A lean premixed ethylene-air flame in a backstep configuration is simulated on multiple grids using both direct numerical simulations (DNS) with reduced order kinetic mechanism and large eddy simulations (LES) with flamelet-based thermochemistry. The configuration includes preheated reactants and a recirculation zone that provides radicals and high temperature gases to stabilize the flame. Heat losses are present due to the proximity of cooled walls. The reacting flow obtained from DNS at different resolutions is first analyzed to investigate the property of heat transfer within the recirculation region. LES based on adiabatic flamelets with a correction of the heat capacity is then tested, and its ability to account for heat losses is compared to results obtained using a three-dimensional non-adiabatic flamelet approach. Mean fields and subgrid properties are compared to those obtained from DNS to assess the capability of the LES models. The results show that the non-adiabatic flamelet approach can predict recirculation region and temperature fields with good accuracy. The model with heat capacity correction is able to effectively correct the heat capacity behavior as observed by a priori comparisons. However, in the a posteriori context, it is observed to overestimate the temperature field, although the correct size of the recirculation region is predicted. The combined a priori and a posteriori analyses on the same configuration and at different mesh resolutions allow for a precise separation of modeling effects due to heat transfer at the wall and combustion closure, thus providing indications on the LES performance in the context of flamelets.