Daily fantasy domination: Conference championship edition

Daily fantasy domination: Conference championship edition

DFS - Daily Fantasy Football player picks and tips

Daily fantasy domination: Conference championship edition


Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Thank goodness we have one more week of multiple-game DFS for this football season. I would hate to go out as roughly as I did this last week. I actually had all the right plays, I just failed to execute the proper combinations. Then there was the whole overexposure to Tyreek Hill, under exposure to Travis Kelce (because of his knee) thing. That pivot alone cost me some dough. Well, I suppose you cannot win them all. That said, let’s go out on top with a huge Conference Championship week.

Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs pass defense which was so good down the stretch is showing a few leaks. This should offer Ryan Tannehill a little operating room. I don’t love Tannehill, but I feel he is the safest non-Mahomes play at QB this week. Speaking of Patrick Mahomes, he is option 1A, 1B, 1C, and 1D this week. I’m not going to downplay the Titans’ strong showing over the last three weeks, as they held Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson to a combined two total TDs. Still, I must mention that Mahomes posted 446-3 against this same defense back in Week 10 (and that was on a not-quite-100% knee). As the season has progressed, Mahomes has gotten his sea legs back and he is running with ease. Plus, did you see what he did last week in the face of pressure? Mahomes will post his standard 300-3 and add 40+ on the ground. Good luck fading that.

I didn’t fade Derrick Henry last week, and I won’t fade him this week either. There just aren’t enough alternative options to pivot to. Unless you trust Aaron Jones at San Fran. It should be noted that KC is much more amenable to opposing pass-catching backs than they are to the grinders. Of course, one of the grinders to destroy them this year was Derrick Henry. He went off for 188-2, while averaging over eight YPC. Henry will once again post one of the top two lines at the position, so start him despite the hefty price tag. Since they may be playing from behind, I could even see using Dion Lewis as a FLEX. I don’t think I will, but I can see the argument for it. Damien Williams is doing now, what everyone drafted him for in the second round at the start of the season. He should be RB2 on this slate, and I trust him more than Henry, because of possible game script. No other KC running back got a touch last week, so it is safe to ignore the lot of them.

Ryan Tannehill only completed seven total passes last week, and only three of those went to WRs. That said, the Ravens’ secondary is more intimidating than the Chiefs. I still don’t love A.J. Brown this week, but there isn’t a ton to choose from. Tajae Sharpe was a bust for me last week, I don’t trust him here either. Plus, Corey Davis has been a bust for the last three years. At least Kalif Raymond came through last week. If I need to play a different WR from this offense, it would likely be him, and then only as a punt WR3. I could also take a chance on Adam Humphries if he is cleared to play. He scored in their earlier meeting, and he is clearly the second-most talented WR on this roster when healthy. The Chiefs’ WRs suffered a case of the dropsies last week. Tyreek Hill finished last week with a disappointing line, but after watching Marquise Brown pick apart this defense, I am all-in once again. Sammy Watkins showed up for the first time in 16 weeks. At his price, you have to consider him a WR2/WR3 option. Just don’t expect a repeat performance. Demarcus Robinson was one of the key offenders in the drop-fest. We’ll see if Mahomes has a short memory, or if Robinson is written out of the game plan. I’m not going to risk it here. Mecole Hardman is the safer deep dive play, and I actually like him as a cheap way to get more exposure to this offense.

Jonnu Smith scored last week on a very impressive but improbable pass in the corner of the end zone. He actually has better odds of a score this week, as KC is much worse against the position than Baltimore was. At his reduced price, he makes a sneaky Double-TE play. As for the Chiefs, I screwed up by avoiding Travis Kelce’s bum knee last week. I’m not going to do that again. I actually prefer George Kittle’s matchup, but I will have exposure to Kelce as well. That would be another possible Double-TE play, but one where you would have to look for savings elsewhere. Anthony Firkser and Blake Bell have each scored over the last couple weeks, but don’t go there. With some huge talent available at the position, neither should be on any non-Showdown roster.

The Chiefs’ defense is a safe play, but an expensive one. Tennessee is a punt play at best, but I’d prefer to use Green Bay if I am punting.

Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers:

Aaron Rodgers outperformed my expectations last week. This matchup should be a lot tougher. The Niners got everyone healthy last week, and they held Kirk Cousins in check. This defense struggled some in the second half of the season as they battled through those injuries. With everyone healthy once again, this defense more resembles the one that held Rodgers to 119-1 in their earlier meeting. I have Rodgers ranked fourth out of the four QB options for the week. Just barely ranking higher is Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo is the only QB since Week 8 to throw for more than one TD against Green Bay. He still is no better than option three this week though.

The Niners’ defense had struggled over the prior month, but the return of Kwon Alexander, Dee Ford and Jaquiski Tartt really reinforced the center of their defense. They managed to hold Dalvin Cook in check. If this same defense shows up this week, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams will also struggle to find room to roam. Jones is always a threat to score, but at his price (and with Williams stealing touches), I just feel like he is a pass for me. I’ll pivot from Henry with Jones on a few lineups, but not enough to be significant. Williams might be a FLEX option since the Niners do give up a fair amount of receptions to the RB position. Everyone (including me) played Raheem Mostert last week. So, of course, the Niners used Tevin Coleman as their lead back. At this point, you really can’t trust either of them, because of hot-hand theory. That sucks because Green Bay isn’t very good against the run. They are particularly brutal in the red zone. At this point, the safest thing to do is set separate lineups with all of your other combos and then put one of them at FLEX in each lineup. That way, the only way you are screwed, is if they decide to feature Matt Breida this week. It should be noted, both Coleman and Mostert scored in Week 12. That could happen again.

Never doubt Davante Adams. San Francisco has given up some huge games to high-end WR1s. Adams was also absent in their earlier contest, so that may have hindered Rodgers’ numbers some. Even though I don’t trust Rodgers, I will have Adams alongside Tyreek Hill as the top WR1 option. Allen Lazard injured his ankle last week, and later returned but only as a decoy. I don’t think there will be enough passing stats to go around here, but you could do worse than Lazard at WR3. If Lazard misses this game due to the injury, then Geronimo Allison might get some of that second-fiddle love. Don’t stretch any deeper than that. Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel both had so-so games last week as the Niners just ran the ball down the Vikings’ throat. Each is back in play at WR2 this week, with a slight edge to Samuel who scored against Green Bay earlier this year. Kendrick Bourne remains a huge red zone threat. If you don’t use Samuel or Sanders, please consider Bourne at WR3.

San Fran is solid versus the TE position, but not elite. Still, you are not going to waste a spot rostering Jimmy Graham or any of the Packers’ backups. At best, you might be able to use Robert Tonyan on a Showdown lineup. George Kittle is one of many quality TEs to destroy Green Bay this year. He will do it again, and he really needs to find a way into your lineup.

Both defenses are strong plays. Green Bay’s pass rush paired with Garoppolo’s inexperience makes them a sure thing. That said, San Fran has been elite all year, and they will cause Rodgers to make some mistakes.

Here are my Full Slate recommended lineups.

At DK: $7.7K for Pat Mahomes. $15.7K total for Derrick Henry and Damien Williams. $7.9K Davante Adams. $7.1K total for Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman (or Geronimo Allison if Allen Lazard doesn’t play). $9.2K total for George Kittle and Jonnu Smith. $2.4K for the Packers’ defense.

At FD: $9.5K for Mahomes. $14.1K total for Tevin Coleman and Damien Williams. $17K total for Tyreek Hill, Lazard (or Allison), and Adam Humphries (or Kalif Raymond). $14.8K total for Kittle and Travis Kelce. $4K for the Packers’ defense

At Fanball SuperFlex: Mahomes, Henry, D. Williams, Adams, Hardman, Kendrick Bourne, Kittle, Humphries/Raymond and Ryan Tannehill.

At Fanball Classic: Mahomes, Henry, D. Williams, Deebo Samuel, Hardman, Humphries/Raymond, Kittle, Coleman, and the Packers’ defense.

At Fantasy Draft: Tannehill, D. Williams, Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, Adams, Kittle, Raheem Mostert, Jonnu, and the Packers’ defense.


DraftKings FanDuel
Patrick Mahomes $7,700 $9,500
Aaron Rodgers $6,100 $8,000
Ryan Tannehill $5,500 $7,700
Jimmy Garoppolo $5,200 $7,600

Weekly strategy – Pat Mahomes is the obvious play here. Ryan Tannehill is the safest pivot. The only QB I am scared to use is Aaron Rodgers.

Pay to Play:

Pat Mahomes, Chiefs vs. TEN ($7700 DK, $9500 FD)
The Titans have stymied three quality QBs the last three weeks. Can they make it four in a row? In the earlier meeting, Pat Mahomes pimp-slapped Tennessee to the tune of 446-3. That was in his first game back from a major injury. Mahomes didn’t gain anything on the ground as the Chiefs didn’t want him running in his first game back. Obviously, last week proved that Mahomes is fully capable of doing damage on the ground when healthy. He isn’t going to post 143 yards on the ground like Lamar Jackson, but 300-3 through the air and another 30 or so on the ground, makes Mahomes the clear number one this week.

Stay Away:

Aaron Rodgers, Packers @ SF ($6100 DK, $8000 FD)
Aaron Rodgers didn’t have his one true weapon, Davante Adams, in their earlier contest against San Francisco. Still, only gaining 104 yards and one score on 20 completions is absurdly bad. The return of Adams should offer Rodgers the ability to double that earlier line, but it still will pale the other three QBs on this slate. Let it be known that I really like Adams however, so one stack of the two wouldn’t hurt in GPPs. That said, a safer stack might be Jimmy Garoppolo, Deebo Samuel and bring it back with Adams.

Value Play:

Ryan Tannehill, Titans @ KC ($5500 DK, $7700 FD)
Ryan Tannehill hasn’t done much this postseason, because he hasn’t had to. Tennessee jumped out to leads and then just rode the coattails of Derrick Henry to victory. Against the Chiefs, Tannehill will actually have to use his arm to keep his team in the contest. In the end, I expect his numbers to be right around 275-2. Not great, but not awful, at this price. The TDs will likely go to A.J. Brown and Jonnu Smith and each could be used in a stack. The Tannehill-Brown stack, in particular, could be valuable if you want to roster both George Kittle and Travis Kelce.

Running Back

DraftKings FanDuel
Derrick Henry $8,700 $9,800
Damien Williams $7,000 $7,600
Aaron Jones $6,700 $7,800
Tevin Coleman $5,700 $6,500
Raheem Mostert $4,300 $5,800
Jamaal Williams $3,800 $4,800
LeSean McCoy $3,600 $4,900
Matt Breida $3,400 $5,000
Dion Lewis $3,300 $4,800
Kyle Juszczyk $3,100 $4,700
Tyler Ervin $3,000 $4,700

Weekly strategy – On a short slate it is nearly impossible to fade Derrick Henry. That said, his price is high. Damien Williams should be 100% owned. The only reason to not own him is if you are trying to be different. There are better options for that strategy. The Niners twosome are the best pivots from Henry. Aaron Jones has a tough matchup and a high price, but he has been a TD machine. Jamaal Williams is the only legitimate punt option.

Pay to Play:

Derrick Henry, Titans @ KC ($8700 DK, $9800 FD)
Derrick Henry has three straight games with over 200 total yards. That is crazy. Somehow, his price hasn’t reached five-figures yet. It will be really hard to fade him, since he has slate-breaking potential. Really, the only way he doesn’t hit 2.5X, is if game script goes haywire. Even then, Tennessee may just keep giving him the rock even if they are down a bunch. Ultimately, you may end up choosing between using Henry or using both Kelce and Kittle, since fitting all three under the cap is virtually impossible.

Stay Away:

Aaron Jones, Packers @ SF ($6700 DK, $7800 FD)
Sure, Aaron Jones might score a TD or two here. He also is facing a defense that hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in their last nine games. Plus, Jamaal Williams may see more run in this game in pass protection. Jones is really just a differentiation play this week. I’d rather differentiate at WR for less money.

Value Play:

Raheem Mostert, Niners vs. GB ($4300 DK, $5800 FD)
Everyone started Raheem Mostert last week, and everyone was pissed when Tevin Coleman led the team in touches, rushing yards, and when he scored twice. Raheem Mostert was still used, just not as much as Coleman. Some of that lack of usage can be attributed to a severe calf cramp Mostert suffered in the second half of the game. Assuming he is 100% for this game, the usage may be closer to a 50-50 split. If it is, Mostert will be a great bargain. Back in Week 12, both Coleman and Mostert scored. So, the potential points are there. If I don’t go Double-TE, Mostert will be a favorite of mine at FLEX.

Wide Receiver

DraftKings FanDuel
Davante Adams $7,900 $8,300
Tyreek Hill $7,200 $7,400
Deebo Samuel $5,500 $6,300
A.J. Brown $5,200 $6,800
Emmanuel Sanders $4,900 $5,500
Sammy Watkins $4,600 $5,200
Allen Lazard $4,400 $5,100
Kendrick Bourne $4,200 $5,400
Corey Davis $4,000 $5,000
Mecole Hardman $3,800 $4,900
Geronimo Allison $3,700 $4,600
M. Valdes-Scantling $3,500 $4,600
Kalif Raymond $3,400 $4,500
Demarcus Robinson $3,300 $4,700
Jake Kumerow $3,200 $4,700
Tajae Sharpe $3,100 $4,700
Adam Humphries $3,000 $5,000

Weekly strategy – I plan to have one of Davante Adams or Tyreek Hill in all of my lineups. My WR3 will likely be the opposite target from who I choose at WR1 (Allen Lazard, Geronimo Allison, Mecole Hardman or Demarcus Robinson). I have three players I Like at WR2: A.J. Brown, Deebo Samuel and Sammy Watkins. Depending on what I spend elsewhere, I may be forced to spend down at WR2 and use either Tajae Sharpe, Kendrick Bourne, Adam Humphries or Kalif Raymond.

Pay to Play:

Tyreek Hill, Chiefs vs. TEN ($7200 DK, $7400 FD)
I chose wrong last week, going overboard for Tyreek Hill, and over-fading Travis Kelce. This week, I will have a ton of exposure to both of them. True high-end WR1s have crushed Tennessee all season, including Tyreek Hill. Back in Week 10, Hill finished with 11-157-1. A similar line is possible here. Hill is slightly cheaper than Davante Adams but I will do my best to have one of them in each of my lineups at WR1. If I don’t use Hill, I will definitely use one of the other Chiefs’ WRs (Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman or Demarcus Robinson) as a WR2/WR3.

Stay Away:

Corey Davis, Titans @ KC ($4000 DK, $5000 FD)
I don’t hate any of the expensive options. I probably won’t use Emmanuel Sanders, but at least he has some upside. Corey Davis on the other hand has zero upside. Prior to last week’s explosion, only four secondary WRs have done anything significant against this defense, and only one of those four scored. Corey Davis has done nothing this year to suggest he will take advantage of a positive game script here. I actually feel better about playing Kalif Raymond, Tajae Sharpe or (if he returns) Adam Humphries.

Value Play:

A.J. Brown, Titans @ KC ($5200 DK, $6800 FD)
A.J. Brown has struggled the last couple weeks lined up against elite shutdown cornerbacks. That said, prior to the postseason, Brown was dominating the competition. Back in Week 10, Brown was held in check by HIS QB. Ryan Tannehill only attempted seven passes to his WRs, and only four to Brown. To stay in this game, Tannehill will have to air it out more often, that should mean a stronger line for Brown. He makes the safest WR2 on this slate and a reasonable pivot at WR1, if you want to save to pay for both Kittle and Kelce.

Tight End

DraftKings FanDuel
Travis Kelce $7,100 $7,800
George Kittle $5,800 $7,000
Jimmy Graham $3,700 $5,300
Jonnu Smith $3,400 $5,600
Blake Bell $2,800 $4,000
Anthony Firkser $2,500 $4,500
Robert Tonyan $2,500 $4,200

Weekly strategy – Simply put, get as much exposure to George Kittle and Travis Kelce as you can. It may be hard to roster both, but do at least attempt it. If you can’t afford both of them, I recommend going with Kittle possibly paired with Jonnu Smith.

Pay to Play:

George Kittle, Niners vs. GB ($5800 DK, $7000 FD)
There is no argument against using Travis Kelce here instead of George Kittle. Both have great matchups. Both will top 100 yards. Both will score at least once. The only reason I chose Kittle is that he is cheaper. Honestly, I will do everything in my power to roster both of them. I know that will be difficult, but on a short slate it makes sense. When you think about it, you are rostering one of them as a pivot from your WR2. This just means you have to go cheaper at that spot.

Stay Away:

Jimmy Graham, Packers @ SF ($3700 DK, $5300 FD)
The 49ers have given up a fair share of receptions and a few TDs to the TE position over the second half of the season. Still, that has come against a who’s who of premium tight ends. Jimmy Graham used to be in that conversation. Now he is no better than option-three on the offense that should have the most trouble scoring this week. Graham might post 4-45, but that won’t cut it on this slate.

Value Play:

Jonnu Smith, Titans @ KC ($3400 DK, $5600 FD)
If you do find yourself wanting to go cheap at TE (i.e. you roster both Tyreek and Davante at WR), Jonnu Smith is the answer. Smith made a ridiculous catch for a score last week. He still remains mostly TD-dependent, but KC has allowed tight end scores in five of their last nine games. In one of those games, backup TE, Anthony Firkser got into the end zone, but in that same game Smith had more targets and receptions.


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