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PPR Bowl

Forget the other manufactured storylines.

There are a few things I don't like about Super Bowl week. The inane media questions. The stories about a backup lineman's grandmother who is really good at Grand Theft Auto (actually, that might be more interesting than the actual stories). But the worst might be the manufactured "angles" that are supposed to mean something leading up to the game.

It's a shame, because we have a pretty decent one staring us in the face.

Forget the Andy Reid Bowl. Philadelphia respects Reid for all he did for the team, and this is a new era for the Eagles. Reid already won a title in Kansas City, and I'm sure he still has fond memories of his time in Philadelphia. There's no bad blood, no desire for revenge, no extra incentive to win a championship because a coach has history with both teams.

The Kelce Bowl? Yeah, two brothers are playing against each other for the first time. But both Travis and Jason already have rings, so it's not like either one is missing that milestone on their resumes. The Harbaugh angle from a few years ago was more engaging, since neither had coached a Super Bowl winner before, and neither has since. Jim isn't even coaching in the NFL right now, and John looks like he might lose his franchise quarterback, so that opportunity was a big one for both of them.

It's the first time two Black quarterbacks have faced each other in a Super Bowl, and that's a cool milestone. But neither of them will eclipse Doug Williams having the greatest quarter in Super Bowl history by throwing four touchdowns. Not only was he the first Black quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl, but he was the second quarterback (of three) to humiliate John Elway in the big game. Elway would bounce back to win two later in his career, but for a while there he was on the sidelines watching some of the best Super Bowl performances by his opponents. I just rewatched highlights from that game. Being from Tampa, it’s a favorite Super Bowl memory since Williams helped make the Buccaneers a playoff team after they started out as the worst team in professional sports. But I digress.

If you need a storyline, how about the PPR Bowl, a true celebration of the fantasy wrinkle that so many people love? Adding a point per reception not only inflates scoring, but it elevates some players from just being great to true difference-makers. And both teams have fantasy stars, thanks in part to the PPR format. It also provides a nice floor for guys who see regular targets each week.

Nobody wants to burn a top pick on a tight end, but Travis Kelce was worth it. Any team with him starting had a dominating advantage at the position. A stat line of 110-1338-12 is great for your best wide receiver, but getting it out of a tight end was gold. Kelce won a lot of titles in 2022.

A.J. Brown's 88-1496-11 was impressive, and came cheaper than Kelce's numbers as well. He's a rare example of a free agent who actually lived up to his billing. But the real winner was DeVonta Smith, and fantasy managers who collected his 95-1196-7 at a bargain price. He probably stayed on benches after a week 1 goose egg before cracking starting lineups a couple weeks later. And the fantasy playoffs without Jalen Hurts were even better for Smith: He racked up 17-228-2 with Gardner Minshew and carried teams to fantasy titles. Long live PPR!

But wait; there's more. How about a hand for PPR star and waiver wire pickup Jerick McKinnon? McKinnon caught 27 passes and scored nine times in the final six games of the season, along with a handful of carries just for fun. If you needed help at running back for a stretch run, he was a perfect addition just sitting there waiting to be claimed. He wouldn't necessarily be the reason you won, but he propped up a tough position and kept your team chugging along with good production off the waiver wire. I think he was also a part of many championship rosters.

I know that these are good numbers in standard scoring as well, but they're even better with an extra point per reception. Not everybody loves PPR, but I think the above guys show what it can do for a league. It can help validate a top pick, provide good value after the beginning rounds, create gems in the middle of your draft, and even create viable options who never got drafted. They help fantasy teams claim championships, and now all of these guys get to compete for one of their own. I think that's just as intriguing as brothers playing on Sunday. Whatever your reasons for watching, it’s the two best teams in each conference, so enjoy it.

Do you love or hate PPR? What’s your favorite Super Bowl angle? Who do you want to win? Expecting a blowout on either side? Share your thoughts below.

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