Back in August, many football fans correctly projected the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers would square off in Super Bowl LVIII. The Niners did their part as the NFC’s top seed, but KC’s path to repeating was anything but conventional. Regardless, hundreds of millions will be watching and our Super Bowl LVIII Fantasy Preview has all you need to know about this rematch of Super Bowl LIV.
Using our RDA* projections, we can break down each game to find the statistical edge that can give us a leg up in playoff fantasy and daily fantasy lineups. Also, we can determine the best bets to make.
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San Francisco 49ers (14-5) at Kansas City Cheifs (14-6)
Time: 6:30 Eastern
Location: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
Line: 49ers -1.5
Money Line: Chiefs +104, 49ers -124
Kansas City Offense
Even in a “down” year, here we are with the Chiefs in another championship game. QB Patrick Mahomes is well on his way to solidifying his legacy as one of the greatest signal callers in history. Just 28, Mahomes and the Chiefs are playing in their fourth Super Bowl in the last five years.
After a middling season by his lofty standards, Mahomes has been stellar in Kansas City’s jaunt through the AFC. He’s averaged 264.3 combined yards with four TDs and no picks in the playoffs. And our RDA* projections agree nearly perfectly with those averages, making Mahomes our top overall play on Sunday.
San Francisco’s eighth-ranked defense was far better against the run (3rd) than pass (14th). However, that won’t deter us from inserting RB Isiah Pacheco into lineups. Pacheco has been a workhorse in the postseason, accumulating 69 touches in three games and averaging a robust 17.4 fantasy points per game. Taking into account the tough matchup, our RDA* projections aren’t that high. But, Pachecho will get his touches and is the favorite for any rushing scores the Chiefs punch in.
Jerick McKinnon has been designated to return from IR. If McKinnon is activated for the game, he becomes a sneaky red-zone receiving threat. Also, McKinnon’s presence would cut into Clyde Edwards-Helaire‘s 25.7% snap rate in these playoffs. Update: Andy Reid stated that McKinnon is unlikely to suit up. We’ve boosted CEH’s numbers.
WR Rashee Rice remains the only reliable wideout in Kanas City. The dynamic rookie roasted Miami for an 8/130/1 line in the Wild Card round. However, he’s been mostly corralled in KC’s other two playoff tilts. However, this is a solid spot for Rice, who is our No. 2 PPR wideout this week.
Among players with 50 targets versus zone coverage this season, Rashee Rice ranks first in EPA per target and fifth in total EPA (out of 63).
via SIS data. pic.twitter.com/2zte35lCHQ
— Mauricio Rodríguez (@MauNFL) February 6, 2024
Marquez Valdes-Scantling has been in on 59% of Kansas City’s postseason snaps but has a middling target share under 9%. Justin Watson has seen his playing time decrease and hasn’t topped 50 yards since Week 11. Mecole Hardman has been seeing more playing time and occasionally gets the ball on a misdirection/gimmick snap.
MVS and Hardman have some appeal in DFS lineups as boom-or-bust options.
The safest bet among Kansas City’s pass catchers remains TE Travis Kelce. Undoubtedly, Kelce will receive more than his fair share of attention on the world’s stage. But the future Hall-of-Famer is more than worth of those accolades in fantasy leagues. Our RDA* projections have Kelce scoring the most points of any receiver or tight end in Super Bowl LVIII.
San Francisco Offense
Kansas City’s No. 2 ranked defense has set a record for most games not allowing more than 28 points. The balanced Chiefs allowed the second-fewest points and ranked fourth against both the pass and run. Still, Brock Purdy has made a name for himself overcoming the odds.
From Mr. Irrelevant in the 2022 NFL Draft to guiding his team to the title game, it’s been quite a two-year stretch for Purdy. The sophomore signal caller is surrounded by elite playmakers. However, our RDA* projections (238 yards, 1.4 TD) think Purdy could struggle against Kansas City’s elite defense. That puts Purdy firmly behind Mahomes, but still a player to consider in 2QB builds.
The top fantasy option of this, and every week, RB Christian McCaffrey leads the way with a projected 19.7 PPR points. Fitting CMC into lineups can be expensive. Particularly in the captain’s slot. Regardless, McCaffrey is the safest bet on the board. He has an over/under of 123.5 scrimmage yards in this game.
Elijah Mitchell has re-emerged as San Fran’s No. 2 back and has wracked up 25 touches in the Niners’ two postseason games. That kind of usage puts Mitchell on the radar as a solid DFS value on Sunday.
WR Deebo Samuel has a much more difficult task. Led by elite CB L’Jarius Sneed, the Chiefs have locked down No. 1 wideouts all season. However, Sneed does not typically shadow and Samuel is often lined up in the backfield. That will allow Kyle Shanahan to get Samuel the ball in a variety of ways. Despite the matchup, Samuel is our No. 1 wideout to target.
Brandon Aiyuk hasn’t fared quite as well against two-high safeties. That is the predominant formation the Chiefs use. Additionally, Aiyuk will see plenty of Sneed on the perimeter. Our RDA* projections have Aiyuk catching a modest four balls for 64.5 yards.
Jauan Jennings caught two balls in each of San Francisco’s previous two postseason tilts but has a limited ceiling.
Tight end George Kittle has had some success against this defensive scheme. However, the Chiefs surrendered just 10.7 PPR points per game to the position, which was the 10th-fewest in the league. He’ll see enough targets (including in the red zone) to be a decent start. But Kittle is overpriced in DFS formats.
The most frequently used formation for the 49ers passing the ball has been Balanced.
TE George Kittle has led the team in targets from this formation, with Brock Purdy under center.
This formation is also the only one that the KC secondary has allowed over 7.0 yards per attempt… pic.twitter.com/1SzHuCWLVl
— Jordan Vanek (@JordanVanekDFS) February 6, 2024
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