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Daily Fantasy Football: FanDuel Roster Building Divisional Round

Rich Hribar breaks down every game in the Divisional Round to construct his optimal daily fantasy football lineup.

Knowshon Mareno, daily fantasy football

San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers





Colin Kaepernick


Cam Newton


Frank Gore


DeAngelo Williams


Michael Crabtree


Brandon LaFell


Anquan Boldin


Steve Smith


Vernon Davis


Greg Olsen



These two teams met earlier in San Francisco that featured 19 total points, 187 total net passing yards and 401 total yards combined. Outside of the kickers and defenses, there’s not a lot to love from a fantasy stance. Carolina allows a league low 12 points per game at home and only 59 plays per game there (second best at home) while the 49ers rank second to last in offensive plays per game at 60.2 per game. The 49ers allow only 63.3 offensive plays per game while Carolina runs only 62.3 per game, 25th in the league, so don’t expect a ton of volume in this one. For good measure, Vegas has this over/under set at 42.

Kaepernick played their first meeting without Crabtree and Vernon Davis left in the first quarter with a concussion, but it was by far the worst performance passing of his 27 career starts. He completed just 11 of 22 passes for 91 yards while running for only 16. Carolina has the linebackers to keep his scrambling ability in check and sacked him six times in that affair. He has 20 points plus in four straight weeks, but the Panthers allowed only one 20 point quarterback (Drew Brees) all season.

Since the loss of fullback Bruce Miller, 49er running backs have carried 63 times for 240 yards (3.8 YPC) in his absence. Frank Gore has rushed for 100 yards just once over the past ten games, so his ceiling is legitimately low in this one. He comes with a safe number of touches, but there are splash plays just under his salary for those who want to swing big.

Dominant for most of the season, the back end of the Panthers defense has shown small cracks over the final six weeks. They’ve allowed five receivers to reach 75 yards in a game, but only three touchdowns to wideouts. Crabtree is getting his legs back and carries legitmate WR1 potential while playing with Kaepernick. Fresh off of an eight catch, 125 yard game, he now has five 100 yard games in his past ten games played.

Davis is the real winner here though, as Carolina allowed four tight end touchdowns over the final four games of the regular season and four to reach 50 yards receiving. Two of those four were Jimmy Graham, but Davis possesses the same type of big play ability.

With his surrounding offensive talent, Newton you can avoid as well. His lowest scoring game of the season was in the first meeting (7.3 points) and the 49ers are well seasoned against rushing quarterbacks this season already. Newton ran for only 15 yards in the first game, and 33 yards rushing by Russell Wilson were their season high surrendered in a season where they faced Wilson twice, Newton, Luck, Griffin, Locker and Rodgers twice.

San Francisco has been vulnerable to receivers, but Carolina doesn’t have anyone on their roster to help you in that regard and their offense isn’t conducive to create volume for any of them. It would actually be a good time to use Steve Smith. He hasn’t reached 70 yards or seven catches in any game this season thus far, but is at basement pricing this week. At his salary, all you’re looking for nine points to meet value, something he delivered in the last meeting with his six catch, 63 yard performance. The real issue is he’s still limited with a knee injury that held him out week 17 and has hampered him at practice. LaFell and Ginn just can’t be trusted to see any amount of significant targets for you to have real faith in.

Olsen has been the most targeted Panther of the past seven weeks, seeing 59 looks over that stretch and at least seven in every game. Even with all of that volume, he comes with a low ceiling, topping 50 yards in only four of his past ten. Although he had only one catch for three yards in the first game, San Francisco has allowed four touchdowns to tight ends over the past six weeks.

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