49ers vs. Rams: Top Fantasy Bets, Predictions for 2022 NFC Championship

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2022

49ers vs. Rams: Top Fantasy Bets, Predictions for 2022 NFC Championship

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    Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

    Division rivalries often make for fun regular-season matchups. In the playoffs, they can create bitter clashes. When the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams face off this weekend, with a trip to Super Bowl LVI on the line, it could be an absolute epic.

    There should be no love lost between these two NFC hopefuls, as the 49ers and Rams have faced off twice a year since 1950, both have played in the Super Bowl recently, and the 49ers have won six straight against their rivals.

    Given the importance of the matchup, we can expect a high level of intensity throughout the contest. How will things unfold? Here, we'll dive into the latest odds and game information for the NFC Championship Game.

    You'll also find predictions and some top daily fantasy sports (DFS) plays for DraftKings and FanDuel.

Preview and Prediction

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Date: Sunday, January 30

    Time: 6:30 p.m. ET

    TV and Live Stream: Fox, Fox Sports app

    Line: Rams -3.5

    Over/Under: 45.5


    This marks the third time the Rams and 49ers will face off this season. While the rivalry has recently favored San Francisco, it would be foolish to assume that trend will carry over into the NFC title game.

    Since the AFL, NFL merger in 1970, teams that have swept their division rival in the regular season have gone 14-8 in third, postseason meetings. However, this marks only the fifth time in which the regular-season-winner is on the road for Round 3, and in the previous four, the road teams are 2-2.

    If San Francisco is going to make it three in a row, it will need mistake-free football from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. That's a tall order, even if the 49ers believe in their signal-caller.

    "Jimmy is one of the main reasons we're here," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said, per Cam Inman of The Mercury News.

    The Rams pass rush, led by Aaron Donald and Von Miller, can force quarterbacks into mistakes, and Garoppolo has been prone to them. He's thrown six interceptions in his last four games and fumbled once—though the 49ers retained possession.

    In the last meeting, the Rams carried a 17-3 lead into halftime but collapsed in the second half. Expect a late Garoppolo mistake to prevent that from happening a second time, while Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and the rest of the Rams offense do just enough to maintain a lead to the final whistle.

    This game may not be a full-blown shootout, but expect a nail-biter that goes to the team with the fewest miscues.

    Prediction: Rams 27, 49ers 25


Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    DFS Price: $8,800 DraftKings, $9,700 FanDuel


    We're focusing on receiver DFS options here because managers are going to have a lot of them in weekend-long games. The Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs matchup features the likes of Ja'Marr Chase, Tyreek Hill and Tee Higgins. Sorting through all of the possibilities will take some work.

    Rams wideout Cooper Kupp, however, should be a safe pick for one of your receiver slots or a flex play. He's the most expensive option at both DraftKings and FanDuel, but he has an unbelievably high floor.

    The L.A. passing attack flows through Kupp. While San Francisco's sixth-ranked passing defense can be a problem, it hasn't managed to contain Kupp yet this season.

    In the first meeting, Kupp caught 11 passes for 122 yards. In the second, he caught seven passes for 118 and a touchdown. He also had an 18-yard carry in Week 18. Expect Kupp to again provide great point-per-reception (PPR) value in Round 3.

    Stat Prediction: 8 receptions, 124 yards, 1 TD

Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers

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    Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

    DFS Price: $7,200 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel


    Against any other opponent, I'd be concerned about playing Deebo Samuel at his price point. He's been more heavily used as a runner than a receiver recently and doesn't carry the same PPR floor as receivers like Kupp and Chase.

    In each of his last four games, Samuel has caught four or fewer passes.

    Against the Rams, though, Samuel has shown a knack for finding holes in the secondary and creating big plays. He caught five passes for 97 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting. In Week 18, he caught four for 95 yards.

    With Samuel's ground value added to the equation—he rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown in two games against Los Angeles—there's a lot of upside here. Samuel still represents a bit of a boom-or-bust play, given his price tag. However, he's likely to bring the boom in a game that carries Super Bowl consequences.

    Stat Prediction: 4 receptions, 78 yards, 1 TD, 55 rushing yards

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers

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    Roger Steinman/Associated Press

    DFS Price: $5,000 DraftKings, $5,600 FanDuel


    If you're looking for more of a budget play to round out your DFS roster, Brandon Aiyuk might be the receiver for you.

    Aiyuk certainly isn't the cheapest receiver option this weekend—he's the seventh-most expensive option at DraftKings—but he's a boom-or-bust sleeper play with a lot of upside.

    Managers may shy away from Aiyuk after he was held without a catch against the Green Bay Packers. However, he's become a major piece of the passing attack since Samuel has become a significant piece of the ground game.

    In the last meeting, Aiyuk caught six passes for 107 yards. Even with no receiving yards last week, Aiyuk has averaged 67 receiving yards over the last four games. With the Rams likely to focus heavily on slowing Samuel and tight end George Kittle, expect Aiyuk to have a quality performance worthy of a low-priced flex play.

    Stat Prediction: 5 receptions, 77 yards



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