Conference Championship Games
We are in the final DFS slate of the season for football. I don’t want to talk about the Showdown for the Super Bowl because outside of making a few predictions and prop bets on the Super Bowl it’s the most just have fun/random slate of the year. This weekend is fairly close to it but we can atleast interject a little bit of game theory and leverage/ownership decisions into our thought process.
I would like to thank everyone who has spent the time to read this article, provide feedback, provide criticism, tolerate the Taysom Hill love … (wait, he did score more touchdowns than Odell Beckham you know?) … and overall I hope you had a profitable or enjoyable year and in some way my article helped part of your research process. I can honestly say that between MLB, NHL, College Football and Pro Football, the NFL articles are the ones I want to flow the best and worry about making sure I have enough pinpoint information so that you can quickly get in, hear what you need and move on. Because there is SOO MUCH NOISE with football and soooo many useless nuggest throughout the season that I find it begins to blend what is a “sharp” or “correct” play versus just the noise. That’s an area I do wanna focus more on in the coming years — oh and probably improving the overall writing style for the article.
For the AMBUSH this week I am going to give my AMBUSH plays for the two games themselves in terms of the game theory and the favorite play in each game. Then we’ll go through each position and outline the chalk/ownership vs pivots.
With only two games this weekend you will find an article somewhere that recommends almost every single player on the board. It’s absolutely pathetic that people will charge money for content this weekend that list all four Quarterbacks as plays and use some crap like 50% this guy, 20% these next two guys and 10% the last guy. I may end up doing some mass entry this weekend myself out of sheer boredom and just to donate some of the money I have won in the playoffs back (humble brag!), but c’mon, that’s really not much analysis.
You want MME analysis? Okay, fine, let me explain ….
It’s very simple. You wanna do MME? You gotta either decide if you are simply spreading out a large player pool or going completely contrarian and saying you’ll be “underweight” on guys who others are overweight on. Basically go run 20 or 150 lineups somewhere from an opto with no settings adjustments. Take the top 5 guys who are spit out in the most lineups. Make two of them 10% in your builds. You’re done. That’s your analysis. It’s random. It’s luck. It’s some skill, but it’s not what you came here for. I’m going to outline who the chalk play is at each position for single entry (and it applies to MME too) or three entry max type spots and then I’m gonna give you my play at that position. That’s it, that’s the list. Also never forget that the Falcons Blew a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl and the NFL rewarded the head official for the biggest blunder in the history of officiating by giving him a Super Bowl the next season. No, I’m not bitter.
THE AMBUSH PLAYS
AFC: Titans vs Chiefs
Chiefs win. In fact, I have the Chiefs winning the Super Bowl and I would have been picking them this week against anyone in the AFC, so this is no disrespect to the Titans who definitely deserve all the respect for clearly being a good team and thumping New England and Baltimore. But Kansas City is the most balanced team remaining in my eyes with a dynamic offense that can run and pass and is led by a confident QB in Patrick Mahomes, while being backed by a good enough and scheme-fit type defense. They’ll be able to get after Tannehill if he does attempt play action off the D-Henry train and Kansas City can put enough pressure on the Titans with their offense to eventually break the Titans if they cannot convert a long run from Henry early in this game. He (D-Henry) has been absolutely amazing, but the train will come to an end this weekend with a Chiefs victory as Mahomes and the passing attack will shine. All of that should funnel the Titans to go to their stud rookie WR, AJ Brown, who could wind up being the must own of the weekend and is a MUCH BETTER play in my eyes than Derrick Henry due to some cheaper value options at RB from the 49ers. AJ Brown has been quiet in the first two weeks of the playoffs but must show up this weekend for Tennessee.
When these teams met in the regular season I took a long shot on Sammy Watkins and he didn’t pan out, but this week I do like him to be involved after DeMarcus Robinson was so horrific as an intermediate passing option last week. That said, the must own from the Chiefs will be Tyreek Hill, who’s speed will be far more damaging than what Marquise Brown was able to do last week for the Ravens.
CHIEFS PLAY: Tyreek Hill (DK: $7,200, FD: $7,400)
TITANS PLAY: A.J. Brown (DK: $5,200, FD: $6,800)
NFC: Packers vs 49ers
This is the higher scoring game of the day and the 49ers win. Right away I am being slightly contrarian having this game as the projected higher scoring game but I honestly don’t think it winds up being that contrarian. So who do I love in a high scoring game? Believe it or not, you have to like Rodgers to finally have a 350+ yard passing game this weekend and I wouldn’t be shocked if he threw for 400 yards but is damaged by his team making mistakes at in opportune times and their defensive in-ability to stop the 49ers rushing game. Rodgers will get the yards only if he has too because they’re down big early from an onslaught by the 49ers which I think is coming in the first half. This is all going to wind up with Rodgers and the Packers who are in a spot where they should only have passing success to have to make some big plays. Rodgers is a must play for me this weekend and while Davante Adams will get his usual 100+ yard game, there’s a ton of value to like in Allan Lazard and Jimmy Graham if the Packers QB is gonna go bananas through the air.
PACKERS PLAY: Aaron Rodgers (DK: $6,100, FD: $8,000)
49ERS PLAY: Matt Breida (DK: $3,400, FD: $5,000)
FULL POSITIONAL RANKINGS
MY PLAYER TO HAVE
Aaron Rodgers (10-20% ownership, has same ceiling as everyone else)
This is one rare week where ownership should weigh heavily into thought process at Quarterback. As we saw last week with Mahomes who did outscore everyone else, you can really be setting yourself back if you are behind at this single player position and with someone like Mahomes (and Jackson last week) who has that 30+ ceiling upside it can be a deadly fade if you go the wrong route. But for me this week Rodgers can match Mahomes in that department. San Francisco down the stretch was more vulnerable via the pass and was able to feast on a very basic Vikings offense last week to get right. Rodgers only threw for 81 yards on 37 attempts in their previous meeting when Green Bay got throttled by the 49ers. The second time around things won’t be as heavy of a blowout and the Packers will move the ball through the air.
So do not ask me who my Quarterback is for my main lineup. It’s Rodgers. Got it? We good here? OK.
Derrick Henry, Damien Williams, Raheem Mostert (especially on DK)
Because it’s only two games, fading Henry’s 20+ touches is something that might feel fairly uncomfortable to do because it’s hard to imagine him not getting atleast 15 points and quite honestly we can find plenty of value to fit that safe floor in. But if the Chiefs keep him out of the end zone he’ll be someone you can probably fade — just be smart who you fade him for — the logical pivot for me was going to be Damien Williams, but he is really projecting to be the highest owned player on the entire slate now.
Mostert is soooo cheap and still so much of a home run threat. He is terribly priced this week because of an injury scare from last week but a play I will eat the chalk on.
MY PLAYER TO HAVE
Matt Breida (should be sub 10% and is a pair with the higher $ WR I love)
The 49ers should have no problems going to their run scheme against the Packers who’s pass defense is the strength of their team. Raheem Mostert being only $4,300 on DraftKings this week is a very tough fade even with some concerns about being limited last week due to injury. In DFS there will be a heavy amount of ownership going over to Tevin Coleman as folks look to chase his production last week thinking he is now the playoff back in this offense — but I would encourage you to give Breida consideration as well. Pricing shouldn’t matter much on either site but at $3,400 he’s the super bargain bin play of the week who will get 7 to 10 touches as a fairly reliable floor and to me he is the wild card that the Packers will not account for this week.
HIGHEST OWNED: Tyreek Hill, AJ Brown, Deebo Samuel, Emmanuel Sanders
Hill and Brown are must have guys for me. I see both having over 100 yards receiving, good touchdown upside (and leverage also off Henry and Williams obviously) and should both see good amount of touches in this game as both teams face defenses that should allow the ball to flow towards them. The San Francisco WR’s are fades for me. The Packers corners are very good and I trust the San Francisco RB and TE options over Deebo and Manny Sanders to have huge games this week — but if I had to pick one it would be Manny Sanders scoring.
MY PLAYERS TO HAVE
Davante Adams (Will be 40% owned but is an automatic 20+ point game. He outscores D.Henry)
Hard to love Rodgers and not expect Adams to get a stat line of 8-100-1. Adams will be the 6th highest owned WR on a two game slate. The guy is arguably a top 6 WR on a slate with all 32 teams playing, so it’s comical that he won’t be 100% owned this weekend. Don’t mistake this for thinking he will be 10-25% owned, no, he’s chalky but when everyone is celebrating Hill and Brown in the early game and sitting there without Adams remaining you will be smiling with me while we have all three of them. This is the no brainer play of the week, lock in Adams.
Allen Lazard (The low owned pass catching stack option with Rodgers)
It’s all about projecting the game flow and San Francisco to me is much more likely to jump out on Green Bay than the other way around and Rodgers has always been VERY good late in games moving the ball down field. I think he winds up throwing it 40 times in this game and he’ll complete quite a few to Adams but plenty will go to Lazard as well. Lazard appeared on the injury report this week which will cause some fear in the DFS circles but fear not, he’s capable of having a big game against San Francisco and is a nice 4th WR to go with this week which should be a fairly contrarian build method.
Full fade for me. I know the Titans have been eaten up by TE lately and he had a huge game last week. But as you can see above, I am on Tyreek Hill and lean towards the SF-GB game for more offense.
MY PLAYER TO HAVE
The 49ers running backs are in play mostly because of their price, but Kittle is in play because the Packers will negate the SF wide receivers when the 49ers attempt to kill the Packers with play action and get Kittle roaming down the middle of the field for some big gainers.
Jimmy! in San Francisco in the playoffs produced one of the greatest catches in NFL playoff history (sure, it was in Candlestick, but it was still one of the best plays ever), and even though it was 8 years ago and he’s no longer what he once was, he’s viable this weekend. At only $3,700 on DK and as a pivot off Lazard as a second and value receiving option to pair with Rodgers, going down at TE to Jimmy will let you have flexibility to spend up more at RB to eat Henry’s floor if you want that
I actually have perspective below on defense this week and honestly have zero care who I roll with on defense this week. I will note that the Titans are probably 10% owned out of the four teams and sure, I could see some tom-foolery where they get some random score but I have zero analysis to lean you one way or the other on any defense this week.
- No defense scores a touchdown this week and every defense gives up 14+ points, thus making the difference at the defense spot irrelevant. If the highest scoring defense ends up with a 9 and the lowest scoring defense ends up with a 5 then it doesn’t matter that much. You’ll be impacted more if you have the QB2 who gets a 17 instead of QB1 who gets a 24. Many weeks there will be a defense you have to have to finish first in DFS contests. I don’t see that being the case this week, so just take the cheapest defense on the board or just take the San Francisco 49ers against Rodgers and hey, if he throws a pick 6 its actually not that bad
- The Titans fail to score 20 points but A.J. Brown winds up as the highest scoring skill position player on the Titans due to the catch volume, high yardage and scoring both of their touchdowns.
- All three San Francisco main running backs score touchdowns, making that an interesting lineup build as you can then play Adams, Brown, Tyreek, Kelce, Rodgers
- Derrick Henry still gets 15+ fantasy points but does not score a touchdown
Game Bets and Props …
- The Chiefs and 49ers win. But the Chiefs will win on a backdoor cover while the 49ers will lose the cover at the end of the game.
- Chiefs -7.5
- Packers +7.5
- B/SF OVER
- Rodgers Passing Yards OVER 238.5
- Davante Adams Receiving Yards OVER 81.5
- AJ Brown Scores a Touchdown YES