If you’re looking for San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys DFS picks in Sunday’s Divisional Round faceoff, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve analyzed each team’s highest-probability game scripts to assess the most likely outcomes, including which players are in line to thrive more than anticipated or fall short of expectations.
The following recommended fantasy football lineup (for tournaments, 50/50, or head-to-head competitions) aims to lock in a relatively high floor while maximizing upside.
How good is Brock Purdy? By extension, how good would Skylar Thompson, Ben DiNucci, or any other recent seventh-round pick in an offense “led” by Christian McCaffrey, Deebo, Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle?
Maybe that’s not fair. Purdy is one of the best stories of this season. At times, he’s looked better than the far more seasoned Jimmy Garoppolo. To suggest other seventh-rounders could do what Purdy’s done doesn’t do the rookie justice.
And yet, DFS considerations don’t factor in feel-good stories. We’re concerned solely with what the Niners can do against the Cowboys — and specifically, whether Purdy can sustain this insanely impressive run, in which he’s thrown for 2+ scores in all six of his NFL starts, plus the game where he replaced Garoppolo.
Purdy hasn’t faced a defense as good as the Cowboys’, which is No. 3 in sacks and No. 1 in takeaways. If he struggles — if the pressure he hasn’t yet faced forces him out of his rhythm — how will he respond? Is Purdy one of the best rookie QBs in years? Possibly. Will we think the same after Sunday?
The answer to that question informs how we should approach this side of our DFS lineup.
Last year in the Divisional Round, Dallas hosted San Francisco and lost. Dak Prescott infamously scrambled with the clock running down, upending any chance for a final shot at victory.
If they were haunted by yet another early postseason exit, it sure didn’t show last weekend when they dismantled the Bucs, sending Tom Brady to his worst home loss in more than two years — and possibly the final loss of his career. (And no, that doesn’t mean he’ll go 20-0 next season and then retire.)
The tough part of this DFS slate, at least with respect to the Cowboys, is how incredible the Niners’ defense is. Last week I pushed Dalton Schultz in DFS and props, writing that he was one of two Cowboys with strong two-TD potential. But that was against Tampa Bay. San Francisco poses unique difficulty for offenses.
Instead, we might consider how Seattle approached their contest with the Niners last week. Kenneth Walker III touched the ball 14 times in the first half, contributing to a 17-16 Seahawks lead. He netted only two more touches in the second half when they were outscored 25-6.
Prescott can elevate his offense more than Geno Smith can elevate his. But I don’t think Dallas will lean on the pass, to the detriment of at least one of their big receiving stars. Last weekend, they ran the ball 35 times, compared to only 33 throws. No, not because it was a blowout. The Cowboys had eight carries and six pass attempts in the fourth quarter. It was a fairly even split from start to finish.
We need to think strategically about their two running backs, as well as how comfortable we are spending big on their top receivers — and, of course, the always-expensive Prescott.
Top NFL DFS Picks for 49ers vs. Cowboys
Today, we’re playing DraftKings “Showdown Captain Mode,” which includes one player who earns 1.5 times his scoring output, plus five Flex players.
The following NFL betting recommendations are based on proprietary PFN predictive analytics pulled from decades of NFL historical data. Using this data, I’ve built dozens of models showing actionable probabilities of better-than-expected and worse-than-expected outcomes.
Captain: RB Christian McCaffrey, 49ers ($16,800)
Anyone capable of catching 10 passes should be a Captain candidate. When that guy happens to be one of the game’s top playmakers, with a good bet of eclipsing 18 touches, including a chunk of work near the goal line, count me in.
The Niners acquired McCaffrey to help them win a title. He’s No. 2 in the league in yards after the catch. He has to be the cornerstone of this slate.
Flex: QB Dak Prescott, Cowboys ($11,000)
This lineup assumes kicker Brett Maher’s inexplicable implosion last weekend will compel Dallas to go for it on fourth-and-short when in field goal range. It also means the team might approach things differently with first-and-goals, giving themselves the luxury of taking as many as four plays to get the ball in. This should translate into more scoring opportunities for their offensive centerpiece.
Flex: WR CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys ($10,400)
Despite their greatness, the Niners’ D has yielded the sixth-most WR receiving yards and seventh-most WR receiving scores. If we can afford CeeDee Lamb, we need to pounce, especially in light of how effectively San Francisco has shut down tight ends.
Flex: 49ers D/ST ($4,200)
Things are about to get weird — or, from my standpoint, normal. I see this as a tight defensive battle, focused more than usual on field position. Plenty of sacks. Presumably some turnovers on each side. And perhaps two offensive touchdowns each. There’s room for the Niners D/ST to tack on 10+ points, making them a distinct bargain.
Flex: Cowboys D/ST ($4,000)
See above, and further above. I’m betting against Purdy, believing that the Cowboys will force him and the Niners out of their offensive scheme. Yes, expect plenty of dump-offs to the backfield. But looks downfield will look riskier for the rookie. I’m betting on 12+ points for this D/ST.
Flex: RB Elijah Mitchell ($3,000)
With $3,600 remaining, let’s roll with Elijah Mitchell. He’s a cheap hedge near the goal line alongside McCaffrey, and he’s also capable (though underutilized) through the air. We could go with the slightly cheaper T.Y. Hilton instead, and that might be sensible. But Mitchell gives us more insurance in 50/50 contests.
Whatever you decide, good luck tonight.
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