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DraftKings Conference Championship NFL Picks

Hey everybody welcome to the final week of NFL DFS. It’s been awesome writing up my favorite plays each week and thanks for tuning in. I hope you guys had a profitable Divisional Round. I had one of my best weeks of the season with tons of exposure to Dion Lewis, Dez Bryant, Julian Edelman, Jared Cook and Patriots D. I had several high finishes and actually scored 198 points with Jermaine Kearse in my lineup (1.8 points). My 100% fade of LeVeon Bell was scary and I probably got extremely lucky that he never found the endzone, but sometimes that’s how it goes fortunately. Sometimes you can get caught up in how unlucky you think you are, but if you stick to your process it should work out in the end (as long as your process is decent enough). Always be process oriented and not results oriented.

Anyway, looking back at my picks from the weekend, it was a pretty solid week given the limited amount of players on the 4 game slate. Russell was the worst pick of the bunch, but with 19.9 DK points thanks to 49 yards rushing and 2 TD passes, he certainly wouldn’t have killed your lineup. I had most of my exposure on Matt Ryan (40%) and Aaron Rodgers (30%) with Dak (10%) and Russell (20%) behind them. I pretty much completely faded the Chiefs/Steelers game besides Ware and Tyreek Hill.

At running back I mentioned Devonta Freeman as my favorite play and he had a solid game with 22.5 DK points. I had almost 100% exposure to him, which can be extremely risky but I was pretty confident he’d get at least 20 DK points. I mentioned Dion Lewis as well and he was huge for me this week. I had around 60% exposure to him until Saturday morning when I didn’t think I had enough Blount so I ended up with around 50%. Mistake looking back on it now, but I was struggling to convince myself of that much exposure to a volatile player.

I wrote up Dez Bryant this week and that turned out to be another great pick as he had his highest scoring game of the season with 37.2 DK points. He was a no brainer to me this week given his price and matchup. At tight end I wrote up Jared Cook, which was another no brainer. He also had his highest scoring game of the season with 25.7 DK points, including the absurd game winning catch to get Crosby in field goal range. Stupid Packers and their game winning shenanigans (Vikings fan talking here). At defense I had almost 80% exposure to the Patriots and with 16 DK points that was pretty big. I wrote up the Steelers and with 6 DK points, that was certainly a fine play especially given they were $1100 less than the Patriots.

This week there are only two games on the slate so I’m going to write about each position pointing out my favorite plays and guys I might fade.

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One last time. Let’s get it.

Vegas Information (as of 1/19 at 11 a.m.)
Green Bay Packers – 27.5
Atlanta Falcons – 32.5
Over/Under – 60

New England Patriots – 28.25
Pittsburgh Steelers – 22.25
Over/Under – 50.5

Quarterbacks

Well we have four options here and I think we can all agree three of them are guaranteed to be in the Hall of Fame in the future. The Green Bay/Atlanta game has a historic over/under at 60 and I think most of the quarterback ownership is going to be on Aaron Rodgers and Matty Ice for good reason. This game is going to have a silly amount of touchdowns and people are going to want to soak up as much as they can from this game. Personally, I’m going to have more exposure to Matt Ryan because he’s at home, $400 cheaper and has an absurd 32.5 team implied total. Ryan has 14 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in his last five games, so he’s definitely hot right now. During that span the Falcons are 5-0 and have averaged a ridiculous 36 points. The Packers also have one of the worst pass defenses in the entire league ranking in the bottom four of the league in pass yards per game, average per attempt, touchdowns given up, and pass plays over 20 yards. Dak Prescott Dez Bryant shredded them last week and I expect the same from Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman.

I’m also going to have plenty of exposure to Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, but I’m leaning toward completely fading Big Ben this week. At some point you have to make a stand and hope it works out in your favor. We all know Big Ben struggles on the road and it won’t be any easier this week against a solid Patriots secondary boasting a top 5 graded PFF corner in Malcolm Butler. Rodgers is playing at an historic level right now with 21 touchdowns and 1 interception during their eight game win streak and Tom Brady can throw for four touchdowns at any time. His weapons aren’t the greatest, but does that really matter with the GOAT? Pretty sure a couple of receivers from the Little Giants could be great with that guy throwing them the ball.

Running Backs

There are essentially six running backs to choose from unless you throw in James White than there would be seven. The hero of last week, Dion Lewis, figures to be the highest owned running back this week at just $5300, which is nearly half of what LeVeon Bell costs. Lewis will be followed by Devonta Freeman and Ty Montgomery who should both be highly owned as well. At $10,300 LeVeon Bell is extremely hard to fit in your lineups, but he still is the best player on this slate and should be next in line in terms of ownership percentage followed by Tevin Coleman. The lowest owned of the bunch (besides James White) is going to be LeGarrette Blount due to his falling production in the Patriots offense as Dion Lewis is the new favorite. Lewis even out carried him last week 13 to 8.

My favorite play this week and my biggest exposure is going to be DeVonta Freeman. Freeman has gone over 20 DK points in five of his last seven games (the two he didn’t he was on the road). He’s the home running back as he’s gone over 20 DK points in his last SIX home games and has averaged a ridiculous 26.45 DK points in those games. In a game where the Falcons are at home, favored by five and playing a defense that’s not that good I’m going to be way over the public’s ownership of Freeman.

I’ll also have plenty of exposure to Ty Montgomery, Dion Lewis, LeVeon Bell and Tevin Coleman as all are in great spots to put up some solid fantasy days. However, my favorite contrarian play is definitely LeGarrette Blount. He’s going to go extremely overlooked after the Dion Lewis show last week. At just $4400, he’s extremely cheap this week which will certainly help you roster the expensive guys you want this week. It’s a risky play given his recent usage, but he’s still the goal line back and you’d be hoping for two goal line touchdowns, which could certainly happen. Also, even though I realize Dion Lewis wasn’t in this game, the last time Blount faced the Steelers in October, he had his highest scoring game of the season thanks to 24 carries for 127 yards and 2 touchdowns.

One more note on the running back position,. I don’t think it’s crazy to roster Freeman and Coleman on the same roster, as well as Lewis and Blount. Lewis could catch two touchdowns and Blount could run one in. That’s certainly in within the realm of possibilities (albeit a small chance). Rostering Coleman and Freeman obviously makes sense with this game being filled with touchdowns. With only a 2 game slate, nearly all the rules go out the window. Obviously you want to stack your quarterback with his pass catchers like normal, but with a small slate like this rostering the Patriots defense against LeVeon Bell isn’t the dumbest thing in the world like it normally would. You’re going to have to be creative this week, so don’t be afraid to break some of your rules.

Wide Receivers

Wide receiver is an interesting position this week because of the injuries that should impact certain performances. Starting with the Packers, Jordy Nelson is not expected to play in this game to nobody’s surprise. Davante Adams hasn’t practiced all week from an ankle injury but it appears he’s going to play in this one. Cobb is the only receiver that won’t miss practice time as Allison missed practice Wednesday, but is still expected to play as his injury isn’t overly serious. Allison’s role could be expanded if Adam’s injury is as serious as it appears to be. On the other side of the ball, Julio Jones isn’t expected to practice all week, but should be good to go by game time. Taylor Gabriel has been limited in practice this week, but also looks like he’ll be a full go on Sunday.

In the New England/Steelers game, the Patriots are getting healthier as Malcolm Mitchell is set to come back after missing the last two weeks. Chris Hogan has been limited this week, but expects to play. With Amendola back as well, the Patriots receiving situation is somewhat muddled behind Edelman. Picking and choosing them is going to be difficult to say the least since we never know what Belichick is trying to do.

Besides all the injuries, we need to figure out who we are most confident in this week. The two guys that stand out to me are Julio Jones and Julian Edelman. Jones has been hampered most of this year and he’s still impressive as always. He has 18 and 22 DK points in his last two games and has gone over 20 DK points in 7 of his last 12 games where he’s played. Oh and he has a 51 DK point day this year if you forgot. Jones will be going against one of the worst secondaries in the league (look at the stats when I mentioned Matt Ryan above). The Packers rank 28th in pass defense DVOA vs #1 receivers and he should see a lot of PFF’s 67th ranked corner this week Ladarius Gunter.

Edelman is Tom Brady’s most reliable weapon as he’s averaged an absurd 12.6 targets a game in his last eight games scoring 25 and 34 DK points in his last two games. It’s hard to trust any of the other receivers on the Patriots as the ball is probably going to get spread around between them, but you can certainly count on Edelman getting his double digit targets once again.

My favorite contrarian play at receiver is probably Eli Rogers. The Steelers are extremely thin at receiver right now as Rogers and Antonio Brown were the only receivers to see multiple targets last week. Rogers should see at least 5 targets this week and with Brown being shadowed by PFF’s #5 ranked corner Malcolm Butler, he could see even more. At $3400, he’s certainly in play for me, especially if Ladarius Green is out again.

Other receivers I’ll have exposure to: Antonio Brown, Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Taylor Gabriel, Mohamed Sanu and Geronimo Allison.

TIGHT END

In what world are we in that Jared Cook is the highest priced tight end on the week? It goes without saying the tight end position is extremely limited this week and there’s some injury new we need to be aware of. Ladarius Green was limited in practice on Wednesday and might be able to return for this game. If he does, Jesse James is out of play for me and he should be for you as well. Green was limited last Wednesday and Thursday, but still ended up missing the game. If he does suit up, I’m going to have plenty of exposure there. If he doesn’t, feel free to throw $2700 Jesse James into your lineups as he had 13.3 DK points last week.

If you want to be a little contrarian, you could play Martellus Bennett. The only issue there is he’s seen 3.75 targets over his last eight games and hasn’t been a factor in a long time. I don’t love the play, but if you need the savings he’s certainly an option.

Jared Cook is going to be the chalk as he’s in a great matchup, a high scoring game, has an awesome quarterback and the last time we saw him he was making toe tapping plays on the sideline that would’ve made Michael Jackson jealous. Most of my tight exposure will be on Cook.

Defenses/Special Teams

Defense is a strange position this week. All of these offenses are high powered and it’s tough to pick a defense against them. The Patriots are by far the most expensive because they’re at home against the worst quarterback left in the playoffs (which is strange since he’s going to be in the Hall of Fame). Of the next three defenses, it’s pretty much pick your poison. The good news is they’re all extremely cheap. I think I’m most likely going to target Atlanta because they’re at home and they have the NFL’s leading sacker in Vic Beasley. Rodgers weapons are little banged up and that might play a factor. Whoever you do choose at defense, let’s just hope the other ones don’t go off which I really don’t think will happen. I expect all of them to be between 5 and 10 DK points so it shouldn’t hurt you too much.

Good luck this in the final week guys!

Thanks again and follow me on Twitter! @Keagan28