After a six-month journey from the start of training camp in early August, there are just two teams remaining to decide the NFL Champion in Super Bowl LIII. The Rams and Patriots have both had their bumps and obstacles along the way and overcome adversity to set up what should be a very entertaining contest in Atlanta. If you’re looking to get one more fantasy football fix before the offseason, there are single-game Shodown contests that are still on tap for the big game.
With a limited player pool of just two teams, it will be critical to make every roster selection wisely. If you think the big stars will shine the brightest, you’ll need some value to get everything to work under the salary cap. The right value play is critical whether you decide to roll with one of these values as your Captain’s Pick and stock the rest of your roster with well-established flex plays or you try to fill in your final flex spot ultra-cheap after spending up on a big-name Captain’s Pick.Like in my Championship Round value picks, all these options are available for under $8K and all salaries listed are flex prices. Here’s who I think has a chance to step up on the biggest Sunday stage of the season:
New England PatriotsRB James White, NE at LAR, $7,200 – After a massive 24.7 DKFP on 15 catches for 97 yards against the Chargers, White was relatively quiet with 11.2 DKFP against the Chiefs. He was still targeted six times and had four catches for 49 yards in addition to chipping in a solid 23 yards on six carries. White is one of many Patriots with Super Bowl experience having scored three touchdowns in 2017’s comeback against the Falcons and also finding the end zone in last season’s loss to the Eagles.
He is involved enough as a pass-catcher to be a safe play and gets enough work near the goal line to offer a high ceiling as well. White will share time with Sony Michel ($6,800) and Rex Burkhead ($4,800), who are also solid value options, but White remains the safest fantasy option due to his involvement in the passing game.
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE at LAR, $6,000 – Gronk has trended the opposite way of White in New England’s playoff run. He only got one target against the Chargers but hauled in six catches for 79 yards on 11 targets against the Chiefs. It was Gronkowski’s season-high for targets and showed he can still be a go-to option for Tom Brady ($10,600) when the opportunity presents itself.
Gronk should benefit from the extra week off and has a lot of upside for a $6K option. The Rams have struggled with elite tight ends this season, giving up huge games to Travis Kelce in Week 11 and George Kittle in Week 17. While he isn’t the locked-in elite play he was earlier in his career, Gronkowski is sure to be very involved in the Patriots gameplan.
Patriots DST, $2,800 – The Patriots’ defense has allowed 28 and 31 points the past two weeks and finished with just 5.0 and 3.0 DKFP. However, those numbers don’t tell the story of how good this unit has looked at times. They held the mighty Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs scoreless in the first half and to just seven points in three quarters, and that came after holding the Chargers to just seven points in the first half of the Divisional Round. The Patriots DST did give up points late in both games. which has hurt its fantasy score, but their strong play could make them a good cheap play if they sustain it throughout the whole contest.
The Patriots DST has picked up six sacks and forced two turnovers in two playoff games. Cordarrelle Patterson ($1,600) and Julian Edelman ($10,800) also give the Patriots a strong return game and could provide a big play that makes this group valuable.
Cordarrelle Patterson, NE at LAR, $1,600 – Not only does Patterson give the DST some nice upside, but he’s also a great cheap play himself given his boom-or-bust skillset that could result in a great return on an extremely minimal investment. He was targeted four times last week against the Chiefs and finished with just 3.8 DKFP, but he remains involved enough that he does offer potential on gadget plays in the offense and with breakaway speed when the ball is in his hands.
Patterson has been dubbed by Tom Brady “The Experiment” because the team is always trying new things with him. With a bye week to prepare, expect coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to come up with some creative options for Patterson. They could miss and he’ll be a bust, but they also have the potential of being game-changing plays, giving Patterson a very high ceiling.
Los Angeles RamsWR Josh Reynolds, LAR vs. NE, $5,400 – The Rams got a few big plays from Reynolds in their win over the Saints and the second-year receiver finished with four catches for 74 yards and 13 DKFP. He took over as the Rams’ third receiver after a mid-season knee injury to Cooper Kupp and has produced at least 12 DKFP in four of his eight games since stepping into a larger role.
The Patriots will likely key in on Brandin Cooks ($8,200) and Robert Woods ($7,800), but there should be room for Reynolds to find space and create plays over the middle. Especially considering he has earned the trust of coach Sean McVay and QB Jared Goff ($10,000) since stepping into a larger role.
Greg Zuerlein, LAR vs. NE, $3,400 – Last week, I highlighted how valuable kickers can be in single-game Showdown contests, so I won’t get re-run on that. Zuerlein ended up the hero last week in New Orleans with the game-winning FG in overtime, giving him a cool 17 DKFP at a salary of just $3,200. He has at least 13 DKFP in each of his past three games and has double-digit DKFP in eight of his past 11.
Compare that to the closest-priced non-kicker, Chris Hogan ($3,800) who has reached double-digit DKFP just twice during that same span. Playing a kicker may not be the coolest, trendiest option to consider, but there’s no question the play can be a great return on investment.
Gerald Everett, LAR vs. NE, $2,000 – Both tight ends for the Rams were involved in their win over the Saints last week, but I think Everett has a slight advantage over Tyler Higbee ($2,200). Higbee caught the touchdown last week, but Everett outgained him, totaling 50 yards on his two catches. Of the two, Everett is typically the more potent down-field threat.
He was quiet against the Cowboys, but it’s worth noting that he received at least six targets in three straight games in Week 14-Week 16 as the Rams were pushing for home-field advantage. He even gets involved on jet sweeps sometimes and could be a sleeper to keep an eye on since the Patriots struggle against TE sometimes.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.