The Worksheet, a fantasy football overview by Rich Hribar, breaking down everything you need to know for the Week 11 San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals Monday Night Football game.
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- San Francisco is averaging 2.1 more yards per first down play than their opponent, the largest differential in the league.
- Arizona is averaging 4.4 yards per play on first down, the fewest in the league.
- 9.7% of the offensive plays run against San Francisco have come from inside of the red zone, the lowest rate in the league.
- The Cardinals are allowing 2.7 red zone touchdowns per game, the most in the league.
- Arizona is averaging 9.0 yards per completed pass, the fewest in the league.
- The 49ers are averaging 12.4 yards per completed pass, third in the league.
- San Francisco is allowing a league-low 14.9% of running back carries to gain a first down or touchdown.
- 26.3% of the running back carries against Arizona have resulted in a first down or touchdown, 29th in the league.
Trust = spike production for that player
Jimmy Garoppolo: Garoppolo played point guard on Sunday Night, completing 19-of-28 passes for 240 yards. He threw for 8.6 yards per pass attempt, the fifth time over his past six games that he has thrown for over 8.0 yards per attempt. The bummer was that he did not throw a touchdown pass after tossing a pair of scores in each of his previous four games.
That is a reminder that this offense can still cap his upside, but he did sneak in a touchdown on the ground.
Garoppolo has been on the better floor-based QB2 options this season that can moonlight as a fringe QB1. Garoppolo does not have a week fishing higher than QB8 this season, but he has 15.0 or more fantasy points in six of his eight appearances this season.
Garoppolo will be right in that back-end QB1/high QB2 mix again this week against an Arizona defense that is 25th in passing points allowed per attempt (0.436) and 15.7 passing points per game (25th).
Kyler Murray: Murray missed last week’s game with a hamstring injury so we will have to keep tabs on his status for this weekend. Right now, we will tentatively approach things as if he will return but be prepared to have an alternative in place, especially with this game on Monday night.
If the Cardinals do have to go back to Colt McCoy, they are now 3-1 with him starting the past two seasons. that includes a 31-17 in San Francisco last season in which McCoy was 22-of-26 passing for 249 yards and a touchdown.
When we last saw Murray in Week 9, he threw for a season-low 5.0 yards per attempt and 175 yards. But with a pair of touchdown passes and 60 yards rushing, he was able to close as the QB8 (19.0 points). It was Murray’s third straight game inside of the top 10, although he has just one top-5 scoring week this season.
We are going to need Murray’s hamstring to be 100% and not limit his rushing ability because he is posting career lows in yards per pass attempt (6.0 Y/A) and touchdown rate (3.3%) as a passer. Murray has also given the 49ers fits in the past on the ground, rushing for 268 yards in his five starts against them. A consistent Achilles heel for this San Francisco defense in recent seasons has been limiting mobile quarterbacks. They have only faced two mobile passers this season, allowing 28 yards to Justin Fields in the monsoon bowl to open the season and 50 yards rushing to Marcus Mariota in Week 6.
Through the air, the 49ers are giving up next to nothing. They are sixth in passing points allowed per attempt (0.354) and seventh in passing points allowed per game (11.4). The 49ers are 12th in pressure rate (33.8%) which is where Murray has struggled the most this season.
Murray is 36th in completion rate under pressure (41.7%) while averaging just 3.8 yards per attempt under pressure, ahead of only Mitchell Trubisky (3.6 Y/A) and Zach Wilson (3.0 Y/A).
By default, Murray will keep QB1 company, but the matchup paired with his hamstring injury cloud his ceiling potential.
Christian McCaffrey: McCaffrey turned 18 touches into 77 yards and a touchdown Sunday night, but the story exiting the game was all about how he shared rushing work with Elijah Mitchell.
Mitchell outrushed McCaffrey 18-to-14 and looked better in the process, gaining 89 yards on his carries compared to 38 for McCaffrey. After the game, Kyle Shanahan dropped the dreaded line of “We were hoping that the carries could come out about even.”
Mitchell has been an effective player for San Francisco while both players come with storied injury histories, so the preservation of both players does make sense. That said, McCaffrey still had 20 opportunities in the game, got all of the receiving work, and cashed in a goal line opportunity. Mitchell’s return to the field is a fly in the ointment here, but even if you believe Shanahan and the duo will see even work in the rushing game, McCaffrey still commanded all of the high-value fantasy touches.
McCaffrey ran a pass route on 73.3% of the dropbacks (fourth among running backs in Week 10) and commanded 21.4% of the team targets (also fourth in Week 10). We are also just one game removed from him going full 2006 LaDainian Tomlinson, so the sky isn’t falling yet. Insert CMC into lineups and let things breathe a bit as the 49ers figure out how of these pieces work together.
This does add potential use for Mitchell as a touchdown-dependent FLEX in non-PPR formats.
Arizona is 26th in success rate against running back carries (56.8%) and 30th in rate of running back carries to gain a first down or touchdown (26.3%).
James Conner: Conner worked hard to produce 86 yards on 24 touches last week, but he found the end zone two times and carried a massive workload. Conner handled a league-high 96.0% of the backfield touches in Week 10. His previous high in a game was 68.2%. The team then released Eno Benjamin this week.
Conner will need a heavy workload this week against a San Franciso defense that is allowing a league-low 3.25 yards per carry to opposing running backs and has allowed a league-low 14.9% of those carries to gain a first down or touchdown. Running backs against San Francisco are averaging 0.87 yards per carry before contact, the third-lowest rate in the league.
Conner had a huge game when these teams last played a year ago, posting 173 yards and three touchdowns on 26 touches. While we cannot expect a repeat performance, it does keep the lights on for a spike week paired with the runway cleared for Conner to dominate the backfield touches. Conner is a volume-based option on the RB1/RB2 line.
DeAndre Hopkins: Hopkins soaked up another 14 targets Sunday, catching 10 of them for 98 yards. Since returning to the field, Hopkins has 32.9% of the Arizona targets, which is second among all wide receivers over that span.
Hopkins also is third in the NFL in routes run (163) over the past four weeks, giving him a path to a plethora of targets. His 46 targets overall lead all wide receivers over the past four weeks. Hopkins has elite WR1 usage. In a thin wide receiver landscape this week, he is in contention to be the WR1 overall.
Hopkins is dealing with a hamstring issue that he is expected to work through, but keep an eye on things since Arizona plays on Monday Night. You will want a potential pivot for a worst-case scenario. Roster A.J. Green as an insurance policy if he is available.
The 49ers are 13th in points allowed per game to opposing WR1 targets (13th), but their resume is limited in facing options the caliber of Hopkins. They allowed two WR1 games to Cooper Kupp while Hopkins has had games of 6-87-1, 8-48-0, and 14-151-0 against San Francisco during his tenure with the Cardinals.
Brandon Aiyuk: Pulling in 6-of-7 targets for 84 yards Sunday, Aiyuk now has at least six catches and 80 yards in each of his past four games. He has out-targeted Deebo Samuel in each of their past three games played together and has more receiving yardage than Samuel in their past four games played together.
Aiyuk still only has six and seven counting targets the past two weeks, so there is still some fragility here in this offense that forces efficiency compared to his peers, but Aiyuk is a weekly WR3 option.
As bad as Arizona has been this season defensively, they have shown up to defend wideouts. The Cardinals are allowing 7.2 yards per target to opposing wideouts (sixth) and a 3.4% touchdown rate (ninth) to the position. Against opposing boundary receivers (where Aiyuk plays 79% of his snaps) they have allowed a 2.6% touchdown rate (seventh) and 11.9 yards per catch (sixth).
Deebo Samuel: One of the things we nailed this season was Samuel being a shaky WR1 in the fantasy landscape. That has played out as Samuel has just one WR1 scoring week so far this season with just two weeks as a WR2 or better.
Samuel was still holding a high floor for the majority of the season but seeing just 7.6 targets per game forces him to live as a hyper-efficient player compared to other wideouts at the top of the position. Samuel gets added outs in the rushing game, but the touchdowns in that department were always fragile. He has just one rushing score this season, which came all the way back in Week 1.
With the 49ers having so many viable passing options and still a limited supply of actual targets, this ecosystem is going to have good players with bad fantasy lines on a weekly basis. We are going to have to take some lumps here to run into the spike week potential of this offense.
Samuel is forced to live as an efficiency-dependent WR2 that is moving closer to the WR2/WR3 line.
Rondale Moore: Moore posted his third straight top-20 scoring week on Sunday, securing 9-of-13 targets for a season-high 94 yards. Moore now has eight or more targets in five of his past six games played.
Since he returned to the field in Week 4, Moore is fourth among all wide receivers in routes run (277) and 10th in targets (56). He still has an average depth of target of just 5.5 yards downfield so he is more dependent on volume than other wideouts, but Moore is getting that volume.
Moore has been moving around, too. He was a 50/50 player in the slot and outside last week. He has earned targets everywhere as well. Moore has been targeted on 20.4% of his routes in the slot and 20.0% out wide.
The slot is where we want to target here as San Francisco is allowing 11.1 yards per target to opposing slot receivers (31st) and an 8.5% touchdown rate (31st) to interior receivers.
Moore is a WR2 in full-PPR formats and a floor-based WR3 in non-PPR leagues.
George Kittle (TRUST): After three straight TE1 scoring weeks, Kittle was the odd man out Sunday, catching 1-of-2 targets for 21 yards. It was the fourth time in seven games this season that Kittle failed to reach 40 yards.
He ran into a sticky matchup against a team that has defended tight ends well, but that is not the case here.
Arizona has allowed double-digit PPR points to nine different tight ends so far this season while they are allowing a league-high 7.5 receptions per game to the position. Not just allowing volume, the Cardinals are allowing 8.6 yards per target (28th), an 83.3% catch rate (32nd), and a 7.8% touchdown rate (24th) to tight ends.
We are always at the mercy of the 49er offense forgetting to involve Kittle, but if they are rational in their approach this week, the passing game should feature Kittle in Mexico City.
Trey McBride: McBride is the next man up with the Cardinals losing Zach Ertz for the remainder of the season.
The second-round pick and first tight end taken in the 2022 draft has been targeted just four times on 90 pass routes so far. Even in the preseason, McBride ran 36 pass routes but only drew two targets with zero catches.
That said, McBride still has draft pedigree in his corner while Ertz had a significant role in the red zone. Ertz was leading all tight ends in team target share inside of the red zone (33.3%) and target share inside of the 10-yard line (40.9%). That is where we are looking for McBride to hopefully get looks, but we do know the opportunity is here. Ertz was fifth among all players in routes run (372) this season prior to injury.
McBride has more single-game DFS appeal than standalone value as a TE2, but he will be out there a ton at a thin position for fantasy. I don’t fault anyone for taking a look here to see where things go.
The matchup here is awful through. The 49ers are allowing 5.4 yards per target to opposing tight ends (second) with two touchdowns allowed to the position.
49ers vs Cardinals Prediction for Week 11:
Based on the Sharp Football moneyline outcome model, recent trends & key matchups, we predict the 49ers will win this Week 11 game.
More Week 11 Fantasy breakdowns from The Worksheet: