DraftKings Picks & Optimal Lineup for Raiders vs. 49ers Showdown

Derek Carr

Getty Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr

Week 9 of the NFL season has set fans up for what may be one of the ugliest games of the Thursday Night Football slate. For both the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers, there’s no question this wasn’t how their seasons were expected to go. Fortunately, often times a bad actual game can result in a good DraftKings showdown slate and on the surface, that may be the scenario here.

The Raiders (1-6) and 49ers (1-7) have been torn apart this season by bad play and questionable decisions on one side and injuries on the other. Oakland entered the season with a massive amount of hype due to the return of Jon Gruden, but after trading star defender Khalil Mack, things cooled off a bit. Now, they’ve shipped another former first-round pick out of town in wide receiver Amari Cooper, so the Raiders are looking at a rebuild currently.

On the 49ers side, it was a brutal blow in the form of a torn ACL to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo which set them back. Although San Francisco has other question marks, they’ve lost six straight games since Garoppolo’s injury, including the one he was hurt in during Week 3.

Thursday night features plenty of storylines, but also some tough situations for fantasy football players. Injuries are looming and we’ll break them down while laying out a top optimal DraftKings lineup for this game as well as a few additional targets.

Before diving into the actual lineups, here’s a look at showdown rules and how the games work.

  • Six total players (one captain, five flex players)
  • Captain selection costs 1.5 times standard salary but scores 1.5 times the standard points
  • Can choose from any position (QB, RB, WR, TE, K, DST)
  • $50,000 salary cap
  • You can use more than one quarterback

I’ll break down my top captain choices for the Raiders vs. 49ers matchup and then roll into the lineups.

Favorite Captains for Raiders vs. 49ers

These are the main players I’ll look to build lineups around in the captain spot on DraftKings (with captain pricing of 1.5x more). There is a lot of unknown in this game, so I’ll use others aside from these as well, but much of it comes down to how the construction of lineups works out.

  • Derek Carr ($16,500)
  • Jared Cook ($14,100)
  • George Kittle ($13,500)
  • Matt Breida ($12,900)
  • Jalen Richard ($11,700)
  • Seth Roberts ($8,700)

Let’s break down the top optimal lineup for this showdown slate, which I’ve opted to get a bit creative with in an effort to differentiate from the field.

*Note: Due to C.J. Beathard’s status being unknown, I’ll offer a lineup if plays and one if he sits.


Top Optimal DraftKings Showdown Lineup: Raiders vs. 49ers

*Update: As ESPN’s Adam Schefter revealed, Nick Mullens is expected to start at quarterback for the 49ers.

  • CAPTAIN: Seth Roberts ($8,700)
  • Derek Carr ($11,000)
  • C.J. Beathard ($9,800)
  • George Kittle ($9,000)
  • Jalen Richard ($7,800)
  • Robbie Gould ($3,600)

Lineup if C.J. Beathard Is Ruled Out

  • CAPTAIN: Brandon LaFell ($8,100)
  • Derek Carr ($11,000)
  • Jared Cook ($9,400)
  • George Kittle ($9,000)
  • Matt Breida ($8,600)
  • Robbie Gould ($3,600)

As you can tell, the thought process between these two lineups is quite different. In the top optimal, I’m essentially buying into the potential for a high-scoring game, as I think the 49ers will only play C.J. Beathard if he’s truly healthy enough to go. Assuming that’s the case, he and Derek Carr should have no problem putting points on the board against mediocre-to-poor defenses.

In the second, I wanted to get Nick Mullens in, and I’ll certainly use him. But the game flow projection here was more around the idea that Carr should have no problem hooking up with Jared Cook and Brandon LaFell. It’s interesting that LaFell played 92 percent of the snaps last week, per Football Outsiders, and we know Gruden loves his veterans, so that workload should stay up.

While the Raiders lost last week 42-28, they were ahead for much of the game, so Carr only threw 28 times. If we see points in this one, Carr’s passing numbers will jump and both Cook and LaFell are at the top of the pecking order to benefit. In Week 8, Cook caught 4-of-5 targets for 74 yards and one touchdown while LaFell hauled in 3-of-4 looks for 39 yards and one score.

Beyond that, I focused on George Kittle and Matt Breida if Beathard is out. The run game would obviously become a huge focal point should that be the case, so Breida’s spot is solid against a Raiders defense which has allowed 898 yards and seven touchdowns on just 176 carries.

If Mullens winds up under center (or even if not), Kittle finds himself in a great spot. The Raiders gave up 10 catches for 133 yards and three touchdowns last week to the Indianapolis Colts. Kittle’s workload is safe, as he’s seen at least six targets in seven of eight games this season and eight or more in four of those, including the last two.

I’ll also have a fair amount of Seth Roberts both due to price and the fact that he has the trust of Carr. Although he had just two catches for 42 yards last week, he found the end zone and saw four targets while playing 60 percent of the team’s offensive snaps. The 49ers have struggled against slot receivers which bodes well for Roberts’ upside as well.

Jalen Richard is a name I’ll have quite a bit of, largely due to the fact that most will drop down to Doug Martin. But Richard’s floor is safer and although everyone spoke about Martin’s 89 total yards last week, it was the young pass-catching back who finished with more DraftKings points on fewer touches.

Richard has at least five catches in six of seven games this year and six or more targets in five of seven. The common belief is that Richard’s workload is dependent on the Raiders trailing, but he actually saw seven of his 10 touches last game with the team winning or tied. One of the other three touches came in the first quarter with the Raiders trailing 7-0.

Additional targets (in order of price): Marquise Goodwin ($8,400), Jordy Nelson ($7,600), Nick Mullens ($6,800), Doug Martin ($6,400), Martavis Bryant (3,000 – worth dart throw)

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