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Andrew Swanson | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

DFS Targets for Conference Championships
Julian Edelman

If you want to go against the grain fade Michael Thomas and take the Patriots top wide receiver.

Note: Salary amounts are DraftKings pricing


H2H/Cash - Drew Brees vs. Los Angeles - $5,900

With only four starting quarterbacks to choose between in the Championship round and the likelihood that your opponent will have a similar lineup, it is essential for cash owners to discern between players with high risk and high floors. Pat Mahomes is the most expensive play this week and likely owns the highest upside, but weather concerns in Kansas City make me hesitant to play him or Brady in cash. The player with the most attractive matchup is Drew Brees playing at home in the dome against a team in which he dropped 34 points against Week 9. The NFC game has the makings of a high scoring shootout, and I want the surest player in that game.

GPP - Jared Goff vs. New Orleans - $5,400

It is kind of crazy to think that a team with a secondary that allowed the second-most points to opposing quarterbacks made the Conference Championship. It is equally crazy to think that a player like Jared Goff, who has a talented receiving corps and Sean McVay calling plays, gets to play against that defense as the cheapest play of the week in arguably the highest scoring game of the two. Add in the fact that the Saints boast a potent offense and the second-best run defense in the league, and you have a recipe for a monster game for Goff.

Fade - Patrick Mahomes vs. New England - $6,600

As one of the majority of NFL fans rooting for the Chiefs to beat the Patriots, I want to be wrong about this pick. But the reality is the Chiefs are not great at stopping the run, and the Patriots will try to shorten the game with a run-heavy and short passing game like they did against the Chargers. I also have concerns about the weather and how it will affect scoring for both teams.

Running Backs

H2H/Cash - Sony Michel @ Kansas City - $5,600

In keeping with my logic on why I am avoiding Mahomes, running back Sony Michel is in line for a heavy workload on Sunday night in the frigid Kansas City night. The last thing that the Patriots want to do is get into a shootout with the Chiefs, and running the ball over and over again with Michel is the way to keep Mahomes and company off the field. Michel enters the game on the heels of his best game as a pro with 129 yards on 24 carries and three rushing touchdowns. While I donít anticipate three touchdowns, a similar volume and yardage production sounds well within reach.

GPP - James White @ Kansas City - $5,400

In full point per reception formats like DraftKings a player like James White is worth well more than the $5,400 price tag he has against the Chiefs. Just like the Chargers, the Chiefs boast a solid pass rush that will be mitigated by quick passes out of the backfield to White. For some odd reason, the Chargers did not alter their zone defense approach and gave up 15 receptions to White. I donít expect 15 catches this week, but I would not be shocked if he does have at least eight catches for 70 yards with the upside of a touchdown or two.

Fade - C.J. Anderson @ New Orleans - $5,000

Andersonís success with the Rams after failing to do much this season with the Panthers is one of the more impressive stories of the 2018 season. Just when the Rams needed someone to step up and fill in for the injured Todd Gurley, Anderson in all his bowling ball-esque glory came through with three games of at least 100 rushing yards. You have to love the story, but it will likely come to an end against a Saints team that is tough against the run and weak against the pass. If Andersonís price was a considerable discount over some of the other running backs, it would make sense to play him, but he is $400 more expensive than Mark Ingram, and not at all a value this week.

Wide Receivers

H2H/Cash - Julian Edelman @ Kansas City - $6,700

While everyone and their mother is going to put Michael Thomas is their cash games to take advantage of his incredible volume, I will save $1,600 by going with another high volume play in Julian Edelman against the Chiefs. As I mentioned with James White, the Patriots will use another run-heavy approach along with short passes to control the ball and time of possession as a way to keep Mahomes and Co. off the field.

GPP - Josh Reynolds @ New Orleans - $4,200

At just $4,200, Josh Reynolds is a cheap way to get some shares of the Rams passing game against the Saints. Sure, Reynolds disappeared last week with one reception for 19 yards on four targets. But that had a ton to do with the matchup and the fact that the Rams were running the ball so effectively against Dallas. I donít think they will have as much success moving the ball on the ground against the Saints and Goff will need to pass a ton to win this game. Pair Goff and Reynolds for a cheap GPP stack

Tight End

H2H/Cash - Travis Kelce vs. New England - $7,100

You are going to hear a ton of narratives about how Bill Belichick and the Patriots will look to shut down the No.1 weapon for the Chiefs. That narrative may have some credence in the past, but I am not sure that old Belichick will be able to shut down any of the top options of the Chiefs. Considering the fact that the Patriots do not have a cornerback capable of keeping up with the speedy Tyreek Hill on the outside, it would not surprise me to see Belichick focus more of his efforts on stopping Kelce. But the Chiefs do an excellent job of moving Kelce around, and Mahomes is excellent at moving the pocket and hitting his big tight end when coverage breaks down. I am not a big fan of the other tight ends this week, so I will pay up for Kelce.

GPP - Dan Arnold vs. Los Angeles ó $2,500

If you donít want to pay up for Kelce and need a bargain barrel tight end, you may want to consider Dan Arnold of the Saints. Ben Watson is out due to appendicitis, and it looks like Arnold will be back in the fold for fantasy consideration.

Fade - Rob Gronkowski @ Kansas City ó $4,100

Many people will look to play Gronk this week based on the fact that the Chiefs allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends this season. On face value, he seems like a steal compared to Kelce, but Gronk has six total targets in his last three games, and clearly looks to be hobbled.

Defense & Special Teams

As one would expect with a Championship Week comprised of four of the top offenses in the league, no DST is very attractive this week. Of the four teams, I like the Chiefs ($2500) chances of scoring a defensive touchdown in severe weather conditions at Arrowhead.