The season is down to three games. Two this week and then the Superbowl. This will be one of the best Conference Championship weeks in recent memory as we have four upper-echelon offenses locking horns. Plus, in a bizarre twist of scheduling fate, we get to witness two rematches of Week 6. Only one of these offenses scored a ton of points that week, but this is the playoffs baby! Points will be scored, so be ready to enter multiple lineups to get the best coverage.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Green Bay Packers
In the battle of the Bays, we get the old man Aaron Rodgers facing the even older man Tom Brady. Green Bay has one very good CB, but Tampa has three very good WRs. Jaire Alexander can’t cover everyone so Tampa Tom should be a safe play this week. Still, even with all of these weapons, Tampa’s offense has been the most pedestrian of our four remaining teams. Brady is priced the lowest of the four (assuming Patrick Mahomes plays) so that savings could come in handy elsewhere. As for Tampa, they are rotten against the pass and elite against the run, so there is little reason to worry about playing Rodgers here. Aaron actually has the safest matchup of any of the four on paper.
Ronald Jones returned briefly last week but he did seem to tweak his prior injury. All signs point to him being ready to go this week, but the team may feel more comfortable with the veteran Leonard Fournette. Fournette at the very least will be the passing down back, which should provide him a fair amount of snaps in a shootout. That said, Green Bay is pretty horrible at stopping the run, so if Jones gets his feet under himself early, he may see some hot-hand run. He did have a huge game against the Pack earlier this year when Fournette was out. If we knew only one of them was playing, they would be the easy RB1 on this slate. As it is, both can be used at RB2 or FLEX. Ke’Shawn Vaughn’s value will only come into play if Jones is out. Green Bay’s Aaron Jones has been effective all season despite Green Bay’s desire to mix and match at the position. Tampa is tough as nails to run against, but with question marks for every other team still alive at RB, you have to consider Jones the safest of all of the RBs on the slate. Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon will split the C-O-P role but can be avoided in all but Showdown slate play.
Antonio Brown was my biggest miss last week. I’d like to claim that it was predominantly due to his early exit due to injury. It chapped my hide some to watch Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller steal his catches in the second half last week. It appears that Brown will miss this week, but if he were to make it he would be a must-start WR3 considering his price. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have enjoyable prices as well. I’m of the belief that Jaire Alexander will follow Mike Evans, making him the weakest play of the three. Godwin should feast on the secondary coverages. Of course, if Brown is indeed out, you can consider Miller or Johnson as a punt WR3. Davante Adams proved last week that even when facing an elite CB, he could still get into the end zone. Tampa lacks even one elite corner. Yes, they did hold Michael Thomas down last week, but that felt more like Drew Brees holding him down than the Tampa secondary. Back in Week 6, Davante was held out of the end zone against Tampa. It was one of only three such occasions this season. He still led GB in every receiving statistical category that week. Allen Lazard missed that game forcing Green Bay to use depth guys like Malik Taylor and Darrius Shepard. Lazard is way better than those two. Allen is a great WR3 play this week. I especially like using him to gain access to the Packers’ offense if I’m paying up for Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill at my other WR spots (and cannot afford Adams). Marquez Valdes-Scantling tied Lazard with eight targets last week. He is used more often in the vertical passing game than Lazard (even though Lazard had the bomb TD last week). This leaves him slightly more TD-dependent. That said, when he connects with Rodgers it is usually 40+ yards downfield. He is not as safe a WR3 play as Lazard, but he certainly is in the conversation. Equanimeous St. Brown has seen a few more targets recently, but I doubt I’d go that far down the rabbit hole this week.
Cameron Brate has been more active in the passing game than Rob Gronkowski recently. Gronk had the huge game back in Week 6, but since then he has become extremely TD-dependent. Tampa also didn’t have Fournette or Brown in that game to steal middle of the field catches. I’d actually rank Brate and Gronk TE4 and TE5 this week – in that order. Robert Tonyan is also TD-dependent, scoring in six of his last seven games of the season. That said, he is racking up a decent amount of catches inside the twenties as well. Only six teams allowed more receptions and TDs to the TE position during the regular season. So, I have no problem using Tonyan at TE2. I may even use him paired with Travis Kelce in a Double-TE lineup. I’m not excited about any of the backup TEs for Green Bay though.
Tampa’s front seven flustered Aaron Rodgers in their earlier meeting. I wouldn’t count on a repeat. The NFL won’t allow either of these QBs to take a sack without a penalty, so I’m not high on GB’s defense either. They are particularly hard to swallow at the highest cost on the board. Still, each of these teams has holes on their offensive line right now. Obviously, if Patrick Mahomes is out, Buffalo’s defense will be massively owned. Otherwise, I’m likely riding with the Chiefs. These two defenses would be more pivot plays.
Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs
Two words, “Concussion Protocol”. These two words will define the entirety of this week for this game. Buffalo advance to this round following a concussion suffered by their opposing QB last week. Meanwhile, The Chiefs survived last week despite Patrick Mahomes getting knocked out late in the game. Josh Allen was limited to 122-2 back in Week 6 at home. It was one of his three worst games of the season. It wasn’t a great game for Mahomes either. Still, this week with all the marbles on the line. I cannot expect that these two won’t be lighting up the scoreboards. If Mahomes doesn’t play all bets are off on this game. Chad Henne is an above-average backup QB. Buffalo has a solid defense though. The Bills will not curl up and die as Cleveland did. Henne would be no more than a pure punt play based on the assumption that KC’s offense is elite enough to perform even with the understudy at the helm.
Devin Singletary saw twice as many touches as Zack Moss in their earlier meeting. Moss is done for the year and KC has been pretty shoddy against the run, but I still do not trust Singletary as anything more than RB3 this week. Plus, Buffalo is still giving touches to scrubs like Antonio Williams and T.J. Yeldon. Not to mention that Buffalo just signed Devonta Freeman to a free agent deal for depth. If Freeman is activated for this game he could be a sneaky FLEX play. I’m not going to waste a slot on Williams or Yeldon though. Back in Week 6, Clyde Edwards-Helaire destroyed Buffalo. He posted an absurd 30 touches for 169 yards. Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson chipped in an additional 58 total yards and Williams vultured a TD from CEH. Le’Veon Bell wasn’t a part of the Chiefs’ offense for that game. He wasn’t really a part of the Chiefs’ offense this past weekend either. Darrel Williams led the way, and he makes a great RB1/2 play if CEH is once again out. If Helaire returns, I would use him as an RB2 and Darrel as a FLEX (although not in the same lineup). Bell is no more than a begging FLEX play here. It is actually a good matchup, but it was clear last week that he is running behind D-Will. You may think the game script could make Bell the play since he is more likely to see passing down work, but Buffalo is much worse against RBs on the ground than through the air. So the upside just isn’t there.
Stefon Diggs joins Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams as your WR1 options. In reality, you should be able to afford two of them. Diggs is a great play here since he is the cheapest of the three. Cole Beasley did nothing last week. That was not optimum. I have to assume that he is not 100% healed from his knee injury, but the matchup last week wasn’t great either. In his stead, John Brown had a big game. I actually like Smoky this week, since KC can be beaten over the top. Brown may be especially valuable if Bashaud Breeland misses this game due to a concussion he suffered on Sunday. Either Brown or Beasley could be used as your WR3 if you choose to use Hill and Davante up top. Gabriel Davis also disappeared last week with Brown’s return to the forefront. It is too bad he doesn’t run Beasley’s route tree. Isaiah McKenzie may be the better deep dive option if Cole cannot go. Obviously, all of the Chiefs’ passing game weapons value will be diluted if Mahomes does not play. Tyreek Hill is electric enough to have value either way. He may even see more touches in the ground game if Henne gets the start. Raise your hand if you’ve heard this one before, “Sammy Watkins is inactive”. If he plays he gets WR3 consideration at best (even with Mahomes). I feel safer using Mecole Hardman than Watkins or Demarcus Robinson. Hardman can be a standalone WR3 regardless of whether you have Hill in your lineup. Robinson could be a punt WR3 at best (but only with Mahomes at the helm). I’ll leave Byron Pringle for my Showdown lineups.
Dawson Knox is a sneaky TE play this week. I actually have him ranked third overall. KC has struggled badly of late with opposing TEs. Much like Tonyan at a higher price, I love the roll of the dice of using Knox in a Double-TE with Travis Kelce. Speaking of Kelce, if he isn’t in your lineup at TE this week just quit. You 100% CAN afford him no matter who else you roster, so just freakin’ do it.
I’m going to use Buffalo’s defense if Mahomes is out. Otherwise, I will have a lot of exposure to the Chiefs’ defense here. Buffalo will score, but KC has some very solid pass rushers and multiple turnover-happy defensive backs.
Here are my recommended lineups.
At DK: $7.6K for Patrick Mahomes (or $6.5K for Aaron Rodgers), $4.6K for Ronald Jones, $5K for Clyde Edwards-Helaire (0r 4.8K for Darrel Williams), $7.2K for Tyreek Hill (or $8K for Davante Adams paired with Rodgers), $11.2K total for Stefon Diggs and Allen Lazard, $8K for Travis Kelce, $2.8K for Dawson Knox at FLEX, and $3.1K for the Chiefs’ defense.
At FD: $8.7K for Rodgers, $6.2K for CEH (or $6K for D. Williams), $5.6K for R. Jones, $8.4K for Hill, $8.3K for Diggs, $5.7K for Lazard, $8.6K for Kelce. $4.7K for Knox at FLEX, and $3.7K for the Buccaneers’ defense.
At Fanball (featuring SuperFlex): Mahomes (or Josh Allen), Rodgers at SF, CEH (or D. Williams), and R. Jones at RB, Knox at FLEX, Tyreek (or Diggs), Adams, and John Brown at WR, and Kelce at TE.
Weekly strategy – There really isn’t a bad play this week at QB. Obviously, if Patrick Mahomes is out there, he needs to be in your lineup. Aaron Rodgers is my pivot if Mahomes doesn’t suit up. I have a feeling most others will pivot to Josh Allen, but Rodgers’ matchup is better.
Pay to Play:
Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs vs. BUF ($7,600 DK, $9,000 FD) If we 100% knew that Patrick Mahomes was starting this week, he would easily receive a GREEN rating on both sites. Buffalo’s biggest passing game weakness is against TEs, so stack Mahomes and Kelce. Mahomes’ final line in their earlier meeting was subpar. This was mainly due to Clyde Edwards-Helaire going nutzoid. CEH’s status for this week is still up in the air. If he remains out, Mahomes may throw it 60 times.
Tom Brady, Buccaneers @ GB ($6,100 DK, $7,800 FD) The Buccaneers throttled Green Bay earlier this year. Still, Tom Brady had a vanilla final line. He didn’t have Antonio Brown in that game, but he also knew that Green Bay was rotten versus the run. The matchup should produce more points for both veteran signal-callers this time, but considering the closeness in price, I’d rather go with the more certain option.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers vs. TB ($6,500 DK, $8,700 FD) Aaron Rodgers may be the second-highest priced choice on FD, but he is still a value on DK. Plus, if Mahomes is out, many will pivot to Josh Allen. I’d rather pivot to Rodgers who struggled in his earlier matchup versus TB, as I believe he will be lesser-owned. Running the ball against Tampa is impossible, Green Bay’s only chance to win this week will fall upon the arm of Rodgers. Aaron knows this, and he won’t let the Pack down again.
Weekly strategy Aaron Jones and Devin Singletary are the closest thing to lead backs this week. Unfortunately, both still split carries, just not to the extent of the others. Plus, Jones has the toughest matchup of any of the starting backs and Singletary is the least-talented of any of the starting backs. At this point, I will likely fade both of them and take my chances on whoever starts for TB and KC. There is also virtually zero percent chance that I will roster a running back at FLEX. This means waiting until later in the week to set your RB lineup. You will need to trust the coach-speak as to who will start. At this point, it appears that the combo to play is Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Ronald Jones. However, if Jones has a setback or if Clyde Edwards-Helaire fails to get a clean bill of health, you may need to pivot to Darrel Williams or Leonard Fournette. As of now, Devonta Freeman is only listed in the player pool on FD, if Buffalo activates him for the game, he could be a sneaky punt play.
Pay to Play:
KC Starting RB, Chiefs vs. BUF ($5,000 DK, $6,200 FD) or ($4,800 DK, $6,000 FD)
It doesn’t matter if it is Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Darrel Williams that is the lead back for KC this week. Whichever one is the one, will have a huge game this week. Their prices are also nearly identical so they become completely interchangeable. Early reports have CEH pushing to play. He destroyed Buffalo in their earlier meeting. Meanwhile, Darrel Williams has been a goal-line vulture all year and he has looked the part the last few weeks given the chance to be the primary ball carrier. Whoever starts will get more touches than normal this week as KC attempts to protect Patrick Mahomes from excessive hits.
Aaron Jones, Packers vs. TB ($6,500 DK, $8,000 FD)
Aaron Jones scored in the earlier game against TB. He also finished with 10 carries for 15 yards. This is just a microcosm of how elite the TB run defense is. If Jones didn’t have to worry about sharing touches with AJ Dillon and Jamaal Williams, I would consider him a play based on volume. Unfortunately, he does have to share. There is no way to legitimize using him at this salary in this matchup.
Ronald Jones, Buccaneers @ GB ($4,600 DK, $5,600 FD)
Leonard Fournette was not active for the earlier meeting between these two teams. That helped Ronald Jones post 121 total yards and a pair of scores. Upon his return, Fournette has become the passing game option for TB while Jones was the early-down back. Then Jones got hurt and Fournette took over all of the touches and he was pretty good. Of course, now Ronald Jones has returned and he is once again getting half of the touches. Either of these RBs would be a top option if the other wasn’t there. Ronald Jones had the big earlier game and GB is bad against the position. Plus, Jones is cheaper than Fournette, so he is my choice between the two. Of course, if Jones suffers a setback, then Fournette becomes RB1 and the KC back of the week becomes RB2.
|Equanimeous St. Brown||$3,000||$4,700|
Weekly strategy – This is the week to blow your wad on WR. Mike Evans is the only high-priced option that I would recommend fading. Even then, his price isn’t absurd considering his TD upside. Just know that he will see the Jaire Alexander shadow. Rostering all three of Stefon Diggs, Davante Adams, and Tyreek Hill will be very tough. Still, you will need to choose at least two of them. Whichever one does not get invited to the dance, consider using one of his underlings (Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Cole Beasley, and John Brown) at WR3. The only other WR3 option that I like would be the third-WR for TB. Antonio Brown would be an obvious pivot choice, but he is doubtful for this week’s game. In the event that he cannot play, Scotty Miller could be a sneaky WR3 fill-in. Any of these WR3 choices could also be your FLEX play.
Pay to Play:
Davante Adams, Packers vs. TB ($8,000 DK, $8,900 FD)
Davante Adams failed to score in his earlier meeting with TB. It was one of only three games all year in which he did not score. It was his first game back from injury and he still received ten targets so it wasn’t as if he was awful. Plus, Green Bay was short-handed at WR with Allen Lazard out leaving Adams to face double coverage all day. That week Adams actually outproduced Tyreek Hill versus BUF and Mike Evans versus GB. He also finished with more yards than Stefon Diggs versus KC, but Diggs did score a TD. In the twelve games since then, Adams has 16 touchdowns. He even scored last week against Jalen Ramsey. Tampa Bay will have no answer for him here.
Mike Evans, Buccaneers @ GB ($5,800 DK, $6,600 FD) After a so-so start to the year, Green Bay has held all outside-WR1s since Week 13 out of the end zone. In their earlier meeting, Mike Evans was held to just one catch. That was also only one of six games all season that Evans failed to catch a TD pass. In Evans’ defense, Tampa didn’t have the services of Antonio Brown in that game to draw attention. Still, Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller filled in fine, and Johnson scored continuing the trend of GB struggling more with slot WRs. At his price, Evans isn’t an awful play. I’m just concerned that Brown might miss this week as well putting Evans into even tougher coverage. Considering how close their salaries are I feel safer using Chris Godwin or Brown if he suits up.
John Brown, Bills @ KC ($4,300 DK, $5,600 FD)
Cole Beasley was clearly not 100% last week. Fortunately for Buffalo, John Brown appears to be 100% for the first time all season. We know that Buffalo will be forced to throw excessively in this game to keep up with the Chiefs’ offense. One of the easiest attacks on the Chiefs is with the home-run ball. That is Brown’s specialty. Brown missed the earlier contest with KC and his absence may have been the difference in why Buffalo lost. Making things potentially easier for Brown this week, one of KC’s top corners, Bashaud Breeland may miss this game with a concussion
Weekly strategy – This is a great week to use the Double-TE play. Travis Kelce is a set-it-and-forget-it TE1 option. Then it is just a matter of who to pair with him. Robert Tonyan has a great matchup, but his FD price is a tad spendy. Cameron Brate has outperformed his running mate Rob Gronkowski recently. Plus, the Packers are also bad against the position. Then there is my favorite combo play, Dawson Knox. Kansas City has been one of the worst against TEs over the last month plus.
Pay to Play:
Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. BUF ($8,000 DK, $8,600 FD)
Travis Kelce is having one of the greatest TE seasons in history. This week he faces a Buffalo team that has allowed the second-most yards and receptions to the position during the regular season. He already had a huge game against Buffalo this year and another is set to unfold here.
Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers @ GB ($3,200 DK, $5,200 FD) The matchup for Rob Gronkowski isn’t bad. In fact, it is quite favorable. In their earlier meeting, Gronk paced the offense for Tampa Bay. What concerns me is that Cameron Brate has actually been outperforming Gronk so far this postseason. Even near the end of the regular season, we saw more Brate and less Gronk. Rob salvaged some of his value late in the year with a few short TDs, but he is becoming more and more TD-dependent. At $3.2K on DK that is a very safe play, as a TD puts him at nearly 3X already. His issue is that $5.2K salary on FD. Of course, if he doesn’t score he becomes a negative asset on both sites.
Dawson Knox, Bills @ KC ($2,800 DK, $4,700 FD)
After last week, the Chiefs have now allowed 29-359-4 to the TE position over their last five games. Meanwhile, Dawson Knox has started to establish his worth in the Buffalo offense. If Cole Beasley remains limited this week, it could mean even more usage for Knox. At this price, it won’t take much for him to return 3X value.