DFS Three And Out 2019 Super Bowl week 21
Three DFS players I'm investing heavily in for tournament (GPP) play this week. ... And one I'm not.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Yes, he's the most expensive player on both the major contests this week -- with good reason. Mahomes ($16,000 on FanDuel; $12,600 on DraftKings) is on a serious post-season roll. The third-year QB has thrown eight touchdowns in two games with no interceptions, compiling a stellar 131.5 passer rating. But the post-season success goes beyond this season. In his playoff career (all four games of it), Mahomes' 115.0 rating is the best in NFL history (minimum 125 attempts), as he's averaging 297 yards per game and has thrown 11 touchdowns and still nary an interception. He also goes into Sunday's Championship game as one of the league's most effective deep passers. Per Pro Football Focus, Mahomes has attempted just 69 passes of 20 or more air yards (Aaron Rodgers has led the league with 101), but he's completed 36 of them for 1,275 yards, a league-leading 15 touchdowns, just two interceptions and a league-leading passer rating of 125.2. According to USA Today's Doug Farrar, this is not great news for San Francisco's pass defense, which fared pretty well on Richard Sherman's left side in DVOA against deep passes, ranking seventh in the league, but was average elsewhere. This defense ranked 21st against deep passes over the middle, and 15th to the right. Dealing with Mahomes' deep ball and his deep receivers is a challenge every defense eventually faces, and now, it's San Francisco's turn. Beyond the fact that Mahomes is an amazing player, he's also got an amazing cadre of weapons that leave defenses wondering just who to cover. Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman are all capable playmakers and all -- along with Damien Williams -- have been played roles in Mahomes' overall success and they're among the reasons the Chiefs are one of the NFL's most dangerous offenses (something they demonstrated in two-consecutive come-from-behind playoff wins this postseason). With all their production coming from Mahomes, however, the QB is in an ideal spot this week whether you roll him out as a regular flex or as your Captain (where he'll be worth 1.5 times the points) on DraftKings (even at the $18,900 premium to play him in that role). Look, we've seen Jimmy Garoppolo ($14,000 on FanDuel; $8,000 on DraftKings) come at big at times this season (he had three four-TD games in 2019), but with just 27 pass attempts over two postseason games this month, he's clearly not the focal point of his offense like Mahomes, who is a factor as a rusher as well as a passer, is for the Chiefs. San Francisco's starting front four can get after the quarterback, as Arik Armstead (10), Nick Bosa (9), DeForest Buckner (7.5) and Dee Ford (6.5) combined for 33 of the team's 48 sacks in 2019, but if anybody can minimize an opposing pass rush, it's Mahomes.
Damien Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Williams keys the backfield and comes off two exceptional postseason showings, even though Mahomes has often been the leading rusher. Still, Williams has been responsible for 157 total yards (92 rushing and 65 receiving) from scrimmage over the two playoff games. Since Williams returned to the starting lineup in week 16, he's had at least one touchdown whether it be rushing or receiving in every game's played in. As Fansided.com's Leigh Oleszczak noted, the Divisional Round was some of Williams' best work, as he totaled three touchdowns and was everywhere the Chiefs needed him to be on the field. The Chiefs don't have the kind of run game that can just pound the rock and go for 200-plus yards, but getting Williams involved in the offense both via the run and pass will be crucial in Super Bowl LIV. The best part? There's no reason to believe he won't be heavily involved. He'll certainly get the opportunities. As FantasyPros' Mike Tagliere suggested, it seems Andy Reid has been waiting to unleash Williams as the feature back, as he's played 117 snaps over the last two weeks, while no other running back in this weekend's contest played more than 93 snaps. Williams' Kansas City backfield mates, LeSean McCoy and Darwin Thompson, combined to play just 13 snaps and touch the ball just once. There's no reason to believe that changes on Sunday. I'm willing to invest in the certainty of opportunity and touchdown upside Williams ($14,000 on FanDuel; $14,700 on DraftKings) has demonstrated in recent weeks.
Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Mostert is coming off a record-setting performance in the Niners NFC Championship win over the Vikings. In case you somehow missed it, Mostert became the only player in NFL history with at least 200 rush yards and at least four rushing touchdowns in a playoff game. He also became just the third player to score at least four rushing TDs in a postseason game, joining LeGarrette Blount and Ricky Watters, but the first player to do so in a conference title game. Mostert set franchise records for rushing touchdowns and rushing yards in a playoff game, passing Colin Kaepernick (181) in the latter category. The 49ers RB came just 29 yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson's record for most rushing yards in a playoff game (248) but set the record for most rushing yards in a conference title game, breaking San Diego Chargers fullback Keith Lincoln's mark from 1964 (206). Nobody should expect a repeat of that, but neither should we suddenly believe the Niners -- who against the Vikings joined Hall of Famer Don Shula's 1971 and 1973 Dolphins (twice) as the only teams to finish a playoff game with fewer than 10 pass attempts in the Super Bowl era) are suddenly going to change to a pass-heavy approach. In their two postseason games leading to the Super Bowl, the 49ers showed a tremendous commitment to the run, totaling 471 yards and six touchdowns on 89 carries, averaging 5.2 yards per attempt. Yes, Matt Breida will be involved here while Tevin Coleman's status is up in the air after he suffered a separated shoulder in the NFC Championship Game. So expecting Mostert to continue playing the lead role seems reasonable enough and the Chiefs tend to struggle against the run. That means rolling out Mostert might depend on your confidence in his defense's ability to slow the Chiefs. Bottom line: If you're looking for a building block on the San Francisco side of things -- as opposed to a dart toss, Mostert ($13,500 on FanDuel; $14,100 on DraftKings) seems like the safest play. He's also priced as such and it's worth noting the Chiefs used a swarming defensive effort to limit Derrick Henry in the AFC Championship Game, and they'll need a repeat performance in the Super Bowl.
Beyond players with injury issues -- a list of just one this week (Coleman), pretty much anybody and everybody is fair game on a two-team slate. Okay, I'm not all that keen on McCoy and Thompson given my belief (barring injury) their roles will continue to be very limited, but at the risk of copping out, I'm not ruling anybody out of this one. Also, for the record, on the three players above, I went with guys capable of anchoring your lineup (and I listed them in the order I prefer them). They're expensive and you'll need to keep an open mind on the rest of your lineup, especially when trying to find low-cost pieces (again, unless those pieces are hurt or don't have roles). Feel free to make the dart tosses you like best and enjoy the game! It should be a barnburner.