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Christian McCaffrey fantasy outlook: Start or sit 49ers RB in Wild Card Round?

We go over the fantasy football and DFS outlook of Christian McCaffrey ahead of the 49ers’ Wild Card matchup against the Seahawks in the 2023 NFL Playoffs.

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 8: Christian McCaffrey #23 of the San Francisco 49ers runs after making a catch during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium on January 8, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Cardinals 38-13. Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers welcome the Seattle Seahawks in their wildcard matchup on Saturday, marking the third time these two division rivals will have faced each other this season. The 49ers went 2-0 against the Seahawks in the regular season, including a Week 15 win in which Christian McCaffrey totaled 26 carries for 108 yards and a rushing score. Will he have the same success against Seattle’s run defense this weekend?

Fantasy Football analysis: 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey ($8,500)

McCaffrey is priced at $8,500 at DraftKings, making him the most expensive running back option on the Saturday slate of wildcard games. McCaffrey’s talent is well worth the price tag, and he faces a Seattle defense that gives up 150.2 yards per game on the ground, which is 30th in the NFL. The only caveat here is that in Kyle Shanahan’s run-heavy system, he’s opted for McCaffrey to split carries with Elijah Mitchell on occasion, and in particular in the red zone.

In Weeks 10, 11, and 18, McCaffrey totaled 31 rush attempts to Mitchell’s 32, though the former had the advantage in receiving opportunities, with 65 routes to his name versus Mitchell’s 13. The kicker is red zone opportunities, where they both were even with eight red zone touches.

Seattle’s porous run defense should allow ample fantasy scoring opportunities for both players, but at a price tag of $8,500, you should be getting someone that will handle a bulk of the carries on the ground. With McCaffrey likely to split touches with Mitchell, can you place the utmost confidence in him finding the endzone more often than Mitchell?

Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation

Sit. If you have no worries about spending big on a premier running back, feel free to roll with McCaffrey. But rounding out your fantasy roster should be priority number one for wildcard weekend, and there are still viable options out there that should put less of a dent in your salary budget. With McCaffrey likely to split scoring opportunities, don't hesitate to roll with someone else as your running back.