Super Bowl LVII is this Sunday and here at Fantasy Alarm we have you covered with every position across the board. The Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs face off in Sunday’s big game for the right to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Who do you roster at Captain? Do you take the risk on a D/ST or kicker at the most important position for the Showdown slate? Do you have the guts to potentially burn some bankroll on some off-the-wall roster construction to really set your lineups apart from the field? Let’s dig in for strategies and how to approach these positions for NFL DFS Showdown contests for Sunday’s big game.
As of this writing the Eagles are 1.5-point favorites with the over/under sitting right around 50.5 points. That signals some offense on both sides of the ball. All too often this season we were licking our chops at game totals below 40 points. This isn’t the case. We have two of the best offenses in the league and both are capable of putting up points with a pair of NFL MVP candidates, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts, under center.
As far as my own strategies and approach to these positions; they certainly provide salary relief and I have no problems rostering them at a flex or utility position. However, with each NFL DFS contest, there are roughly 8-15% of lineups that will play a D/ST or kicker at the captain position. And for what it’s worth, kickers and D/ST’s are in the optimal lineup far less than 10-15% of the time. If you’re building 20+ lineups, sure get a little weird because anything can happen in this game and maybe, just maybe a defense is optimal at captain. But if building fewer than ten lineups I suggest rostering a quarterback, running back, wide receiver, or tight end at the captain spot and hoping you have that slate breaking performance to catapult you to a big night. With that said, let’s focus on the positives for each D/ST and kicker for this game.
Philadelphia Eagles D/ST
The Eagles were frequently mentioned in the NFL DFS D/ST Coach throughout the 2022 NFL season and rightfully so. They haven’t forced a ton of turnovers of late, but they did collect 70 sacks in 17 games in the regular season and they’ve added eight more in the playoffs. Overall, they averaged 9.4 fantasy points on DraftKings this year and they returned at least nine fantasy points in 11 games this year. Philly had four players with at least 11 sacks this year so it’s safe to assume the Chiefs offensive line will have its hands full with this pass rush. The Chiefs O-line has been good, probably one of the five best offensive lines in the league, but the Eagles pass rush is potentially one of the best of all time. Philadelphia also carries depth in their secondary as the Birds allowed just 171 passing yards per game this year and only one quarterback threw for over 240 passing yards on them (Dak Prescott in Week 16). Now, going up against Patrick Mahomes is a significant step up in competition from what the Eagles have seen in the playoffs. He absolutely can drop 300+ passing yards and multiple touchdowns on any defense. If you do play them at captain, you need the kind of dominant performance the Seahawks delivered against the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. In that game the Seahawks had two interceptions (one for a pick six), a sack, a safety, and an additional kick return for a touchdown. That is certainly a captain-worthy performance, but it’s highly unlikely the Eagles replicate anything like that. It’ll take a touchdown for either D/ST to break the slate and they’re very hard to forecast. But the Eagles are a fantastic utility/flex play.
Kansas City Chiefs D/ST
The Chiefs D/ST may not get as much recognition as they deserve, but they’ll certainly have the best defensive player on the field on Sunday, that being Chris Jones. Jones’ ability to get to the backfield caused fits for the Bengals in the AFC Championship game and he’ll look for a similar performance on Sunday. However, the Eagles offensive line is the best in the league and Lane Johnson didn’t allow a sack or a QB hit all season long. Johnson, on a torn abductor, even kept Nick Bosa in check during the NFC Championship game. On top of the frustrations the pass rush may have against the Eagles offensive line, the secondary is a little more suspect and lacking experience. This group did pick off Joe Burrow twice last week, but the pass rush aided in that department, picking apart a beat-up offensive line for Cincinnati. Going up against Jalen Hurts, A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert, and Co. will be a stiff test especially if Philadelphia's offensive line does its job like it did all season long.
Jake Elliott, Kicker, Philadelphia Eagles
Not all of Elliott’s numbers will stand out as great. He may not have seen a lot of volume come his way, but that’s the price you pay as kicker for the team with the third-best red zone touchdown percentage in the league (68.7%). The conundrum we face with kickers is that we do want to see at least three field goal attempts per game while they also don’t miss any extra point attempts. But we also don’t want our offensive players sacrificing too many touchdowns for the sake of our kickers in NFL DFS Showdown contests. Elliott played in 16 regular season games and both of Philadelphia’s two playoff games. In 11 of those contests he’s seen either one field goal attempt or none at all. Coincidentally enough, he also has eight games with at least four extra point attempts, which continues to speak to how effective the offense is at scoring the ball in general. The good news is that he is accurate despite the lack of attempts. Including the playoffs, he’s made 22-of-25 field goal attempts (88%) and 60-of-62 XPA’s (96.8%). Historically there’s a positive correlation between a team’s quarterback at Captain and a kicker in the flex/utility so playing him in lineups where Hurts is your Captain makes sense especially for some salary relief.
Harrison Butker, Kicker, Kansas City Chiefs
It’s rare that both kickers are more expensive on a Showdown slate than both D/ST’s, but this is the pricing we’ve been dealt according to DraftKings (the same cannot be said for FanDuel). Butker has been somewhat of a household name over the last few years, but 2022 was difficult for him as he struggled with some injuries and he missed four games in the regular season. In 24 field goal attempts in the regular season, he made 18 (75% accuracy) while he was 38-of-41 on extra point attempts (92.7%). Similar to Elliott, Butker saw one or zero field goal attempts in nearly half his regular season games (6-of-13), but he correlates well in lineups where Mahomes is Captain. Also consider game flow for the kicker position. If either team gets out to a big enough lead, that’s a negative game script for this position as the trailing team likely isn’t settling for three points too often. They’ll need touchdowns and two-point conversions to catch up. Both these kickers are a part of incredible offenses, but unless either can make at least four field goals, the path to being in the optimal lineup as captain is very narrow. Both are reasonable as flex/utility options.
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