NFL Player Props: Fade Brandon Aiyuk in 49ers-Chiefs Super Bowl LVIII
Via Ryan Kang/Getty Images. Pictured: Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers runs onto the field during player introductions before an NFC divisional round playoff football game against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium on January 20, 2024 in Santa Clara, California.
NFL Player Props | 49ers vs Chiefs Super Bowl LVIII
Brandon Aiyuk has been a bright spot for the 49ers during their postseason run. He’s shown up when it matters most, and his 51-yard reception late in the third quarter against the Lions is a big reason why the 49ers made the Super Bowl.
Nonetheless, even in a trailing game script, Aiyuk failed to reach five receptions in both playoff games so far against the Packers and Lions (with three receptions in each game). Tonight, he faces his toughest matchup against a stingy Chiefs secondary permitting the sixth-fewest receptions to opposing wide receivers and the third-lowest Reception Rate to opposing receivers on the perimeter, where Aiyuk runs 75.9% of his routes.
It’s also worth noting that with two weeks to rest, Deebo Samuel should be fully healthy and will cut into Aiyuk's targets. In their 13 full regular season games played together, Aiyuk averaged 4.5 receptions per game on a 22.1% Target Share.
Assuming 49ers offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan schemes touches close to the line of scrimmage for Samuel by moving him around the formation, Aiyuk likely gets the worst of this matchup against the Chiefs with cornerback L’Jarius Sneed in coverage.
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Sneed’s 52.0% Reception Rate ranks fifth-lowest among cornerbacks who have played at least 500 snaps, per Pro Football Focus. His track record of shutting down alpha receivers since Week 10 is impressive as he has held A.J. Brown, Stefon Diggs (twice), Davante Adams (twice), Ja'Marr Chase and Zay Flowers to a combined seven receptions in coverage.
Christian McCaffrey and Samuel have better matchups than Aiyuk, and even if Aiyuk gets loose for a big play, I like my chances of Aiyuk going under his reception total on Super Bowl Sunday.