For each of the featured playoff games, this column will provide free analysis for the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. This will include team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks for today. There are loads of information and NFL DFS Showdown picks to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Super Bowl Sunday Football slate featuring the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals.
NFL DFS Picks Super Bowl Sunday Football
Both teams are relatively healthy heading into this game. Cincinnati is listing only tight end C.J. Uzomah as questionable. Los Angeles will be without tight end Tyler Higbee, tackle Joe Noteboom and defensive back Robert Rochell.
While this game is being played in Los Angeles, technically they are the visiting team, though they will be using their regular locker room. This matchup has been dissected for the last two weeks as is typical of all Super Bowl tilts. Since the Week 11 bye, Matthew Stafford has multi-touchdown games in all but one appearance, including the first three rounds of the playoffs. We know that the Rams and coach Sean McVay will be looking to put points on the board early to force Cincinnati to pass. The only knock against Stafford is that he led the league with 17 interceptions this season, though he was second to only Tom Brady in passing touchdowns.
This looks like a position to avoid for both teams. Los Angeles will have Darrell Henderson Jr. back, though it is hard to tell how much he will play with Cam Akers and Sony Michel having been a solid 1-2 punch in the postseason. In the NFC Championship Game, Michel actually was on the field for 57% of the snaps compared to 39% for Akers. This is looking like a committee and while Akers is the better receiver, he has had some fumbling issues. Michel is the red zone rumbler and the knock against him is his receiving skills, though in the last two games he had four total targets, matching Akers.
Cooper Kupp has graced this article series countless times this season and he was just named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year. Kupp led the league in nearly every imaginable receiving category and he has been stellar in the postseason. Odell Beckham Jr. has a lot to prove having been labeled a malcontent, but he has been outstanding filling in for Robert Woods and in the last two games he has 24 targets, 15 receptions and 182 yards. He has six touchdowns in his last ten games and clearly has the trust of Stafford and McVay.
Van Jefferson is a wild card as he will be one of the popular value plays on Sunday. In each of the last two games he has been on the field for nearly 90% of the snaps with a solid eight targets. It just takes one big play and it seems his knee injury is behind him having been a full participant in practice wrapping up the week. Ben Skowronek is a major dart throw, but in the mix around lineup 75-80.
Tyler Higbee is out and which means Kendall Blanton is the next man up. The Rams run more three wide receiver sets than every other team in the league, but there are rumors they are considering using one of their reserve lineman as a tight end in some max-protection schemes since Blanton and reserve Brycen Hopkins are not particularly adept in the blocking game. Blanton had five receptions for 57 yards in the NFC Championship Game and he had a touchdown against the Buccaneers in the Divisional round. Hopkins has one reception on the year.
Los Angeles had the third most sacks in the league this season and Cincinnati allowed the third most. Both teams were around league average from a turnover/takeaway perspective. There are a lot of playmakers on the Rams defense and this unit is very much in play on Sunday.
This is not going to be an easy matchup for second year signal-caller Joe Burrow who was the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. In his final five games of the regular season, Burrow tallied 1,776 passing yards which included games of 446 against Kansas City and 525 against Baltimore with four aerial strikes in each. The Rams defense has been up and down with a variety of injuries, but with everyone healthy this is going to be a formidable task for Burrow to pull off a victory. Los Angeles has the fifth best rushing DVOA and the sixth best passing DVOA while allowing the fewest yards per carry and the third fewest yards per pass attempt. In Burrows favor from a fantasy perspective he has three outstanding receivers and the best running back in this game and if he has to let it rip for half the game, he could pile up the fantasy production.
Joe Mixon has been bottled up more often than not and since Week 13 he has more than 60 rushing yards twice in eight games. He is a capable receiver and will be on the field for 80% of the snaps. However, across the DFS sites we are seeing a salary that is going to be tricky to support without 100 combined yards and a touchdown. This is an intriguing leverage spot against the field and while it will not be fun, it could be very lucrative. There is no direct pivot away from Mixon other than turning to the receivers since Samaje Perine is unlikely to do much with a handful of touches and if Mixon were to suffer an in-game injury, Cincinnati would likely just turn to the pass unless they somehow have a two-score lead.
The big question for Sunday is whether or not Jalen Ramsey is shadowing Ja’Marr Chase, playing one side of the field or looking to quell the hot hand. According to Ramsey in interviews leading up to the game, he will be locked on Chase, however, we have not seen him in “shadow mode” nearly as often this season as he has been in years past. Planting your flag on this one is going to be key and we really will not know the “correct” answer until the final seconds tick off the clock.
Chase has had a phenomenal debut season which earned him Rookie of the Year honors and in the history of the NFL, no player has received those accolades in the same season they won a Super Bowl. Of course it helps to have Tyler Boyd as a six-season veteran and steadying presence for Chase and second year man Tee Higgins. It is going to be a tall task for the Rams to contain all three pass-catchers and the Bengals are behind only their Super Bowl opponent when it comes to operating with 11-personnel this season.
C.J. Uzomah has had a nice season as a complimentary receiver, however, he is dealing with a knee injury that has him well below full health. Likely he will be a decoy of sorts since his backup Drew Sample has logged more than three fantasy points only once this season. Similar to the Rams situation and with the deplorable Cincinnati pass protection, we could see them work in an extra offensive lineman and just roll with their trio of talented receivers.
The Bengals were in the top-third of the league for sacks while the Rams allowed the sixth fewest this season. Both squads allowed or recorded just over one turnover per tilt.
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Super Bowl Sunday Football Single-Game NFL DFS Strategy
The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value, but for those taking the MME approach, remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. This also works conversely with pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with their quarterback.
Super Bowl Sunday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings
Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Cooper Kupp: Paying a pretty penny, this is an amazing decision point. He can be “faded” in the multiplier position, yet still played in the flex spots as “protection” of sorts. Sunday’s salary and popularity is going to require 100-150 yards and a score or two for support.
- Matthew Stafford: Will be a key building block with at least two passing scores in 9 of his last 10 games.
- Joe Burrow: Notched 22 or fewer fantasy points in four of his last five and 9 of 12 appearances. Two of the outliers were 35 or more fantasy point masterpieces. Hard to trust against the Rams defense, but if DGAF mode is activated, 35 or more passing attempts will be gold.
- Odell Beckham Jr.: Not getting the love he deserves, while he is popular – there is still wiggle room for upside.
- Matt Gay: It seems that since most DFS analysts are not fans, they have missed that Gay was the NFC Pro Bowl selection, but he did not play last weekend since he is in the Super Bowl.
- Evan McPherson: Love the name, but not the spelling – this rookie has ice water in his veins. Nailed every single one of his dozen playoff attempts. Kickers do allow a touch of salary savings on DraftKings and FanDuel and two field goal makes will likely boost them into the top ten for scorers.
- Tee Higgins: Similar projection to Chase and we get a discount, this all goes back to how you think the Rams handle the rookie.
- Ja’Marr Chase: Make or break on Sunday. Of course we can say that about anything, though if early in the game Ramsey is not going to shadow, he has a chance to make some serious noise.
- Tyler Boyd: DraftKings makes it easy as the veteran’s tag is below his clearly more talented teammates. It is closer on FanDuel, though with the half-PPR format the focus is on yardage and of course touchdowns.
- Van Jefferson: Click and cross your fingers for a big strike.
Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Joe Mixon: Far from discounted, he will need a pair of touchdowns to make us regret this ranking on Sunday.
- Sony Michel: Depending on your DFS site of choice, the former Patriot comes in at a 25-30% discount to his counterpart.
- Cam Akers: If he has a miscue, it would not be surprising to see him replaced by Michel.
- Los Angeles D/ST: We just need one big play or the Cincinnati offensive line to break down once more.
- Kendall Blanton: DraftKings makes more sense with full-PPR, but FanDuel needs him to record 40 yards and or a score to be viable, with the pre-emptive salary.
Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Cincinnati D/ST: From a fantasy perspective, this unit has been surprisingly effective.
- C.J. Uzomah: The old saying is “Trust but verify” we do not have that luxury. With his injury, for the steadfast gamer he does not come into play until lineup 40-45 on either DraftKings or FanDuel.
- Chris Evans: If you are looking for an extreme longshot for a big play, then “Captain America” is the play. We are looking for a wheel route and a handful of fantasy points on a couple of touches, though make sure to put him on a few lineups. Returns kickoffs for Cincinnati.
- Samaje Perine: In the AFC Championship his 13.3 full-PPR points were more than the five preceding games combined.
- Darrell Henderson Jr.: He has not taken the field in over a month and was iffy down the stretch.
- Ben Skowronek: Only three targets and no catches in the playoffs while playing 7, 6 and 21 postseason snaps.
- Drew Sample: Gets his own line since we both attended the University of Washington and Uzomah is gimpy. In 42 regular season games over three years he has averaged right around two fantasy points in full-PPR formats.
- Trent Taylor: Former 49er is an extreme reach, but he has seen action as a receiver, though most of his work is on special teams.
- Brandon Powell: Returns punts and kickoffs for Los Angeles. Last passing target was in 2020 while with Atlanta.
- Brycen Hopkins, Mike Thomas and Trent Taylor: If we lose to this motley crew, so be it.
[ SHARETHISCONTENT]If you’re interested in other top NFL DFS plays today for multiple game slates, head over to NFL ownership projections, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, NFL daily fantasy football rankings, and DFS NFL stacking. Take a look at our inactives list, NFL line-ups and NFL depth chart list. View our DraftKings NFL DFS ownership rankings and our FanDuel NFL rankings. We also have DraftKings showdown projections and DraftKings showdown ownership projections.
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