Guest of the League
Arm chair football Est. 2023
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
Ladd McConkey Jun 17 12:40pm ET
Ladd McConkey

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert was very impressed with rookie wide receiver Ladd McConkey during offseason workouts, and the second-rounder displayed the most potential throughout the offseason program with his precise route-running and sudden quickness in tight spaces. "It's like he's been a four- or five-year vet," Herbert said. "He understands the game. He understands leverage. He's a smart player, and he's very athletic. I'm really looking forward to getting him the ball." McConkey is gaining steam in dynasty/keeper leagues and could even be worth a late-round flier for receiver depth in deeper redraft leagues this fall if he continues to look good when the pads go on in training camp. There is opportunity in LA's receiver room with both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams no longer in town.

From RotoBaller

Diontae Johnson Jun 17 12:40pm ET
Diontae Johnson

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Diontae Johnson, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers, is entering the final year of his contract and has every reason to make the most of his first season with second-year quarterback Bryce Young. If Johnson can strike up some chemistry with Young, the 27-year-old wideout could be in position to cash in on the open market next March. "It's crazy seeing everybody getting big contracts," Johnson said. "It just motivates me to keep working," Johnson said. The 2021 Pro Bowler wore out his welcome in Pittsburgh and will now be a part of an offense that was atrocious in Young's rookie season in 2023. Johnson had lots of volume with the Steelers but struggled for efficiency. In Carolina, that volume isn't guaranteed, lowering his fantasy floor as low-end WR3/high-end WR4.

From RotoBaller

Cameron Heyward Jun 17 12:40pm ET
Cameron Heyward

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward doesn't want to play for another team before he hangs up his cleats for good. "The goal is to be a steeler for the rest of my career," Heyward wrote in a social media post on Sunday. The 35-year-old has spent his last 13 seasons with the Steelers since the team drafted him in 2011. He finished last season by amassing only two sacks, 8.5 fewer than the 2023-24 campaign. But Heyward appeared in just 11 games after suffering a groin injury during training camp, so he should bounce back if he stays healthy. With that said, Heyward wants to play for three more seasons before calling it quits, although it appears he's not looking to play at a discounted rate.

From RotoBaller

Tee Higgins Jun 16 2:13pm ET
Tee Higgins

Dynasty | Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins is signing his franchise tender. Dynasty Analysis: Higgins and the Bengals will now have until July 15th to work out a long-term deal or he'll play next year on this one-year, $21.8 million contract. The two sides continue to be far apart on a contract that would keep Higgins in Cincinnati beyond this season but at least it looks like he won't attempt a holdout that bleeds into minicamp. From a dynasty perspective, most Higgins managers are likely hoping he ends up somewhere else eventually as a WR1. Blocked a bit by Ja'Marr Chase, Higgins remains a solid WR2 in dynasty leagues for the time being.

From Dynasty League Fantasy

Blake Corum Jun 16 2:13pm ET
Blake Corum

Dynasty | Rams running back Blake Corum is reportedly shining in OTAs. Dynasty Analysis: There have been multiple reports from outlets all over that indicate the same. This is interesting because Kyren Williams has shown to be a very effective player in dynasty leagues and currently holds the top spot in a fantasy friendly offense. While Corum likely won't jump him on the depth chart (especially in the Summer), there are legitimate concerns he could make this a two-man committee, creating a nightmare in dynasty leagues. Corum is starting to look like a very solid mid-round pick in rookie drafts.

From Dynasty League Fantasy

Tee Higgins Jun 16 12:40pm ET
Tee Higgins

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins signed his franchise tender on Saturday, according to a source. By signing his tender, Higgins is now expected to be at training camp next month. A long-term deal for Higgins is considered a long shot at this point, especially since with WR1 Ja'Marr Chase has only two years remaining on his current deal. The 25-year-old Higgins will make $21.8 million in the franchise tag in 2024 before becoming a free agent next March. The former second-rounder (33rd overall) in 2020 out of Clemson struggled with injuries in his fourth NFL season in 2023, playing in only 12 games and catching 42 passes for a career-low 656 yards and five touchdowns. With better health for himself and quarterback Joe Burrow (wrist), Higgins should be able to bounce back in a contract year and would be a fine target as a high-end WR3/low-end WR2.

From RotoBaller

Michael Badgley Jun 16 12:40pm ET
Michael Badgley

The Detroit Lions signed big-footed UFL kicker Jake Bates to an undisclosed two-year deal this week, according to his agent, Marty Magid. The 24-year-old ranked second in the UFL this year with 17 field goals for the Michigan Panthers, which included a 64-yard game-winning kick in the season opener against the St. Louis Battlehawks. The former soccer player didn't turn to football until his senior year in high school and was a kickoff specialist in college at Texas State and Arkansas. Bates will now look to impress the Lions coaching staff in training camp and the preseason. Detroit also has kickers Michael Badgley and James Turner on the roster, so Bates is far from a guarantee to make the final 53-man roster heading into the regular season. If Bates wins the starting job in 2024, he might be worth a look in 12-team leagues in Detroit's strong offense while kicking half his games indoors.

From RotoBaller

Christian Benford Jun 16 12:40pm ET
Christian Benford

Buffalo Bills cornerback Kaiir Elam just turned 23 years old and has gotten a ton of repetitions this spring with veteran Rasul Douglas missing the voluntary organized team activities. Elam will be in line to challenge for a starting outside cornerback role in training camp and the preseason. He was taken with the 23rd overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft out of Florida, but he hasn't really panned out yet for the Bills secondary early in his career. It comes after Tre'Davious White left to play for the Los Angeles Rams. Elam will be competing with Douglas and Christian Benford for more snaps on the outside at cornerback as he heads into his third NFL season. At worst, Elam will be a key backup for the Bills defense this year.

From RotoBaller

Dalton Kincaid Jun 16 12:40pm ET
Dalton Kincaid

BuffaloBills.com's Chris Brown lists Buffalo Bills second-year tight end Dalton Kincaid as a breakout candidate in 2024 after finishing eighth among tight ends in his rookie season in receptions with 73. With receiver Stefon Diggs now gone -- Diggs was the only player in the passing game that had more targets than Kincaid in 2023 -- the opportunity is ripe for Kincaid to lead the team in that category this year. If he stays healthy, the former 25th overall pick could be a top-five fantasy tight end in just his second year in the league. In addition to his 73 receptions (on 91 targets), Kincaid had 673 receiving yards and two touchdowns in 16 regular-season games (11 starts) in 2023. Kincaid's combination of talent at a shallow position and the opportunity in Buffalo in 2024 will make him pretty attractive in all fantasy setups.

From RotoBaller

Jaxon Smith-Njigba Jun 16 12:40pm ET
Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Seattle Seahawks second-year wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba is an obvious breakout candidate in his sophomore season despite being in a receiving corps that still has DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett and in an offense that figures to lean more on the running game than new offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb did at the University of Washington. In his first year in the league in 2023, Smith-Njigba had 63 catches for 628 yards and four touchdowns in 17 games. No player stood out more than JSN during spring workouts and minicamp, although Metcalf and Lockett weren't always on the field with him. He was downright dominant at times, though, and head coach Mike Macdonald said "we're expecting big things out of him." The 22-year-old has his fantasy ceiling capped as long as Metcalf and Lockett are healthy, but fantasy managers still shouldn't mind rostering him as a WR4/flex.

From RotoBaller

Stephon Gilmore Jun 16 12:40pm ET
Stephon Gilmore

Free-agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore remains unsigned heading toward training camp. Yet, he doesn't seem to mind. "Being patient right now," said the multi-time Pro Bowler during a recent interview. "I feel good. Year 13, been playing a long time. So, I'm just being patient and waiting for the right opportunity." The 2012 No. 10 overall pick appeared in 17 games for Dallas last season. He totaled 68 tackles (54 solo), two interceptions, and 13 passes defensed. In April, Gilmore was rumored to be nearing an agreement with the Panthers, the team he played for in 2021-22. However, that never happened. Nonetheless, there's a good chance he'll find work sometime soon. But for now, he'll remain on the open market until he finds a contract to his liking.

From RotoBaller

Dak Prescott Jun 16 12:40pm ET
Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is still without a new contract. Both sides haven't worked out an agreement. However, as Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson indicated, Trevor Lawrence's new deal could result in Prescott getting more money. The 30-year-old is coming off another potent season, throwing for 4,516 yards, 36 touchdowns, and nine interceptions while completing a career-high 69.5% of his attempts. Without question, if the Cowboys allow Prescott to reach free agency next offseason, he would command more than enough attention on the open market. In the meantime, Prescott should remain a top fantasy signal-caller, considering he has CeeDee Lamb, arguably the league's top wideout, at his disposal.

From RotoBaller

Stephon Gilmore Jun 15 5:53pm ET
Stephon Gilmore

Free-agent CB Stephon Gilmore (Cowboys) is 'being patient right now' when it comes to signing with a team, he told media members Friday, June 14. He said no team has met his asking price yet.

From TheHuddle

Brian Daboll Jun 15 12:30pm ET
Brian Daboll

New York Giants offensive lineman Evan Neal (ankle) had surgery to fix a small fracture in his ankle in early January, but he had participated in some individual drills in the first two open organized team activity practices. However, head coach Brian Daboll said the team "backed off" the 2022 first-rounder recently. Neal was in the facility rehabbing for the first half of minicamp practices before riding a stationary bike on the sideline. The 6-foot-7, 340-pounder was laboring as he walked around the practice fields this week. This doesn't bode well for Neal's status heading into training camp next month. We'll keep a close eye on his status this summer as the Giants look to massively improve what was a terrible offensive line in 2023.

From RotoBaller

Breece Hall Jun 15 12:30pm ET
Breece Hall

New York Jets running back Breece Hall (lower body) was held out of minicamp practices as a precaution with a minor lower-body injury. "I'm just focused on continuing to get better and just to keep building my body up for the season," Hall said. "I could practice right now. I feel great, but the coaches are really cautious with me, and I appreciate them for that. It has been a good time still being a part of everything. I do all the walkthroughs and stuff we've been doing." Last year, Hall didn't practice until late August after coming off a torn ACL, but he still racked up 1,588 scrimmage yards and nine touchdowns in 2023. It may raise some eyebrows that he's dealing with an injury this offseason, but as long as he's fine in training camp, fantasy managers should have no worries taking Hall as a top-three fantasy RB in the first round of drafts.

From RotoBaller

D.K. Metcalf Jun 15 12:30pm ET
D.K. Metcalf

Seattle Seahawks new head coach Mike Macdonald said his coaching staff plans to make wide receiver DK Metcalf a "moving target" for defenses this year. "I can tell you this: We want to get DK the ball a lot, too," Macdonald said. The Seahawks and new offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb plan to move Metcalf around and get him the ball often after he ended the 2023 campaign on a sour note, catching just one pass for 10 yards in the season finale. Still, the 26-year-old made his second Pro Bowl and topped 1,000 yards receiving for the second straight season and the third time in five years while also visiting paydirt eight times. Fantasy managers won't complain about the Seahawks using Metcalf more creatively, including more in the slot, to make him more productive. Treat him as a solid WR2 wideout in fantasy drafts this fall.

From RotoBaller

Jake Ferguson Jun 15 12:30pm ET
Jake Ferguson

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jake Ferguson broke out as the team's starting tight end in 2023 with 71 catches for 761 yards and five touchdowns en route to his first Pro Bowl nod. "It's his consistency and his passion his energy," said head coach Mike McCarthy. "And, really, it's his growth as a football player. We talked a little bit about his weight, and I think he's done an outstanding job in his transition phase of it. He's having a great offseason." Ferguson has so far shown that he has the entire package the Cowboys are looking for on offense. Realistically, the 25-year-old third-year tight end could be quarterback Dak Prescott's No. 2 target behind receiver CeeDee Lamb in 2024. Ferguson led all TEs in targets inside the 20-yard line last year and should be considered a low-end TE1 in fantasy with the upside for more.

From RotoBaller

Blake Corum Jun 15 12:30pm ET
Blake Corum

Los Angeles Rams rookie running back Blake Corum has impressed head coach Sean McVay this offseason as he attempts to learn the offense and carve out a role for himself behind lead back Kyren Williams. "On the offensive side, I've been pleased with a lot of guys but Blake Corum has really stood out," McVay said. "Mature beyond his years. I love the way that he handles himself." Williams remains the leader of this backfield, but Corum will get his opportunities in 2024 and said himself that he'll "definitely be catching the ball out of the backfield." The 23-year-old third-rounder out of Michigan has endeared himself to the Rams' coaching staff already, and Williams' foot injury has allowed him more reps this offseason. Corum will be a top handcuff option for those that roster Williams, and he could even carve out some RB3/flex value in point-per-reception leagues in 2024.

From RotoBaller

Khalil Shakir Jun 15 12:30pm ET
Khalil Shakir

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Khalil Shakir (lower body) said he's all good and expects to be 100 percent healthy for the start of training camp at the end of July. Shakir suffered an undisclosed lower-body injury during minicamp practice earlier this week and didn't practice the rest of the week. However, it appears that the injury isn't serious and won't keep him off the field for the start of training camp. Now that both Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis aren't in Buffalo, the 24-year-old former fifth-round pick in 2022 will have an increased role in the Bills' passing attack in 2024 after finishing the 2023 season off on a strong note. Still, Shakir has a ways to go to become relevant in standard-sized fantasy leagues after catching 39 passes for 611 yards and only two touchdowns in 17 regular-season games (10 starts) in his second NFL campaign in 2023.

From RotoBaller

Chase Young Jun 15 12:30pm ET
Chase Young

New Orleans Saints defensive end Chase Young (neck), who had offseason neck surgery, received a positive report from renowned specialist Dr. Robert Watkins during a checkup this week, according to a source. Young will have more tests on his neck in around six weeks, but he plans to take part in training camp this summer. The former second overall pick by the Washington Commanders in 2020 out of Ohio State won Defensive Rookie of the Year in his first season in the league, but then injuries struck. He was able to play in 16 games with Washington and the San Francisco 49ers last year, though, and finished with 7.5 sacks, the same amount he had in 2020. If the 25-year-old can just say on the field, the Saints could have a real steal on their hands on their D-line. Because of the injury risk, Young can be left to the waiver wire in IDP leagues to start the year.

From RotoBaller