lineup and I also will likely limit my pass catchers in any lineup with a Bill’s running back to only one stacked with Allen. Additionally in Shootouts, Kickers can prosper. So make sure you are keeping Kicker Tyler Bass in your player pool. And if you are looking for a dart throw, Isiah McKenzie will also see a few targets and I don’t mind using him if you need a salary saver. If I am running a Bills stack back I am looking at the Forty Niners to be the contrarian plays and I’d look at Brandon Aiyuk, or Jordan Reed with Nick Mullens. I think most people who build a heavy Bills stack will want to try and make the pricier Samuel in and I’d prefer to stay contrarian in my run back if the rest of the Bills pieces of the lineup are chalky.
If I am building a Forty Niners favored lineup, I am not limiting my pass catchers with Nick Mullens and I certainly don’t mind using Mostert in that lineup with the Pass Catchers. Deebo is a priority but also is Brandon Aiyuk who also had a hell of an outing last week returning from the Covid list. I think a double stack of Samuel and Aiyuk with Mullens could be an interesting way to attack this game and a pivot from a Allmen-Diggs-Beasley stack that I believe will be popular. I also don’t mind using Jordan Reed and to a lesser extent Kendrick Bourne as low owned and cheaper dart throws. And the Forty Niners Defense and the Bills Defense shouldn’t be completely ignored. It isn’t like either quarterback isn’t prone to an occasional INT or a fumble couldn’t occur. But actually what I am interested to see is the Special Teams – kick returns and punt returns. Both teams employ speed in their return game and a Kick Return or Punt Return for a TD is good for 6 points. Can’t hate on that. I’m not saying load up on defense but I don’t mind a lineup or two with them in it. Especially in onslaught type stacks for either team. And as I mentioned above, Robbie Gould the kicker should be in your player pool as well and I don’t hate using him in a stack with Mullens and a Pass Catcher (or two) or even in your run back on Allen/Bills heavy stacks.
The last notes I have for the Forty Niners is the running backs. Yes, I am very high on Raheem Mostert tonight – however, if you are of the mindset that this team is a run by committee there are legs to the theory. Last week Jeff Wilson Jr and Jerrick McKinnon all cut into Mostert’s workload. With Wilson second in snaps and McKinnon third. BUT Tevin Coleman is back – at least in practice. How he figures in is anyone’s guess, but for my money – one of Wilson or McKinnon will be the odd man out IF Coleman is fully activated. We don’t know how the 49ers will deploy their running backs, honestly. So I do not blame you for rotating any of the four in your lineups – but pay attention to the news. If Coleman is active, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the first series of the game. Eventually I do believe Mostert will be the back to own here – but it could be a committee, so be ready if you are multi-entering. I may have at least one lineup with Coleman in place of Mostert, one with Wilson in place of Mostert, one with McKinnon in place of Mostert. But I only like Mostert as my San Fran Running Back pick at captain. The rest of the lot are flex plays. And if suddenly one is announced as inactive, get ready to do some quick swaps. Or just play Mostert. I am most likely to do that and hope it doesn’t burn me.
Good Luck in your Contests!