With a strong running game and elite tight end, the 49ers receivers haven’t been workhorses this year. They caught 152 passes, ranking 27th on the season, but the Chiefs weren’t far ahead of that number with 181 receptions, ranking 21st. With Tyreek Hill missing time with injuries, Patrick Mahomes’ efficiency and Travis Kelce leading the team in targets, wide receivers didn’t see big target numbers for Kansas City.
Both teams are efficient when passing to wide receivers, as the Chiefs rank sixth with 14.9 yards per reception to wide receivers and the 49ers rank 10th at 14 yards per reception. The true difference comes out in total receiving yards for the position, as the Chiefs rank 11th with 2,699 yards and the 49ers rank 26th with 2,132.
Both teams can put up offense using their wide receivers, but the Chiefs do it more often, as their offense is built around Patrick Mahomes while the 49ers built their offense around their running game and defense, but Jimmy Garoppolo has also proven he can win games with his arm.
1. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
Hill is easily the most targeted and biggest play receiver going in the Super Bowl. He caught two touchdowns in the Championship game and nobody batted an eye. The 49ers best cornerback, Richard Sherman, won’t shadow Hill, so there’s plenty of reason to believe Andy Reid can scheme him open enough for a high output game.
2. Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
Samuel has been the 49ers No. 1 wide receiver this season, even after Emmanuel Sanders showed up via a trade. He hasn’t been a target hog by any means, as George Kittle remains the most targeted player on the team but he is second in targets and also has averaged close to two rushing attempts per game over their last six games. That dual threat gives him extra upside and scoring possibilities, as he has three rushing touchdowns on the season. Add in his tremendous ability after the catch, and he is easily my No. 2 receiver in the Super Bowl.
3. Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs
Watkins has shown up big in the playoffs, catching 9-of-12 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown in two games. Watkins’ 114 yards and touchdown against the Titans was his first game over 64 receiving yards and his first game with a touchdown since Week 1 when he went off for 198 yards and three touchdowns against the Jaguars after Tyreek Hill was injured. His inconsistency this year is worrisome in fantasy but his recent play reinforces his ability to shine when called upon.
4. Emmanuel Sanders, San Francisco 49ers
Sanders hasn’t seen much of a workload in the playoffs, with just three targets and two receptions for 33 yards. That could change this week if the Chiefs offense can put up points and push the 49ers to throw more. Sanders has plenty of ability still and when given looks, he usually completes the transaction. In Sanders’ two games with more than six targets with the 49ers, he has caught 14-of-18 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns. IF this game becomes a shootout, Sanders is likely to benefit.
5. Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs
Hardman finally passed Demarcus Robinson in snaps, as he 27 offensive snaps to Robinson’s 25 in the AFC Championship game, but it didn’t translate into more targets, as Hardman had one to Robinson’s two. But, I’m still going with Hardman, as his speed is nearly on-par with Tyreek Hill’s and his chance for a big play touchdown is better than Robinson’s.
6. Kendrick Bourne, San Francisco
Bourne has seen decent run in the playoffs and accounted for a touchdown. He also gets a better matchup out of the slot than the rest of the receivers, although there will be plenty of moving around for all the receivers.
7. Demarcus Robinson, Kansas City Chiefs
Robinson is in play, but with Hardman getting more snaps than him in the Championship game, he’ll likely need a touchdown on one of his few targets to have much value in daily fantasy.