FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Wild Card Saturday (Seahawks at 49ers)

This year's NFL postseason gets going on Saturday afternoon with a 4:30 p.m. EST matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.

On FanDuel Sportsbook, the host 49ers are 10.0-point favorites in a game with a 42.5-point total. That makes the implied score 26.25-16.25 in favor of San Fran.

For those unfamiliar, single-game slates feature five flex spots with identical scoring to main slates. 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

The obvious top MVP option is Christian McCaffrey ($17,500 on FanDuel). He's salaried like it -- $2,000 more than anyone else -- and also projects as such as our model pegs him to score 20.0 FanDuel points, 4.0 clear of the field.

CMC is an easy sell. All the boxes are checked. Seattle allowed the fourth-most FanDuel points per game to running backs in the regular season (24.9), and McCaffrey has at least 19 adjusted opportunities (carries plus 2x targets) in all but one game since coming to the Niners. His volume has been through the roof in closer affairs. Over the last six games, just two San Fran contests have been decided by single digits. In those games, CMC totaled 37 and 42 adjusted opportunities. The 49ers are 10.0-point favorites and may very well win comfortably, but it's fairly common for top backs to see elevated workloads in the postseason.

I like Brock Purdy ($14,000) as a pivot off CMC, who will surely be super chalky at MVP. At the controls of a top-notch offense and surrounded by elite weapons, Purdy has proven to be a steady option in DFS, although he's lacked big-time upside. He has scored at least 15.30 FanDuel points in every start, but he's topped 19.82 points only once (a 21.70-point outing). If the touchdowns come through the air and not on the ground, Purdy -- who we project for 16.0 FanDuel points -- could outscore McCaffrey.

The slate's other signal-caller, Geno Smith ($15,500), has some appeal, too. The matchup is a brutal one against a Niners defense that ranks in the top four against both the run and the pass, per our schedule-adjusted metrics. But game script should force Seattle to go to the air -- as should a 49ers run D that gave up the fewest FanDuel points per game to running backs. Smith has two good wideouts at his disposal and has run for at least 16 yards in nine of his previous 10 games, which boosts his upside and floor.

D.K. Metcalf ($12,000) is my favorite MVP play outside of CMC and the passers. Due to their opposition usually facing a negative game script, the San Fran D ended up permitting the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to receivers (30.0). DK has at least eight targets in seven of the last eight games. He has the ability to make big plays, and volume isn't a concern in a game in which Seattle is a double-digit 'dog. Our model has Metcalf generating 10.9 FanDuel points.

Flex Breakdown

With Deebo Samuel ($10,500) and Elijah Mitchell ($8,500) returning last week, all of the Niners' weapons are back. Those two pair with Brandon Aiyuk ($11,500) and George Kittle ($13,000) to give San Francisco several talented pieces. While that's great for the Niners in real life, it makes it tough on us in DFS as there are so many mouths to feed.

Kittle ended the year on a hot run, but he's usually not the same when Deebo is in the lineup. Over his last three outings sans Samuel, Kittle averaged 7.0 targets and 78.7 yards per game. In his past four games with Deebo playing, Kittle posted per-game averages of 4.5 targets and 26.2 yards. Salaried up after his year-end tear, Kittle is a fade for me on this slate. With that said, Seattle has surrendered the second-most FanDuel points per game to tight ends (13.8).

This is a difficult matchup for the 49ers' wideouts as Seattle allowed the third-fewest FanDuel points per game to receivers (21.6). Aiyuk and Samuel averaged only 41.0 and 44.0 receiving yards per game, respectively, this year versus the 'Hawks, although Deebo sat out the second time these two squads faced off. Both, however, are salaried pretty modestly and carry nice touchdown equity in an offense that's implied to score 26.25 points.

Mitchell is an interesting value option. He played only 10 snaps last week in his first game back, but he turned that limited playing time into five carries for 55 yards and a pair of tuddies. We know Mitchell is a talented player, and if you think the Niners smash Seattle, he makes sense as a low-salary play as he could get extended run versus a soft run defense in a lopsided affair. A word of warning: there's a chance Mitchell's Week 18 showing makes him more popular than he should be.

On the Seattle side, Tyler Lockett ($10,000) and Kenneth Walker III ($14,500) project well, per our model.

Most of what I rattled off for why I like Metcalf can also be applied to Lockett. He has big-play chops, which is perfect for a single-game slate, and San Fran's defense has been more vulnerable through the air than on the ground. We have Lockett projected for 10.2 FanDuel points and rate him as the best point-per-dollar play among anyone salaried under $14,000.

As for Walker, I have a hard time getting excited about him in this matchup. The Niners have been extremely stingy against running backs, allowing only 14.0 FanDuel points per game to the position, 2.2 fewer than any other defense. Volume can trump matchup for running backs, and Walker -- who has logged carry counts of 29, 23 and 26 in the last three weeks -- should get fed for as long as the game is competitive. But if Seattle is forced into pass-heavy mode, he'll cede snaps to DeeJay Dallas ($8,000). Despite all those carries in the past three games, Walker has only four targets in that time.

If you're building for a 49ers rout, Dallas makes some sense as a low-salary dart. He was targeted six times in the Seahawks' last loss.

Tight ends Noah Fant ($8,000) and Colby Parkinson ($6,500) need to be on our radar. With Will Dissly out, Parkinson has seen his role increase in a big way, posting snap rates of 79% and 81% the past two games. Fant's role hasn't changed as much as he's played 63% and 64% of the snaps in those outings. In terms of targets, Parkinson has 10 over the past two while Fant has seven. Sure seems like Parkinson is a pretty nice value play, especially with the Seahawks likely to be trailing.

Our model forecasts Robbie Gould ($9,000) and Jason Myers ($9,000) to produce 8.4 and 7.3 FanDuel points, respectively.

The San Francisco D/ST ($9,500) looks like the better option between the two defenses. Across his past eight games, Geno Smith has seven picks and five fumbles (three lost). If San Francisco can get out front, the Niners' defense will have chances to rack up turnovers and sacks against Smith. We have the 49ers D/ST projected for 9.4 FanDuel points, compared to a projection of 4.9 for the Seattle D/ST ($8,500).