Super Bowl 51: Top Fantasy Players, Projections for Patriots vs. Falcons

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2017

Julio Jones leads the way when it comes to Super Bowl fantasy studs.
Julio Jones leads the way when it comes to Super Bowl fantasy studs.Rob Carr/Getty Images

Fantasy football doesn't just go away because the regular season ends and Super Bowl weekend eventually arrives.  

Far from it, in fact. Various websites have Super Bowl challenges, and daily fantasy football uses the big game (in a combo with other playoff contests) as a goodbye of sorts until next season.

Those who are looking to get ahead of the competition next year don't get a chance like this often: Fantasy football owners will get to see how the Atlanta Falcons' potent offense might work around the savvy, fundamental-hybrid combo defense of Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.

So while it is easy to get lost in commercials, halftime and the Super Bowl itself, don't forget about the realm of fantasy football this Sunday.    

DateLocationTimeTVLive StreamPoint SpreadMLOver/Under
Feb. 5NRG Stadium, Houston6:30 p.m. ETFoxFox Sports GoNE -3NE (-120), ATL (+100)58.5
Odds via OddsShark

     

Top Fantasy Players

Julio Jones 

Talk about shutting down Atlanta's Julio Jones is funny for a few reasons.

First, because it doesn't really happen often. Second, when Jones struggles, the Falcons kill defenses with others such as Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel. The former had 653 yards and four scores, and the latter had 579 yards and six touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Jones posted fewer than 50 receiving yards in four games. Guess what? The Falcons won them all.

Jones finished sixth in scoring in ESPN standard leagues for a reason. He posted nine double-digit outings despite missing two games.

Owners can expect another big performance from Jones on Sunday. New England's defense is far from average, but Jones already has 247 yards and three touchdowns over two postseason games while looking fully healthy. Keep in mind he did a chunk of that damage against the strong Seattle Seahawks defense.

Projection: 14 points 

        

Dion Lewis

The Patriots have never lost when running back Dion Lewis has taken the field.

The question from a fantasy standpoint isn't whether Lewis will help the Patriots win, though—it is whether he'll have a big day production-wise.

In a word, yes.

That's the simple answer. Owners know Lewis scored just 31 fantasy points during the regular season, as he played only seven games. But he has appeared in both playoff games and received quality usage.

His performance against the Houston Texans was his better outing, of course. He returned three kickoffs for 124 yards and a touchdown, ran 13 times for 41 yards and a score, and caught two passes for 23 yards and a score.

On Sunday, the attention at running back will go to LeGarrette Blount, as it should from a game-outlook perspective. Fantasy-wise, though, Lewis is sure to put up a big game thanks to his versatility.

Projection: 21 points

      

Tom Brady 

Expecting someone else?

This Super Bowl is being billed as a battle between quarterbacks and rightfully so given the men involved.

Brady, despite missing the first four games of the season, finished 12th in scoring among quarterbacks. He rewarded those who stashed him by putting up double digits in 11 of his 12 appearances, including coming through with 20 or more fantasy points seven times.

Some might point out his up-and-down fantasy performance this postseason, which is, at least in a way, fair. Brady looked terrific while dropping three touchdowns on the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he faltered against the Texans, throwing a pair of touchdowns and interceptions.

There is a wide gap between the quality Houston defense and Atlanta's unit, though. The Falcons aren't bad, but they do start four rookies and have little Super Bowl experience. Said experience will result in Brady posting a respectable line.

Projection: 18 points

      

Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan put together an MVP campaign this year, tossing 38 touchdowns in the regular season and seven more over two playoff games.

Ryan has big-name additions such as Sanu and center Alex Mack to thank for this year's stable offense—something he has lacked for most of his career.

Interestingly enough, Ryan finished second in scoring at the position behind Aaron Rodgers. It's not too much of a knock on his outlook, though, not after he hit double digits in every single game and went for north of 20 points eight times. It's easier to count the games he didn't throw multiple touchdowns (four) than the ones he did.

Win or lose, it seems obvious Ryan will post a major fantasy line. Even in the face of a hybrid front specifically tailored by one of the greatest coaches of all time to stop him, Ryan will spread the ball out as he normally does and pile up the fantasy points, reaffirming his top-tier status for next season.

Projection: 27 points

     

All scoring info courtesy of ESPN.com standard leagues. All betting information courtesy of OddsShark. All advanced metrics courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

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