Clash of the Beards & Bellies

Super Unlikely

I already have my concession speech ready. In the most unlikely of collapses, my DFS luck ran out at the end of the regular season. In order to be the recipient of the championship whiskey, I will need to win by more than 37 points on Sunday. Any given Sunday, right?

With only one slate left, a Showdown slate, it will be even more difficult to reach the crest of the crater I left when I smacked into DFS rock bottom like the asteroid that killed all the cute dinosaurs. My Super Bowl lineup is as aggressive as I could afford to be. Here’s hoping I can hit optimal and also get Scott’s lineup to completely fall flat. Then I’ll be able to mock him with a nice dram, sipping with my pinky finger flying.

Bo’s Lineup

Captain – Odell Beckham Jr. – LA Rams – $12,600

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 17: Odell Beckham Jr. #3 of the Los Angeles Rams reacts during the second quarter of the game against the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at SoFi Stadium on January 17, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The major risk I am taking with this lineup is fading both of the top wide receivers in the game. I am doubling down on my Kupp fade to Captain OBJ. Cincinnati’s pass defense isn’t terrible. They also play a lot of Cover-3 out of the nickel, which has the effect of taming Cooper Kupp’s outrageous upside. If I’m right, OBJ will duplicate his NFC Championship performance and score a touchdown.

Flex – Kendall Blanton – LA Rams – $4,600

I really don’t expect Tyler Higbee to be a factor in the passing game, even if he is able to play. Blanton stepped in masterfully against the 49ers, with 10.7 fantasy points in relief. A full game running routes against that shell zone scheme would result in very nice numbers at this salary for Blanton. Cincinnati is 29th in the NFL against opposing tight ends. McVay knows this and will slice the Bengals’ underbelly with an attack on the middle seam.

Flex – Joe Burrow – Cincinnati Bengals – $10,600

CINCINNATI, OHIO – FEBRUARY 07: Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals walks onto the field as he is introduced during a Cincinnati Bengals Fan Rally ahead of Super Bowl LVI at Paul Brown Stadium on February 07, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Joe Burrow is just too cool. I tried to find a reason to fade him, but his floor is simply too high. Sure, Ramsey will limit whomever he covers. On the other hand, Burrow has a trio of great receivers and the other defensive backs beside Ramsey have been a liability. Look for Burrow to need to pass for 300 yards for this game to be close.

Flex –  Tee Higgins – Cincinnati Bengals – $7,600

CINCINNATI, OHIO – JANUARY 15: Tee Higgins #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals drops a reception against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium on January 15, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

I fully assume that Ja’Marr Chase will draw the majority of Jalen Ramsey’s attention. This excites me because Darious Williams has been getting barbecued all postseason by receivers nowhere near as good as Tee Higgins. Higgins is a big, rangy receiver who will be called upon in the red zone. I don’t see any way the Rams can cover all of the Bengals’ receivers.

Flex – Samaje Perine – Cincinnati Bengals – $2,400

Perine is the third-down back for Cincinnati, which means draws and screens (especially off of chip blocks) will be his forte. Raheem Morris loves to bring pressure on third down, which might be a fatal error against Burrow. At only $2.4k, I’m taking the chance that Burrow will use Perine to slip in behind the blitz, where big plays (like the one Perine had versus the Chiefs) can completely change the game’s momentum.

Flex – Matthew Stafford – Kansas City Chiefs $10,800

Sep 12, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) celebrates in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, I truly believe Stafford is the quarterback of destiny this season. Burrow has led his Bengals to an improbable berth in this game, but the Rams were supposed to be hereafter trading for the longtime Detroit Lion. Los Angeles mortgaged its entire future for this season. I need the guy to only throw touchdowns to Beckham and Blanton. It sounds absolutely absurd after the season Kupp had, but I am banking (and praying) on this being a wild finish to the craziest season in NFL history.

Raise My Kupp

At no point in the 2021 NFL season did I envision myself one game away from defeating Bo McBrayer and winning the Clash of the Beards and Bellies. I’m humbled to be in that very position this Super Sunday. I have a 32 point lead on Bo with only one game remaining. I thought long and hard about my lineup. I knew that I needed to play it reasonably safe and that Bo would in turn be forced to pivot to riskier, high variance plays. I made sure to include both quarterbacks and Cooper Kupp in my lineup. Bo faded Kupp and hitched his wagons to the OBJ Express. “It’s a bold strategy, Cotton” is all I can really say at this point. Our season-long battle comes down to which Ram’s wide receivers catch the Matthew Stafford touchdowns. I’m betting on Kupp and he’s betting on OBJ. May the football gods be with me and only me. May the sweet taste of victory literally be mine!!

Scott’s Lineup

Captain – Cam Akers – LA Rams – $9,600

TAMPA, FLORIDA – JANUARY 23: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams hands the ball off to teammate Cam Akers #23in the fourth quarter of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Raymond James Stadium on January 23, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Cam Akers isn’t my favorite DraftKings captain this week, but he is my favorite pay-down option that allows me to load my roster up with both quarterbacks, Cooper Kupp, and a starting running back (Akers). The Cincinnati Bengals defense allowed over 2,100 total yards and 16 total touchdowns to running backs in 2021. Akers’ 54 attempts in three playoff games are second-most for backs in the playoffs behind only Jerick McKinnon’s 55. Akers should see plenty of action all game long. And if the Rams are winning come the fourth quarter, which they are favored to be, Akers could be called on to run the clock out. If the Rams are losing, even better. Akers will be used more in the passing game.

Flex LA Rams DST – $3,400

The LA Rams DST has the home team advantage in the Super Bowl. Aaron Donald, Von Miller, and Jalen Ramsey will be amped up and should feed off the electric energy from playing at home in front of their home fans. The last LA Rams Super Bowl game was predicted to shootout, but in the end, was a low-scoring tilt against the GOAT Tom Brady. I’m looking for 9-11 points from the defense, which should be manageable given the pass-rushing advantage the Rams enjoy/

Flex – Joe Burrow – Cincinnati Bengals – $10,600

KANSAS CITY, MO – JANUARY 30: Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) enters the stadium before the AFC Championship game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs on Jan 30, 2022 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Joe “Shiesty” Burrow is the truth. He’s beaten the Raiders, the Titans, Pat Mahomes, and the Kansas City Chiefs in an improbable sophomore run to the 2021 Super Bowl. Last season there were questions about whether he would be able to return to his rookie form after his gruesome 2020 knee injury. Burrow, aided by rookie wide receiving sensation Ja’Marr Chase, has exploded onto the NFL landscape, introducing the world to one of the coolest kids around. How can you not cheer for Joey B this week? Bo is no idiot, and of course, has Burrow on his squad as well. We all want a piece of greatness.

Flex – Cooper Kupp – LA Rams – $11,600

Speaking of Kupp, he’s the highest-scoring player in DraftKings, averaging 27.8 points per game. Kupp was incredible, amassing 145 receptions, 16 touchdowns, and over 1,900 receiving yards. Kupp is the most expensive player, but for good reason. A Cooper Kupp anytime touchdown is -165. The man is expected to put up real and fantasy points on Super Bowl Sunday. Unlike Bo, I will not be getting cute and will be playing Kupp one last time this season.

Evan – McPherson – Cincinnati Bengals – $4,000

Evan McPherson has scored 11 or more points in the last seven games. In the playoffs, he has been money, making all 12 of his field goals and averaging 16 points per game. If the Rams defense stops Burrow, I like having McPhearson raining down 50-yard field goal bombs all night. At only $4,000 he’s one of the best value plays on the board.

Flex – Matthew Stafford – LA Rams – $10,800

Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp Combined this season for 57 touchdowns. The smart money in Cash games and H2H contests is to feature the two players who are most likely to score touchdowns. I’m not surprised Bo has included Stafford in his lineup, but fading Kupp for the second straight week in favor of OBJ is a risky all-or-nothing play brought on by the desperation of being down 30-plus points.

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