Championship Sunday, 2 Game Slate

The National Football League couldn’t ask for two better games for Championship Sunday. It’s been years since 1-2 prohibitive favorites were not playing for a trip to the Super Bowl. The four remaining teams all have 12+ wins while all carry +200 or higher odds of winning the Super Bowl. Two other aspects should make both of these games top notch. The weather looks great with no impacts. All four teams arrive relatively healthy. Reports on Patrick Mahomes high ankle sprain have been positive. Perhaps he isn’t 100% but his injury doesn’t appear it will have major affects on him. Speaking of injuries, the offensive line for the Bengals was all the talk last week. Maybe I am oblivious but I haven’t heard one chirp about that O-Lines injury concerns after how they played against the Bills. With all that said let’s dive into this two game slate.

Will Points Be A Premium
These four teams feature some of the most elite names in the league on the offensive side of the ball. Could this very well be a weekend we’re we see the defenses shine? Between the four teams they have played 73 games. Combined they have allowed 8 300 yard passing games, or 10%. The Eagles and Bengals have allowed 1 300 yards passer each with the 49’ers allowing 2. Of those 8 half came from the Chiefs. The one positive for KC is all those games happened in their first seven games. Perhaps what’s more amazing is between the four teams 33 of the games or 45% resulted in less than 200 yards passing. This would leave 45% of the games falling between 200-299 passing yards. I am sure some of this was driven by the pitiful quarterback play we see every week in todays game. This  could be all noise with the likes of Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts and rookie Chase Purdy behind center. Then again I wouldn’t be surprised if these games end closer to a 35-40 point total than the 45-50 side. One last piece that could hurt the totals. It’s not that all uncommon for any of these four teams to go on drives of 5-7+ minutes.

Quarterbacks
Getting straight to it I expect Burrow to be the most owned qb and wouldn’t be surprised if he leads by quite a bit. Purdy should be the lowest owned leaving Mahomes and Hurts in the middle. Mahomes injury concerns with his price tag could be the qb with the next lowest ownership after Purdy. Let’s start with Purdy. He has went over 20 fantasy points 2 times. This was against the horrible defenses of Seattle and Tampa. Now he faces on the road the best defensive line in the league. For Purdy to succeed on this slate I feel he needs the 3 other qb’s to struggle. I don’t see this as a ceiling type game and the floor could be on the low side. The best outcome I see for Chase is 12-15 points while hoping for his peers not to exceed 20 points.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of the three remaining quarterbacks have great games. Jalen Hurts is my favorite. He presents upside with his legs and arm. 60 yards on the ground means Mahomes and Burrow need 150 passing yards. Two trips to the end zone means Mahomes and Burrow needs to throw 3 TD passes. Sure, Burrow and Mahomes can find the end zone with their legs and some yards on the ground. My point was to show the intangibles that Hurts brings from a scoring perspective. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Philly defense helps Hurts more when it comes to field positions. This could lead to more scoring opportunities for him.

After Hurts its Burrow for me and Mahomes isn’t far behind. Joe does it all and I can easily see a game with 3 pass td’s and 275 yards. I also prefer him over Mahomes because the KC secondary can be beat. They are young and susceptible to mistakes. The best defense for this secondary is Mahomes controlling the game keeping Burrow off the field. Odd to say that as you usually say that when teams face Mahomes. Speaking of Patrick I am not counting him out. He can easily control this game limiting the upside of Burrow. With that said Mahomes could also be the one putting up 275 and 3 touchdowns. In the end I prefer Hurts because I could easily see both of these quarterbacks have limited drive opportunities as they control the game.

Running Backs
We have to play two and I am sure it’s a week we’re the flex position is played with either a wide receiver or tight end. Christian McCaffrey is the top dog but will he get full run as we have seen Elijah Mitchell eat away at his usage. It’s tough to run against Philly which means his upside could come from the passing game. A positive is with the pressure Purdy should see dump offs could be popular. On the Philly side will Miles Sanders be able to penetrate the 49’ers defense. The holdback on Sanders is Kenneth Gainwell and even Hurts eating away at his upside. I do think he still see’s some ownership due to the price. For me it’s McCaffrey being the lone running back I like from this game.

Overall I prefer the running side in the Bengals/Chiefs game. I see many people loading up on the Bengals wideouts along with Travis Kelce expecting that to be were the points come from. As I said earlier both of these teams want to control the game which means running backs should be involved. Usually I am not a Joe Mixon fan but I like the spot for him. If the Chiefs shut down the ground game he can still be used as a pass catcher.  The same can be said for Isiah Pacheco on the Chiefs side. He is a hard runner who could break one at any time. I am hoping people go Sanders over him. If he finds the end zone he can surpass 15 points. Jerrick McKinnon disappointed last week. Will this keep people away. I hope so because he could easily be a threat out of the backfield. He wasn’t involved last week in the passing game. With Mahomes looking to get rid of the ball early and his mobility possibly limited we could see plenty of screens. I like playing two of these three in lineups and if you want to get different use all 3 with the flex position. Any three of these running backs could troll touchdowns from the big name wideouts.

Wide Receiver
Up top I like Ja’Marr Chase and from a salary perspective I prefer him over Christian McCaffrey. Chase should have a floor game at worse with Burrow really focusing on him recently much more than Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. AJ Brown and Devonta Smith are high on my radar. I can see both being looked over with many wanting to spend up for Chase and McCaffrey or even Kelce. I don’t want to play both Brown and Smith together. One should have a big game but I don’t see both. Brown with his price and recent struggles could end up being the lower owned. I will have one of the two in all my lineups. My most popular combo will be Chase and Brown.

I am not a fan of any of the mid range wideouts. If I do find my way their it will be either Deebo Samuel or Tee Higgins. If it’s Higgins I won’t have Chase because like the Eagles wideouts I only see one big game from a Bengal wide receiver. The concern with any of these wideouts is targets. The Eagles are a very good tackling team which could hurt Samuel. I also see a path we’re any of the wideouts in the next section score as many points as Deebo, Higgins, Aiyuk or Smith-Schuster.

Value wise for me it’s Kadarius Toney. His comfort with Mahomes improves weekly. He has all the tools to put up big numbers on any play. Yes he will be popular. Tyler Boyd is the obvious pivot but he himself will also command ownership. I won’t pair him with Chase or Higgins as I want Boyd with Kelce and one Eagle wide receiver as I feel that will be different. Also pairing him with Hayden Hurst should be different. I feel more will pair Boyd with Chase or Higgins than Hurst. I also can’t blame anyone taking a shot or two on Justin Watson or Trenton Irwin. Both should be sub 10%.

Tight Ends
Travis Kelce is the big dog but can he back up his performance from last week. His price and the Bengals controlling him in their match up earlier this year could keep people away. I can’t fade but want to be closer to field ownership on him. I will just pair him with different players trying to negate some of that ownership. Another path for me with Kelce is playing him with no KC running backs or wideouts. If playing Kelce I want that upside game which will take production away from other Chiefs.

Dallas Goedert and Hayden Hurst are both solid plays while both will be popular. The problem is they have low floors. I prefer to pivot off with George Kittle. He should be the lowest owned of the four. Kittle will be needed to help block which will keep people away. Perhaps SF was watching Kelce and get Kittle involved with chip blocks and then out to catch the ball. I really like pairing Kittle with Kelce. It’s gives you two upside tight ends at a low ownership when paired together. I plan to be overweight on Kittle and under on Goedert and Hurst.

In the end I don’t think stacking teams or either game provides an advantage. Many will favor a stack in the Cincy/KC game due to the quarterbacks. For me this is a slate we’re your picking one off players who score the best. Let’s finish the season strong while Running Pure!

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