Super Bowl 53: One-Game Slate on Fanball
“A one-game slate you say? Just the Super Bowl? A chance to win $300 playing DFS on Fanball?”
Not sure why you phrase everything in the form of a question. This isn’t Jeopardy.
This is the biggest stage in football, so why not try to lock down a little WAM playing on Fanball this weekend? We’ve got plenty of contests to choose from and a lot of the DFS players have already put their bankrolls to bed for the season. So time to swoop in and scoop some chips. Let’s build a lineup.
First off, the one game slate has a handful of different rules from our normal salary cap game.
- You only get $35,000 to spend on players
- Your lineup is only six players deep
- 1 QB
- 1 RB
- 1 WR
- 1 TE
- 2 Flex players (RB/WR/TE)
- Hey, you can still go triple tight end if you want to!
Obviously, you can’t use all six players from the same team, so you need to make sure that your lineup has at least one player from the Patriots or the Rams. So let’s sit down and take a look at some of our options and how to build yourself a winning Super Bowl lineup on Fanball.
You’re certainly getting a discount on Goff, and in these short-game slates, you have to punt at one position to try to fit some non-scrubs in those other spots. But do you want to go against the quarterback who has put up an average of 346 passing yards in his two playoff games? Do you want to go against the quarterback who has put up the following stat lines in the last two Super Bowls?
- 28-48, 505 yards, 3 TD passes, 0 INTS
- 43-62, 466 yards, 2 TD passes, 1 INT
The Patriots cruised through the regular season, almost on auto-pilot. When it became time for them to actually win games, they’ve put the game in the hands of Tom Brady. Yep, he’s like 47 years old. Yes, he’s the boring pick. But good quarterbacks have absolutely torched the Rams this season.
- Kirk Cousins: 422 yards, 3 TDs
- Drew Brees: 346-4
- Russell Wilson: 176-3 through the air, 92 rushing yards
- Patrick Mahomes: 478-6
Tell me one of these quarterbacks is going to top 400 yards. My money is on Brady.
Just for good measure, only one quarterback has topped 300 yards against the Patriots in their past 11 games (including playoff games), that was Philip Rivers in the Divisional Round in absolute garbage time. Although six of those 11 QBs did throw for multiple scores.
Still, I’m locking in Tom Brady as my starting QB.
Let’s start on the Patriots side of the ball here.
In two playoff games, Sony Michel has 5 rushing touchdowns. Rex Burkhead has 3 rushing touchdowns on only 16 carries. James White has not found the end zone during the playoffs, but has a whopping 19 catches in two games. Plus, we know James White. Prior to the playoffs beginning this year, White had scored 7 total touchdowns in his previous four playoff games. That includes 4 touchdowns in his last two Super Bowls. To be fair, James Develin is sitting there at the minimum price, and it would be sooooooooo Bill Belichick-ian to somehow feature Develin with 12 carries and three scores in the Super Bowl. However, he’s only got three touches in the playoffs so far, so I’m staying away.
So you’re likely looking at two of three guys from the Pats. One for your RB position and one for a FLEX.
The case for Sony is that he’s leading ALL running backs in rushing attempts, yards and scores. This includes Zeke Elliot and Damien Williams who have both played the same amount of games as Michel and really aren’t a part of split backfields. Michel is in a three-way timeshare to say the least, but his share of the pie has been huge. It’s like he cut out a little slice, put it on a plate, and took the rest of the pie for himself.
The case against Sony is Rex Burkhead. It was evident in the Conference Championship round in Kansas City, that Michel was worn down a bit at the end of the game. Enter Sexy Rexy for some vulture-style touchdowns. Pairing Michel and Burkhead may be the best bet if you think that the New England running game will succeed.
The case for James White is two-fold. There’s safety in his receiving numbers. Sure, he might not get the 12-15 carries you’d like to see from a running back, but we’re probably looking at 8 catches at a minimum, along with 40 yards through the air. Your floor, just from the passing game, is likely 12 points. Plus there’s a ceiling to James White which we’ve seen in the Super Bowls past. And this year the receiving options for New England aren’t nearly as attractive as a Brandin Cooks (who is suiting up for the other team) or even a Danny Amendola (who is sipping a rum drink on South Beach). Plus, the Rams gave up 4 receiving touchdowns to opposing backs in their final 8 games of the regular season. That’s a coin-flip’s chance for a score.
On the Rams side, it’s a much tougher call. On one hand, Damien Williams tallied 3 total touchdowns in the Conference Championship game against the Pats. Two of those were through the air, one on the ground. It is worth noting that the Pats held Williams to only 30 rushing yards on 10 carries, but game-flow had them passing most of the second half, which is where Williams’ big numbers came into play. You’d think that this bodes well for Gurley, since CJ Anderson is not involved in the passing game and that the Rams were, just one game ago, the team that was coming from behind to beat the Saints. If we’re talking about the last round of the playoffs, it’s fair to mention that Gurley was on the sideline for most of that comeback. Was he still dinged up? Was he benched? Not sure that we’ll know the entire truth here, but Gurley should be more healthy than he’s been in awhile after the two week layoff.
Let’s not replay last week though on either side of the ball. New England has been pretty good against opposing backs all year. They only allowed 6 rushing scores to the position in the regular season. Only two single runners topped the 100-yard mark against the Pats this season, and only three runners topped 55 receiving yards this year. They bend, they don’t break. Combine that with Gurley’s high price tag, his health or quality of play being called into question, and suddenly this has become a split backfield with CJ, I don’t think I want anything to do with Gurley.
Finally, Anderson is at a discount, but he’s only $700 cheaper than James White, or $800 cheaper than Sony Michel. Both of those guys seem to have a role carved out for their backfields, we can’t be sure of the same for Anderson. He could get 23 carries again as he did in the Divisional Round, or 16 carries as he did in the Conference Championship. OR. Or he could watch a now healthy Todd Gurley get back in the saddle, and we could see 8 carries from Anderson as a change of pace back.
Long story short, I’m going with Patriots backs. If I’m going with one running back from the Pats, I’m gunning for James White. If I’m playing multiple lineups, I will end up with a combination of two of the three of them in almost all of them. Likely using Rex Burkhead in the flex and having either White or Sony Michel as my other option.
This time let’s start on the Rams.
Purely based on averages alone, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks are getting about 3x value just based on their price and average Fanball points. Cooks has the REVENGE GAME angle going for him, as many of you remember him as a part of the Patriots team in last year’s Super Bowl, prior to getting concussed on an absolutely brutal hit over the middle. The problem with Cooks is that he’s lining up across from Stephon Gilmore, who is quietly one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Woods occupies the slot on most of his routes, and leads the team in targets over the past two weeks with 18. The issue with both of them, and frankly, let’s include Josh Reynolds in this, that no Rams WR has scored a touchdown this post season. The Pats gave up a long Keenan Allen score in the Divisional Round, but outside of that have basically kept the WR position in check for the better part of two months. The last “good” day for a WR, (outside of Allen) was Kenny Stills back in Week 14.
If I have to choose one Rams wide receiver, it’s probably Woods due to the Pats being slightly weaker in the slot. J.C. Jackson and Jason McCourty tend to both flex in to the slot as they often play shadow coverage, whereas Gilmore usually sticks to the one side, the side that Cooks is on. Gilmore is their best corner, either Jackson or McCourty are both still very capable, but I trust Woods much more than Cooks.
If I’m looking for a cheaper option, it’s Reynolds, as he’s not that far off the target pace of the other two (Woods 18, Cooks 14, Reynolds 11), and yardage-wise Reynolds only trails Woods by 7 yards through the air. Factor in that McVay has used Reynolds in the running game with some success. Looking at the cheaper wide receiver options, he’s the safest bet out of the lower tier.
Julian Edelman has the most targets, receptions and receiving yards in the playoffs. He’s got exactly 0.0 touchdowns to show for it. He will get double-digit targets in this game. His slot matchup against Nickell Roby-Coleman is a good one. Edelman is Tom Brady’s woobie. If they need a first down, it’s going to Edelman. So, seeing as how we’re looking at about a stat line of 8-100-0, would 18 points be enough for you in this matchup for you to spend the $7,000 on him? In my mind the answer is no. We’re looking at 2.5x value. I think I can get more than that from some other options here.
As far as the cheaper options on the Pats… Meh.
Phillip Dorsett has had a touchdown in each of the last two playoff games, although he’s only had 4 catches in those two. I guess that means that Brady finds him as a reliable end zone target, which is something that hasn’t really held true for the other Patriots receivers in the recent past. However, over the course of the season, in which Dorsett played all 16 games, he only saw a 36% snap rate. At nearly the same price you could get Chris Hogan, who, to his credit, actually kind of showed up last week with some clutch catches over the Chiefs. However, Hogan topped 5 catches only twice this season, and has scored once in the last 16 games. There’s not a ton of upside here, it’s just a play that doesn’t kill you. Hogan is on the field for about three-quarters of the Pats snaps. It will be interesting to see how the Rams deploy their corners against these two options. Former Patriot Aqib Talib mostly stays on the left side of the field, meaning he’ll line up against the right-side wide receiver. Hogan lined up on the right side 32% of the time, while Dorsett lined up there 36% of the time. Meaning the two of them should see a fairly even split between Talib and the very beatable Marcus Peters.
For now I’m plugging in Robert Woods in the wide receiver slot, but Julian Edelman is not far from my mind.
The tight end spot is a bit of a mess. It’s really a choice between, do you take Gronk and pay up for him, or do you go with Higbee or Everett?
Let’s start with Gronk. First off, it’s fair to say that Gronk is the only Patriots tight end with a target in the playoffs. Next, it’s also fair to say that he had ONE target, ONE catch and 25 yards in the Divisional Round against the Chargers. Now, in the Conference Championship game it was almost classic Gronk, 11 targets, 6 catches, 79 yards. The last time Rob Gronkowski had double digit targets in a game was Super Bowl 52. In that game 15 targets, 9-116-2, and he “dropped” a Hail Mary that could have tied the game. There’s also rumors swirling that this could be Gronk’s final game as a pro, as he’s contemplating retirement. Maybe the Pats have saved him for this exact moment. The injuries throughout his career have certainly taken a toll. But maybe they’ve kept the miles low this year for exactly this reason. There’s probably many of you who have been burned by Gronk in either season-long or DFS, but we’ve got to have a short memory. He may be the best option. It’s worth noting that the Rams have given up some monster games to the tight end position as well. Travis Kelce and George Kittle each topped 100 yards and scored against the Rams in the latter half of the season.
As far as Tyler Higbee or Gerald Everett, they’re nearly identical in price, and nearly identical in targets and yards. Higbee, for what it’s worth has caught more of his targets in the playoffs, but we’re looking at his high water mark of 4-25-1 which he had last week against the Saints. That was literally his best fantasy game of the season. Everett had a two touchdown game in that scoring bonanza against Kansas City, but hasn’t score a touchdown since (7 games). Of the two, Everett was the safer floor during the regular season, but neither inspires much confidence.
I’m going with Rob Gronkowski. There’s upside that none of these others have and the floor is about the same as the average for either Higbee or Everett.
As I fill out the flex I don’t have a ton of money left, so I’m going to have to play in the bargain bin. Luckily I already highlighted that I liked Rex Burkhead at $4,000, which leaves me $5,300 to spend. Unfortunately, there’s nobody at all in that range. My highest priced flex player remaining is Josh Reynolds at $4,500. He’s a guy I liked a bit too, as his matchup is a little easier than Brandin Cooks. So there we go, Rex Burkhead and Josh Reynolds in the flex. I have $800 left over, which is not ideal, but in these single slate games, you’re looking at getting it right, not spending all your money.
Here’s a lineup with Woods as the wide receiver, but I could easily swap this to be a Julian Edelman, Pats-heavy lineup. Wanna swap in Sony Michel for James White? That works too. Here are a couple of lineups I’ve built. The one at the bottom is the wacky one that no one will be on.