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49ers vs. Cardinals NFL DFS Picks: Will the Running Game Thrive at Altitude in Mexico City on MNF?

Eric MacPherson

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49ers-Cardinals DFS Picks: Christian McCaffrey & James Conner

Week 11 Monday Night Football travels south of the border to Mexico City, pitting the Arizona Cardinals against the San Francisco 49ers, with James Conner and Christian McCaffrey taking center stage.

Heading into NFL Week 11 Monday Night Football, Stokastic is bringing plenty of NFL DFS tools and information for all of the different slates, game formats and sites.

This column will provide a free analysis of the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. It includes team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks. There is loads of information and NFL DFS Showdown analysis to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Week 11 Monday Night Football slate featuring the San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals in Estadio Azteca, Mexico City.

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NFL DFS Picks: Week 11 MNF | 49ers-Cardinals

Arizona may be without quarterback Kyler Murray (hamstring) for a second consecutive game as he is listed as questionable after being a limited practice participant. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) is also questionable, and he too was only able to practice in limited fashion. Tight end Zach Ertz (knee) has been lost for the season and offensive lineman D.J. Humphries (back) and cornerback Byron Murphy (back) are out as well. Finally guard Max Garcia (shoulder) will be a game time decision.

San Francisco is coming into this game relatively healthy, with only defensive tackle Arik Armstead (foot) listed as out. Fellow defensive lineman Samson Ebukam (quad/Achilles) is also questionable and will test out his leg in warmups to see if he can play.

Arizona Cardinals: 17.5 Points

Quarterback

The Stokastic fantasy projections have Kyler Murray (hamstring) as the starting quarterback and per reports he is likely to be under center tonight, though the risk of reinjury is always a lingering specter. If he is not able to go, then veteran Colt McCoy will take his place. The threat of rushing is the main thing that makes Murray a dangerous option, and if that element is not available tonight, McCoy may be the better option against the tough San Francisco defense.

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Running Back

In a wild twist, Eno Benjamin was released by Arizona last week after James Conner was able to assume a full workload. The main surprise is that the organization did this prior to this game in Mexico City, where having a full stable of running backs seems like the savvy move considering this game is being played at an elevation of 7,200 feet. That is nearly 2,000 feet higher than Denver.

Conner, of course, has the proverbial nose for the end zone, and he is a capable runner and receiver. Rookie Keaontay Ingram, who was a sixth-round selection out of USC, will be the main backup. Keep in mind that Darrel Williams is on the injured reserve, so journeyman Corey Clement will likely serve as the third option.

Because this game is played at significant altitude, it would not be a surprise to see a 60/40 snap share allocation between Conner and Ingram. While Conner should get most of the high-value touches, Ingram does have a chance to be in the mix.

Of course, Ingram is an older rookie at 23 years of age, but he also played three seasons with the University of Texas before joining the Trojans for his senior year, so we can hope that 42 college games have given him enough reps to survive in pass protection against San Francisco. If he makes a mistake or two, Clement will be the next man up.

Wide Receiver

Marquise Brown (foot) is getting closer to a return, though it does not look like he will be active tonight. If he is, then at the minimum salary on DraftKings ($200) and FanDuel ($5,000) he would be worth a look, even in limited action.

DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) was a limited practice participant, but coach Kliff Kingsbury is being cagey about the availability of the veteran. If he is starting, then DFS gamers will need to decide their own level of risk tolerance. Rondale Moore looks like a strong play in all scenarios, and he is worthy of being on the majority of lineups tonight. A.J. Green, Robby Anderson and Greg Dortch have varying degrees of utility that would improve if Hopkins were inactive. Otherwise, they will be mix-and-match options for those building more than 20 lineups tonight.

Tight End

Trey McBride is only $1,000 on DraftKings and will be backed up by Stephen Anderson, who is at the $200 minimum. Each had one target last week, though with Ertz dominating the targets for the season with 69, it is hard to know how this will play out. McBride had three targets in Week 4, while Anderson had one in Week 2 for their only other opportunities on the

Defense/Special Teams

Arizona has multiple sacks in six of the last seven games, and even with the run-first mentality of the 49ers, they have ceded nine sacks in the last three games. San Francisco has just nine turnovers on the season while the Cardinals have 14 takeaways.

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San Francisco 49ers: 25.5 Points

Quarterback

While Jimmy Garoppolo is not a flashy fantasy option, he does just enough to be a fringe QB1 most weeks. With a victory tonight, San Francisco can move into a tie with Seattle atop the NFC West and more importantly this will put another game between the 49ers and Cardinals in the Wild Card standings.

Only Andy Dalton (361) and Patrick Mahomes (360) have thrown for more than 275 yards against Arizona this season. However, five different signal-callers have thrown for multiple touchdowns and Jalen Hurts rushed for a pair of scores. San Francisco dropped both regular season games to Arizona last year, though over the last three these teams have split the six tilts overall.

San Francisco has the far better defense, a full stable of running backs and pass catchers as well as the healthier quarterback. This should enable Jimmy G and coach Kyle Shanahan to pick their spots and grind out a victory.

Running Back

Last week, Christian McCaffrey was on the field for 65% of the snaps, while Elijah Mitchell saw 35% and fullback Kyle Juszczyk worked in on 38% of the plays. The workload was far closer with Mitchell leading the backfield, with 18 carries for 89 yards and a 1-yard reception on two targets.

McCaffrey is still the primary option for the high-leverage touches and in the passing game. There is no need to pile on low-leverage carries, and as a result, we saw the former Panther get 14 totes for 38 yards and a score while also getting 10 targets for another 39 yards on four receptions.

It has been five games since Juszczyk had a carry and two since he had a target, but he should be viable around lineup No. 25 or so, with a couple of opportunities likely earmarked for him in this Monday Night Football matchup. Over the last three games, this trio has all of the running back snaps, though not all of the carries.


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Wide Receiver

Deebo Samuel is still moonlighting in the backfield, though his opportunities have decreased with the addition of McCaffrey. The “wide back” still has nine carries for 66 yards in the last two games, though it has been Brandon Aiyuk that has been the apple of Garoppolo’s eye with a heavy target discrepancy. In each of the last three games where Samuel was healthy, Aiyuk had the edge in targets 29 to 23, along with the lead in each individual appearance.

Jauan Jennings should be in line for three or four targets and Ray-Ray McCloud III may get a target or a carry in addition to his returner duties on special teams.

Tight End

George Kittle had only two targets last week, but he did have 24 combined in his prior trio of appearances. Tyler Kroft is likely to be on the field around one-third of the time, but he is an afterthought when it comes to offensive contributions. The same can be said for Charlie Woerner, who will be on the field for around a dozen plays.

Defense/Special Teams

Murray has been sacked 17 times in his last four starts and McCoy suffered two in his fill-in effort last week. San Francisco has multiple sacks in all but one game this season and anything less than four will be a disappointment tonight. These units are similar when it comes to turnovers, though we should see at least one and maybe more for the 49ers defense.

Monday Night Football Single-Game NFL DFS Strategy For 49ers-Cardinals

The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups, and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value. However, those taking the MME approach should remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. That also works conversely, pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with his quarterback.

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Week 11 Monday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings For 49ers-Cardinals

Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks For 49ers-Cardinals

  1. Christian McCaffrey: Even with the shared workload, McCaffrey is the top option.
  2. Jimmy Garoppolo: Reasonable salary, still needs 200 yards and a score to break even.
  3. Eli Mitchell: Harder to advocated for in the multiplier slot, but the projected workload should have him as one of the best point-per-dollar options in the utility slot.
  4. James Conner: Banking on a touchdown and 100 combined yards seems reasonable.
  5. Rondale Moore: Should be peppered with targets now that Ertz is out.
  6. Kyler Murray: Do we trust his hammy?
  7. DeAndre Hopkins: Feeling OK about his hamstring, and he does not lose any production if McCoy is under center.
  8. Brandon Aiyuk: Just one broken play and he could land in the optimal lineup.
  9. Deebo Samuel: Has to battle McCaffrey and Kittle for red zone opportunities ad Aiyuk between the 20s for targets.
  10. San Francisco D/ST: Team is popular in Mexico City, which could help turn a neutral site into a favorable one tonight.

Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks For 49ers-Cardinals

  1. George Kittle: Inconsistent workload, Kittle easily could put the kibosh on the hopes of those who roster him or those who elect to go in a different direction. Caveat Emptor!
  2. Matt Prater: More experience kicking at altitude in Denver for the first seven seasons of his career, the 38-year-old has dealt with injuries and has not attempted anything over 50 yards in six games. However, in this three previous seasons, he was an absurd 20-for-28 from that distance.
  3. Robbie Gould: Two weeks shy of his 40th birthday, Gould is still chugging along.
  4. Trey McBride: First man up to replace Ertz at the tight end position. He was considered a three-sport recruit out of high school and in his senior season at Colorado State he won the John Mackey Award as the nation’s best tight end.
  5. Keaontay Ingram: Favorable price for the rookie.

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Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Showdown Picks For 49ers-Cardinals

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  1. Jauan Jennings: Hard to see more than a couple targets going his direction with everyone healthy tonight.
  2. Arizona D/ST: San Francisco’s run-heavy offense limits fantasy opportunities for opposing defenses.
  3. A.J. Green, Robbie Anderson and Greg Dortch: Flip a coin.
  4. Stephen Anderson: Viable for the bold in “cash” games and three-mans with his $200 salary on DraftKings.
  5. Kyle Juszczyk, Ray-Ray McCloud III and Tyler Kroft: Over/under for this group is a collective 4.5 offensive opportunities.
  6. Colt McCoy: If Murray starts, McCoy is still in play around lineup No. 100. If Murray is out, move him up to Murray’s spot in the top section.
  7. Danny Gray, Ross Dwelley, Charlie Woerner, Maxx Williams and Andre Baccellia: If they beat us, so be it.

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Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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