Guest of the League
Armchair Football League (AFL) Est. 2022
FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Lineup Prep: Super Bowl

Wed Feb 7 8:43am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Related photo caption below

Pacheco is playing at high level


Not sure about you, but there is not a better weekend in sports than Super Bowl weekend. It is as good as it gets. Just everything involved with it is so much fun. I am so looking forward to it all this weekend. Let’s hope it is a good game and lives up to the hype. Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . .

I will give you my pick for the game right off the bat. I think it will be a close game, but look for the Chiefs to squeak it out. I think the experience factor plays a difference here in the end, especially when it comes to the quarterback position. Patrick Mahomes has been outstanding during the playoffs and think he has a huge advantage over Brock Purdy. Plus, the Chiefs defense has been outstanding lately, completely shutting down the opponent. I don’t see them shutting down the 49ers high-powered offense, but think they will cause Purdy problems. I’m going with a Chiefs 31-27 victory.

If you still don’t have any fantasy teams alive in the playoffs, consider playing our fun pickem contests. We have tons of options available to play with for the Super Bowl. I wanted to give you a few of my favorite pickem plays for the big game. Give me Travis Kelce more than 70.5-receiving yards. Kelce has 71-plus yards all three of his playoff games and is coming off arguably his best game of the season. And the 49ers struggled to stop the tight end last week, seeing Sam LaPorta rack up the receptions and yards. I also like Brandon Aiyuk less than 61.5-receiving yards. Aiyuk has failed to hit that mark two of three games and has just three catches each of his last three games. Lastly, I like Deebo Samuel more than 79.5-rushing and receiving yards. Samuel had 11 touches his last game and was a huge part of the offense. I look for the 49ers to get him involved early and often, giving him good potential to rack up some total yards.

I’m not sure how I feel about the Commanders hiring of Kliff Kingsbury. His offenses were fine in Arizona, but not as explosive as many thought and he struggled some using Caleb Williams last year at USC. I think the Commanders would have been better served keeping Eric Bieniemy as their offensive coordinator. I thought he did a great job with the offense last year in Washington all things considered. I’m not convinced Kingsbury is going to be an upgrade.

On a different subject, can we stop teasing and showing parts of the Super Bowl commercials before the game? I mean part of the fun of the game is the commercials. They are always entertaining and a part of the event. But now, you see parts of the commercials before the game, ruining the surprise. C’mon people. Let’s stop this tradition right now.

We had our first TFC draft of the 2024 season last night. And in a surprise move, the first pick of the draft was Breece Hall. And we also saw Sam LaPorta get picked before Travis Kelce. It is always interesting to see how these early drafts shake out. A lot is going to change between now and the start of next season, but trends are starting now. In this draft, four running backs were picked in the first round compared to eight receivers. And the quarterback position looks as deep as ever with guys like Jordan Love getting picked in Round 11. Brock Purdy and Kirk Cousins also went very late.

News and Notes: The Chargers hired Greg Roman as their new offensive coordinator. Roman tends to be more run heavy when it comes to play calling. . . . .Former Texans and Patriots running back Rex Burkhead announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday. 

HOT PLAYS

Isiah Pacheco, RB, Chiefs. Pacheco has taken his game to new heights during the Chiefs playoff run. He has at least 15 fantasy points four straight games and found the end zone seven consecutive games. He even has 20-plus carries two of three games, getting a big workload in the Chiefs offense. Expect more of the same this week from Pacheco. The 49ers allowed 182-rushing yards to the Lions their last game and allowed 135-plus rushing yards each of their two playoff games.

Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs. Kelce has looked like a different player during these playoffs than the regular season. He had 11 receptions his last game and at least five catches all three playoff games. He has 14-plus fantasy points all three games. He has really elevated his game after a ho-hum second half of the season. Look for him to be the focal point of the Chiefs passing game once again this week. And San Francisco couldn’t contain Sam LaPorta in the Championship game, allowing him to get nine receptions for 97 yards. The Packers tight ends had six receptions and a touchdown in the 49ers other playoff game.

COLD PLAYS 

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, 49ers. Aiyuk did score a touchdown his last game, which was a big positive, but he had just three receptions. He has just three cathodes three straight games. He has were than 40 yards two of three. And with the Chiefs secondary clamping down on receivers right not, it could be more of the same for Aiyuk this week. He could be held in check once again.

Jerick McKinnon, RB, Chiefs. McKinnon is expected to make his long-awaited return this week, returning from a groin injury. He has not played since Week 15. Just remember he has not reached double-digit touches in a single game this year. Pacheco is the lead back in this offense and will get most of the work at running back. McKinnon played great during the Chiefs playoff run last season, but this is a new year. Plus, McKinnon has not played in several weeks, so you have to wonder how much he is even on the field. He will be a big risk to use for fantasy owners.

SLEEPERS

Jauan Jennings, WR, 49ers. There are always surprise players in the Super Bowl, so why not Jennings. He could draw the most favorable matchups in coverage for the 49ers receiver options. And he has looked good in the playoffs, having six receptions for 69 yards in two games. He played 42 percent of the snaps last week - even with Deebo Samuel back in the lineup. Jennings might get a big play or two in this one, making him an intriguing fantasy play. 

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Chiefs. Valdes-Scantling had the game-clinching reception in the Championship game, making a sliding catch on third down to clinch the game. He finished with two receptions for 38 yards. But he played a season-high 83 percent of the snaps in that game, which is encouraging. If he is on the field that much again this week, his reception and yardage totals could rise in what might be a high-scoring game.

High/Low Scoring Games

Each week we will take a look at some of the high and low scoring games for the coming week. In high scoring affairs, get your marginal players on those teams in your lineup to take advantage of the possible points barrage. And in the low scoring games, keep those marginal players on the bench and make sure to have your defenses involved in those contests.

High Scoring Games: Chiefs/49ers.

Low Scoring Games: None.

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Top Headlines
The Paur Report

Fantasy Running Back Preview

Player Notes
Kirk Cousins Jun 19 1:00pm ET
Kirk Cousins

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins (Achilles) is returning from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in Week 8 of the 2023 season with the Minnesota Vikings, but he has expressed confidence he'll be full-go by training camp at the end of July since his arrival in Atlanta in March. That sentiment didn't change throughout the offseason program, and Cousins' participation in all aspects of the team's offseason program is promising. Cousins said he did everything at organized team activities, but it will be worth watching if he continues to do everything in training camp. The 35-year-old signal-caller will be in a non-contact jersey, but everything else should be business as usual. Cousins will still have plenty of weapons around him in Atlanta, but it's a downgrade in receivers and he's coming off a significant injury towards the end of his career. At best, fantasy managers should consider him a midrange QB2.

From RotoBaller

Bijan Robinson Jun 19 1:00pm ET
Bijan Robinson

The Atlanta Falcons' new offense under head coach Raheem Morris and offensive coordinator Zac Robinson will clearly run through second-year running back Bijan Robinson. "In as simple of a form as you can possibly make it," Morris said, "it's 'get the ball to Bijan as much as you can in as many ideal situations that you possibly can.'" Robinson's 214 carries for 976 yards and four touchdowns made him the top-rushing rookie in 2023, and he also caught 58 passes for an extra 487 yards -- the fourth-most among RBs -- and also had four receiving TDs. His 272 touches ranked 12th among NFL players last year, and Robinson finished 10th with 1,463 total yards from scrimmage. The 22-year-old expects to be more of a runner than pass-catcher in 2024, and with more total touches likely coming his way, he should easily be considered a top-three fantasy RB.

From RotoBaller

Kyler Murray Jun 19 1:00pm ET
Kyler Murray

The Athletic's Doug Haller writes that there is a lot of optimism from the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, with the biggest reason being that quarterback Kyler Murray is on the field. Murray was off to the side working with the team's conditioning staff at this time last year while trying to recover from ACL surgery. Murray's recovery affected Arizona's entire season in 2023 after he missed the first nine games. He spent the rest of the year learning a new offense and trying to find his way back, and it showed. An offseason built around Murray should make a difference in 2024. The 26-year-old put in extra work with his receivers on weekends, trying to perfect rhythm and timing. Murray probably isn't going to be an elite passer, especially given the lack of standout options at receiver in Arizona besides rookie first-rounder Marvin Harrison Jr., but his elite rushing ability should give him a solid fantasy floor as a low-end QB2.

From RotoBaller

Joe Burrow Jun 19 1:00pm ET
Joe Burrow

The Cincinnati Bengals' schematic expansion under new offensive coordinator Dan Pitcher was on display through the offseason program, and the shift to versatility and unpredictable usage was a recurring theme for every position group. All receivers worked inside and outside, tight end Mike Gesicki shifted all around the line of scrimmage, and the running backs were more active in the passing game. Quarterback Joe Burrow talked about extra "eye candy" and being able to dictate more to defenses with new personnel groups and scheme tweaks. It's unclear exactly how this will look in competitive games, but it has to be good news for all players in the offense, especially Burrow, who is looking to bounce back after another injury-plagued year in 2023.

From RotoBaller

Deshaun Watson Jun 19 1:00pm ET
Deshaun Watson

The Athletic's Zac Jackson writes that he has significant questions about the Cleveland Browns' receiving corps this year. WR1 Amari Cooper missed the whole offseason program because he's seeking a new contract, and new wideout Jerry Jeudy missed the last three weeks with a minor undisclosed injury. The Browns still have Cooper and tight end David Njoku, but there are a bunch of questions beyond them, and quarterback Deshaun Watson needs playmakers. Jackson said he didn't see many big plays from the Browns offense during offseason workouts, and he still wonders what the team will get from Jeudy, Elijah Moore and Cedric Tillman when the regular season begins. Watson has a lot of talent from under center, but injury question marks and the lack of receiving depth he has in Cleveland makes him a clear QB2 target in fantasy.

From RotoBaller

Denzel Mims Jun 19 1:00pm ET
Denzel Mims

The Pittsburgh Steelers are waiving wide receiver Denzel Mims, according to NFL.com. The 2020 second-round pick by the New York Jets signed with the Steelers in October of last season and signed a reserve/futures contract in January, but his time with the team has come to an end. After a promising collegiate career at Baylor, Mims has now been released or waived by three franchises in four years. In 30 career games, Mims has racked up 42 receptions for 676 yards and no touchdowns. His future in the league is looking bleak, but another organization might give him an additional shot.

From RotoBaller

Bo Nix Jun 19 1:00pm ET
Bo Nix

Denver Broncos quarterback Bo Nix was the 12th overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, and he will get the chance to be Sean Payton's QB of the future. So far this offseason, Denver's coaching staff has continually praised Nix's maturity level and growth. "There is a maturity level," offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said. "I think when you draft a guy who is a little bit older, you hope that that comes with it, but he's certainly shown that. You can feel his 61 games played in college. With experience, a calmness comes along with it. So he certainly doesn't feel like a rookie." College football's all-time leader in career starts will be 24 years old when he takes his first regular-season snap, and he'll have to exceed expectations to elevate a weak supporting cast in the competitive AFC West. While the team expects Nix to perform well right away, he has limited fantasy upside due to a lack of weapons and the struggles rookies usually face.

From RotoBaller

Patrick Surtain II Jun 19 1:00pm ET
Patrick Surtain II

Denver Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain II has been in trade rumors over the last calendar year, but the 24-year-old said he wants to stay with the organization long-term. The team picked up his fifth-year option a few months ago, which was a no-brainer decision after he made two Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team in his first three NFL campaigns. Through the 24-year-old's first 50 contests, he has compiled 187 tackles, one forced fumble, seven interceptions, and 36 pass deflections. Denver has one of the weakest rosters in the league and is in the middle of the rebuild, so while it wouldn't be shocking if Surtain was on the trade block, it sounds like that is not the case.

From RotoBaller

Matthew Stafford Jun 19 1:00pm ET
Matthew Stafford

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford wants more guaranteed money in his deal and wouldn't mind a raise, either, as he looks to tweak his contract. Stafford will make $31 million, $32 million and $31 million in the final three years of his current deal, but nothing is guaranteed after the 2024 season. He received his deal several years ago, and the QB market just took a major leap with Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence's big extension. Stafford was a participant during mandatory minicamp, though, so no holdout is expected at training camp next month. The 36-year-old signal-caller bounced back from an injury-plagued year in 2022 to post 3,965 passing yards, 24 TDs and 11 interceptions in 15 regular-season starts last year in his third year in LA. Still, he was only the QB15 in fantasy last year and is an injury risk as he moves toward the end of his career.

From RotoBaller

Mike Gesicki Jun 19 1:00pm ET
Mike Gesicki

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Mike Gesicki "shifted all around the line of scrimmage" during offseason programs, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic. Several playmakers within Cincinnati's offense had their versatility on display recently and Gesicki was no exception. The 28-year-old is coming off a 29-catch, 244-yard, and two-touchdown season in New England where he operated behind Hunter Henry. He's due for increased volume in 2024 given that he projects as the Bengals' No. 1 tight end. A versatile skill set would allow him to get on the field even more, and it seems like the Bengals will explore using Gesicki in a variety of ways. It's too early to let this impact his fantasy stock, but he could flirt with the low-end TE2 tier this season.

From RotoBaller

Dak Prescott Jun 19 1:00pm ET
Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Brandin Cooks appear to have strengthened their rapport after playing together for a full season, according to Jon Machota of The Athletic. "The connection between Brandin Cooks and Dak Prescott stood out most [from offseason programs]," Machota wrote. "It was a solid rapport last year at this time, but it was obvious during OTAs and minicamp that the two now have a full year working together. They were on the same page in all drills, but it particularly stood out on some deep ball throws." He added that Cooks has already cemented himself as the Cowboys' No. 2 receiver and could push for 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns in 2024. Such a stat line would bode quite well for the veteran's shot at being a weekly WR3/FLEX play in most fantasy leagues.

From RotoBaller

John Metchie III Jun 19 1:00pm ET
John Metchie III

Houston Texans wide receiver John Metchie III earned a shoutout from head coach DeMeco Ryans for making a "significant leap" over the last year, according to Mike Jones of The Athletic. Metchie sat out 2022 due to a cancer diagnosis but returned to catch 16 passes for 158 yards last year. While it's not wise to invest much stock into coachspeak, it's still worth noting that Ryans has a particularly favorable view of Metchie as he enters his third pro campaign. The presence of Stefon Diggs, Nico Collins, and Tank Dell will likely keep Metchie off the redraft radar, but he could be an appealing target in deeper dynasty leagues as the 2024 season approaches.

From RotoBaller

Aidan O'Connell Jun 19 1:00pm ET
Aidan O'Connell

Las Vegas Raiders quarterbacks Aidan O'Connell and Gardner Minshew II continue to split reps during offseason programs, but there's no clear favorite for the starting job, according to Tashan Reed of The Athletic. "While they've both taken quickly to offensive coordinator Luke Getsy's system, neither stood out much during practices," Reed wrote. "The defense decidedly had the upper hand regardless of who was at quarterback." Both quarterbacks will have plenty of opportunities to compete over the next couple of months, but for the time being, fantasy managers must continue to grapple with the uncertainty out of Las Vegas as they prepare their rosters for the 2024 season. Whichever signal caller wins the job would be a high-end fantasy QB3 by Week 1.

From RotoBaller

George Kittle Jun 19 1:00pm ET
George Kittle

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (groin) has recovered from core muscle surgery and was back on the field as a full participant at Tight End U on Tuesday, according to David Lombardi of The Athletic. The 30-year-old is coming off a huge campaign in which he was named a Pro Bowler and First Team All-Pro after totaling 65 catches, 1,020 yards, and six touchdowns in 2023. He's the undisputed No. 1 tight end in San Francisco and has also firmly cemented himself as one of Brock Purdy's favorite targets. Now fully healthy and ready for the 2024 campaign, Kittle finds himself in the high-end TE1 tier for fantasy football once again.

From RotoBaller

Calais Campbell Jun 19 12:13am ET
Calais Campbell

Miami Dolphins DL Calais Campbell told reporters on Monday, June 17, that he will be 'very surprised if I don't play literally every position on the d-line at some point in time (in 2024).'

From TheHuddle

Deshaun Watson Jun 18 8:13pm ET
Deshaun Watson

Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson (shoulder) is ahead of schedule in terms of his recovery from shoulder surgery, according to general manager Andrew Berry.

Fantasy Spin: Watson was able to throw some during offseason workouts and should be at least a limited participant when training camp starts. He has not posted great numbers since joining the Browns a few years ago and probably should be considered a No. 2 quarterback in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Takkarist McKinley Jun 18 5:03pm ET
Takkarist McKinley

Updating a previous report, free-agent DE Takkarist McKinley (Cowboys) signed a one-year contract worth $1.125 million with the New York Jets on Tuesday, June 18.

From TheHuddle

Tony Jefferson Jun 18 5:03pm ET
Tony Jefferson

Updating a previous report, free-agent S Tony Jefferson (Giants) signed a one-year contract worth $1.21 million with the Los Angeles Chargers on Tuesday, June 18.

From TheHuddle

Marcus Maye Jun 18 5:03pm ET
Marcus Maye

Updating a previous report, free-agent S Marcus Maye (Saints) signed a one-year contract worth $1.3775 million - including a $167,600 signing bonus - with the Los Angeles Chargers on Tuesday, June 18.

From TheHuddle

Calais Campbell Jun 18 4:13pm ET
Calais Campbell

Updating a previous report, free-agent DL Calais Campbell (Falcons) signed an undisclosed contract with the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday, June 18. WR Mathew Sexton was waived to make room for him on the roster.

From TheHuddle