The Kansas City Chiefs are currently 2-point underdogs to the San Francisco 49ers with an over-under of 47.5 points. When trying to put together a DK Showdown lineup, it can be helpful to forecast game flow. We’ll look at offensive and defensive strengths and try to forecast how teams will attack other teams.
The expectation is that this will be a close game, and not super high-scoring. Both defenses are above average, with the Chiefs being the better overall unit in points allowed, while both offenses have been good, with the 49ers offense being the better of the two. A look at the DVOA rankings for their offense and defense could be helpful here.
Overall DVOA: SF 2nd, KC 5th
Overall offense: SF 1st, KC 8th
Rushing offense: SF 2nd, KC 17th
Passing Offense: SF 1st, KC 8th
Overall defense: SF 4th, KC 7th
Rushing defense: SF 15th, KC 27th
Passing defense: SF 4th, KC 5th
As you can see, DVOA, which grades each play based on the situation, has the 49ers ahead of the Chiefs in most aspects. Of course, DVOA isn’t the end all to judging a team, but it gives you a look into their strengths and weaknesses.
Defensively, both teams have had trouble against the run. We saw the Ravens barely try to run the ball in the AFC Championship game and they got hammered for it by the fans and press, for good reason. The 49ers were facing the No. 1 rush D in DVOA in the NFC Championship game but had no qualms about running the ball, and did so successfully.
I expect both teams to try to get the run game going, but the Chiefs will make the 49ers beat Patrick Mahomes to win the game. Against the overall No. 1 defensive DVOA Ravens, Mahomes did have trouble moving the ball consistently, but had no turnovers for the sixth straight postseason game and was only sacked twice, with one of those being late when Mahomes could have thrown the ball away, but wanted to keep the clock moving. He completed 30-of-39 passes for a 77% completion rate! They weren’t chunk plays, but chunk plays weren’t needed.
Mahomes took what he was given, and worked underneath in the passing game for the most part. And I expect the same to be true for the Super Bowl. Mahomes’ ability to avoid the rush, make plays on the move, run for first downs on key plays, and throw the ball away instead of taking a sack makes him extremely frustrating to play against. Add to that his tremendous ability as a passer, and no defense can shut him down for four quarters. That should mean plenty of passes to Travis Kelce and Rashee Rice, while plenty of other players get a couple of targets each.
In this article, we are looking at what a Chiefs win might look like and which players would be useful for DFS. This also means we need to look at what the 49ers would look like in a loss. I still expect this game to be close, so I don’t think the 49ers would need to abandon the run to try to catch up from a huge deficit. It will be difficult to fade Christian McCaffrey with much confidence. The Chiefs have been good at limiting rushing touchdowns this year, as they haven’t given up one in their last six games, including playoffs. They also haven’t faced McCaffrey though.
Even in a loss, I’d expect the 49er's offense to not get shut down, and like the Chiefs, they get the ball in their best players' hands. The one thing I do think we’d see in a 49ers’ loss would be down numbers for Brock Purdy.
Super Bowl 59 fantasy football
Best NFL DFS picks if the Chiefs win
Patrick Mahomes, QB ($10,600) — Mahomes truly elevates his game in the postseason. It doesn’t always mean huge fantasy points, but it does mean he’s playing at a level he could put up huge fantasy points. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he rushes for a touchdown or throws for three or both.
Rashee Rice, WR ($7,600) — Rice had a touchdown called back in the Championship game due to a ticky-tack flag and seems on the verge of a big game. Travis Kelce is always going to be the player Mahomes seeks out in big situations, but Rice has risen up the ranks quickly. He’s now caught 20-of-25 targets in the playoffs and I expect he has a strong game if the Chiefs come out on top.
Travis Kelce, TE ($10,200) — I was down on Kelce in the AFC Championship game and I was extremely wrong. We had seen him look good but not great this season and then put up two big games against defenses dealing with injuries in the playoffs. I believed the Ravens' defense would bring him back to earth. It did not. The 49ers defense is not on the same tier as the Ravens this year and I could see Kelce easily continuing his playoff surge.
This article can also be found in our Ultimate Guide to Super Bowl 58, presented by Frank’s Red Hot.