If you like your Super Bowl stuffed with storylines, this Sunday’s game is just for you. You’ve got the matchup between the greatest quarterback of all-time and the best quarterback right now. You’ve got the Buccaneers’ ferocious defense trying to slow down the Chiefs’ dizzying offense. One shade of red versus a darker shade of red — it’s all here in Super Bowl 55.
The Buccaneers earned the opportunity to be crowned NFL champions in their home stadium after upsetting the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game, 31-26. Tom Brady threw two touchdowns in the first half and a third one within the two minutes of the second half to propel the Bucs out to a 28-10 lead. However, three second-half interceptions kept Tampa Bay from pulling away. Leonard Fournette gained 55 yards and a score on 12 carries and also caught five passes for 19 yards. He once again outplayed Ronald Jones III, who had just 16 yards on 10 carries. Chris Godwin picked up a few huge gains en route to a five-catch, 110-yard performance. Brady’s touchdowns went to Mike Evans, Cameron Brate and Scotty Miller, who was on the receiving end of a 39-yard, Hail Mary-esque score at the very end of the first half that will be remembered for a long time.
As is their wont in the playoffs, the Chiefs fell behind in the early stages of the AFC Championship game against the Buffalo Bills. But that 9-0 deficit quickly became a footnote as the Chiefs outscored Buffalo 31-6 over the second and third quarters. They wound up winning, 38-24. The state of Patrick Mahomes’ health was a talking point all week leading up to kickoff, but he looked to be at full power as he diced up the Bills’ defense for 325 yards, three touchdowns and completed 76% of his passes. Running backs Darrel Williams and Clyde Edwards-Helaire both scored on the ground, but Williams recorded significantly more carries (13 to 6) and rushing yards (52 to 7). The Bills didn’t slow down neither tight end Travis Kelce nor wideout Tyreek Hill. That duo combined to catch 22 of 26 targets and 290 yards and two touchdowns, both by Kelce. Wide receiver Mecole Hardman muffed a punt in the first quarter that basically gave the Bills their first touchdown. But he made up for his mistake on Kansas City’s next drive as he notched a receiving score from three yards out and later ripped off a 50-yard run on a reverse.
Date: Sunday, Feb. 7
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Notable Statistical rankings (Football Outsiders)
Bucs: #2 Overall — #3 offense, #5 defense, #26 special teams
Chiefs: #6 Overall — #2 offense, #22 defense, #17 special teams
Bucs: +3, +140
Chiefs: -3, -159
Fantasy football start/sit advice
Leonard Fournette, RB, $7,800
I don’t know if “Playoff Lenny” is supposed to be a thing or not, but Fournette has taken over the Buccaneers’ backfield during the postseason. He has racked up at least 18 DraftKings points and touched the ball no fewer than 17 times in each of the team’s three playoff victories. Fournette should have success running on the Chiefs and if the game turns into a pass-centric shootout, that favors him. He has 14 catches on 17 targets in these playoffs. Jones, by comparison, has seen just one target.
Cameron Brate, TE, $4,800
Brate continues to operate as the Bucs’ lead pass-catching tight end and is acquitting himself rather nicely. He has 11 receptions in the past three games, including his first TD of the playoffs two weeks ago in Green Bay. Rob Gronkowski may get a couple of spare chances, but Brate has garnered five targets in each postseason game thus far. The Chiefs allowed the fifth-most receiving yards to tight ends during the regular season and just saw Buffalo’s Dawson Knox post a 6-42-1 line against them in the AFC Championship game. Brate found himself on the team’s final injury report with a back injury, but if he’s a go, he could pay off as a DFS value for Super Bowl 55.
Travis Kelce, TE, $11,000
You have to imagine that the Buccaneers’ defense will do everything possible to keep Tyreek Hill from beating them in this game, lest they suffer an embarrassment similar to their Week 12 meeting in which Hill torched Tampa Bay’s man coverage for more than 200 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter alone. Kelce didn’t score that day, but he has scored in every game he has played since. He tallied more than 65 DraftKings points in Kansas City’s two playoff games and just feels like the most sure-fire play on the board. He should be the player around whom you build most of your Showdown lineups.
Darrel Williams, RB, $5,200
Edwards-Helaire had a slight snap advantage over Williams in KC’s last game (32 to 30), but as mentioned above, Darrel was much more productive. The Buccaneers’ run defense is extremely stout — they allowed 166 fewer rushing yards to RBs than any team in the league during the regular season — but if you want to bet on a Chiefs back this Sunday. make it Williams. CE-H costs $1,800 more and may be bothered right now by some lingering injuries.