The Super Bowl is upon us so its time for our resident expert Collin Hulbert to give you his best picks for the MVP style format this weekend.
Conference title week is long in the rear-view mirror but we are coming off a performance where we again split both contests. On the playoffs overall, were are 3.67 points above the cash average. It’s not the 16-point differential we had during the season, but I attribute that to the reduced field of players.
When people are using optimizers and taking broad advice, there’s a lot more room for error because optimizers don’t take into account things like weather and perceived game script. I do both of those and offer resources for limited lineup combinations, which typically provides you with higher success rates. Last week, the Raheem Mostert play (55 points) was a big success and difference-maker for me because the majority of people were convinced Tevin Coleman would receive the bulk of touches, based on his performance the week prior.
What they didn’t take into account was the fact Mostert was limited with the mild calf injury and the game script didn’t require risking him to come back into the game. Last week, Tevin Coleman’s early shoulder injury was significant in Mostert producing such a lopsided score, but I still believe Mostert would’ve been the primary beneficiary, even if Coleman hadn’t gotten hurt.
DraftKings Lineup Scores for our 2019 Playoffs:
Wildcard Week: 132 & 90
Divisional Week: 167 & 130
Conference Week: 188 & 137
Our Playoff average: 140.67
Avg 50/50 cash in DraftKings playoffs: 137
Super Bowl DFS preview
This week’s format is a little different than our normal format. In this “MVP” format, there’s one designated MVP slot and five flex spots. There’s a $50,000 budget to work with, but the MVP slot is going to cost you 1.5 x the entry cost. Conversely, the production of the MVP player is 1.5 x his fantasy points.
With the big game now upon us, you can’t overthink this single game contest. You need to think about it in terms of, “I just need to beat half the field.” Don’t take too big of risks with this game. If Mecole Hardman or Tevin Coleman goes off, odds are, you will still cash as long as you didn’t assign your MVP to a longshot. In the Super Bowl, you need to focus on the two MVP favorites if you want to win. Right now, Jimmy Garoppolo (+225) and Patrick Mahomes (+115) are the two frontrunners, as well as the two favorites to lead the game in fantasy points.
There’s no clear #1 threat on either team as a receiver and the Chiefs don’t use their running back enough for him to be much of a threat. The 49ers use multiple backs and are going to try to run a plethora of running scheme plays, but the Chiefs are going to force Jimmy Garoppolo to beat them, so don’t underestimate his value in DFS.
Note: The Good Performance Index (GPI) and Expected Output (EO) don’t apply to this format, so they won’t be used in this article.
As it is set every week, the prices on DraftKings are listed next to every player in parentheses.
|3rd||Wai Leong Chan||$438,584|
Pat Mahomes (DK-$18,900) (1.5 x $12,600)
Pat Mahomes is guaranteed money. Every game he’s been in this postseason seems to be worth every penny of his price tag. This game should be no different. Mahomes is expected to rush for 32 yards, pass for 305 yards, and throw 2.5 touchdowns. He’s the high point favorite for the game, so why not start him in your MVP slot?
There’s really no reason not to that makes any sense unless you’re in a tournament. There’s just no reason to risk your MVP slot on another position unless you really feel strongly about one particular player’s odds of going off.
Remember this is a 50/50 contest. You only need to beat half the field, so if someone starts Mostert in their MVP slot and he goes for 130 and two touchdowns, that’s still just 27 points. Do you feel confident in Mahomes not getting to 27 points in a game in which they’ll likely be trailing after a performance like that from Mostert? There are a number of scenarios for outcomes in this game and very few of them will result in another player finishing with more fantasy points than Mahomes. In the words of Jeremy Piven from the cult classic, PCU, “Don’t be that guy.”
Jimmy Garoppolo (DK-$12,000) (1.5 x $8,000)
Jimmy Garoppolo will be avoided by many DFS players week. The only reason I have an option for Jimmy in the Flex spot is for those of you who still want to be able to afford a guy like Tyreek Hill in your roster. Even if you start Jimmy in your Flex, I would still recommend starting Mahomes in your Flex. It would be insane to leave off the overwhelming favorite to score the most fantasy points in a game with such a wide array of weapons depending on his arm.
As for Jimmy, the play at Flex is to maximize value for him. He’s currently projected around 16 points, which puts him #2 on the projected scorers list for the game. As for his modest pricing, Jimmy is #7 on the most expensive players list. That’s a huge gap in value and you should absolutely take advantage of it and upgrade at your other Flex spots as a result.
Tyreek Hill (DK-$11,000)
Hill’s line this week is 75 yards and 6 receptions. He’s not a plus value by my own metrics this week, but just like Mostert a week ago, I expect Hill will outplay his projection this week. There’s some widespread thought that Hill will be shadowed by Richard Sherman and let me be the first to assure you, that’s a garbage thought. Sherman stays on his area of the field in the 49ers modified Cover 3.
Hill will be able to line up opposite of Witherspoon and burn him up all day long. I think the Chiefs know they have to be aggressive in this game and they understand the 49ers are very hard to beat on the ground. I also think the Chiefs may be playing from behind a decent bit in this game, so Hill should see plenty of balls thrown his way in the game.
Even though Hill and Kelce currently have the same Vegas projection, when I sub Kelce for Hill in the lineups, it only allows me to upgrade from Kendrick Bourne to a kicker or the 49ers defense, so I think the value isn’t really there when I tinker with the lineup. I’d rather go with the guy who can turn a long touchdown on one play against the guy who’s easier to scheme against in Kelce.
George Kittle (DK-$8,400)
Kittle is a plus value guy this week. In fact, Kittle ($8,400), Kelce ($9,600), and Hill ($11,000) are all in the same projection vicinity, according to online sportsbooks. I prefer Kittle among the three due to his matchup (KC is #28 vs opposing tight ends) and to the estimated game script, which should call for an escalation in passing attempts from the 49ers this week.
I think the Chiefs may go Wide 9 on the defensive front and attempt to chip Kittle as much as possible, especially given the Wide 9 protects better against outside running schemes and allows the outside backers and ends to set in a three-point stance, better protecting themselves from being blocked by a guy like Kittle but also allowing them to chip or bump Kittle off the snap. Regardless of how the Chiefs line up, they don’t really have a linebacker who can cover Kittle, so I’m expecting someone like Mathieu to match Kittle in coverage.
It should help from a separation standpoint, but it does create a mismatch for Kittle in size, so we could see a number of screens with Kittle serving as receiver or out wide as a lead blocker. Kittle will be a big key in the success of the 49ers offense and I think with the matchups he sees, we could see some serious YAC gains here.
Deebo Samuel (DK-$7,600)
Samuel is the X-factor for the 49ers in this game. His versatility on offense makes him a legitimate weapon on screens, deep balls, end-arounds, and just anytime he has the ball in his hands. Even though his line is around 60 receiving yards, his total yardage is around 70, and he should be good for three or four receptions according to sportsbooks.
I love big play guys with low floors and Deebo is one who could put us over the cash line on one big play. The Chiefs have already come out and said, “We aren’t going to fall for their pre-snap motion.” When a team says they aren’t falling for pre-snap motion, what they’re trying to say is, “We aren’t going to let you guys run all over us.” By not falling for pre-snap motion, the team is inferring they’ll be staying disciplined to the gap assignments in the run game.
What that will do in the passing game is allow San Francisco to utilize play-action and be able to get guys open in the zone. Even if the Kansas City safeties creep up to play man on the tight ends in motion, it’s going to leave other guys in either single coverage or open underneath on shallow crosses.
Harrison Butker (DK-$4,200)
Despite the obvious fact the 49ers are the worst team in the NFL defending formations with a slot receiver inside the Red Zone, the Chiefs have a prolific offense and have had plenty of games where Harrison Butker contributed quite a bit to the scoring.
Besides, it’s the Super Bowl and I expect both teams to be a little more hesitant to open-up on offense early in the game, despite how I think both need to be aggressive, it likely isn’t going to happen early on in the game. It may seem like the obvious choice to take Robbie Gould here, but the Chiefs have the more prolific offense, so I tend to favor the kicker with the better offense and the better leg at this point.
Butker is averaging seven points a game through the playoffs in negative game scripted games. If they can avoid the early deficit, Butker could be in for a very solid game.
Kendrick Bourne (DK-$3,400)
Bourne is a sneaky play but one we played to perfection in the Divisional round against Minnesota. His 13-point performance came off just three receptions for 40 yards and a touchdown. Though I certainly don’t expect much of a bump in volume this week, I expect he should see 3-5 targets and for his low price, that could end up being huge if he can find the end zone. I do like the fact he’s the clear #5 target on the field when he’s out there, so he should draw favorable coverage.
Mecole Hardman (DK-$2,200)
Hardman may be my favorite choice of the week. I could be way off here, but I saw the stat that the 49ers are the worst team in the NFL at defending formations with 3 receiver sets in the red zone. That bodes well for Hardman, especially considering the Chiefs know they’ll likely have to throw a considerable amount in this game (49ers rank 3rd against opposing running backs).
I also like how the 49ers are going to have to focus their efforts on offense stopping Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, thus leaving Mecole Hardman in favorable coverages. His line this week is absurdly low (22 yards and 1.5 receptions). I think the oddsmakers are way off here.
I’ll likely be slotting Hardman into both rosters this week, taking advantage of such a generous price tag.
Collin is a former Army Intelligence and Logistics officer who got a little too into Football analysis. Since leaving the Army, he’s practically the Jack Ryan of football analysts. But he spends most of his days with his wife and two daughters, so he is clearly a better father than Jack Ryan.
Follow Collin on Twitter @CollinHulbert