Super Bowl 2022: Fantasy Football Todays team's favorite props and what to watch – CBSSports.com

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I know what you’re all wondering here on Super Bowl Sunday, so I’ll get right to the point: When it comes to my meal of choice for tonight, I’m a chicken wings guy. Granted, when it comes to most meals, I could be convinced to be a chicken wings guy, but it’s also my go-to for the proverbial big game. 
So, I’ll be spending my afternoon working my way through this excellent sous vide buffalo wings recipe, to go along with a few beers and some tasty dips in preparation for the Bengals-Rams matchup. When you work in the business we do, you only get a few Sundays where you can just kick back and enjoy the games, and Super Bowl Sunday is the last one. It is, of course, also the last Sunday of NFL games until August. So, let’s have some fun with it. 
The Super Bowl is a long, drawn-out affair, with as much time dedicated to off-field narratives and commercials as actual football. And, while I’m as excited about at least some of the commercials as anyone else – I’m definitely going to nerd out at the Lord of the Rings trailer, and I might have a Vince McMahon-meme moment if we get a surprise Obi-Wan trailer – but I’m especially looking forward to the added intrigue of some playing along with the game from my home in Brooklyn. 
The Fantasy Football Today team has been talking about our favorite props for the game all week over at CBSSports.com, so I’m going to highlight some of Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard, Heath Cummings, and Frank Stampfl’s picks and give you some thoughts on what I’m expecting from the game and where I’m putting my stake down, plus a few things to watch with an eye on the 2022 Fantasy season. 
The Rams being here isn’t much of a surprise – they’ve won at least 10 games in four of the past five seasons, with a Super Bowl loss to the Patriots in the 2018 season on their record. They might not have had a first-round pick since 2016 and won’t have another one until 2024 (at this point, at least), but they’ve built a perennial contender that is looking to get over the hump in Matthew Stafford‘s first season. The talent level here has always been Super Bowl-caliber. 
The Bengals? Well, they’re here at least a year ahead of schedule, if not more. This was supposed to be the year they took a step toward respectability with Joe Burrow coming off a torn ACL. Instead, they won the tough AFC North with a 10-7 record and then snuck past the Titans and Chiefs in dramatic fashion to get to where they are. They’ve been one of the best stories of the season, led by Burrow and the Ja’Marr Chase/Tee Higgins combo that might just be the best WR tandem in the NFL despite the fact that their combined ages are lower than Tom Brady‘s. 
It’s a matchup between two offenses that are absolutely loaded with talent, and the teams look remarkably similar – they tied for seventh in the league with 460 points scored, while the Rams allowed just four fewer points. I think the Rams are likely to win – they’ve got experience and a few more defensive playmakers on their side, not to mention a friendly home crowd on their side – but I’m not confident enough in that to take them at -4.0. I think we’re going to see a close game. 
There are two key storylines here. First, there’s Odell Beckham and his chance to further rehabilitate his value with another big game – he has 19 catches for 236 yards and a touchdown in three games this postseason. He’s going to have plenty of suitors this offseason, and I’d probably prefer he goes somewhere else because this could be a very crowded receiving corps if Robert Woods returns from his ACL healthy. At this point, I’d bet on Beckham returning to the Rams, but it wouldn’t be my personal preference.
The other thing to watch is Cam Akers‘ usage. He’s been getting a ton of work in the postseason with 54 carries and six targets in three games, but he’s a bit banged up and hasn’t looked particularly explosive so far. WIth Darrell Henderson expected to play, I wouldn’t be surprised to see all three RBs get opportunities – and I wouldn’t touch Akers over 64.5 rushing yards at -115. 
The game plan is pretty clear for the Bengals. We’re going to see a lot of Joe Mixon in the run game, with Chase and Higgins carrying most of the weight in the passing game. It’s a dynamic offense, but it’s a concentrated one. I wouldn’t be surprised if Higgins was the more productive of the two receivers, honestly; he’s had a nearly identical target share to Chase this season, and you have to think the latter will see a lot of Jalen Ramsey this week. I like Higgins over 69.5 receiving yards at -110.
1. Bengals +4.0, -110 
I think the Rams will win, but in keeping with a postseason filled with exciting finishes, the Bengals will keep it close enough to cover. I just have a hard time seeing the Rams running away with this one, though Cincinnati’s commitment to the run often seems to put them in more disadvantageous positions than they need to be in. If the Rams are going to win by multiple scores, it’ll probably happen with a fast start while the Bengals try to establish the run. 
2a. Bengals first team touchdown +110
2b. Joe Mixon first touchdown scorer +650
But it’s that commitment to establishing the run I’m counting on here. Which team scores first is, obviously, up to a lot of difficult-to-predict factors, but it is effectively a coin flip, and I live Mixon’s odds best out of the options listed. He’s scored a team-high 17 touchdowns, including the playoffs, so if they do score first, he’s the most likely to get it. Tee Higgins at +800 is also a nice option if you want to bet on the Bengals. Cooper Kupp is obviously a great bet to be the Rams first touchdown as well, if you want to go the other route, though at +430, he’s not as potentially lucrative a choice.
3. Cam Akers under 83.5 rushing and receiving yards -120
Akers has hit this mark once in the three games where he’s been a significant factor in the offense, and he needed a 40-yard catch to get there – it was his only catch of the game and he rushed for 55 yards, his best in a game so far. He’s looked great for someone who had Achilles surgery a half-year ago, but that’s not the same thing as looking great, period. On that mark, I think he’s looked fine, but with both Sony Michel and Darrell Henderson expected to be available, I don’t think the Rams are going to lean so heavily on Akers that he gets here. 
The rest of the FFT crew wrote about their favorite picks throughout the week, so let’s hear from them:
1. Joe Burrow over 2.5 rush attempts +100
Burrow had five carries against the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game and has at least three carries in three of his past six outings.
2. Joe Mixon under 62.5 rushing yards -120
Mixon had 88 rushing yards against the Chiefs and 65 rushing yards against the Ravens in Week 16. But in his six other games going back to November, he’s been at 58 rushing yards or less. And in three playoff games, the most rushing yards the Rams have allowed was 51 to Leonard Fournette in the divisional round.
3. Samaje Perine under 14.5 receiving yards +100
While Perine had 43 receiving yards against the Chiefs, that was the only time he’s been above 13 receiving yards in his previous five outings. And he only has four catches on six targets in the playoffs.
1. Tee Higgins Over 68.5 receiving yards -115
The over is going to be a popular bet because Higgins has at least 96 yards in each of his past two games and in six of his past nine. To that end, it feels a little weird that the number is so low. But what interests me about Higgins is how he’s performed against zone-coverage defenses. His catch rate is 13 percentage points higher and he’s notched 21 explosive plays (12-plus yards) against zone compared to seven against man coverage. The Rams played the second-most zone coverage of any team in 2021 and have lined up in the scheme on 81% of their defensive snaps this postseason. It would be stunning if they went to a different approach in the Super Bowl.
2. Cam Akers Under 16.5 rush attempts -120
Akers played just 30 snaps in the NFC title game (39% of the team’s snaps), a sharp decline after dominating work in his two-fumble game against the Bucs. A shoulder injury played a role in the limited work, but Akers remained ineffective on the 13 carries he did have. It’s fair to say Akers’ numbers have dragged because he’s faced some top-level competition, but he hasn’t been explosive — 46 of his 59 carries have been good for 4 yards or fewer. At some point that has to catch up with him and take him off the field.
3. Ja’Marr Chase Over 5.5 receptions -135
Chase has at least six receptions in four of the past five games in which he’s played the majority of snaps with a catch rate of 77.6% in those five. It’s also not a foreign concept for the Rams to allow six or more catches to a wideout — they’ve allowed as much in seven of their past eight games, and usually to outside receivers like Chase.
1. Joe Burrow over 36.5 pass attempts -110
I’ve made a lot about the Bengals run-heavy approach, but I don’t believe that comes into play here. Burrow has been over this number in four of his past five games and those were all victories. The Bengals were careful with their franchise quarterback early in the year, but they really let him loose down the stretch and I expect they’ll have no choice in this game because of the mismatch between their offensive line and the Rams front. Expect more screen passes to replace run plays and expect a pass-heavy approach as they chase the score late. The Rams were one of only seven teams to see more than 36.5 pass attempts per game against them in 2021.
2. Samaje Perine over 1.5 catches +105
At first this one seems a bit hit or miss. Perine topped this number in eight of the Bengals 17 regular season games and he’s done it once in the playoffs, which was last week. But again, I expect the Bengals will be playing from behind and Perine caught at least two passes in five of the Bengals seven losses. Excuse the infomercial tone; but wait, there’s more. One of the losses where he didn’t catch two passes was Week 18, when he only played special teams (and the Bengals rested their starters). Another was Week 2 when he only played three offensive snaps. Those were the only two games all season where Perine didn’t play at least 10 snaps. I think it’s safe to say those games were outliers. 
3. Tee Higgins over 5.5 catches +100
Maybe I’m getting greedy, but if you really want something to cheer for, these parlays correlate pretty well and would make a very fun parlay. Higgins has topped this number in each of the Bengals past two playoff games and went over in four of the Bengals six losses that he played in this season. The other two games he had five catches. The stronger correlation is that Higgins went over this number six of the eight times that Burrow topped 36.5 pass attempts. If you only want to pair up two of these parlays, Burrow/Higgins is a slightly better bet than Burrow/Perine, but I like all three.
1. Joe Mixon under 92.5 total yards
There are a few things at play here. First and foremost, it’s a very tough matchup for Mixon. The Rams have allowed just 3.65 yards per carry to running backs — the third-lowest in the NFL. They’ve also allowed just one running back to go over this number in their last seven games: Leonard Fournette. Mixon has not been running efficiently, either. He’s been held under four yards per carry in seven of his last eight games and has gone under 92.5 total yards in five of those contests. The only thing that concerns is me is that Mixon has been used more in the passing game recently, averaging 5.8 targets per game over his last five. Regardless, I think the Rams defense sells out to limit Mixon in this spot.
2. Joe Mixon under 92.5 total yards
There are a few things at play here. First and foremost, it’s a very tough matchup for Mixon. The Rams have allowed just 3.65 yards per carry to running backs — the third-lowest in the NFL. They’ve also allowed just one running back to go over this number in their last seven games: Leonard Fournette. Mixon has not been running efficiently, either. He’s been held under four yards per carry in seven of his last eight games and has gone under 92.5 total yards in five of those contests. The only thing that concerns is me is that Mixon has been used more in the passing game recently, averaging 5.8 targets per game over his last five. Regardless, I think the Rams defense sells out to limit Mixon in this spot.
3. Tyler Boyd over 40.5 receiving yards
I will admit this one is a bit curious. He’s gone under this number in four straight and under in 11 of 19 games overall. There are a few circumstances that I believe play into Boyd’s favor, however. First up, C.J. Uzomah says he is going to play but I highly doubt he will be 100%, which means he should play fewer snaps and run fewer routes. That leaves more routes in the short-to-intermediate part of the field where Boyd often lives. Second, the Rams play zone defense at the second-highest rate in the NFL. Again, that bodes well for a slot receiver in Boyd who does a lot of his damage in the middle of the field. Lastly, I’m sure the Rams will try and stop Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. Whether they are successful in that endeavor is a different story. I think Joe Burrow will need a safety blanket to lean on and that will be Boyd in this matchup.
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