Lineup Prep: Super Bowl

Wed Feb 7 8:43am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Related photo caption below

Pacheco is playing at high level


Not sure about you, but there is not a better weekend in sports than Super Bowl weekend. It is as good as it gets. Just everything involved with it is so much fun. I am so looking forward to it all this weekend. Let’s hope it is a good game and lives up to the hype. Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . .

I will give you my pick for the game right off the bat. I think it will be a close game, but look for the Chiefs to squeak it out. I think the experience factor plays a difference here in the end, especially when it comes to the quarterback position. Patrick Mahomes has been outstanding during the playoffs and think he has a huge advantage over Brock Purdy. Plus, the Chiefs defense has been outstanding lately, completely shutting down the opponent. I don’t see them shutting down the 49ers high-powered offense, but think they will cause Purdy problems. I’m going with a Chiefs 31-27 victory.

If you still don’t have any fantasy teams alive in the playoffs, consider playing our fun pickem contests. We have tons of options available to play with for the Super Bowl. I wanted to give you a few of my favorite pickem plays for the big game. Give me Travis Kelce more than 70.5-receiving yards. Kelce has 71-plus yards all three of his playoff games and is coming off arguably his best game of the season. And the 49ers struggled to stop the tight end last week, seeing Sam LaPorta rack up the receptions and yards. I also like Brandon Aiyuk less than 61.5-receiving yards. Aiyuk has failed to hit that mark two of three games and has just three catches each of his last three games. Lastly, I like Deebo Samuel more than 79.5-rushing and receiving yards. Samuel had 11 touches his last game and was a huge part of the offense. I look for the 49ers to get him involved early and often, giving him good potential to rack up some total yards.

I’m not sure how I feel about the Commanders hiring of Kliff Kingsbury. His offenses were fine in Arizona, but not as explosive as many thought and he struggled some using Caleb Williams last year at USC. I think the Commanders would have been better served keeping Eric Bieniemy as their offensive coordinator. I thought he did a great job with the offense last year in Washington all things considered. I’m not convinced Kingsbury is going to be an upgrade.

On a different subject, can we stop teasing and showing parts of the Super Bowl commercials before the game? I mean part of the fun of the game is the commercials. They are always entertaining and a part of the event. But now, you see parts of the commercials before the game, ruining the surprise. C’mon people. Let’s stop this tradition right now.

We had our first TFC draft of the 2024 season last night. And in a surprise move, the first pick of the draft was Breece Hall. And we also saw Sam LaPorta get picked before Travis Kelce. It is always interesting to see how these early drafts shake out. A lot is going to change between now and the start of next season, but trends are starting now. In this draft, four running backs were picked in the first round compared to eight receivers. And the quarterback position looks as deep as ever with guys like Jordan Love getting picked in Round 11. Brock Purdy and Kirk Cousins also went very late.

News and Notes: The Chargers hired Greg Roman as their new offensive coordinator. Roman tends to be more run heavy when it comes to play calling. . . . .Former Texans and Patriots running back Rex Burkhead announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday. 

HOT PLAYS

Isiah Pacheco, RB, Chiefs. Pacheco has taken his game to new heights during the Chiefs playoff run. He has at least 15 fantasy points four straight games and found the end zone seven consecutive games. He even has 20-plus carries two of three games, getting a big workload in the Chiefs offense. Expect more of the same this week from Pacheco. The 49ers allowed 182-rushing yards to the Lions their last game and allowed 135-plus rushing yards each of their two playoff games.

Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs. Kelce has looked like a different player during these playoffs than the regular season. He had 11 receptions his last game and at least five catches all three playoff games. He has 14-plus fantasy points all three games. He has really elevated his game after a ho-hum second half of the season. Look for him to be the focal point of the Chiefs passing game once again this week. And San Francisco couldn’t contain Sam LaPorta in the Championship game, allowing him to get nine receptions for 97 yards. The Packers tight ends had six receptions and a touchdown in the 49ers other playoff game.

COLD PLAYS 

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, 49ers. Aiyuk did score a touchdown his last game, which was a big positive, but he had just three receptions. He has just three cathodes three straight games. He has were than 40 yards two of three. And with the Chiefs secondary clamping down on receivers right not, it could be more of the same for Aiyuk this week. He could be held in check once again.

Jerick McKinnon, RB, Chiefs. McKinnon is expected to make his long-awaited return this week, returning from a groin injury. He has not played since Week 15. Just remember he has not reached double-digit touches in a single game this year. Pacheco is the lead back in this offense and will get most of the work at running back. McKinnon played great during the Chiefs playoff run last season, but this is a new year. Plus, McKinnon has not played in several weeks, so you have to wonder how much he is even on the field. He will be a big risk to use for fantasy owners.

SLEEPERS

Jauan Jennings, WR, 49ers. There are always surprise players in the Super Bowl, so why not Jennings. He could draw the most favorable matchups in coverage for the 49ers receiver options. And he has looked good in the playoffs, having six receptions for 69 yards in two games. He played 42 percent of the snaps last week - even with Deebo Samuel back in the lineup. Jennings might get a big play or two in this one, making him an intriguing fantasy play. 

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Chiefs. Valdes-Scantling had the game-clinching reception in the Championship game, making a sliding catch on third down to clinch the game. He finished with two receptions for 38 yards. But he played a season-high 83 percent of the snaps in that game, which is encouraging. If he is on the field that much again this week, his reception and yardage totals could rise in what might be a high-scoring 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 [email protected]. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

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Player Notes
La'Mical Perine May 17 9:50pm ET
La'Mical Perine

The Kansas City Chiefs released running back La'Mical Perine on Friday. Perine was taken by the New York Jets in the fourth round (120th overall) in 2020 out of Florida. He spent his first three years with the Jets and only played in 14 games (zero starts) over two years, racking up 263 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 72 rushing attempts, adding 11 receptions for 63 yards. The 26-year-old joined the Chiefs for the 2023 campaign and had 22 carries for 77 yards and added three catches for 33 yards in just three regular-season games (one start). He's now on the open market and will be looking to join another squad for training camp this summer. No matter where Perine latches on, he'll be well off the fantasy radar and will just be trying to make the team out of training camp and the preseason.

From RotoBaller

Terrace Marshall Jr. May 17 9:40pm ET
Terrace Marshall Jr.

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. was already on shaky ground heading into the offseason before the team selected receiver Xavier Legette with the final pick in the first round of this year's NFL draft while also adding Diontae Johnson via a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers. There's a reason the former second-round pick requested to be moved before last year's trade deadline. With the offseason additions, Marshall will likely be fighting to hang onto one of the final roster spots at the position in training camp this summer, especially if an undrafted free agent like Jalen Coker or Sam Pinckney sticks. Marshall, 23, had just 19 receptions for 139 yards and no touchdowns in Carolina's brutal offense a year ago and has just 64 catches for 767 yards and one touchdown in his three years in the NFL. He shouldn't be drafted in fantasy leagues this fall.

From RotoBaller

T.J. Hockenson May 17 9:20pm ET
T.J. Hockenson

Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (knee), who tore his ACL and MCL in Week 16 against the Detroit Lions last year, isn't putting a timeline on his return in 2024. "They haven't really put a timeline on it," Hockenson said. "We're just kinda taking it day by day, week by week, there's just so many variables that you can go through in this process. I'm doing really good right now. We're attacking each process. I'm attacking each one and it's been awesome, the progression has been incredible." Even if Hockenson isn't available for the Week 1 season opener this fall, he should be drafted in all fantasy leagues as a surefire, high-end TE1 when healthy, although he will be taking passes from either quarterback Sam Darnold or rookie J.J. McCarthy in 2024. In 15 games last year, Hockenson had 95 catches for 960 yards and five touchdowns.

From RotoBaller

Kyle Pitts May 17 4:20pm ET
Kyle Pitts

Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts shined as a rookie in 2021, catching 68 passes for 1,026 yards and one touchdown after being selected No. 4 overall. His last two campaigns have left a lot to be desired, as he failed to surpass 700 yards or become a major factor in the end zone in 2022 or 2023. However, he is still just 23 years old and is embracing a fresh start with a new quarterback and coaching staff in 2024. "I would say I'm a super rookie," Pitts said Tuesday, via the team's official site. "I'm not a rookie. But we're all in this new offense, new regime, new schedule. We're all in this fresh." Pitts' 2021 success came with Matt Ryan under center, and poor quarterback play from Marcus Mariota, Desmond Ridder, and Taylor Heinicke can help explain his lack of production. The Falcons signed former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins to a four-year deal and drafted Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. with the No. 8 overall pick this offseason. Despite his lackluster showings of late, he is being selected as the TE7 off the board in early FFPC fantasy drafts. He remains a clear TE1 candidate and has top-five overall upside in his new offense.

From RotoBaller

Miles Sanders May 17 2:00pm ET
Miles Sanders

The Carolina Panthers were saying there was still room for running back Miles Sanders in the RB room after trading up in the second round of last month's NFL draft to take Jonathon Brooks as the first RB off the board. But that was before the team signed former Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny, who was with Panthers head coach Dave Canales in Seattle. Sanders lost the starting job to Chuba Hubbard last year amid the worst season of his career. It's hard to envision another team wanting to trade for Sanders and his contract, although the Panthers showed this offseason that they're willing to eat money to move on from underperforming players. The 27-year-old Sanders is now listed as third on the team's RB depth chart behind Hubbard and Brooks, making him undraftable in standard 12-team leagues this fall.

From RotoBaller

Ty Summers May 17 1:40pm ET
Ty Summers

The Jacksonville Jaguars signed free-agent defensive back Tre Flowers and linebacker Ty Summers to undisclosed deals on Thursday. In corresponding moves, the team waived linebacker Dequan Jackson after waiving undrafted free-agent receiver Wayne Ruby on Wednesday. Flowers, who was a former fifth-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2018, lasted played for Jaguars defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen in Atlanta in 2023. In 90 career games (44 starts), he's had 283 tackles, 22 pass breakups, five forced fumbles and four interceptions. Flowers will give Jacksonville more depth in their secondary in 2024. Summers, 28, was taken in the seventh round in 2019 by the Packers. He was with Green Bay for three seasons before being waived. Summers has started only one game in his career.

From RotoBaller

Dane Jackson May 17 1:40pm ET
Dane Jackson

Carolina Panthers cornerback Dane Jackson will get a chance to compete for a starting spot with his new team after mostly playing as a backup and special teams ace with the Buffalo Bills. The 27-year-old will reunite with general manager Dan Morgan after Morgan famously pounded the table for the Bills to draft Jackson in the seventh round in 2020. Jackson's size (5-foot-11, 180 pounds) makes him susceptible to over-the-top throws, but he has a competitive spirit and is a good tackler. The Panthers could add another cornerback on the open market, but Jackson is going to have a much bigger role in his first year in Carolina in 2024. He has 152 combined tackles (129 solo), three interceptions, 28 passes defended, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in his four years in the NFL.

From RotoBaller

Dre Greenlaw May 17 1:30pm ET
Dre Greenlaw

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw (Achilles) said he recently ditched the walking boot he'd been wearing since suffering a torn Achilles in the Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in early February. It's a big step for Greenlaw, but he still has a lot of boxes to check off if he wants to be ready for the Week 1 regular season opener this fall. The 26-year-old is a remarkable athlete, but expecting him to be full-go for the start of the 2024 season seems like a long shot given the severity of his injury. When healthy, the former fifth-round pick in 2019 out of Arkansas is a staple in IDP fantasy formats at the linebacker position. Greenlaw has had 100-plus combined tackles in each of the last two seasons. In 15 regular-season games for the Niners last year, he totaled 120 tackles (75 solo), a career-high 1.5 sacks, five tackles for loss and four passes defended.

From RotoBaller

Najee Harris May 17 1:20pm ET
Najee Harris

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris changed his diet this offseason in an effort to slim down. "He's motivated, to say the least," his offseason trainer Josh Scott said. It makes sense for Harris, who had his fifth-year option declined by the Steelers recently. "It's all fueling his fire to have an even better season than last year and prove a lot of people wrong," Scott said. The former first-rounder in 2021, who is listed at 242 pounds on the team's roster, looks closer to his listed college weight of 230. Harris has been eating a lot of fish and vegetables and has avoided processed foods. "He's looking really, really springy; really, really light off the ground; and more agile," Scott said. Harris averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry in his first two NFL seasons but has gone over 1,000 yards rushing in all three of his campaigns. He had a career-high eight rushing TDs in 2023, but his fantasy ceiling could be capped as an RB2 with Jaylen Warren commanding his share of backfield touches.

From RotoBaller

Tua Tagovailoa May 17 1:10pm ET
Tua Tagovailoa

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has skipped most of the team's voluntary organized team activities in the past month as the team prepares for him to play on his fifth-year option in 2024, according to sources close to the situation. In his first four years in the league, Tagovailoa was present for most of the voluntary work. Sources think his absence is related to his contract status. The fifth overall pick in 2020 is currently set to make $23.171 million on his fifth-year option, but he's hoped for a long-term contract extension, especially after playing all 17 regular-season games in 2023 while throwing for a career-high 4,624 yards. He made the Pro Bowl for the first time and started in his first playoff game, although his 14 interceptions were tied for fourth-most in the NFL. It's unlikely that Tagovailoa will conduct a full-fledged holdout this summer. Contract issues aside, Tagovailoa is in the QB1 ranks in fantasy, but his ceiling isn't as high as the elite names because of his lack of rushing.

From RotoBaller

Jared Goff May 17 12:33am ET
Jared Goff

Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff officially signed his four-year extension on Thursday, May 16, which included an NFL record $73 million signing bonus, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

From TheHuddle

Cameron Heyward May 16 6:03pm ET
Cameron Heyward

Pittsburgh Steelers DE Cameron Heyward plans to play several more seasons and has recovered from his core muscle injury, a source told ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler.

From TheHuddle

Sean McKeon May 16 4:50pm ET
Sean McKeon

The Detroit Lions signed veteran free-agent tight end Sean McKeon on Thursday, according to NFL.com. McKeon spent the last four years with the Dallas Cowboys after being undrafted out of Michigan. He appeared in 45 games over the last three seasons, collecting six receptions for 38 yards and one touchdown. Needless to say, the 26-year-old doesn't figure to be a factor in fantasy football, but he could compete for a roster spot with James Mitchell and Shane Zylstra behind Sam LaPorta and Brock Wright.

From RotoBaller

Tyquan Thornton May 16 4:40pm ET
Tyquan Thornton

New England Patriots wide receiver Tyquan Thornton has not gotten out to a great start since being selected in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Through his first 22 regular season games, he's racked up just 35 receptions for 338 yards and two touchdowns and rushed six times for 67 yards and a score. This offseason, the Baylor product is focused on adding muscle in hopes of turning his career around and staying healthy. "I'm putting in work. I feel like I've put on a lot of muscle in a lot of areas that need it. I'm just continuing to get bigger," Thornton said. "It's just so I can take more impacts. I feel like all my injuries came from the ground -; me hitting the ground. So, it's so I can be able to bounce back up when I do hit the ground." The 23-year-old weighed in at just 181 pounds at the 2022 NFL Combine and has missed 12 games in just two seasons due to injury. Although this could be promising for his future outlook, he could be a cut or trade candidate this offseason after New England re-signed Kendrick Bourne, signed K.J. Osborn, and selected Ja'Lynn Polk and Javon Baker in the 2024 NFL Draft.

From RotoBaller

Kevin Byard May 16 4:20pm ET
Kevin Byard

The Jacksonville Jaguars signed veteran safety Terrell Edmunds on Thursday, according to NFL.com. The 2018 first-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers spent last season with the Philadelphia Eagles before being traded to the Tennessee Titans in a package for All-Pro safety Kevin Byard. Through six NFL seasons with three teams, he has accumulated 458 tackles (310 solo), 7.5 sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, six interceptions, and 28 passes defended in 95 games. Edmunds has not lived up to his hype as a prospect coming out of Virginia Tech, but he's a solid depth piece in the secondary and will likely play meaningful snaps as a reserve safety in 2024.

From RotoBaller

Quintez Cephus May 16 3:00pm ET
Quintez Cephus

To make room on the roster for the signing of safety Dee Delaney on an undisclosed one-year contract, the Buffalo Bills released wide receiver Quintez Cephus on Thursday. The Bills added Cephus in free agency in April, but he's now back on the open market after missing all of last year due to a suspension for violating the league's policy on gambling. The 26-year-old was originally a fifth-round selection by the Detroit Lions in the 2020 NFL draft out of Wisconsin. All three of his NFL seasons have come with the Lions, and Cephus has recorded just 37 catches on 60 targets for 568 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 22 total games (six starts). If Cephus ends up being picked up by another team, he'll merely be attempting to make the active roster out of training camp this summer.

From RotoBaller

Terrell Edmunds May 16 2:53pm ET
Terrell Edmunds

Free-agent S Terrell Edmunds (Titans), DB Tre Flowers (Falcons) and LB Ty Summers (Saints) signed undisclosed contracts with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday, May 16.

From TheHuddle

Damiere Byrd May 16 2:43pm ET
Damiere Byrd

Free-agent WR Damiere Byrd (Texans) officially signed a one-year contract with the Washington Commanders on Thursday, May 16. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Micah Hyde May 16 2:43pm ET
Micah Hyde

Free-agent S Micah Hyde (Bills) told reporters on Thursday, May 16, that he will either re-sign with the Buffalo Bills or retire this offseason.

From TheHuddle

Micah Hyde May 16 2:30pm ET
Micah Hyde

Free-agent safety Micah Hyde said he will either re-sign with the Buffalo Bills or choose retirement. Hyde has played in just 16 total games the last two years in Buffalo due to injuries, although he managed to play in 14 regular-season games in 2023 and recorded 54 tackles (37 solo), two interceptions and seven passes defended. The 33-year-old has been with the Bills since 2017 after spending the first four years of his career with the Green Bay Packers. The Packers took him in the fifth round in 2013 out of Iowa. Hyde's lone Pro Bowl season came in his first year in Buffalo, when he recorded a career-high 82 tackles (65 solo), a career-high-tying five interceptions, and a career-high 13 passes defended in 16 starts. If he returns to Buffalo and plays one more season, he'll bring a veteran presence to the Bills' secondary.

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