You have to look at this position from a game-to-game perspective on such a small slate. The AFC Championship has the higher-end salary players at the quarterback spot. Patrick Mahomes is the cream of the crop at $40 and deservedly so.
If you’re looking to get a little salary relief in the NFC matchup, there’s only one guy to reasonably consider this weekend.
Matthew Stafford $31
You’re getting a nice little discount going down to Stafford’s salary from the upper-tier for the AFC Championship game. Of course, this game does have the lower total (47 compared to 50.5) and Stafford has chucked four picks against the 49ers this season. Nevertheless, this game could get relatively fantasy-friendly if Kyle Shanahan and co. can pick on the middle of the field in the passing game. We know that’s where Jimmy Garoppolo loves to throw the ball and conveniently, where the Rams’ pass defense is most vulnerable. This would bode well for Stafford, who will have to throw and put up points to answer.
Matthew Stafford is in the Championship Round — how will he do? (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Running back is the hardest position to find salary relief. There’s only one player, Joe Mixon, who is over $30, and the 49ers Eli Mitchell sits at $23. If you’re looking to go lower than those guys, the two other lead backs from the other teams are the only realistic options.
If you go even lower, you’re playing with fire.
Cam Akers $21
Akers comes with the lightest salary among no-doubt feature backs this weekend. I’m comfortable closing the book on any idea the Rams will have a committee backfield after Akers touched the ball 27 times to just three for Sony Michel. The 49ers’ run defense is stingy — 72 rushing yards per game allowed in the postseason — but fumbles notwithstanding, Akers has still run well enough the last two weeks to deserve consideration at $21.
Jerick McKinnon $18
McKinnon has touched the ball 33 times…