Rank Player POS TEAM Notes 1 Sony Michel RB NE Michel has been rock-solid as the No. 1 back in New England in the playoffs, with 53 carries for 142 yards and 5 touchdowns in two games. 2 Todd Gurley RB LAR Gurley was so bad against the Saints that people were/are speculating about his […]
This Super Bowl preview includes a lot of in-depth statistics, analytics and attempts to make the game more predictable. I packed it with a ton of information that can help you form an opinion about how this game could play out. It’ll be broken up into two sections with each part analyzing one offense […]
This Super Bowl preview includes a lot of in-depth statistics, analytics and attempts to make the game more predictable. I packed it with a ton of information that can help you form an opinion about how this game could play out. It’ll be broken up into two sections with each part analyzing one offense and defense. If you missed it, you can find part one here.
Opening Spread/Total: Pick/58
Current Spread/Total: Patriots -2.5/56.5
Patriots Implied Team Total: 29.5
Rams Implied Team Total: 27
When the Rams have the Ball
Despite dodging a questionable no-call in the conference championship, the Rams are one of the league’s best teams. Their offense ranks 2nd in offensive efficiency, 1st in rushing success rate (58%) and 8th in passing success rate (50%). They were also one of the league’s most explosive offenses, ranking 11th in explosive run rate (14%) and 2nd in explosive pass rate (11%).
Like the Patriots offense, a lot of the Rams’ success was due to their offensive line. They rank No. 1 in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards, No. 2 in stuffed yards, No. 1 in second level yards, and No. 6 in adjusted sack rate allowed. Their offensive line was consistently among the leagues’ best in most metrics and helped the offense remain efficient. The battle in the trenches is one of the key pieces of this matchup we have to look at.
In all honesty, If the Patriots can pressure QB Jared Goff as frequently as they pressured Patrick Mahomes in the AFC Championship game (50%), this game is over before it starts. In part one we discussed Brady’s immense splits with a clean pocket and under pressure. Unfortunately for the Rams, Jared Goff’s splits are worse. When Goff has a clean pocket he ranks 5th in passer rating (114.1) and 16th in completion percentage (72.1%). Under pressure, he turns into a cupcake with the 35th ranked completion percentage (43.4 percent) and 29th ranked passer rating (58.2.).
Rams at Saints (-3.5) 57
Out after tearing his Achilles during the Eagles game. Rankins has been an important part of this elite New Orleans rush defense, but even when he has been off the field their ability to stop the run has remained. Without Rankins run success rates only increase marginally from 42.9 percent to 45.5 percent and yard per carry allowed is only minimally affected rising from 3.42 to 3.76.
After suffering a broken hand in week 17, Peat underwent surgery during wild-card bye. While his effectiveness is sure to be hindered somewhat Peat is in line to play after no reported setbacks after playing 100 percent of the snaps versus the Eagles.
Ruled out with appendicitis.
Ruled out with a calf injury
After practicing only on a limited basis in preparation to face the Cowboys last week, Gurley has been removed from the injury report ahead of this week’s showdown in the dome.
Brees carved up the Rams pass defense during their last meeting to the tune of 346 passing yards, four touchdowns and 34.4 DK points (his third-highest DK point total of the season). Home in the dome Brees has been an entirely different quarterback, averaging 321.6 passing yards (vs. 217.6 on the road) with 21 of his 32 passing touchdowns on the season and 9.54 yards per attempt (vs. 6.88 on the road). Brees has thrown for two or more touchdowns in five of six career home playoff games as well as surpassing 300 passing yards in each of his last three. Brees is the only quarterback on the slate that can go toe to toe with Mahomes regarding ceiling this week.
Patriots at Chiefs (-3) 55.5
Weather: Currently projected to be 28 degrees and partly cloudy. The arctic blast is currently unlikely according to NFLweather.com.
Even if he plays his role and snaps are in question. Running backs coming off a hamstring injury tend to be limited. This is Damien Williams backfield now, and if Ware plays, it would remove any contrarian punt plays of West or Darrell Williams from the table.
Very questionable how effective he would be, but would be covering Gronk.
Mahomes had no problem carving up the New England Patriots in the first meeting, throwing for 352 yards and four touchdowns on just 23 completions. The Patriots have struggled with speed historically and the Chiefs offense will provide exactly that issue for them. In his career, Tyreek Hill has 14 catches, 275 yards and four touchdowns against the Patriots. The Patriots have also been a pass funnel defense, largely due to the fact they are winning so many games, giving up 37.75 attempts per game. Facing off against a team that can push him, I expect Mahomes to sling the rock all of the field and the Chiefs have the team speed to cause serious issues for the Patriots. If the arctic blast misses Kansas City, the stars will align for a massive Mahomes game to take the Chiefs to the Super Bowl.
Rank Player POS TEAM Notes
1 Damien Williams RB KC Has taken over Kareem Hunt’s former role. He saw 25 carries last week in the cold against the Colts, and there’s no reason to expect much fluctuation in another frigid game.
2 Alvin Kamara RB NO Mark Ingram hasn’t eaten into his production this season, and against a defense that likes to funnel short passes, he should have plenty of work in the passing game.
3 Michael Thomas WR NO Had a good outing against the completely overmatched Eagles secondary (12/16 171yds. and a TD). I like Drew Brees at home, and Thomas should see another high-volume game.
4 Tyreek Hill WR KC
I want Tyreek’s upside at WR in DRAFT, even in a cold game. His big-play ability is too much to ignore in a playoff game and with so few options at WR this week.
5 Todd Gurley RB LAR The RB job in L.A. has become a time-share with C.J. Anderson, and he seems to be playing through an injury. He’s still a dangerous back and on DRAFT C.J. is buried with a 5pt. Projection.
Much like prime-time slates, playoff NFL DFS is not the time to play scared – it’s the time to be bold. Believe in your process, trust your instincts, and then let the cards fall where they may. That was my advice all year during my “Prime Time Process” pod and that’s my advice to you now. I think it’s important to win (or lose) on your own terms. Do it your way.
With that in mind, here are some of my thoughts and convictions for the divisional round…
Note: My analysis is much heavier on running back because I think it’s imperative to get that position right on this slate.
After much internal debate, I will likely split my quarterback exposure to Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees. However, I feel a lot more comfortable keeping the PMR open for the Sunday night hammer, especially since I’m expecting the Saints to buck their regular season trend of playing ball-control offense and expect them to deploy an aerial assault against the Eagles overmatched secondary. If the Saints can keep pressure off Brees (looking at you Terron Armstead), then I expect the Saints to throttle the Eagles.
Core: Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes
Thoughts on Andrew Luck – I like Luck if the Chiefs offense can score early and often, but I have a suspicion that the Colts will try to control the ball and ram it down the Chiefs’ throat – which would lead to a perfect game script for Marlon Mack and their mauling offensive line led by Quinton Nelson. If they are successful and Mack scores 1-2 TDs then Luck’s ceiling is much lower than Mahomes.
Bottom line: While I like Mahomes, Luck, and Brees I think Mahomes and Brees offer the most upside.
Jared Goff has not played well as of late, especially when under pressure, but he’s interesting at his price. If he can hit 300 yards and two TDs you’ll probably be in pretty good shape if you use the savings correctly at other positions. While the Cowboys defense has been incredibly strong all year, they are a different team on the road. I think the Rams could control this game and if they do – Goff and Gurley make an intriguing stack and a possible avenue to soak up all of the Rams touchdowns.
Eagles at Saints (-8) 51
CB Sidney Jones
YPA with Jones – 6.66 without- 8.08.
Explosive pass percentage with 13 percent, without 17.1 percent.
Look for more big plays down the field if Jones is out.
WR Mike Wallace
Fourth WR, Deep threat, slightest bump to Foles if he plays.
OT Terron Armstead
Pass success rate is 8.1 percent higher with Armstead, explosive pass rate jumps two percent, sack rate drops 0.8 percent and YPA jumps from 7.37 to 8.84.
OG Larry Warford
Only missed 72 snaps this season, but sack percentage jumped from 3.5 percent to 6.9 percent.
OT Andrus Peat
Run success rate jumps five percent with Peat on the field.
The Eagles secondary is a mess. It’s why we attacked them with Trubisky and will look to do it again with Brees again Sunday. The Eagles are in the fifth percentile in attempts against, seventh percentile in yards allowed, and if Sidney Jones misses this game, the team gives up 8.08 yards per attempt with him off the field. At home this year, Drew Brees is averaging 27.5 points per game, with an insane 9.5 YPA, 21 touchdowns, just one interception and 321.6 yards per game. After Mahomes, he has the second highest floor on the slate. One thing to keep an eye on is his offensive line situation. If Armstead is back, it’s a massive bump to Brees and the offense.
If you are new to TQE, here is a brief description of what each stat means. If you aren’t new, scroll down to the RB matrix!
Adjusted line yards
These are the yards the O-line is responsible for producing. For example, if a running back gets tackled for a loss, most of the time this is because the line did not block the defenders well enough. On the other side, if a running back has a five-yard rush, this is likely due to solid line play and a hole being created. This is the base of a running game.
These are rushes that occur on third or fourth down with two yards or less to reach a first down. It also includes rushes inside the two-yard line at the goal line. This metric isn’t weighted as heavily for me, but still worth noting.
These are rushes that go for no gain or tackles for loss. This metric is more useful in assessing cash plays. As the running back continuously picks up yards, he should end up with a solid yardage total if the volume is there.
However, our ceiling (or tournament) metrics are the next two.
Chargers at Patriots (-4) 48
DE Deatrich Wise
Opponents have a slightly higher explosive pass rate and YPA, but much better on the ground against the Pats when Wise is on the field
TE Hunter Henry
The Chargers are the best defense remaining in the playoffs and this is the lowest total on the slate. Brady has not shown many ceiling games this season with only one game this season over 30 points, back in Week 5 versus Indianapolis. If you are looking to use Brady, the reason to do it would be the Chargers struggles in the passing game covering running backs. They allow 60.81 yards to backs per game on 8.38 targets. As Brady continues to defy age, one thing that has been impacted is his deep ball and he has looked to attack opponents underneath with backs, and the Chargers are one of the worst teams in the league stopping it. In the last four games, Patriots running backs are averaging eight targets per game and 25 percent of the total targets. I would rather get Brady exposure through his weapons and fade the quarterback with so many QBs with higher ceilings this week.