DraftKings NFL GPP Showdown Lineup Advice: Super Bowl LIV (2020)
The Super Bowl will wrap up the NFL season and, with it, the NFL daily fantasy season, too. Since it’s just a single-game slate, the contests will be of the showdown variety. I’ve tweaked the normal GPP advice layout slightly to fit the game format better. Below, I’ve highlighted my preferred captain, a pair of building blocks, and an appealing value option.
Patrick Mahomes (QB – KC): $18,900 vs. 49ers
This probably isn’t a shocking pick, nor is it supposed to be. Sure, Football Outsiders (FO) ranked the 49ers second in pass defense Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) in the regular season, but Mahomes is a matchup-proof monster who’s a good bet to be the top fantasy scorer in the Super Bowl. Furthering the point of Mahomes being matchup-proof, he carved up top defenses in his few looks at them this year.
Mahomes played only four games from start to finish against defenses FO ranked in the top half of the league in pass defense DVOA. He squared off with the Ravens (fourth in pass defense DVOA) at home in Week 3, faced the Patriots (first) in New England in Week 14, hosted the Broncos (14th) in Week 15, and opposed the Bears (eighth) in Chicago. He passed for multiple touchdowns in three of four of those games, bested 280 passing yards three times, and surpassed 340 passing yards in two of those contests. In those four games, he had per-game averages of 312.0 passing yards, 2.0 passing touchdowns, 0.5 interceptions, and completed a whopping 71.5% of his passes.
The Chiefs are 1.5-point favorites with an implied over/under total of 28.0 points, according to BettingPros. Mahomes is the one who makes Kansas City’s offense go, and he’s a great standalone option as the captain or stacked with some of his running mates.
George Kittle (TE – SF): $8,400 at Chiefs
The 49ers steamrolled their way to the Super Bowl without much resistance in the playoffs, and they had little need to air it out. This game projects to be a shootout, and they’ll likely need much more from their passing attack. That’s good news for Kittle, as he’s the top dog in their passing offense. Despite missing a couple of games, he led the 49ers in targets (107), receptions (85), and receiving yards (1,053), and he was also tied for the team lead in touchdown receptions with five.
He also has a favorable matchup. Kansas City tied for the third-most receptions (96) allowed to tight ends and coughed up the fourth-most receiving yards (961) to the position. The Chiefs did a solid job of keeping tight ends out of the end zone, holding them to just five touchdown receptions. Having said that, I’ll lean in favor of Kittle’s red-zone usage getting the better of Kansas City’s stinginess in permitting touchdowns to opposing tight ends. Kittle was targeted 17 times and caught 11 passes (two for touchdowns) in the red zone this year, per Lineups. His red-zone usage was tied for the team-high with Deebo Samuel’s 17 targets.
Raheem Mostert (RB – SF): $9,400 at Chiefs
Mostert was the star of the NFC Championship game. He carried the ball 29 times for 220 rushing yards and four touchdowns, and he added a couple of grabs for six receiving yards. Mostert was treated to a larger workload than he perhaps would have been ticketed for under normal circumstances, but Tevin Coleman suffered a separated shoulder that caused an early exit. Coleman wasn’t particularly effective, however, as he had carried the ball six times for 21 yards, so Mostert likely would have been leaned on heavily regardless of Coleman’s health.
Don’t mistake Mostert’s blowup performance as a fluke. He had a tremendous regular season as part of a potent, multi-pronged rushing attack. He toted the rock 137 times for 772 rushing yards, eight touchdowns, and a juicy 5.6 yards per carry. Among the 45 backs who carried the ball at least 100 times this year, Mostert led the way with 26.4% DVOA, per FO.
The aforementioned Kittle rightly earns a ton of praise for his receiving chops, but he’s an elite blocker, too. Add in a healthy Kyle Juszczyk, and the 49ers batter opponents on the ground with both paving the way. Aaron Schatz of FO tweeted the following breakdown of San Francisco’s running game with and without Kittle and/or Juszyzck.
Or even better.
Wk 1-5: 11.0% (5), 5.57 yd/carry
Wk 6-11 (Kittle and/or Juszyzck hurt): -26.4% (31), 3.75 yd/carry
Wk 12-20: 28.9% (1), 5.69 yd/carry
– Aaron Schatz 🏈 (@FO_ASchatz) January 22, 2020
As you can see, San Francisco was a borderline unstoppable force averaging over 5.55 yards per carry when Kittle and Juszyzck were healthy.
They’ll take aim at a soft Chiefs run defense that Mostert should have little trouble pummeling. FO ranked the Chiefs 29th in rush defense DVOA. Kansas City has been gashed by big runs, even down the stretch. From Week 9 through the AFC Championship game, Kansas City’s average explosive run rate allowed of 15% tied for the third-highest mark, per Sharp Football Stats. Mostert has the blazing speed to exploit Kansas City’s susceptibility to explosive run plays. Mostert’s the horse in San Francisco’s backfield to saddle up on in showdown lineups this week.
Mecole Hardman (WR – KC): $2,200 vs. 49ers
Hardman rounds out the suggested plays as a player capable of ripping off a long touchdown with the strong-armed Mahomes. The rookie receiver was one of the fastest players in the 2019 NFL Draft, recording a 4.33-second 40-yard dash time at the NFL Draft Combine. Hardman operated as an ancillary piece in Kansas City’s high-powered offense, but he parlayed 41 targets into 26 receptions, 538 receiving yards, 20.7 yards per reception, and six touchdowns.
Hardman was a blur with the ball in his hands. Among receivers and tight ends targeted a minimum of 25 times, he ranked first with 11.5 yards after catch per reception, according to Sports Info Solutions. He touched the ball only one time in the AFC Championship game with an eight-yard reception on his only target, but he was on the field for 40% of the team’s offensive snaps, per Pro-Football-Reference. Being on the field is a start, as a blown coverage can be exploited by the rookie speedster. As a cherry on top, he’s the return man for the Chiefs and took one to the house this season, creating yet another — albeit unlikely — path to scoring.