This will obviously be the final game preview of the season as we have reached the Super Bowl. I just wanted to say a quick thank you to those of you who have followed these previews all season long. It has been a fun time doing them, and hopefully I have helped you along the way. Thank you #FANation for all of the support
San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Game Time: Sunday, February 2nd at 6:30pm ET
Spread: Chiefs -1
Jimmy Garoppolo – The playoffs have been a breeze so far for the 49ers quarterback as he barely has had to get his uniform dirty or break a sweat in their two games leading up to the Super Bowl. After throwing just 19 passes in the Divisional Round against the Vikings, you surely thought he would have to throw more to beat the Packers. Nope! Garoppolo only chucked the ball eight times the entire NFC Championship Game. Does this mean that he stinks? Not at all, the 49ers have been running the ball like crazy, and Green Bay and Minnesota were unable to stop them. So why throw if you are snatching team’s souls running the ball? Surely he will have to throw the ball more in the Super Bowl, right? He might not. The Chiefs are not good at all against the run, and you have to believe that San Francisco is going to come out trying to see if they can run in this game like they have been all playoff long. Garoppolo proved this season he can lead the team through the air when he has to, the question just remains: will he have to? It would be shocking if he threw it just eight times again, but the chances of him being asked to have a big fantasy day here seem low.
Raheem Mostert – Regardless of Tevin Coleman ’s health, Mostert should be the lead back here. If Coleman plays, Mostert will likely split carries with him, but still remains a fantasy play for sure. If Coleman doesn’t play or is seriously compromised, Mostert could be the Super Bowl MVP. We saw in the NFC title game that Matt Breida is totally out of the picture here as he carried it just once despite Coleman’s injury. This means that Mostert is going to get a minimum of 15 carries on Sunday. He was legendary in the NFC Championship with 220 yards on 29 carries with a mind boggling four touchdowns. Mostert has an amazing burst, and once he gets through the line he is very elusive and really fast. It is hard to believe that he was a special teams player to start the season. The Chiefs did keep Derrick Henry mostly in check in the AFC Championship, but you know what you are getting with Henry. He is going to run right at you and dare you to tackle him. There isn’t a lot of razzle dazzle. Kyle Shanahan loves to come with motion and trickery to get his players in space and it is hard to imagine the Chiefs stopping the run fully. Mostert has a real chance at a 100-yard game here and a touchdown almost seems like a foregone conclusion against a defense that gave up 128 yards per game on the ground during the regular season.
Tevin Coleman – He was the star of the Divisional playoff round with 105 yards and two touchdowns, but dislocated his shoulder early in the NFC Championship. Coleman looks to be on track to at least give it a shot in the Super Bowl. We know the Chiefs don’t stop the run very well, but there are reasons to be hesitant to start Coleman. First, the shoulder injury certainly seems like it is something that he could aggravate and could either limit his snaps, or he could injure it again and be forced to sit. Second, Raheem Mostert went banana sandwich in the NFC Championship game with 220 yards and four touchdowns. And I do not know what a banana sandwich is, just go with it, you know what I meant! That could lead to Mostert getting the early carries. Typically though, Coleman does start games and gets the first crack, so there is still a chance that he could be a factor in this game. There is more working against him than for him right now, but he could be a nice contrarian pick as the world will likely focus on Mostert in this one. Given the way that San Francisco has been running lately, there’s a chance that both guys could be successful, and while they haven’t been throwing to the running backs much lately, if they are going to, Coleman is the more likely target for catches.
Deebo Samuel – Even in a game where the 49ers barely threw the ball, Samuel still came through somewhat from a fantasy perspective. He had two catches for 46 yards, and two rushes for 43 yards. So, in a game where his quarterback threw the ball eight times, Samuel still came away with ten fantasy points. He is a physical force, and once he gets the ball in his hands he is really hard to get to the ground. Both of the Chiefs corners sit at 195 pounds, while Deebo is a bigger guy at 215 and they might have trouble tackling him. The team continues to keep him involved in the running game, as he now has at least one carry in seven straight games. It will be interesting to see how much the 49ers try to throw in the Super Bowl, but even if it is a run-heavy approach again, Samuel will continue to be a guy you can trust from a fantasy perspective.
Emmanuel Sanders – He has now been targeted just three times this postseason and has accumulated 33 yards. Even in the regular season when the 49ers were throwing more, Sanders was mostly forgotten. He always has a chance of having that huge game like he did against the Saints, but to count on it at this point is ill-advised. He is still a great receiver, but he hasn’t been an integral part of the offense in nearly two months. Sanders would be a bit of a long shot to have a meaningful fantasy day in the Super Bowl.
George Kittle – He has been quoted as saying “moving a man from Point A-to-Point B is the greatest feeling in the world.” Kittle is referring to run blocking in that quote, something he has become awesome at. It is also what he has been doing most in the playoffs. He had just one catch in the NFC Championship for 19 yards. In some games, Kittle has been the featured guy in the offense. Other times he has one catch. It is hard to say how the 49ers will attack the Chiefs, but they are likely to lean very heavily on whatever is working. The Chiefs allowed over 1,000 yards receiving and seven touchdowns to tight ends this season, so there is a good chance that Kittle will be a factor in this one. It certainly seems that San Francisco will be able to run on Kansas City, but it will be very shocking if Kittle isn’t targeted at least five or six times in this one. And once he has the ball in his hands, he is a load to get to the ground. Travis Kelce is also an elite tight end, but you likely can’t go wrong with Kittle either.
Patrick Mahomes – It was an up and down season full of injuries for Mahomes, but he has hit his stride in the playoffs. He was exactly 23-for-35 in both playoff games, for a combined 615 yards and eight touchdowns. He has also run for 106 yards and a touchdown in two playoff games. He has been one of the better quarterbacks in the league in his two seasons in the NFL, and this likely won’t be his last trip to the Super Bowl. This is going to be a great matchup as Mahomes goes against perhaps the best pass defense in football. He has faced two complete cupcake defenses so far in the AFC Playoffs, so he will have to find another level against San Francisco. While they didn’t play during the season, Mahomes did face off against the other elite pass defense in New England and he threw for 283 yards and a touchdown. It would be shocking to see Mahomes fall short of 250 yards and two touchdowns. Kansas City will certainly look to throw the ball early and often, and Mahomes is clearly the better option from a fantasy perspective. It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if he threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns though.
Damien Williams – He hasn’t been racking up a ton of yards in the playoffs, but Williams does have four touchdowns in two games. He has 92 rushing and 65 receiving yards combined in the AFC playoffs so far, but will need to do more in the Super Bowl. San Francisco was vulnerable to the run during the regular season, but they have been smothering in the playoffs, allowing just 41 yards per game to Dalvin Cook and Aaron Jones . Jones was able to score twice, but one was a one-yard touchdown plunge after Jimmy Graham was ruled short of the goal line. Williams was also targeted six times in each of the two playoff games, which makes him a great part of the offensive game plan. He isn’t likely to rack up huge yardage numbers against this San Francisco defense, but it seems almost a given that he will find the end zone once in this one. He will be a viable option in your Super Bowl lineups.
Tyreek Hill – He hasn’t quite been as big of a factor in the second half of the season, but Hill is still a big time player. He has elite speed, and is great once he gets the ball in space. He only had one game with more than five catches after suffering that hamstring injury, but he keeps gutting it out every game and has been fairly consistent. He had two touchdowns in the AFC Championship game, and will look to be a big factor in the Super Bowl. The 49ers pass defense was perhaps the best in football this season, but they can be beaten to an extent. Hill doesn’t get the volume that Davante Adams got when San Francisco played Green Bay, but he should have seven-to-nine targets. Hill should be a no-brainer to score a touchdown in this one, and 75 receiving yards should be his floor.
Sammy Watkins – He was an afterthought for most of the season after his huge Week 1 masterpiece, but Watkins has had a resurgence in the playoffs. In two games he has nine catches for 190 yards and a touchdown. Every ball can’t go to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce , and Watkins has been the only other reliable option for Patrick Mahomes . Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman have six catches combined in two playoff games. Watkins is far from a polished receiver, and has a knack of disappointing fantasy players when they start to count on him. However, this is the Super Bowl, and everything is on the line. The 49ers have two very solid corners in Richard Sherman and Emmanuel Moseley, but Watkins should be in line for at least four catches and 50 yards in this one.
Travis Kelce – He was the entire offense in the Divisional Round against the Texans with 134 yards and three touchdowns, but Kelce was much quieter in the AFC Championship with just three catches for 30 yards. He is an absolute beast, has pretty good speed, and soft hands. Kelce is not an easy man to get to the ground after the catch either. He is also often the most targeted guy on the field for the Chiefs. The 49ers did give up eight touchdowns to tight ends this season, but they were also without their standout linebacker Kwon Alexander who was rated as the ninth-best coverage linebacker by Pro Football Focus. Kelce is dealing with a bit of a knee issue, but it would be surprising if it affected his game at all in the Super Bowl. This is a game with two elite tight ends, and Kelce is a slightly better choice given the fact that you know the Chiefs will throw, while the 49ers have just been running the ball relentlessly lately.
Summary: This is the Super Bowl we all deserved. Two of the best teams in football squaring off for the big prize. The 49ers played a brutal schedule down the stretch, and then got a bit of a break in the playoffs not having to play Seattle or New Orleans. The Chiefs fell behind early in both games before white washing their opponents. This is one of the best offenses against one of the best defenses. In the end, I think the difference will be San Francisco’s ability to run the ball on the Chiefs. I do not expect them to do it at will like they did against Minnesota and Green Bay, but when they need the yardage, it will be there. Ultimately, the 49ers defense will be good enough to make a play or two down the stretch to seal the game, and then Jimmy Garoppolo will put the game on ice. This one truly could go either way, but I expect the 49ers to be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the game.
Prediction: 49ers 38, Chiefs 28