The Worksheet, a fantasy football overview by Rich Hribar, breaking down everything you need to know for the Divisional Round San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers Saturday night game.
|San Francisco||Rank||@||Green Bay||Rank|
|41.74%||15||Opp. Rush %||38.09%||5|
|58.26%||18||Opp. Pass %||61.91%||28|
Against the Spread
Packers ATS at Home: 7-1
49ers ATS Away: 6-4
Packers ATS as Favorite: 8-5
49ers ATS as Underdog: 3-1
The 49ers were the lone underdog to advance to the second round after beating Dallas 23-17 on Sunday. The 49ers are now 3-1 in the postseason under Kyle Shanahan and continued to be a live team on the road during his tenure. San Francisco now has 22 wins on the road under Shanahan (tied for eighth in the NFL) with 19 of those wins coming over the past three seasons, which is tied for second in the league. Under Shanahan, the 49ers are 17-9 against the spread as a road underdog while going 9-4 outright the past three seasons as a road underdog, second in the league.
The 49ers will need to channel that road/underdog mojo once again this week as the Packers were the lone team in the NFL this season to go undefeated at home with a +111 point differential at home, third in the league. Just one of the Green Bay home games was within fewer than eight points with six double-digit point victories.
This is familiar ground for Aaron Rodgers as it will be his fourth playoff game against San Francisco, his most versus any organization. Rodgers will be looking to erase the first three meetings as the Packers were 0-3 in those games with Green Bay 0-2-1 against the spread in those games.
After dropping the first two games to the 49ers under Kyle Shanahan, Matt LaFleur has bounced back with back-to-back wins, including a 30-28 win back in Week 3 in San Francisco. That game saw the 49ers erase a 17-0 deficit to take the lead with 37 seconds left only to have Rodgers and the Packers get all the way down the field to set up a game-winning 51-yard field goal.
This game features a number of contrasting team data points. The 49ers are first in the NFL in red zone conversion rate (66.7%) while the Packers are 29th in red zone conversion rate allowed defensively (67.3%) the worst of all the remaining playoff teams.
The Packers are one of the best teams in protecting the football on offense, turning the ball over on just 6.9% (11-of-160) of their possessions, which ranked second in the league. The 49ers have created a turnover on just 9.6% of opponent possessions, which is good for 24th in the league and the lowest of all the teams still playing.
This game also features two of the bottom teams in the league in special teams DVOA, with the 49ers ranking 26th and the Packers dead last. The Packers tied for missing a league-high seven field goals while having four fumbles on kick returns. The 49ers also fumbled four kicks.
This game also has intriguing injury elements. Jimmy Garoppolo added a shoulder injury to his already injured thumb last weekend while San Francisco has the status of Nick Bosa (concussion) and Fred Warner (ankle) both up in the air at the start of the week.
Both teams have fought through injuries, but the Packers are getting healthy at the right time for a team that was already the top seed in their conference. The Packers got David Bakhtiari back in Week 18 for the first time all season while also getting back Josh Myers for the first time since Week 6. For this week, the Packers are also expected to get back Za’darius Smith (who has not played since Week 1), Jaire Alexander (Week 4), Billy Turner (Week 14), and Randall Cobb (Week 12). All in all, the Packers had six 2020 Pro Bowlers combined for 58 missed games in 2021, with Elgton Jenkins the only one expected to still be out for this weekend.
Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers enters the postseason coming off another potential MVP campaign, ending the season in EPA per play (0.257), fourth in success rate (52.1%), and second in completion rate over expectation (5.8%). For fantasy, Rodgers closed the season seventh in points per game (20.8) while averaging 25.6 points per game over his final six games with all six weeks inside of the top-10 in weekly scoring at his position.
Rodgers threw multiple touchdowns in all but two games this season, including a pair against the 49ers back in Week 3 when produced 19.0 fantasy points, completing 23-of-33 passes for 261 yards.
The 49ers rank 15th in yards allowed per pass attempt (7.1 Y/A), 29th in completion rate (68.3%), and 16th in touchdown rate (4.6%), but have limited passers to 14.0 passing points per game (10th).
Jimmy Garoppolo: Garoppolo was 11th in scoring to open the postseason, posting 4.9 fantasy points. He passed for 6.9 yards per pass attempt, his lowest rate in a game since Week 7 in the rain against the Colts. Garoppolo started off hot, completing 11-of-14 passes for 133 yards (9.5 Y/A) in the first half against Dallas, but then wilted in the second half, completing 5-of-11 passes for 39 yards (3.5 Y/A) with an interception after the break which allowed Dallas to hang around.
Garoppolo has now scored fewer than 15 fantasy points in each of his past four starts, throwing three touchdown passes and five interceptions over that span. To potentially compound things, Garoppolo suffered a sprained right shoulder on Sunday. Garoppolo believes he will play this weekend, but it sounds early on that we will not see him log much practice time during the week. We will approach things as if he will still start but keep tabs on things as they progress to close the week.
The Packers were solid across the board against the pass, allowing a 63.0% completion rate (eighth), 6.6 yards per pass attempt (fifth), 10.4 yards per completion (fourth), but they closed middle of the pack in passing points allowed per game (14.5 points, 15th) as they were 23rd in touchdown rate allowed (5.0%). Garoppolo was 25-of-40 for 257 yards (6.4 Y/A) with two touchdowns and an interception (14.7 points) when these teams played back in Week 3.
Elijah Mitchell: Mitchell continued to dominate the touches among the San Francisco backs on Sunday, handling 28-of-30 backfield touches for 85 yards and a touchdown. Grain of salt for not counting any of Deebo Samuel’s touches out of the backfield, but Mitchell now has averaged 26.0 touches per game over his past six games with at least 21 touches in all of those games.
The only thorn is that 145 of the 156 touches Mitchell has over that span are rushes while he has two or fewer catches in nine of his 12 games this season. This makes Mitchell more rushing and touchdown-dependent, but the touches have been there weekly to latch onto.
Mitchell was unavailable when these teams played earlier in the season and the 49ers went into that game missing all of Mitchell, JaMycal Hasty, and Jeff Wilson. In that game, Trey Sermon and Kyle Juszczyk combined to rush 15 times for 45 yards. Samuel rushed only two times in that game for zero yards. That is something we should anticipate to be very different in this rematch.
The Packers were seventh in rushing points allowed per game to backs (11.2), but they were 16th in yards allowed per carry (4.28) to backs, they just faced the third-fewest attempts per game (17.9) due to game script. The Packers were 27th in points allowed per touch to backs (0.92), but once again, only faced 23.2 touches per game (third) from opposing backs.
Aaron Jones: Jones is coming off a season in which he still produced 1,190 yards and 10 touchdowns over 15 games, but also one that saw him lack a consistent ceiling for fantasy due to injuries and sharing work. Jones ended the season with just four RB1 scoring weeks.
Jones handled 21 touches for 96 yards and a touchdown when these teams played in Week 3, but was the last time that Jones handled at least 70% of the backfield touches in a game this season while his role has changed over the course of the season.
Dealing with injuries, Jones played 50% of the snaps over his final six games of the season after 65% over the opening nine games. After averaging 16.5 touches per game over that opening timespan with three games with fewer than 17 touches, Jones averaged 12.3 per game to close the year, reaching 15 touches in two of those games. The last time that Jones ran a pass route on over 50% of the dropbacks was in Week 10, but he did catch five passes in each of the final two games of the year.
We did see him get back up to solid usage over the final two games the Packers played in neutral game script, playing 63% and 56% of the snaps in Weeks 15-16, handling 65.2% and 58.6% of the backfield touches in those games.
Jones has an edge over A.J. Dillon in terms of versatility, but he also does carry volatility due to the presence of Jones and this being a tougher matchup on paper. The 49ers are allowing 3.57 yards per carry to backs (second). They are 20th in receptions allowed per game (5.2) to backs to give Jones added life through the air as a boom-or-bust fantasy play.
A.J. Dillon: After 48 touches for 263 yards as a rookie, Dillon amassed 1,116 yards on 221 touches in his sophomore season, tacking on seven touchdowns. Dillon also was not just a battering ram, catching 34-of-37 targets with 9.2 yards per reception.
Dillon had double-digit touches in nine of his final 10 games played with 15.9 touches per game over that stretch. He averaged 15.2 touches per game over his final five games played with Aaron Jones active with 12 or more touches in all but one of those games. While the total touches were there, Dillon did see his share of backfield touches dip to close the year as Jones got healthier, handling 34.8%, 41.4%, and 45.7% of the touches over his final three games with Jones in the lineup. Jones had single-digit fantasy points in three of those final five games, all three of which came in games in which he failed to reach the end zone.
Dillon is touchdown-dependent and going against a 49ers defense that is second in yards per carry allowed to backs, but they have allowed 13 rushing scores to backs (20th) to keep the lights on for touchdown chasers.
Davante Adams: Adams posted another elite season, catching 123-of-169 targets for 1,553 yards and 11 touchdowns. Adams was targeted on 30.1% of his routes, which was third among all wideouts while receiving 31.6% of the team targets in his games played. He also saved his best for last, closing the season with 8.3 receptions for 98.4 yards per game with eight touchdown grabs over his final seven games of the season.
Adams has posted monster lines against the 49ers, going for 10-132-2 (16 targets), 7-43-1 (12 targets), 9-138-0 (11 targets), 10-173-1 (12 targets), and 12-132-1 (18 targets) in his five games against the Niners. San Francisco is 26th in points allowed per game to opposing WR1 options (17.2).
Deebo Samuel: Samuel was a catalyst for the 49ers again to open the playoffs, catching all three of his targets for 38 yards while rushing 10 times for 72 yards and a touchdown. Samuel just continues to churn hyper-efficient production, no matter how much or little he is used as a wide receiver.
Samuel has caught just two touchdowns over his past 10 games and hasn’t had more than six targets in just one of his past nine games, but he has reached the end zone nine times over his past eight games on the ground. Samuel now has 15 touchdowns on the season, with just three of them coming from inside of 10 yards and eight scored from outside of the red zone. 13.7% of the runs allowed by the Packers have gained 10 or more yards, which ranked 28th in the NFL.
Samuel has played 15 and 13 snaps in the backfield the past two games, his two highest totals of the season. When in the game in the backfield, the 49ers aren’t exactly hiding their hand, either. They have run the ball on 68.9% of those snaps with Samuel still averaging 6.6 yards per carry on those plays. We can save any potential regression conversations for the offseason and just continue to swerve into appreciated that the 49ers are going to get him the football as the driver of the offense.
Brandon Aiyuk: Aiyuk has delivered a steady floor over the back half of the season, posting double-digit PPR points in eight of his final 11 games played. Aiyuk has scored in just three of those games with one 100-yard game over that span (and the season), so he still needs that full-PPR bump to max out his production, but Aiyuk has seen 23.2% of the team targets over that span with at least 20% of the targets in all but one game. Over that stretch, Aiyuk has 70 targets in the passing game compared to 50 for Samuel but does not have the rushing or touchdown equity.
The Packers play zone coverage 71.6% of the time (seventh). Against zone coverage, Aiyuk has averaged 16.3 yards per catch and 1.94 yards per route run compared to 13.5 yards per catch and 1.66 yards per route against man coverage.
Allen Lazard: Lazard has been a touchdown scorer to close the season, finding the end zone eight times over his final 10 games played. Lazard has averaged 41.6 yards with a high of 75 yards over that span, seeing 14.6% of the targets.
That leaves him as a touchdown-dependent fantasy play, but if hunting for a score, in those games played, Lazard leads the team with nine end zone targets (three more than Adams has) while the 49ers have allowed a 5.2% touchdown rate to opposing wide receivers (19th).
Marques Valdes-Scantling: We know what we have with MVS, attempting to run into long plays and touchdown opportunities. Valdes-Scantling has four or fewer receptions in every game but one this season, reaching 60 yards just twice. But Valdes-Scantling leads the team in depth of target (18.4 yards downfield) and yards per catch (16.5 yards). On throws 15 yards or further downfield, San Francisco allowed a 48.9% completion rate (31st), giving a pulse for pursuing those big play opportunities.
Jauan Jennings: Jennings has caught more than three passes just once this season, but you can bet that when he does catch passes they will be in high-leverage spots. Jennings is averaging 19.4 routes per game since Week 10. 13 of his 23 receptions over that span have come on third downs (first on the team) while he is second on the team with 15 third down targets over those weeks. Over that same span, he is second on the team with three end zone targets. The Packers have allowed a 5.5% touchdown rate (23rd) to opposing wideouts.
George Kittle: Catching 1-of-3 targets for 18 yards, Kittle now has nine catches for 78 yards over his past four games while combining for 15 targets over that stretch. This followed a three-game stretch in which Kittle caught 28 passes for 425 yards and three touchdowns on 33 targets.
Kittle has run a pass route on 109-of-125 team dropbacks in those four games, too, so we can’t even use the excuse that he is a great blocker as the roadblock. Targets just aren’t finding him for whatever reason beyond my comprehension. Kittle has been targeted on a single-digit percentage of his routes in four games this season, but three of those have come over this stretch. This comes after being targeted on 26.7% of his routes prior.
We know Kittle can hit big in a hurry despite the recent lull. He caught 7-of-9 targets for 92 yards when these teams played in Week 3 as a carrot when hope can return this weekend. The Packers have allowed a 73.3% catch rate (28th) and 6.7% touchdown rate (26th) to opposing tight ends as an added matchup carrot that Kittle can snap out of the target slump this weekend.
More Divisional Round Fantasy breakdowns from The Worksheet: