In this weekly column, we will identify the best plays, values, and tournament options for your NFL DFS lineups. We’ll also offer the best “fades” at each position, indicating which players to avoid when building your lineups.
Keep in mind that some of the plays offered are better for “Cash” games, i.e. 50/50, H2H, and Double-Up formats that require a more conservative approach. Some plays are recommended for GPP (Guaranteed Prize Pool) tournaments where it’s necessary to take more risk in the hopes of separating from a large field. Those GPP plays can also be ideal for Best Ball formats where players with higher upside are valuable.
For those interested in the DFS Single-Game Slate contests, here’s a quick recap:
In the “Showdown” mode on DraftKings, there are five utility spots and a “Captain” slot, who receives 1.5x multiplier for all DK points accrued. Pricing differs for players when selected in the Captain spot versus the FLEX spots, with all players required to fit under a $50k salary cap. All options are in play from QBs, RBs and WRs, to kickers and D/ST from each team.
Keep an eye on injury news right up until kickoff since things can change quickly in the NFL. Please note any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if he doesn’t respond well in warm-ups.
NFL DFS CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP BEST CONTESTS
DraftKings: Conference Clash Millionaire (Sun): $20 entry, $4M guaranteed – $1,000,000 to 1st!
DraftKings: Play-Action: $3 entry, $1.2M guaranteed – $100,000 to 1st!
FanDuel: Sunday Million: $4.44 entry, $1.75M guaranteed – $300,000 to 1st!
FanDuel: Sunday Rush: $9 entry, $300k guaranteed- $100,000 to 1st!
Top NFL DFS Plays for Conference Championship Slate
The Bucs defense is in for a rude awakening after their big performance against the Saints. Drew Brees simply couldn’t threaten them down the field and they were able to attack at all three levels. Rodgers is currently the best downfield passer in the game with an adjusted yards per attempt (9.2) mark that is highest in the NFL. Tampa was able to sack him 4 times and force 2 picks with an aggressive game plan in Week 6. Since then, Rodgers has routinely punished the blitz en route to the second-best passer rating (121.5) ever posted in a season. The Bucs allow the fewest rushing YPG (82.2) and thus face the highest pass-play rate (64.8%) in the NFL, while giving up the eighth-highest completion rate (67.8%).
There is nothing wrong with taking the other legendary QB in the NFC title game. Brady is playing in his 14th conference final and obviously won’t be rattled, or affected by the cold temperatures in Green Bay. He’s finally found a rhythm with all his weapons and leads the NFL in Air Yards (5554) in Bruce Arians’ aggressive scheme. Brady has also attempted the most red zone passes (95) and produced a league-high 46 “Money Throws.” The 43-year-old has been absolutely elite with a 21:2 TD:INT ratio while averaging 314.5 passing YPG on the road this season.
All eyes are on the Chiefs injury report to see if Patrick Mahomes (concussion) is cleared to play Sunday. But just as important for the Bills offense will be the status of Chiefs CB Bashaud Breeland (concussion), who is having an outstanding year while allowing the fewest FPs per snap (0.22) in his coverage. If Breeland is cleared, the Chiefs secondary should be able to clamp down on Stefon Diggs and Allen hasn’t found many other reliable options lately. Kansas City is primarily vulnerable against the run, but the Bills average just 68.7 rushing YPG over their last 3 outings. Without a run game to worry about, the well-coached Chiefs can sit back and take away Allen’s security blanket.
Ronald Jones ($4.6k, $5.6k) carried the mail for most of the season and is now taking a backseat to Fournette as he nurses a quad injury. Jones is a decent play in GPP formats since the public will be on Fournette, but it clearly makes sense to get exposure to the Bucs backfield in a cold weather game at Lambeau. While the Packers have improved recently against the run lately, they’re still yielding 120 rushing YPG over their last 3 contests. In that span, 60% of TDs scored against Green Bay have come on the ground, the second-highest mark in football. Fournette handled 22 touches and provided a clutch receiving TD in the win at the Saints, so he has Brady’s trust in the red zone.
The Chiefs have no incentive to rush Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle) into action. The rookie was largely ineffective during the second half of the season and isn’t necessarily a player to trust in the AFC Championship. Williams played second fiddle to Damien Williams in the playoffs last year, but was a full time player on special teams and he played on 79% of offensive snaps in a win over the Browns last week. Le’Veon Bell has lost a step and Darwin Thompson didn’t sniff the field last Sunday. Williams has the trust of the coaching staff and could see more touches than usual if Mahomes isn’t fully mobile.
The Bucs rush defense is a brick wall and they’re expected to activate DT Vita Vea off I.R. this week. Jones is coming off a solid game against a great Rams defense that happened to be diminished with Aaron Donald (ribs) playing hurt. He has a modest 53.5% route participation rate this year and would have to do the bulk of his damage as a receiver considering Tampa is only allowing 3.5 YPC on the road. The Bucs also allow a league-low 25.8% of TDs on rush attempts.
Adams is the most complete receiver in football and his QB makes him look even better. Rodgers and his top wideout have an unbelievable rapport that produced the most receiving TDs (18), YAC (587), and FPs per game (25.6) this season. With Tampa selling out to stop the run, the Packers will likely use quick throws and screens to Adams as an extension of the running game. Allen Lazard ($4.2k, $5.7k) should also see some easy targets in that fashion, so give him a look as a cheap stacking partner to pair with Rodgers.
Brown is fresh after missing most of the regular season and he became a workhorse by catching 8-of-11 targets for 62 yards on a windy night last week. He figures to become a big part of the game plan once again with Buffalo likely to shoot it out against Mahomes and the high-flying Chiefs. We expect Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo to divest extra resources towards stopping Stefon Diggs, which should open things up for Brown and Cole Beasley ($4.1k, $5.7k) to rack up short-yardage throws. Unlike Beasley, though, Brown can double as a deep threat and that gives him good upside.
Sammy Watkins (calf) might not be active again this Sunday and he figures to be a part-time player even if he’s in uniform. That would open up more snaps for Hardman, a burner who can do damage on short passes, jet sweeps, or on downfield throws. If Mahomes is limited in his ability, Andy Reid should install more deceptive plays with Hardman streaking across the formation. He also has a punt return for a TD and has caught 3-of-4 red zone targets this season.
We’re not fading Hill so much as ensuring that we can pay up for Travis Kelce this Sunday. The TE position is so weak on a 4-game slate that Kelce’s production is going to be far more valuable. It’s not a great matchup for Tyreek against Tre’Davious White and Buffalo’s solid pass defense. The Bills allow just 202.1 passing YPG and 9.3 yards per completion on the road. They held Hill to his quietest game (3 receptions, 20 yards) of the year in Week 6 thanks in part to some inclement weather, and it could rain in KC this Sunday.
Kelce has put together the best season ever by a TE and he’s close to a must play this Sunday despite his lofty price tag. The Bills gave up the most receptions (92) and second-most yards (993) to TEs this season, along with 8 receiving TDs to the position. Kelce caught 2 TDs in Week 6 against Buffalo and he’s averaging 8.1 receptions on 11 targets over his last 9 outings. Even if Chad Henne has to take over, or Mahomes is limited, Kelce will be the safety blanket that makes this offense go. He always seems to be open on broken plays, and has only dropped 0.7% of catchable passes this year.
Brate is a conservative play in a pass-happy offense. He’s played on 44.2% of offensive snaps this postseason, while Rob Gronkowski ($3.2k, $5.2k) has a 74.1% snap rate. But Gronk is staying in to block more often while Brate has caught 4-of-11 targets for 140 yards in those contests. The Packers were solid against TEs this season, but are even better at CB than at LB, so we would expect Brady to keep leaning on his big targets over the middle.
The Bucs defensive scheme leaves them vulnerable against interior passes. As a result, they’ve allowed the seventh-most receptions (86) and TDs (9) to TEs this season. Tonyan has been afterthought at times with Davante Adams commanding a 34.1% target share in the Packers offense. Yet he’s scored a TD in 6 of his last 8 appearances and came alive for 60 yards against a stingy Rams defense last week.