With the Big Game days away, our analysts each reveal their pick for who will surprise when the Chiefs and Buccaneers take the field on Sunday. You can also consider this their favorite DFS bargains for our newly launched single-game contests.
Sammy Watkins could see plenty of work
Andy Behrens: Watkins should be good to go for Kansas City this weekend, and, when that guy plays, he tends to see sneaky volume. He drew at least a half-dozen targets in six of his 10 games this season. Tampa Bay’s defense has been exceedingly difficult to run against this season, inviting teams to pass the ball. The Bucs were roasted by Tyreek Hill in the earlier meeting, so I’d expect him to receive maximum attention, leaving plenty of opportunities for Travis Kelce and Watkins. At just $17, Watkins is a DFS steal.
Ronald Jones is a boom-or-bust option
Dalton Del Don: My money will be on Kansas City this weekend, but even so, Ronald Jones is my favorite DFS tournament play Sunday. It’s just a 3.5 point spread, the Chiefs enter decimated along their offensive line, and Tampa Bay gets to play at home, so it’s not hard to see the game script turn favorably for Jones (something admittedly needed given his inactivity on passing downs). He’s without question a much better runner than Leonard Fournette, and the two weeks off should allow Jones to enter healthier after battling a quad injury. KC, meanwhile, had the No. 31 ranked run defense in DVOA this season despite the league’s easiest rushing schedule. Jones had as many 20+ yard rushes as Dalvin Cook in 120 fewer carries this season, and he has nice DFS ($21) upside Sunday (albeit with a low floor).
Cameron Brate has momentum on his side
Liz Loza: Travis Kelce is the favorite for receiving yards in this matchup. But the Bucs also have two tight ends who can put up points. Back in Week 12, when Tampa Bay hosted Kansas City, Gronk cleared 100 yards. Meanwhile, Cameron Brate has drawn at least five looks per game throughout the postseason including a red-zone opportunity in three of his last four efforts. Scoring in the NFC title clash, and with a salary of just $16 in Yahoo’s Big Game DFS contest, Brate is an under-the-radar value play. The Chiefs struggled to contain the middle of the field during the regular season, allowing the fifth-most yards (954) and 9 scores to opposing TEs, which gives the Harvard alum plenty of TD upside.
Eye Scotty Miller for big-play potential
Matt Harmon: I’ll go with the chalkiest “sleeper” player and name Scotty Miller ($11). For one, it makes zero sense that Miller is $1 cheaper when it comes to DFS salaries than fellow depth receiver Tyler Johnson. Miller isn’t a lock for big volume but we know that if he does get looks, they’re coming down the field ... despite comparisons to Tom Brady’s popgun slot receivers of old. In a one-game tournament, it makes sense to plug in a discount guy who has a high ceiling. Miller fits that mold for the Bucs’ side.
Mecole Hardman in position to surprise
Scott Pianowski: The first Big Game thing I did this week was punch the over on Mecole Hardman’s yardage total prop (29.5 per BetMGM). He’s still inexperienced as a route-runner and technician, but his raw speed is a toy for this offense, and Andy Reid is getting better at finding simple ways for Hardman to get involved (and never forget, we love Andy Reid after a bye week). Hardman quietly has three touchdowns in his last six games, and a handy 116 total yards on eight touches in the playoffs. One splash play can cash this ticket for us, and at $16 in DFS, it’s another great opportunity.