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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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