Since the Super Bowl is a one-game slate, everybody who is expected to play is an option, so we’ll do this a little differently this week. I’ll still provide cash game lineups at the end, but rather than giving a general overview of the top plays and fades. I’ll go player by player and mostly focus on correlations, stacking, and lineup construction.
For a more in-depth look at how I think each offense and defense matches up, be sure to also check out my betting breakdown on Action.
For the last time in the 2021-22 season, let’s get this shmoney!
QB Matthew Stafford
On DraftKings, Stafford’s production was more strongly correlated with Odell Beckham (0.49) and Van Jefferson (0.34) than Cooper Kupp (0.26). I normally suggest rostering both QBs on Showdown slates, but I’m fading Stafford for Kupp on DraftKings, as the latter averaged 28.2 DK points to Stafford’s 22.5. In GPPs, there’s leverage to be had by playing Stafford stacked with his non-Kupp WRs.
I also like Stafford as a GPP Captain play, as my colleague Simon Hunter pointed out that the Rams have practiced a Philly Special type of play with Stafford on the receiving end of an Odell Beckham Jr. pass. Stafford is the top choice for the MVP spot on FanDuel, as he projects for slightly more FanDuel points than Kupp in that scoring system in our NFL Player Models.
QB Joe Burrow
Burrow’s correlations go Ja’Marr Chase 0.64, Tee Higgins 0.48, C.J. Uzomah 0.33, Tyler Boyd 0.22, Joe Mixon 0.01. Given the matchup, this is a great time to pivot from a Burrow-Chase stack to a Burrow-Higgins stack, as he and Higgins have been just as strongly correlated or more correlated than Stafford to each of his pass-catchers. Burrow should also be locked into cash games.
RB Joe Mixon
Mixon’s only positive correlations above 0.01 are to Tee Higgins (0.29), Evan McPherson (0.24), and Bengals DST (0.17). A Mixon-Higgins pairing that fades Burrow and Chase gives you a fairly differentiated lineup with a lot of upside that could conceivably capture all of the Bengals’ TDs. Mixon also works well in stacks with McPherson and/or the Bengals DST, banking on the contrarian outcome of the Bengals winning a low-scoring game.
The Bengals have been a top-10 rushing team against light boxes, which is the Rams’ M.O. on defense, so don’t be surprised if Mixon exceeds expectations in this spot. He should be locked into cash games.
RB Cam Akers
Akers has an amazing story, but not the production to match. Aside from a 40-yard catch from Beckham on a trick play, Akers has done absolutely nothing with the football, gaining just 186 yards on his other 66 touches (2.8 yards per touch). Working in Akers’ favor is his salary, which makes him a top-three value on both FanDuel and DraftKings in our Player Models.
Working against him is the return of Darrell Henderson, whom Sean McVay hinted could be part of a three-back rotation after Henderson was activated from IR this week. Akers is a strong value play for cash games, and rostering him in the Captain spot on DraftKings allows you to also fit in Kupp, Burrow, and Mixon, but there is a lot of leverage to be had by fading him in spots in tournament play.
RB Sony Michel
With Akers’ struggling efficiency-wise, it’s possible Michel gets a bigger role in the Super Bowl than he had in the postseason up until this point. He’s a solid GPP dart throw who could conceivably score a short-yardage touchdown. Henderson’s return puts a damper on Michel’s outlook, however.
RB Samaje Perine
I think Perine’s yardage props are inflated, but if you’re making bulk lineups, he should be included in a few. The odds aren’t high that he will score in back-to-back games, but for what it’s worth, he did just that in mid-October.
RB Darrell Henderson
Henderson is massively intriguing. This man did not play a single snap of special teams, which means he wouldn’t have been activated if there weren’t an offensive role for him. There is still obviously a chance he could be healthy-scratched, but if he’s active, he has an outside shot at gaining the hot hand and leading the backfield.
What makes him more intriguing is that he would become the Rams’ most effective back on paper, as he averaged 4.9 yards per touch compared to Michel’s 4.1 and Akers’ 3.4.
RB Chris Evans
Evans is a sneaky dart throw. Up until last week, he had as many postseason touches as Perine (2 each). He is also the Bengals’ primary kickoff returner and averaged 26-plus yards per return in each of the past two postseason games. A Bengals-Evans stack would break the slate if he is able to house a kickoff.
WR Cooper Kupp
Kupp has the top projected floor and ceiling on the slate regardless of scoring system. As mentioned, I’m rostering him over Stafford in cash games at DraftKings. I think the Bengals could limit him if they go back to their rush-three/drop-eight defense that stymied Mahomes, but containing Kupp is relative, as he hit double-digit fantasy points in all 20 games at DraftKings and 19-of-20 at FanDuel.
One way to gain differentiation when rostering Kupp is to play him solo instead of paired with Stafford. It’s also worth noting that Kupp was negatively correlated with every one of his teammates but Stafford (0.26) and Matt Gay (0.15).
WR Ja’Marr Chase
Chase has a lower floor than Kupp, with three single-digit performances at DraftKings and four on FanDuel (excluding a meaningless Week 18 game). Chase’s only positive correlations are to Burrow (0.64), Uzomah (0.23), and Perine (0.16). Our models have Chase with a better Projected Plus/Minus than Higgins at FanDuel, but Higgins has the edge at DraftKings.
WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham isn’t quite as safe as he seems, as he’s been touchdown-dependent with six in 11 games as a Ram despite topping 60 receiving yards only four times. Beckham Jr. shouldn’t be more expensive than Higgins on DraftKings. His negative correlation to Kupp (-0.11) and positive correlations to Stafford (0.49) and Van Jefferson (0.20) make the trip a great stacking option with leverage on Kupp.
WR Tee Higgins
Higgins is top-five in Projected Plus Minus at both DraftKings and FanDuel in our models. Based on the Rams’ zone-heavy Cover 4 scheme and weakness over the middle, Higgins profiles as a very real threat to lead the Bengals in receiving. His only positive correlations are to Burrow (0.48), Mixon (0.29), and Boyd (0.07).
WR Tyler Boyd
Like Higgins, Boyd has matched up well against Cover 4 and on passes to the short middle. Since the Rams predominantly play zone and keep linebacker Troy Reeder on the field for every down, the Bengals should be able to get Boyd easy catches over the middle of the field.
The fear is that they up the slot usage for Chase and Higgins and use Boyd more as an outside receiver, where he is not as effective. Still, he certainly has upside, posting 100 yards or a TD in seven of 19 games, or 37%.
WR Van Jefferson
Jefferson is the ideal GPP play for the slate. He has run a route on 86% or more of Stafford’s dropbacks in all three postseason games and has an average depth of target of 14.5 for the season. If he catches a long TD, it has the potential to change the slate in a bigger way than Boyd, as Kupp and Beckham have a higher combined salary than Chase and Higgins. Jefferson has scored in 6 of 20 games, or 30%.
Given Jefferson’s salary on FanDuel, he is also cash viable there as a punt play who should push for 90% of snaps.
WR Ben Skowronek
After Skowronek and Stafford failed to connect on what would have been an easy TD on his only target of the postseason, I’m worried that he may not even see more than 1-2 routes in the Super Bowl. His snap rates in the postseason are 12%, 8%, 27%.
If you’re playing him, you’re essentially banking on one of the Rams starting WRs getting hurt.
WR Trent Taylor
If Taylor is elevated, he is one of the more interesting dart throws on the slate. He will return punts, which gives him double-dip appeal stacked with the Bengals DST. But he was also the receiver who caught a game-tying 2-point conversion in the AFC Championship, meaning it’s possible he is part of other plays in the goal-line package as well.
If Taylor is active, I prefer him to Mike Thomas, who was initially thought to be the team’s No. 4 WR.
WR Mike Thomas
He has played seven offensive snaps in the postseason and will likely only see action if Chase or Higgins gets hurt.
WR Brandon Powell
His numbers as the Rams’ punt returner have been low-key absurd: 19.3 yards per return and a TD on 11 returns. He’s right up there with Taylor and Evans as the slate’s top non-Henderson dart throws. He is more explosive than Taylor, but unlike Taylor, we have seen zero usage on offense for Powell.
TE C.J. Uzomah
This isn’t a Uzomah-type matchup, as he averaged just 0.99 yards per route run against zone coverage compared to 1.68 versus man coverage, according to PFF. He also doesn’t have a TD against zone coverage this season. Anything could happen on a one-game slate, but it’s worth paying the few extra dollars for Boyd over Uzomah.
TE Kendall Blanton
Blanton showed signs of life over the past two postseason games, catching a TD against the Bucs and posting a 5/57/0 line against the 49ers. I doubt Blanton will be a big part of the game plan, but the Bengals will likely do everything in their power to funnel the ball in his direction, and they ranked 24th in DVOA versus TEs.
Blanton is a viable cheap stacking option with Stafford.
TE Drew Sample
Sample will go back to his backup role with Uzomah looking healthy enough to resume his starting role. The Rams have been a lot stronger against heavy personnel than spread looks, so I wouldn’t expect anything from Sample unless Uzomah aggravates his injury in-game.
TE Brycen Hopkins
Hopkins caught one pass all year and was a healthy scratch in the NFC Championship. Of course, Blanton did score a TD against Tampa Bay as the backup TE, so never say never, but Hopkins is on the lower end of dart throws for this game.
TE Mitchell Wilcox
He played one offensive snap in the first two postseason games and will only see action if Uzomah goes down.
Kickers and Defenses
K Matt Gay
Gay has made multiple field goals in 75% of his games but doesn’t have the same range as McPherson. If you’re rostering him, the rest of your lineup has to support a low-scoring Rams win. Gay is cash-viable at DraftKings, where his floor projects as the highest among players under $5,400.
K Evan McPherson
McPherson has a booming leg and could be necessary to roster if the Bengals end up winning a low-scoring game, His median projection is lower than Gay’s since the Bengals are underdogs, but I would rather roster him due to the potential for 50-plus-yard field goals. Like Gay, McPherson is viable in cash games on DraftKings, as he has the second-highest projected floor of any player under $5,400.
DST Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have double-digit sack upside in this spot and are the higher-upside DST of the two.
DST Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals don’t have nearly as much sack upside as the Rams, but Stafford has been known to throw a pick-six or two.
Rams-Bengals DFS Lineups
- RB Cam Akers &9,600 (CPT)
- WR Cooper Kupp $11,600
- QB Joe Burrow $10,600
- RB Joe Mixon $9,600
- K Evan McPherson $4,000
- K Matt Gay $3,800
- QB Matthew Stafford $15,500 (MVP)
- QB Joe Burrow $15,000
- RB Joe Mixon $12,500
- RB Cam Akers $10,000
- WR Van Jefferson $7,000