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Yahoo Sports' Matt Harmon and Dalton Del Don preview this Sunday's wild-card matchup between the 49ers and Cowboys.
MATT HARMON: Welcome back to Niners talk, baby! We got the six seed San Francisco 49ers at the third seed Dallas Cowboys. All right, what do we make of this game, Dalton? We've got a 51 point total. That is the highest of this opening round of the postseason. The Cowboys are minus three at home. Dalton, what's the deal, man? How do we feel?
DALTON DEL DON: Do you realize that our 49ers led the NFL in yards per play this season? Led the NFL. Tied for third in yards per play against on defense, and nearly didn't make the playoffs. After Shanahan punted down seven points inside two minutes last week with their place kicker-- with their place kicker, mind you-- they had the lowest win probability of any game in the Next Gen Stats era. And they nearly-- I mean, they were that close to not making the playoffs, finishing sixth in DVOA. Pretty wild. So they're not the seventh seed, but I am glad that they expanded and they make the playoffs.
But you do have a nice argument that the Steelers in there, ugly. But thankfully, the Saints are not in there, and forced to start Siemian, by the way, who hadn't won a game as starter. That wouldn't have just been the Saints, it would have also been the Saints with some barbaric quarterback play with Siemian.
But Dallas has been vulnerable over the middle. Dallas defense has allowed the-- they're ranked 31st in NFL in yards after the catch. Niners rank first in the NFL in yards after the catch per reception. Here's the quarterbacks that this Dallas defense has beaten since November. Matt Ryan, Taysom Hill, Taylor Heinicke twice, Mike Glennon, and Gardner Minshew. That's it.
So the schedule has not been overwhelming, but on paper and especially at home, this Cowboys team can certainly be tough. However, DVOA, 16 against the run, my guy Elijah Mitchell. We talked about it, he was graded poorly early on in that rush yards of expectation. But he really started balling later on. Finished fifth in rushing yards per game. Do you know that Elijah Mitchell led the NFL in team carry percentage? More than Najee Harris! He finished ahead of Najee Harris in team carry percentage. The most touches in the NFL without a drop or a fumble, averaged 25.6 touches over the final five games he played. And he's $20 in our DFS. So yeah, I would put Eli in there.
Trent Williams, highest-graded PFF season in the history of the website, this season is going to try to play through this elbow injury. But he will not be 100%. But otherwise, Eli Mitchell, and this should be a fun game. I like Dak Prescott, too, at home. Affordable price in DFS, too. But I'll let you talk now.
MATT HARMON: I mean, I love everything you just said. You're right, Dak is a pretty decent value at $32, compared to Brady at $35. And obviously Patrick Mahomes, high-salary quarterback Sunday, $37.
DALTON DEL DON: Can't run against the Niners, pass funnel. You cannot run against them.
MATT HARMON: 100%.
DALTON DEL DON: They rank 32nd in DVOA in passes that traveled over 16 yards. A ton of penalties, too, they're vulnerable. So yeah, you got-- I like Cedric Wilson underneath, too. He's just the slot guy getting all the targets. I like Cedric Wilson, too.
MATT HARMON: That's a good point. Yeah, obviously, Ezekiel Elliott, 87 yards on 18 carries in the Week 18 game. But before that, 16 yards on the ground, 37 yards on the ground, 52, 45, 45, 25, 32, 41, 51, 50. That's dating all the way back to the end of October. Not a great stretch for Zeke. I can't imagine that the Cowboys are going to come out there and slam their head against the wall against this 49ers run defense.