Chargers-49ers DFS Showdown: Injury and Depth Analysis

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QUARTERBACK:

Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers will travel to San Francisco to take on Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers in a talent-full DFS showdown slate on Sunday Night Football. Herbert anchors the Chargers’ pass-first offense as he ranks third among all quarterbacks in pass attempts, but even though his top two pass catchers in, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, remain out, the Chargers are going to run the offense through the air. Jimmy G is by no means a gunslinger, but he’s efficient and will have the most talent around him of any game this season tonight. Additionally, he has passed for two touchdowns in each of the last four games. 

RUNNING BACK:

Austin Ekeler’s utilization has been frankly remarkable as of late, and defenses have no answers for him. San Francisco has the league’s best defense against the run, which looks irrelevant to Ekeler’s collective workload, as he has been targeted 36 times over the past three games. He’s averaged two touchdowns per game over his last five games, illustrating what a fantasy player’s dream looks like. Isaiah Spiller will serve as Ekeler’s primary backup as he recorded seven carries in his first game in that role last week, with Sony Michel rotating in as well. Michel now has a more favorable pass-catching position, but that quickly could change as Spiller gets more involved.

Christian McCaffrey’s first game as a Niner could not have gone any better as he hit the trifecta with a touchdown passing, rushing, and receiving. He combined for 26 touches last week in his first full game in Kyle Shanahan’s scheme, so who knows what may be in store with Deebo Samuel re-entering the fold tonight. Elijah Mitchell will also be returning from injury tonight, but he by no means should chip away at CMC’s potential workload significantly but will see multiple carries. 

WIDE RECEIVER:

Keenan Allen and Mike Williams remain out for LA, lining up for Joshua Palmer to serve as the WR1. Over his last two games, Palmer has been targeted 22 times, clearly showing us the confidence that Herbert has in Palmer to pick up the offensive slack. DeAndre Carter will line up as the WR2, with a strong floor of about five targets. Michael Bandy’s stock has benefited greatly from the injuries above him, as he saw eight targets and 80% of the snaps last week. Jason Moore will rotate in, but his role will be minimal at best, as the three receivers in front of him will be on the field essentially all the time. 

Deebo Samuel return’s to the field tonight, creating a 1A, 1B dynamic between him and Brandon Aiyuk. Both will carry the 49ers’ passing attack, with Aiyuk performing as of late. Over his last three games, he’s recorded at least 80 yards in each while having three touchdowns to show. Expect their eventual targets to lie in the 7-9 range each with another slight edge to Aiyuk as he’s been targeted 11 times in two of his last three games. Deebo doesn’t offer the same rushing upside, as he hasn’t garnered more than two carries in a game since September. Jauan Jennings will be the third receiver, along with Ray-Ray McCloud seeing some work, but their upside is low given all the mouths needed to be fed in front of them.

TIGHT END:

Gerald Everett has averaged eight targets per game over his last three outings, giving us confidence in his workload for tonight. He’ll be the only tight end we’ll need to worry about, as Tre’ McKitty and Richard Rodgers have only combined for 10 targets this season. George Kittle’s usage finally appears to be on an upward trajectory, as he’s seen 24 targets over his last three games while finding the end zone in each of his previous two games.