The Super Bowl is the last NFL DFS football we’ll be getting for the next seven months, but both DraftKings and FanDuel posted massive prize pools and tournaments of all different levels and sizes. Pricing on both sites isn’t perfect but there are no egregious errors so the roster construction should be a solid balance of doable but challenging. Let’s take an early look at the pricing and find out the NFL DFS picks we want to begin building our rosters around on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Super Bowl First Look: DraftKings & FanDuel NFL DFS Picks
NFL DFS Picks: Quarterbacks
Extensive research has shown that there are two starting quarterbacks for this game. While building the uber-contrarian lineup with a backup quarterback has a certain amount of allure, it’s not particularly viable. Looking at the lineups of top players for the Chiefs – Bills Showdown slate, I couldn’t find a single lineup with a backup passer. Simply put, too many things need to go right for a lineup with a backup passer to win that it’s not worth the money you’ll burn chasing that outcome. Moving on to the starters, quarterback seems like a hard place to find fades. Patrick Mahomes has played in six primetime Showdown slates this year. He has been in the optimal lineup in four of those six games. He was owned by 63% of the field in the AFC Championship.
Mahomes and Tom Brady finished first and third in yards passing per game in the regular season. Both players also finished top five in touchdowns passing as well, and the game has a 56-point total. Pivoting off either quarterback in the Captain spot makes sense in large tournaments, but fading the position entirely looks like a fool’s errand.
NFL DFS Picks: Running Backs
None of the running backs have much appeal in this game outside of the fact that every player that’s active has to be considered on a showdown slate. In the largest tournament last week, Ronald Jones was actually more popular in the Flex than Leonard Fournette. Jones busted last week and Fournette hit, so that could easily flip but if their ownership split is close, Fournette is the obvious choice. He’s averaging 5.7 targets per game in the playoffs and his team is the underdog in this game.
On the other side of the ball, Clyde Edwards-Helaire was out-carried by Darrel Williams 13-to-6 last week. Andy Reid also used Williams over Le’Veon Bell in the prior game. Williams was only priced up to $5,200, while Edwards-Helaire is at $7,000. Williams is a better value by miles, but that could drive ownership entirely off Edwards-Helaire, who is a viable tournament pivot because of his mispricing.
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NFL DFS Picks: Pass Catchers
Tight ends and wide receivers get grouped together because the differences between the two are functionally minimal. For the Chiefs, both Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are among the best choices at Captain. If they come in lower owned than either quarterback, they deserve strong consideration as pivots at the premier roster spot. The scoring breakdown combined with Captain ownership from last week (Week 20) is interesting:
|Leading Scorer Games||DK PPG||
Week 20 CPT Rate
Hill hasn’t led the trio in scoring since Week 12 and his Week 20 score was topped by Kelce. A world where he is 5% owned in Captain is easy to imagine.
For the Buccaneers, their split of volume before the playoffs was quite clearly in favor of Mike Evans. He dominated the work from Week 9 to Week 16:
- Evans – 22% target share, 28.9% air yards share
- Godwin – 17.6% target share, 19.9% air yards share
- Brown – 17.7% target share, 16.9% air yards share
Godwin leads the team in targets since the playoffs started but Evans entered the playoffs banged up and Brown missed one and a half games with a knee injury. It’s likely that their Super Bowl distribution more closely mirrors their in-season distribution than any playoff game.
With Sammy Watkins expected to be back in the fold for Kansas City, the routes run by non-Hill and Kelce players remain an enigma. Watkins was hovering around a 75% route rate when healthy, but Mecole Hardman has played well in the playoffs. this looks like a situation to fade ownership based on our lack of available insight. Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson should be nothing more than differentiation plays in large-field tournaments.
NFL DFS Picks: Defense and Kicker
Neither defense looks incredibly appealing. Mahomes led the league in interceptions rate and was top five in sack rate (in a good way for Mahomes and a bad way for opposing defenses). He puts up points and does not make mistakes. Brady has thrown more interceptions this year as 2% of his passes have resulted in picks. However, his sack rate is still approaching zero.
Kicker looks like the better place to save money out of these two positions. Tampa Bay finished 12th in field goal attempts per game, while Kansas City hovered just behind league average. If either team stalls in the red zone but makes frequent trips into scoring territory, the kickers could be the key to unlocking this slate.
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