NFL

FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: NFC Championship (49ers at Rams)

On Sunday evening, the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams tangle for the third time this season, this one to decide the NFC title. The game is set for 6:30 p.m. ET.

On FanDuel Sportsbook, the host Rams are 3.5-point favorites in a game with a 45.5-point total. That makes the implied score 24.50-21.00 in favor of LA.

For those unfamiliar, single-game slates feature five flex spots with identical scoring to the main slate. However, kickers are included in these contests, and there is an "MVP" roster slot. The MVP receives 1.5-times his total fantasy points, making this spot crucial.

Our Brandon Gdula has done a deep dive on single-game strategy, and we have projections for the single-game slate if you select the game from the slate tab. It's worth checking out both of those things before you make your lineups.

MVP Candidates

Per our projections, three players stand out from the pack -- Cooper Kupp ($16,000 on FanDuel), Matthew Stafford ($16,000) and Deebo Samuel ($14,000). We project each of them for between 18.0 and 19.2 FanDuel points, and you can make a strong MVP case for all three.

Kupp totaled 26.8 FanDuel points last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he's scored at least 14.6 FanDuel points in all but one game this season. That's a ridiculous floor for a receiver, and the upside has been there, too, as he's got at least 22.9 FanDuel points in five of his last eight.

LA's star receiver has thrived versus the Niners, as well. In the most recent meeting with San Fran, Kupp caught all 7 of his targets for 118 yards and a score. In the first matchup, he hauled in 11 of 13 looks for 122 yards. We project him for a slate-best 19.2 FanDuel points.

Coming into last week, Stafford's DFS ceiling had been pretty meh for much of the back half of the campaign, but he delivered a great performance against the Bucs, throwing for 366 yards and 2 scores en route to 29.24 FanDuel points. While Stafford put up 24.28 FanDuel points in the Wild Card Round versus the Arizona Cardinals, these last two games are his only outputs of more than 24 FanDuel points since the start of November. At a projection of 18.9 FanDuel points, Stafford has to be on the MVP radar, but I won't have much of him in the multiplier spot.

Last week, for just the second time since Week 9, Samuel went without a touchdown. His 9.8 FanDuel points in the upset win over the Green Bay Packers was his third-lowest single-game total this season. On the bright side, he's seen 10 carries in both of San Fran's postseason affairs, and he posted 26.96 and 27.8 FanDuel points in the two regular-season games with the Rams. Our model forecasts him to produce 18.0 FanDuel points, and he's an excellent MVP play.

Fellow Niners Elijah Mitchell ($12,000) and Jimmy Garoppolo ($12,500) are also worth consideration at MVP. Between these two, I'm much more into using Mitchell as my multiplier, as Jimmy G -- who our algorithm projects for 14.7 FanDuel points -- hasn't scored more than 15.18 FanDuel points in five straight contests.

As for Mitchell, he's carried the ball at least 17 times in seven consecutive games. He even got four targets last week, which bodes well for his outlook this week in a game in which the 49ers are road 'dogs. Even with Deebo pilfering a solid number of touches in the backfield, Mitchell is getting enough volume to be a viable MVP play, especially if you think the Niners get out to a lead. We have him scoring 13.9 FanDuel points.

Flex Breakdown

On the Rams, Cam Akers ($11,000), Tyler Higbee ($8,500) and Odell Beckham ($10,500) are the best of the remaining options.

At his salary, Higbee is a quality play. He's seen at least six looks in five of the last six games, with the one exception being a four-target outing in a super positive game script against the Cardinals. He's generated at least 41 receiving yards in all six of those games and projects for 7.8 FanDuel points, making him a fine point-per-dollar pick.

Akers -- who our model slates for 13.4 FanDuel points -- had two costly fumbles in the Divisional Round, and we'll have to see if that impacts his workload on Sunday. If it doesn't, Akers is pretty easy to like and has the upside to hit as a contrarian MVP pick if you want to roll the dice.

He logged 27 total touches last week, a game after he notched 19 touches. He appears to be fully healthy and is capable to doing damage as a runner and receiver. We just watched Aaron Jones have a huge game against this 49ers D.

A week ago, OBJ made 6 catches on 8 targets for 69 scoreless yards. That was his first game with the Rams in which he put up more than 2.8 FanDuel points without a touchdown. With the Rams shifting to a more run-heavy attack down the stretch and Kupp being a target monster, Beckham probably needs a tuddie to pay off at his salary, but he's shown to be pretty adept at finding the end zone since moving to LA, scoring six times in 10 games.

Sony Michel ($8,000) and Van Jefferson ($7,500) are dart throws. Michel is a logical choice if you think Akers' workload is scaled back after the fumbles. Jefferson -- who is questionable -- could pop for a big play, but he's had more than 41 receiving yards just once over the last six weeks. I don't hate him as a bargain-bin shot in the dark, though.

Switching over to the Niners, Brandon Aiyuk ($9,500) and George Kittle ($10,000) are the premier pass-game weapons.

Kittle fits for builds that assume a 49ers' loss. In defeats this regular season, Kittle averaged 87.0 receiving yards per game. In wins, he averaged 52.8. Last week, in a game in which San Fran trailed for a lot of the contest, Kittle amassed 4 receptions for 63 yards. That was his best FanDuel production across the last five weeks. We project Kittle for 10.1 FanDuel points, and he has the talent to have a big day if the Niners have to air it out.

Aiyuk goose-egged last week on one target. That snapped a streak of four straight games in which Aiyuk saw at least five targets. Similar to Kittle, Aiyuk stands to benefit from a negative game script. He made 6 catches for 107 yards in the most recent matchup with the Rams. Our projections have him scoring 8.0 FanDuel points.

Jauan Jennings ($7,000) is a decent punt play. He went for 6 catches, 94 yards and 2 tuds the last time these two teams met. While we can't expect that again, Jennings has played at least 48% of the snaps in four straight games. We have to save salary somewhere.

Both kickers project well, and the game environment sets up nicely for them. Not only is the game indoors, but the total is just 45.5 points. On single-game slates, kickers fare best in low-scoring games. We project Matt Gay ($9,500) and Robbie Gould ($9,000) for 9.1 and 8.7 FanDuel points, respectively. They own the two best point-per-dollar projections among those with a four-digit salary.