“The Big Game” of Big Games, 2020. Or known as Super Bowl LIV otherwise, the Sunday that’s the biggest unofficial annual national holiday is upon us. And this should go without saying, but when it comes to Daily Fantasy Sports and sports betting for this given day, the anticipation is nearly boundless.
While the player pool may be limited, I encourage you to turn off the noise for just a bit and make some lineups completely outside what would be considered the norm. If you’re entering large-field tournaments, play around with game flow possibilities and structure some rosters with outside-the-box thinking. There’s nothing wrong with trying to “get different” on just one or two of your several entries (if you’re playing any sort of volume).
We’re gifted a top-tier Kansas City Chiefs offense led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, one that we’ve never witnessed quite rivaled in their explosive and fast-scoring nature. And a battle-tested, relentless San Francisco 49ers defense: one that’s arguably the best on the season, with a caliber of pass rush Mahomes has yet to face in these playoffs (or much of the year for that matter).
While there are a number of ways to get creative in roster construction, whether straying from conventional wisdom or not, there are some surefire pieces you’ll want to consider in both facets of Utility or Captain designation (rewarding 1.5 times the points).
Patrick Mahomes (KC), QB ($12,600/$18,900 Capt.)
I think if I sidestepped mentioning this one that people would assume I either missed something or was out of my mind (still possible), so I’ll get to it now: I’m a believer in Patrick Mahomes. Not like I wasn’t one prior, but after seeing his march back from deficits throughout the playoffs, I’m near certain his fantasy numbers finally reaching the big stage will be every bit as impressive.
The sheer number of weapons Mahomes has at his disposable, in tandem with the offensive genius of Andy Reid, make opportunities nearly limitless and have nothing but DraftKings Fantasy Point production written all over them. Mahomes has also been rushing the ball extremely well as of late, with over 100 yards rushing and one touchdown between both Divisional and Conference Championship Games.
He’s averaging over 300 passing yards, 4.5 all-purpose touchdowns, and zero interceptions through the playoffs as well, and playing his best football of the season at the best time possible. While he has yet to see a pass rush as menacing as that of the 49ers, Mahomes’ ability to get rid of the ball or scramble out of the pocket under duress is unprecedented.
Even being the top chalk of the slate (and rightfully so), I will be over the field on Patrick Mahomes in both overall ownership as well as Captain designation.
Emmanuel Sanders (SF), WR ($5,200/$7,800 Capt.)
His recent performances haven’t been anything to sing praises of, but his resume for historic plays on this Super Bowl stage are still talked about among the greatest ever, so it would be foolish to downplay Emmanuel Sanders in any roster construction theme.
Playing ten games for the 49ers this season since being traded by the Denver Broncos, Sanders tallied 36 receptions for 502 yards and three touchdowns on 53 targets, including a monster performance in a hard-fought statement game against the New Orleans Saints where he notched 157 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions.
He’s since been mediocre at best in regards to fantasy productivity and rightfully warrants concern. But when it comes to this big game environment, notorious for success in this moment previously, Emmanuel Sanders is a play priced way too cheap and not drawing nearly enough attention.
Damien Williams (KC), RB ($9,800/$14,700 Capt.)
The fact that he has been a fairly unsung hero in his recent string of dominant fantasy performances is a bit surprising, though that will change with a slimmed player pool. Averaging 24.82 DKFP in his past four games and over six receptions per game in his past three, Damien Williams could be the piece that wins the big game for the Chiefs but also some cash in your DraftKings entries.
It’s not just in his success since returning from injury that makes Williams an intriguing play on any fantasy roster, but it’s specifically how he achieves it in being relevant on every single down on offense. Donning over 403 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns in just his past four games playing at 100 percent, Williams faces a San Francisco defense ranking eleventh overall against the rush per DVOA (ala Football Outsiders) and playing extremely potent as of late.
He’s a reliable safety net for Mahomes with his ability in the passing game and, in turn, a possibility to touch the ball on every play. Rostering Damien Williams out of sole attention to capability and volume is more than just understandable, it’s recommended.
Jimmy Garoppolo (SF), QB ($8,000/$12,000 Capt.)
He’s priced far too cheap for a quarterback who’s not only proven to be able to throw in higher volume when necessary, but to be opposing a Chiefs offense he’ll potentially have to shootout with, Jimmy Garoppolo is a very rosterable piece at either Utility or Captain spots.
His ability to win big games was questioned into a hush after traveling into New Orleans and shooting out with the Saints to a 28-26 victory, posting 32.06 DKFP via 349 passing yards and four touchdowns. Not to script a narrative or anything, but the Chiefs defense just allowed 388 passing yards and two touchdowns in the Divisional Round to Deshaun Watson.
The Niners will presumably be run-first on offense should their defense hold up their end of the bargain, which would limit Garoppolo’s fantasy production entirely. But I don’t believe that will be a likely case given the opponent, and Jimmy Garoppolo may have to pull out the stops as he did in New Orleans, which will mean a great deal of fantasy production.
Mecole Hardman (KC), WR ($2,200/$3,300 Capt.)
We’ve all been waiting on that explosion fantasy game from him, and with dwindling ownership as hopes have fizzled through recent performances, it’s better now than ever for Mecole Hardman. And at an extraordinarily cheap salary tag, achieving value for Hardman will only be one solid play away from the moment the game begins.
Following his two awesome fantasy outings in Weeks 2 and 3 where he averaged over 17 DKFP per game and a touchdown in each, fantasy players have been left waiting for the next great game from Hardman and the boombox-over-the-shoulder upon entering the Divisional Round was a promising gesture.
With ownership likely to be staggered across the top-priced assets who will be crammed into lineups, Mecole Hardman can provide plenty of salary relief, especially at Captain designation that would also set you far apart from the field should he break for his first big game in some time. I wouldn’t recommend the play in volume, but it’s definitely worth considering in one or two if you’re multi-entering.