Lineup Prep: Super Bowl

Tue Jan 28 12:31pm ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Kittle should see more targets



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It is hard to believe but the last game of the season is here. The Super Bowl is this weekend, ending the football season. It is sad to see another season come to an end, but the 2020 fantasy season will be here before you know it. 

Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . . .

First off, enjoy the game this weekend. Super Bowl Sunday is always a great day of the year, so enjoy it. I know I’m looking forward to it, spending time with family, friends while eating some good food. Hopefully, the game is a good one, making things even better.

Here is my prediction for the big game. I really think it is a tossup with the way both teams are playing right now. But for me, I think the Chiefs win the game 31-27. I just think the Chiefs offense is too much right now even against a very good 49ers defense. Kansas City is just clicking on all cylinders right now. I think the speed at receiver for the Chiefs might be the difference in this game, making some big plays. Plus, the Chiefs defense has made big strides since the start of the year, making big plays at crucial times. This should be a great matchup, but in the end, I think the Chiefs will prevail and win the Super Bowl.

I think Gary Kubiak taking over as the offensive coordinator for the Vikings is a solid move for that offense. Kubiak should employ a similar approach to this past year, getting the most out of Dalvin Cook and Kirk Cousins. I don’t expect much of a drop off in production - if any - with Kubiak calling plays. He knows what he is doing and has produced some big offenses as the primary play caller. 

This should be a very interesting offseason for quarterbacks. Several big-name quarterbacks are free agents this year. This might be the most movement at the quarterback spot we have ever seen in the NFL during an offseason. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Jameis Winston, Dak Prescott, Ryan Tannehill and Teddy Bridgewater are the headliner quarterback free agents. Now some of these players are expected to re-sign or get tagged by their current team, but many could be moving on to other teams this offseason. It is going to be interesting to watch. These guys moving around will really impact the fantasy world. 

Kareem Hunt had another off the field incident. He was pulled over for speeding but the officer also found marijuana in the car. He was not charged with anything but speeding, though. The NFL is likely going to look into this incident, which is not great news for Hunt. Remember, he was suspended the first half of this past season. This is a situation to monitor if you have hopes of Hunt being fantasy relevant this coming season. 

So I’m not proud to admit this, but I’m a little intrigued by the XFL. My city (St. Louis) has a team and some buzz has being going around town a little. The last time the XFL was around there was some excitement with the league before it went belly up. The rules are kind of interesting and the faster paced game could make for some good entertainment. We’ll see. It will be hard to have staying power with the NFL being so strong, but you never know. 

As always, don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Super Bowl Rankings

HOT PLAYS

George Kittle, TE, 49ers. With the 49ers having huge success running the ball during the playoffs, Kittle has gotten little usage. He has four receptions for 35 yards in two playoff games. We think he can get back to his old ways this week with the 49ers trying to keep up with the Chiefs high-powered offense. Remember, Kittle had at least five receptions five of his last six regular season games. He also has a favorable matchup against a Chiefs defines that allowed the sixth most fantasy points to tight ends during the regular season. 

Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs. Hill had multiple touchdowns his last time out, catching five passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns. This was his third multiple touchdown game of the season. Hill has a chance to break off some big plays against a 49ers secondary that lacks a little top-end speed. It would not surprise to see Hill find the end zone again and get a few big plays in this game. 

COLD PLAYS  

Damien Williams, RB, Chiefs. Williams has touchdowns each of the Chiefs playoff games, but failed to top 50-rushing yards in either of those games. He will get some catches even if he doesn’t pile up the rushing yards, but Williams has never topped 50-receiving yards in a game this year. Williams is going to be a touchdown dependent player, making him a risky fantasy play. The 49ers allowed just 10-rushing touchdowns all season and gave up the second fewest fantasy points to running backs.

Emmanuel Sanders, WR, 49ers. Sanders has two receptions for 33 yards in the 49ers two playoffs games. He didn't even catch a pass his last game and has been targeted just three times the entire playoffs. Sanders has fewer than 50 yards eight of 10 games. The Chiefs also are a tough opponent for Sanders, allowing the second fewest fantasy points to receivers during the regular season. Sanders isn’t wroth the risk. 

SLEEPERS  

Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs. There always seems to be a player that surprises in the big game, so put Hardman on your radar. His speed could be a tough matchup for the 49ers secondary. Hardman found the end zone six times during the season, proving he is capable of the big play in this offense. The Chiefs could find ways to get this playmaker the ball, especially if the 49ers key on other Chiefs players in the game.

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers. Garoppolo has done next to nothing in the playoffs because the 49ers have been so run heavy. He has not been needed to air it out. That could change in the Super Bowl. It would not surprise to see the 49ers having to play catchup against a high-powered Chiefs offense. He should get more chances to throw the ball. He had plenty of big games during the regular season, so Garoppolo is more than capable of producing for fantasy teams. He probably needs to have a big showing if he 49ers hope to win this game. 

High/Low Scoring Games

Each week we will take a look at some of the high and low scoring games for the coming week. In high scoring affairs, get your marginal players on those teams in your lineup to take advantage of the possible points barrage. And in the low scoring games, keep those marginal players on the bench and make sure to have your defenses involved in those contests.

High Scoring Games: Chiefs/49ers.

Low Scoring Games: None.

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
Christian McCaffrey Jul 12 1:40pm ET

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has plenty of hype entering the 2020 campaign and should continue to be the No. 1 fantasy selection in the majority of fantasy drafts heading into September. However, according to a poll conducted by ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, more than 50 percent of league executives view Saquon Barkley as the top back in the league. As claimed by one anonymous AFC executive, McCaffrey is "not as sturdy as Saquon. Not the same speed-and-power combo." While this declaration may not hinder fantasy managers from taking McCaffrey first overall in drafts, it could give many something to think about.

From RotoBaller

Tom Brady Jul 11 3:30pm ET

The New England Patriots were down to less than $500,000 in salary cap space earlier this week, but they now stand at $7.794 million with flexibility for in-season roster moves. They achieved that by reaching settlements in compensation grievances with wide receiver Antonio Brown ($4 million) and tight end Aaron Hernandez ($2.55 million). For a New England team trying to remain competitive after watching future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady defect to the Buccaneers in free agency, this is huge. A team-friendly, incentive-based deal with former MVP QB Cam Newton will also allow the Pats to do some in-season roster maneuvering in 2020.

From RotoBaller

Hunter Henry Jul 11 3:20pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry isn't expecting a long-term contract extension before the deadline of Wednesday, July 15, so he expects to play the 2020 season under the $10.6 million franchise tag. The 25-year-old doesn't seem to be too worried about it, though, and he's focused on the 2020 season. He views this year as a prove-it deal because he hasn't played a full season in his four-year career due to injuries. Henry spent May and June working out with rookie quarterback Justin Herbert and recently had throwing sessions with Tyrod Taylor. Henry had career highs with 55 catches and 652 receiving yards in 2019. Among tight ends, Henry has the best passer rating when targeted at 132.3 since 2016. He's surely a top-10 fantasy tight end, but injuries and a downgrade at QB limit his overall ceiling.

From RotoBaller

DeSean Jackson Jul 11 2:30pm ET

The Philadelphia Eagles announced on Friday that they fined wide receiver DeSean Jackson "for conduct detrimental to the team," which included controversial posts on Instagram and sharing an image of a quote falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler earlier this week. Jackson has since offered multiple apologies, but he "must also commit to supporting his words with actions" in order to remain with the team. The 33-year-old missed all but three games in 2019 because of an injury and is now desperately trying to repair his image before the season. If healthy, D-Jax should be the team's primary deep threat, but as usual, he'll be a boom-or-bust WR3 for fantasy owners.

From RotoBaller

Le'Veon Bell Jul 11 2:30pm ET

New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell had a "great talk" with disgruntled All-Pro safety Jamal Adams on Thursday and came away with the impression that Adams wants to stay in New York if he gets a new contract. Bell doesn't oppose Adams' hard-line stance in negotiations. Adams formally requested a trade last month and has two years remaining on his rookie contract. He's making $3.6 million in 2020 and $9.9 million in 2021 under the fifth-year team option. Adams is believed to be looking to become the highest-paid safety in the league, and the Jets continue to say they want to make him a "Jet for life," but they aren't putting a timetable on it. Bell doesn't want Adams to be traded and doesn't think he will. Adams hasn't had a ton of interceptions, but his ability to play the run and rush the passer makes him unique and the top overall IDP defensive back.

From RotoBaller

Shaquil Barrett Jul 10 8:00pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass-rusher Shaquil Barrett is signing his franchise tender on Friday and has filed a grievance against the team that he should be tagged as a defensive end and not as a linebacker. The franchise tag for a linebacker pays around $15.8 million, while the tag for a defensive end pays around $17.8 million this year. Barrett and the Bucs are not close to a long-term extension and the hope is that they can find common ground on a one-year deal moving forward. Most teams aren't looking to shell out tons of cash on extensions with COVID-19 potentially negatively affecting the salary cap in 2021 and beyond. The 27-year-old was fantasy relevant for the first time in his career in 2019, recording a whopping 19.5 sacks, 58 tackles and 81 total pressures. But can the pass-rushing linebacker do it again? He had 14 combined sacks in four seasons with the Broncos prior to last year. Barrett will need to continue being a sack monster in order to maintain relevance in IDP leagues.

From RotoBaller

Bud Dupree Jul 10 7:20pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers pass rusher Bud Dupree has filed a grievance in hopes that he will be paid as a defensive end instead of as a linebacker for the 2020 season. The Steelers placed the franchise tag on Dupree earlier in the offseason, designating him as a linebacker. The franchise tag for a linebacker pays roughly $15.8 million while the franchise tag for a defensive end will pay around $17.8 million. There was talk of Dupree signing a long-term deal with the Steelers this offseason but the two sides are not currently close to a deal, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Dupree racked up 11.5 sacks for the Steelers in 2019.

From RotoBaller

Quinton Dunbar Jul 10 3:50pm ET

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar, who is currently in the middle of an armed-robbery case, is allowed to be at training camp and is expected to report later this month. Dunbar recently hired a second attorney for his case despite the team hinting at positive developments for Dunbar's case in June. He has pled not guilty to his armed-robbery charges, and his lawyer has claimed that Dunbar had no involvement in a robbery during his night out with DeAndre Baker in Florida. Even though Dunbar will be a allowed to take part in training camp, there's no guarantee that he'll be available for the entire 2020 season, depending on how his case plays out.

From RotoBaller

Tom Brady Jul 10 3:30pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers left tackle Donovan Smith expressed his concerns about playing football during the coronavirus pandemic. Expecting his first child in three weeks, Smith is rightfully questioning how the league will keep players and their families safe. These concerns are warranted, considering that social distancing is effectively impossible on a football field. In addition to concerns about safety, Smith called for salary raises, considering the risks the players will be undertaking. The veteran tackle isn't the only player feeling this way. It will be interesting to see what the league does to assuage the players. If Smith chooses not to play this year, it will be a downgrade on quarterback Tom Brady's blind side in his first year in Tampa.

From RotoBaller

Patrick Mahomes Jul 10 2:40pm ET

The Kansas City Chiefs agreed to a one-year deal to re-sign backup quarterback Matt Moore on Friday, according to a source. The Chiefs hope they won't need Moore or Chad Henne after signing superstar QB Patrick Mahomes to a 10-year, record-breaking extension this week, but Moore will provide valuable depth. Moore is heading into his age-36 season and made two starts for the Chiefs in his first season in KC in 2019 when Mahomes was dealing with a knee ailment. The veteran completed 59 of his 91 pass attempts for 659 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. You can ignore him for fantasy purposes obviously.

From RotoBaller

D'Andre Swift Jul 10 2:30pm ET

Detroit Lions rookie running back D'Andre Swift, a second-round pick in April, is "ready to compete" with Kerryon Johnson and wants to start in 2020. Head coach Matt Patricia won't shy away from the idea of listing both Swift and Johnson as starters in the backfield this year. Johnson has run for more than 1,000 yards and six touchdowns through 18 games in two seasons, and he also has 340 receiving yards and two TDs, but he's dealt with knee injuries in both seasons. Swift had more than 2,800 rushing yards and 20 TDs, adding 600-plus receiving yards and five TDs in his three years at Georgia. The 21-year-old was one of the top running backs in this year's draft class and has considerable upside. He'll be slightly more attractive than Johnson in fantasy drafts as a high-end RB3.

From RotoBaller

Justin Simmons Jul 10 2:20pm ET

Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons accepted his franchise tender on Friday and is expected to sign it this weekend, according to sources. A third-round pick in 2016, the 26-year-old played at a Pro Bowl level in 2019 and was tied for second on the team with 93 tackles. Simmons led the team with four interceptions and 15 passes defensed and was named an All-Pro for his efforts. Re-signing Simmons to a long-term deal will require elite money, with the five highest-paid safeties in the league all having contracts that average between $14 million and $14.6 million. He could be just as good or better in his second season with Vic Fangio at the helm, and Simmons is in the picture as a starting defensive back in IDP leagues.

From RotoBaller

N'Keal Harry Jul 10 1:50pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry is eager to begin working with his new quarterback. Cam Newton and Harry were seen working out together for roughly two hours. They were reportedly running plays from the Patriots playbook. Harry is likely going to be the No. 3 receiver to start the season behind Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu Sr. on the depth chart. Last season, Harry hauled in seven receptions, 105 yards, and two touchdowns through seven games. His fantasy value should be on the rise, assuming he's able to stay healthy. Harry likely won't have much standard league value, but could be a decent deep league option. It's going to depend on what kind of chemistry the two of them can develop.

From RotoBaller

Bruce Irvin Jul 10 12:30am ET

Seattle Seahawks third-year linebacker Shaquem Griffin is one of The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta's "bubble" players for training camp this summer. He has yet to carve out a role as a starting linebacker after being a fifth-round pick out of Central Florida in 2018. Seattle has also added three draft picks in the last two years -- Jordyn Brooks, Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven -- at the position, in addition to starters Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. Veteran Bruce Irvin is also in the picture. Griffin will likely need to add something as a pass-rusher in order to have a shot at making the regular season roster out of camp. His salary cap number also continues to go up ($829,405) this year, but with practice squads likely being increased to 16 in 2020, there's a chance he sticks with the team even if he doesn't make the roster.

From RotoBaller

Matt Breida Jul 10 12:20am ET

The Miami Dolphins have yet to discuss a contract extension with running back Matt Breida after giving up the No. 153 overall pick in April's draft to acquire him from the 49ers. The running back is scheduled for unrestricted free agency after the 2020 season and is scheduled to make $3.3 million in the final year of his deal. Breida's career highs of 153 carries and 814 yards came with San Francisco in 2018. He is expected to share the backfield load with free-agent pickup Jordan Howard. Miami has understandably held off on extensions with uncertainty over how COVID-19 will affect the 2021 salary cap. The 25-year-old had 623 rushing yards in 2019 and is the better and cheaper fantasy option over Howard if he can just stay healthy.

From RotoBaller

Laviska Shenault Jr. Jul 10 12:10am ET

The Jacksonville Jaguars signed second-round wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. to his rookie deal on Thursday. When fully healthy, Shenault can end up being one of the most explosive receivers in a stacked class at the position. Shenault played at Colorado and was the 42nd overall pick in the draft. He was twice an All-Pac 12 player and is expected to make an immediate impact in Jacksonville's passing attack in 2020. The 21-year-old is versatile and could fill a variety of offensive roles with the Jags right away, but that typically hurts the development of young players like Shenault. He does have injury concerns and will have one of the weaker QBs in the NFL throwing to him, Shenault can put up big numbers if he's given the opportunity. Consider him a late-round flier in redraft leagues with DJ Chark Jr. and Dede Westbrook ahead of him.

From RotoBaller

Lamical Perine Jul 10 12:00am ET

The New York Jets announced on Thursday that they signed rookie running back Lamical Perine to his rookie contract after they selected him in the fourth round (120th overall) back in April. The Florida product became the fourth of the team's nine draft picks to sign. He rushed for a team-high 826 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior and ran for 676 yards and six touchdowns in 13 starts in 2019. Perine also added a career-high 40 catches for 262 yards and five touchdowns. There's upside in the long-term in New York once Le'Veon Bell is out of the picture, but there's not a lot of 2020 upside with Bell and veteran Frank Gore in the backfield. The rookie could factor in on some third downs in his first season, but he's way more attractive in dynasty/keeper affairs.

From RotoBaller

Cam Newton Jul 9 6:53pm ET

New England Patriots WR N'Keal Harry was filmed running routes with QB Cam Newton Wednesday, July 8.

Fantasy Spin: Harry was never able to find a true groove with former Patriots QB Tom Brady (Buccaneers) last season while being limited to just seven games. He caught 12 of 24 targets for 105 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie. Newton could take better advantage of Harry's downfield abilities if fully healthy in 2020. The early reps are certainly a good sign for what hopes to be the Patriots' top duo in the passing game.

From TheHuddle

Cam Newton Jul 9 6:43pm ET

New England Patriots QB Cam Newton will win the starting competition against QBs Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer in training camp, according to former Patriots executive vice president Michael Lombardi Thursday, July 9. 'Watching Cam Newton throw and move, there is no doubt he will win the starting job,' Lombardi tweeted.

Fantasy Spin: Newton is widely expected to win the starting job by fantasy football enthusiasts and it would certainly be the best result for all the other members of the offense in 2020. He'll be at least a low-tier QB1 and should be given plenty of opportunities to make plays with his legs.

From TheHuddle

Derrick Henry Jul 9 5:53pm ET

Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry has less than a week to sign a long-term contract, or he will play the 2020 season under the franchise tag. Titans head coach Mike Vrabel stressed Thursday, July 9, deal's like these take time and patience is needed on both sides. 'Derrick signed his franchise tender, he's under contract,' Vrabel said. '... Having been involved with the NFL for a lot of years, getting deals done is about being patient, hopefully keeping them private and confidential. So I'm going to try to respect that, and understand that we love Derrick and he understands how important he is to our football team. Again, his leadership that grew last year, I'm looking forward, I know our team is looking for more of that this year.'

From TheHuddle