Travis Kelce

There have been 20 weeks of football since the regular season began back in early September, well technically 21 if you want to get generous and consider the Pro Bowl. In that lengthy span of time, we’ve seen numerous breathtaking performances and many teams, at one point or another, look like they were on the path to a championship. The Patriots rode a ridiculously easy schedule and an impressive defense out to a 9-0 record; the Ravens and Lamar Jackson seemed to revolutionize the quarterback position every single Sunday, and the Saints powered through some rough injuries to dominate opponents down in Louisiana. Still, all three eventually came up short, leaving two squads left standing as we enter everyone’s favorite prime time event of the year.

It’s the Chiefs. It’s the 49ers. It’s the Super Bowl. Let’s dive into in all from a Showdown perspective.

Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices

PLAYS TO CONSIDER

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FIVE BETTING TRENDS

— The Chiefs have won each of their last eight games

— The 49ers have failed to cover the spread in six of their last eight night games against teams that held a winning record.

— Five of the last seven Super Bowls have gone OVER the total points line.

— Raheem Mostert has scored the first touchdown in two of the 49ers’ last three Sunday games.

— The Chiefs have lost the first quarter in each of their last three postseason games as favorites.

Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Kansas City Chiefs

Here’s the thing about Patrick Mahomes ($12,600): Suddenly and without warning, the reigning MVP has become a combination of Dan Marino and Lamar Jackson throughout these playoffs. It’s sort of unfair for us mere mortals. Mahomes has averaged a whopping 38.1 DKFP in his starts against Houston and Tennessee and while most of that damage is the result of an eye-popping eight passing touchdowns, the fact that the QB has rushed for a combined 106 yards in Kansas City’s two wins can’t be ignored; especially with San Francisco having conceded an NFC-high 23.8 rushing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks during the regular season. It’s not as if this is the most difficult matchup for Mahomes through the air, either. While the 49ers do come into the Super Bowl possessing the league’s second-best pass defense, according to DVOA, that’s a figure that’s weighted towards their dominance back in September and October. For a more recent descriptor of San Francisco’s ability to defend the position, it should be noted that QBs facing the 49ers averaged a robust 25.3 FPTS from Week 9 to Week 17. It’s a span of time where 75% of the pivots they squared off with exceeded at least 19.0 FPTS. Maybe you won’t be able to Captain Mahomes due to his egregious salary, yet there’s no reason he can’t be a staple of your lineups with a price tag $600 cheaper than in the AFC Championship Game.

Still, while quarterbacks seemed to have little issue putting up points against San Francisco late in the season, it generally remained a struggle for skill-position players. Even across that same nine-week run, the 49ers held opposing WRs to the fifth-fewest yards per target (7.1) and TEs to the fifth-fewest yards per target (6.2). This was essentially a theme throughout the entire year for the 49ers. They allowed the fewest overall passing yards per game (169.2), the fewest yards per pass attempt (5.9), and the fewest individual passing plays of over 20 yards (34). While faith in Mahomes is usually directly tied to having faith in Tyreek Hill ($11,000), I think I’d rather take my chances stacking the generational QB with Travis Kelce ($9,600) than the speedy wideout in these specific conditions. Truth be told, Hill hasn’t really been quite the same “slate-breaking” talent he’s been in years past. Including the playoffs, the former fifth-round pick has only eclipsed the 100-yard plateau twice in 2019 and he’s been limited to an underwhelming average of 5.3 targets in the Chiefs’ past four games. Hill’s not exactly “touchdown-or-bust,” but he’s certainly not been a high-volume threat as of late and with that being the case, give me Kelce, who is the team’s standout red-zone weapon. To wit, during the regular season, Kelce was the NFL’s lone player to receive at least 40% of his squad’s target share inside the opponent’s 10-yard line. In terms of touchdown expectancy, he’s easily first on the list.

As for secondary receiving options, Sammy Watkins ($7,000) deserves a mention after a huge performance in Kansas City’s 35-24 win over Tennessee; yet it’s important to understand just how rare the veteran’s 7-114-1 stat line is. From the beginning of Week 2 to the end of the Divisional Round of the playoffs, 59 wide receivers managed 65-plus targets, with Watkins sitting among that grouping. However, of the 59, the former first-round pick averaged the fewest PPR fantasy points per snap at a lowly 0.14 FPTS. I hesitate to even call Watkins “boom-or-bust” as that would sort of imply the highs are as frequent as the lows. If anything, he’s “boom-or-bust-or-bust-or-bust” considering the long stretches of time Watkins can go without even sniffing viability. He’s the clear-cut WR2 on this roster and he logged more snaps in the AFC Championship Game than Mecole Hardman ($2,200) and Demarcus Robinson ($2,600) did combined; however, I’m not actively looking to build my lineups around Watkins. If you’ve got $7K lying around? Cool. Just don’t get any crazy ideas like playing him at 1.5x value based upon an outlier showing from two weeks ago.

Finally, we get to Damien Williams ($9,800), who has been a fixture of the Chiefs’ attack in their past two games. After racking up 97% of Kansas City’s offensive snaps against Houston in the Divisional Round, Williams logged an 85% snap share versus the Titans, with Darwin Thompson ($1,800) briefly spelling the RB for 11 of his own snaps. There’s simply no evidence to suggest that Andy Reid will alter these successful playing time patterns in the backfield, especially with how well Williams has produced in the playoffs so far and how versatile a skill-set he possesses. Heck, for the third contest in a row, Williams even has some appeal as a Captain’s Pick. I mean, it’s difficult to not be enthused about a bell-cow back with 20-touch upside. It doesn’t hurt that said running back is wearing the jersey of a team with an implied total of 28 points, either.


San Francisco 49ers

For as strange as it may be to start with a man who threw a mere eight passes in the NFC Championship Game, Jimmy Garoppolo ($8,000) is sort of the lynchpin of this Showdown slate. How you feel about Garoppolo’s fantasy prospects really informs how you feel about the possible script. For example, despite the fact that the 28-year-old has exceeded 20.0 DKFP in only four of his 18 starts so far this season, Garoppolo is averaging 22.7 DKFP in the rare contests where the 49ers have surrendered over 25 points to their opposition. In that way, the former second-round pick is sort of a barometer for how you feel about the Chiefs just as much as his successes and failures are correlated with his receivers and tight ends. So, if you’re thinking about using a high-priced Kansas City piece such as Mahomes or Kelce in the Captain’s slot, you’re almost not maximizing your lineup’s ceiling without bringing it back with Garoppolo. Conversely, if you’re invested heavily in San Francisco’s rushing attack or have a few shares of 49ers D/ST ($3,600), you want no part of the Eastern Illinois product. Personally, I think Garoppolo’s going to be pressed into action.

However, that’s not to suggest that Raheem Mostert ($9,400) still won’t play a vital role in whatever happens to transpire on Sunday evening. The journeyman’s price point has jumped significantly after going off for a franchise playoff record 220 rushing yards against the Packers two weeks ago, but it’s hard to envision Mostert having much competition for carries considering the state of Tevin Coleman’s ($6,400) shoulder. The former Falcon was been able to log a few limited practices in recent days after being listed as a non-participant all of last week; yet, even if he’s eventually ruled active, what’s forcing Kyle Shanahan’s hand to use a running back that’s not at 100% health? Mostert had appeared to surpass Coleman in the team’s RB hierarchy as the regular season went along, a huge reason why the former has been able to muster an impressive 11 rushing touchdowns dating back to the beginning of Week 12. It’s also a matter of system. San Francisco finished 2019 averaging an NFC-high 154.2 rushing yards per game and, prior to injuries to both starting tackles and Kyle Juszczyk ($1,200), the 49ers were crushing the rest of the NFL in adjusted line yards per attempt. In theory, Mostert, Matt Bredia ($3,200) or even Jeff Wilson Jr. ($1,000) could thrive under Shanahan if given enough opportunity. I just don’t see Coleman playing all that big a role if he does suit up and, if he’s unable to go, I might even consider taking a couple of fliers on Wilson Jr. to vulture a goal-line carry or two.

More Garoppolo will also definitely mean more George Kittle ($8,400) and I’ll go so far as to say I’d hesitate to play one without the other, especially considering how cost-effective a mini-stack that is in a Showdown perspective. Kittle’s numbers have been vastly underwhelming so far in playoffs due only to the fact that San Francisco hasn’t needed him to do anything aside from block. The ratio is actually staggering. Kittle, who might legitimately be the league’s best blocking TE, has been asked to run block on 84 of the 49ers’ offensive snaps in their past two contests. On the other side of things, Kittle’s run a paltry 28 routes within the same span of time. It’s not like Kittle generally needs all that much opportunity to thrive, either. The 26-year-old averaged a jaw-dropping 0.54 PPR fantasy points and 2.57 yards per route in 2019, which, for context, smashed the very good marks that his counterpart Kelce mustered for the season. With the Chiefs having conceded the most targets of any AFC squad to opposing tight ends during the course of the regular season (140), Kittle, in the right script, is going to annihilate Kansas City’s secondary. Obviously, a higher passing ratio means good things for Deebo Samuel ($7,600) and Emmanuel Sanders ($5,200) – and red-zone target Kendrick Bourne ($3,400) could be a sneaky punt play – but Kittle is going to be the guy Garoppolo leans on if this game hits the over.


THE OUTCOME

Maybe there’s a little recency bias at play with how unstoppable Patrick Mahomes ($18,900 CP) has looked as of late, but I can’t shake the feeling that this game plays out more like San Francisco’s Week 14 matchup with New Orleans more so than it resembles the team’s Week 13 loss at the hands of Baltimore. In such a scenario, I’m excited to utilize the undervalued elements of the 49ers’ passing attack in the Captain’s slot, especially the imposing figure that is George Kittle ($12,600 CP). However, in a high-scoring affair, Travis Kelce ($14,400 CP) would also be a perfectly acceptable way to lean.

Final Score: Kansas City 31, San Francisco 28

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