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Favorites & Fades

Super Bowl LVIII

By: Nick Caron | HC Green | Eli Mack | John Fessel
Updated: 2/8/24

- Green highlight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
- Lines and totals updated Sunday morning

49ers vs Chiefs - (Caron)
Line: SF -1.5
Total: 47.5

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Christian McCaffrey

Christian McCaffrey could very reasonably be placed into the “No-Brainers” category, but it’s important to consider just how dominant this super-stud running back has been. McCaffrey finished with over 100 more fantasy points than any other running back this season and he was productive with absolutely everything he did. Not only did he manage to break 100 rushing yards in seven games, he also scored at least one touchdown in all but three games he played, while also catching 67 passes. The guy is like a prototype for absurd fantasy production.

Now McCaffrey gets to face a Kansas City defense that was great overall this season, but had some real problems against opposing running games down the stretch. They didn’t allow a single running back to reach even 70 rushing yards in any of their first six games, but then seven different running backs did so over their final 11 regular season games. This would’ve seemingly been a place for the Ravens to attack this past week as their running game has long been the focal point of their offense, but they instead opted to give just six total carries to their running backs in a 17-10 loss at home. Don’t expect the 49ers to make that same mistake, as they will almost certainly feed McCaffrey early and often in this one.

On the Fence: WR Brandon Aiyuk, WR Deebo Samuel

The 49ers’ dynamic wide receiver duo of Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel has been extremely productive this season and they were again the focal point of the San Francisco passing game against the Lions in the NFC Championship game. San Francisco is full of playmakers so it’s sometimes difficult to predict which players are going to be productive, but this matchup against the Chiefs makes things even more difficult as Kansas City has been one of the league’s best pass defenses. In fact, the Chiefs gave up the third-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers during the regular season. And haven’t given up a 100-yard receiver since Week 7. Only two receivers got to that mark against them at all this season.

The reason to still remain a bit optimistic about Aiyuk and Samuel is that the 49ers do an excellent job of scheming touches for their best playmakers, which oftentimes means a huge target share for Aiyuk and manufactured screen passes or even rushing plays for Samuel. These types of plays can produce fantasy numbers even if the Chiefs are normally great at defending against wide receivers, so while we need to temper our expectations for them, they may still come through because of how they’re utilized.

Fade: TE George Kittle

Kittle quietly led all tight ends in receiving yardage this season, so putting him in the “Fade” category does feel wrong, but this is a player who’s now been held to four or fewer receptions in seven of his past eight games. Certainly, he’s one of the most productive per-catch tight ends in the history of the league so he’s often able to produce a big play or two on minimal touches, including touchdowns, but these low receptions totals have to be taken into consideration especially when the 49ers are matching up with a defense that’s been as difficult to move the ball on as the Chiefs have been. Kansas City just got done locking up the duo of Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely, only allowing four receptions for 31 yards to them, and they also held Dalton Kincaid to just 45 yards in the Divisional Round. Including the playoffs, the Chiefs have only allowed four touchdowns to opposing tight ends throughout this season. Kittle remains one of the all-time greats at the position, but this is a particularly difficult matchup for him.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR Rashee Rice, TE Travis Kelce

Rashee Rice has established himself as by far the Chiefs’ top wide receiver as he caught eight of the nine passes that came his way against the Ravens in the AFC Championship. Rice has now finished with at least five catches in eight of his past nine games, making him an extremely reliable fantasy option who also possesses excellent upside. The 49ers have been a great defense throughout the season, but they have struggled to contain opposing wide receivers at times. In fact, they were in the bottom half of total fantasy points given up to the position. They did hold every other Lions receiver to fewer than three catches, but Amon-Ra St. Brown still caught seven passes for 87 yards in the NFC Championship.

The 49ers gave up nine receptions for 97 yards to Sam LaPorta in their last game and now they have the unenviable task of trying to contain perhaps the greatest tight end in the history of the league in Travis Kelce. San Francisco was not particularly bad against opposing tight ends this season, but some of the league’s better tight ends have performed well against them. Zach Ertz, T.J. Hockenson, and Trey McBride all had quality fantasy games against San Francisco and with Kelce still being the focal point of the Kansas City passing game - and with the national spotlight firmly pointed at him - there’s a great chance that he adds his name to the list of TEs who’ve had productive games against the 49ers this season.

On the Fence: RB Isiah Pacheco

With the Chiefs passing game struggling much more than usual this season, they’ve relied on their rushing attack late in the year which has done wonders for Isiah Pacheco’s fantasy production. Pacheco has scored at least one touchdown in seven straight games and he’s also exceeded 85 rushing yards in four of those seven games. His matchup against the 49ers is not one that we’d normally want to target as they managed to avoid allowing a single 100-yard rusher throughout the entire regular season, but things have gone off the rails a bit over the past two weeks as they allowed Aaron Jones to reach 100 yards in the Divisional Round and then David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs combined for 138 rushing yards in the NFC Championship. Pacheco just might be the sneakiest option who could end up with a big game in the Super Bowl.

Fade: QB Patrick Mahomes

Fading Patrick Mahomes has been an excellent option throughout the second half of the season and even on into the Chiefs’ playoff run, but given that San Francisco has been one of the better run defenses in the league this season, it only makes sense that if Kansas City is going to hoist the Lombardi trophy again that they’re going to need a big game out of their quarterback.

The unfortunate reality, though, is that Mahomes just has not been a good fantasy player down the stretch this season. He hasn’t been completely miserable, but he’s uncharacteristically thrown just 10 touchdown passes over his past eight games, while also throwing five interceptions, and he hasn’t added a single rushing touchdown all season long. Now he faces a San Francisco defense that is beatable through the air, but one that tends to keep games fairly low-scoring, so there’s a lot more risk to going with Mahomes this week than some would like to believe.

Prediction: 49ers 23, Chiefs 20 ^ Top