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Fantasy Football Picks: Packers vs. 49ers DraftKings NFL DFS TNF Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Thursday’s 8:20 p.m. ET contest between the Packers and the 49ers with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

As you probably already know if you’ve been following the NFL news this week, tonight’s contest between the Packers and the 49ers is a mess. Between injuries and active COVID cases on each team, the skill position depth chart for this Week 9 clash is laughable. Heck, if Aaron Jones ($9,800) is eventually ruled unable to play, that’ll mean nine of the 16 highest-priced assets on this slate will be unavailable. That’s insane.

Yet, the league has decided to push forward and so shall we. Let’s dive into the action from a Showdown perspective.

Editor’s Note: Packers RB Aaron Jones (calf) is active for tonight’s game vs. the 49ers.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $2.25M Thursday Night Millionaire [$1M to 1st] (GB vs SF)


Captain’s Picks

Davante Adams ($18,600 CP)/Aaron Rodgers ($16,500 CP) - Let’s play out a hypothetical situation. With the way things stand right now — especially if Jones is ruled out with his calf issue — I’d wager over 50% of Thursday lineups will feature either Adams or Rodgers in the Captain’s slot. In fact, with all the value that’s opened up across the past couple of days, I’d expect a majority of builds to feature both of these players in some capacity. Even in a vacuum, it’s hard to argue with that strategy. If you ignore Rodgers one poor start this season against a Buccaneers’ defense that currently ranks No. 1 versus the pass by DVOA, the future Hall of Fame QB is averaging an eye-popping 26.8 DKFP per game in 2020. As for Adams, since returning from his own injury woes in Week 6, the veteran leads all WRs in targets (37), receiving touchdowns (5) and PPR fantasy points (87.0). Considering how Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf were able to tear up this 49ers D/ST ($3,800) on Sunday, I’d expect the success of Rodgers and Adams to carry on this evening.

Jerick McKinnon ($12,000 CP) - McKinnon’s recent role has left a lot to be desired, and his complete no-show against the Patriots in Week 7 burned a lot of DFS players. Still, it’s hard to imagine the RB won’t have a decent amount of volume on Thursday in one of the better matchups you could draw. While I would expect that it’s Jamycal Hasty ($7,200) getting the bulk of the carries for San Francisco against a Green Bay rushing defense that just allowed 163 yards and three touchdowns to Dalvin Cook, I’m also anticipating the 49ers having to play from behind in Week 9. So, as was the case this past weekend when McKinnon out-snapped Hasty 35-29, that script should lean slightly to the former’s favor. On top of that, there’s the matter of McKinnon possibly being the 49ers most-skilled active pass-catching option. With so many of the team’s receivers ruled out, I wouldn’t be surprised if McKinnon finishes tonight’s contest with upwards of 7-to-9 targets — much like he saw in Week 4’s loss to Philadelphia. To jog your memory, that was a game started by Nick Mullens ($9,200), which could prove prophetic.

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FLEX Plays

Editor’s Note: 49ers TE Jordan Reed (knee) is expected to be activated off of injured reserve for tonight’s game vs. the Packers, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Jordan Reed ($5,800) - You don’t win huge GPPs by playing it safe, right? It seems like Reed is likely to be activated from the IR prior to tonight’s matchup, which would mean a huge opportunity for the oft-injured tight end. The last time we saw Reed, he was filling in as San Francisco’s primary receiving TE with George Kittle (foot) sidelined back in Week 2 and Week 3. Well, in that two-game sample, the veteran was targeted 14 times and he was able to register a two-touchdown performance against the lowly Jets. Obviously Ross Dwelley ($4,800) will also play a role in this evening’s proceedings — and a case could be made that’s he’s the safer option at the position — but Dwelley could be asked to help in pass protection, especially with Trent Williams’ absence. Expect Reed to run more routes if unencumbered by his ailments, which would give him the higher ceiling.

Trent Taylor ($400) - I have zero idea what the 49ers’ receiving corps will look like on Thursday. With Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and Kendrick Bourne all ruled out due to COVID tracing, San Francisco is left to cobble together snaps from the likes of Taylor, River Cracraft ($200), Richie James ($200) and maybe former Chicago first-round pick Kevin White ($200). Shockingly, it’s White that might possess the most upside of the bunch if he’s active, as his 6’3, 215-pound frame sets him apart from a group of players that tend to profile as slot options. However, it’s Taylor who clearly has the highest built-in floor, as he registered a 50% snap share and five targets filling in for Samuel in Sunday’s loss to Seattle. There’s certainly a scenario where none of these men really do anything of note — as mentioned above, I’d expect McKinnon and Reed to be the team’s top targets — but, if Taylor can make three or four receptions, we’re looking at someone that’ll put up 15x value in a heartbeat.

Dexter Williams ($200) - This is a play that totally hinges on the status of Jones. If the Packers’ lead RB is ruled out for a third-straight game, the only two active running backs on Green Bay’s roster are Williams and Tyler Ervin ($200), as both Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon have been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. While I wouldn’t be shocked to see both Williams and Ervin involved this evening — Matt LaFleur has been aggressive in utilizing his RBs as slot receivers in 2020 — I think it’s safe to assume that the former would end up serving as the early-down and goal line back. That could mean upwards of 15 carries for Williams, especially if the Packers are able to take the lead in a contest in which they are heavily favored. Don’t believe me? Here’s the assessment of someone who has pretty intimate knowledge of Green Bay’s offensive attack:


N/A - This might seem like a cop out, but consider for a moment that the whole point of fading an asset on a Showdown slate is salary restrictions. We don’t really have that issue on this particular slate. Aside from Rodgers and Adams, there’s no one to pay up for and, even if you’re someone hoping to squeeze Mullens into a build, there’s ample viable value below the $1K plateau to balance things out. Obviously there’s personnel choices where I feel more strongly about a specific side — I’d have McKinnon over Hasty and Reed over Dwelley — but the point remains: You’ll be able to afford whatever you like for tonight’s action.


While both teams are dealing with insane player absences, let’s not lose sight of the top of the board. The 49ers are missing their starting QB, their top two running backs, their top three receivers, their generational tight end, their starting left tackle and numerous key players on the defensive side of the ball. The Packers, despite their own issues, still have Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams. I expect that the NFC’s No. 1 offense by DVOA will do some serious damage this evening.

Final Score: Green Bay 31, San Francisco 17

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.