NFL DFS Playbook: Conference Championships
Howard Bender pores over the data and match-ups to bring you his favorite DFS GPP plays for the NFL Conference Championship games.
Let's face it, everyone is in play this week. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but in truth, there are a ridiculous number of lineup combinations you will come up with and for anywhere from 25-cents to $3 per entry, many of you are just going to keep plugging in different lineups until you have a share of virtually every player. It's what happens -- for better or worse. Everyone wants to play and everyone wants a shot at a quick pay-out.It's like seeing a new lottery scratcher at the grocery store that says "Set for Life" or eating McDonald's every day during their Monompoloy game hoping to find your way into a Boardwalk AND a Park Place. As a result, you're going to see a ton of lineup trains. I mean A TON! With so many people eyeballing a quick payout, those who straight-up sell lineups or disguise them behind an optimizer that continues to spit out the same lineup to everyone, will see an increase in sales by the desperate. It's one of many reasons I don't play cash games and throw in no more than two or three lineups into GPP tournaments. I'll stick to single-entry and, at most, play in a 3-Entry Max on Draft Kings. That's just me. Obviously, it's your money and you can do whatever you like with it. The best I can do is make my recommendations and send you all the good vibes I can and hope you come out on top.
Now, I don't normally do a Playbook for a two-game slate, but I'll try and put something together in similar fashion to what I did on yesterday's Fantasy Alarm Show On SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. That should hopefully keep you well-covered with who I believe will be the stronger plays for this weekend. Before I list out the players, here are a few statistical notes about the teams with a few extra thoughts on how I think these games could go.
AFC Championship: Titans vs. Chiefs
Spread: Chiefs -7.5
Kickoff: 3:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 19
Weather: mid-20s, clear skies, winds 10 mph
DVOA Defensive Rankings:
Titans: Run – 10th Pass – 21st
Chiefs: Run – 29th Pass – 6th
Game Thoughts: The joke I've made all week is that this is the "resistable force vs the movable object." Kansas City can't stop the run and the Titans can't stop the pass. Titans coach Mike Vrabel is all about chewing up the clock and keeping Patrick Mahomes off the field with long, sustained drives. Derrick Henry should see 30-plus carries as the Titans dare them to stop the run and once the offense sees the Chiefs overcompensate to stifle the rushing attack, they'll take a few shots downfield. Meanwhile, the Chiefs will likely show a lot of what they showed against Houston. They will score with quick strikes downfield with heavier attacks across the middle, whether it's work to Travis Kelce or quick slants to the receivers. The Cheifs will get their ground game involved via the pass mostly, so Damien Williams brings enough to the table to get him involved, especially on DK.
NFC Championship: Packers vs. 49ers
Spread: 49ers -7
Kickoff: 6:40 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 19
Weather: mid-50s, cloudy, winds 9 mph
DVOA Defensive Rankings:
Packers: Run – 23rd Pass – 10th
49ers: Run – 11th Pass – 2nd
Game Thoughts: In my opinion, the only way the Packers win this game outright is for Aaron Rodgers to have a vintage performance. The 49ers run defense, especially now that Dee Ford will see more snaps and Kwon Alexander showed he's more than capable to shoulder the full-load in the middle, is stifling and Aaron Jones could have some trouble getting going. Even the RB pass-plays the Packers sort of stopped using, seem like they would be less effective against this defense. Rodgers is going to need to connect heavily with his top receivers. San Francisco will counter defensively by double-teaming Davante Adams and force Rodgers to get his fringe wideouts more involved. If Rodgers is able to post one of those 300-yard, multi-touchdown games, then the Pack should be in a good spot. Meanwhile, I expect the 49ers to come at Green Bay with a heavy dose of the ground game. That's the Packers biggest weakness on defense and the trio of backs the 49ers have will likely all see decent snaps and attempts. That will hopefully open up the passing attack more, though I do have my concerns over Jimmy Garoppolo . This is a big stage and if you look at his game log, his biggest perfromances have come against the likes of Arizona and New Orleans, two notoriously soft pass defenses. I think you see a decent blend, but the lean goes heavier on the run for me.
Now as for specific plays, the list below are players who are making it into my personal lineups. Again, there will be chalk plays you may like better, so by all means, don't completely rule anyone out. This list is based off my research and knowledge. I feel like I have a decent read on both games, but as we all know, there's more than one way to skin a cat....or win a GPP tournament.