My NFL DFS picks didn’t crush last week, but I did hand out several plays that could have helped you win a little bit of money. Damien Williams was a money call and was one of the best plays of the week, while Tyreek Hill was a chalky but also fantastic play.
T.Y. Hilton (14 fantasy points) and Amari Cooper (15.5) were also rock solid plays alongside Hill. Andrew Luck disappointed and Mark Ingram was a fail, but overall it wasn’t a bad squad to work with.
This week we have one last two-game NFL DFS slate and then we’re down to (probably) a Pro Bowl showdown slate and then a showdown slate for Super Bowl 53.
You can either bet on the games by taking a look at our Rams vs. Saints pick and Patriots vs. Chiefs pick, or use some of my favorite plays in FanDuel’s daily fantasy football contests:
QB: Tom Brady – New England Patriots ($8.4k)
There are four viable fantasy quarterbacks this week and I could go back and forth on all of them. The reality is everyone could wreck and maybe outside of Patrick Mahomes, they also could all be awful.
Conference championship week creates a lot of pressure, so you just never know what strategy teams will enforce and how they’ll execute. Regardless, I love the idea of the legendary Brady possibly being somewhat contrarian.
I’m sure ownership will simply be spread out over a small slate like this, but the hope is for people to be infatuated with Mahomes, bite on Drew Brees’ home splits or assume Jared Goff will do what he did against the Saints earlier this year.
For various reasons, I’m not fully buying Goff or Brees (although the latter is plenty fine) and Mahomes is facing a better than advertised Pats defense in cold weather.
Brady’s short area passing game should help him in the elements and the Chiefs also offer a pretty good matchup on paper. If the Brady we’ve seen the last two games shows up, he offer nice value and could be the top play at the quarterback position.
Best of all, Tom Brady might be low-owned and that’s always something I’m going to get excited about.
RB: Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints ($6.1k)
My Super Bowl 53 pick is the Saints vs. Patriots, so I’m definitely looking for a New Orleans player or two. The best ones are expensive, but Ingram is a nice price for a guy who should get 10-15 touches and can see goal-line work.
Ingram is a risky play, but he’s perfect for GPPs and the Rams actually have not been very good against the run on the year.
This could be a game where Drew Brees airs it out and goes off, but it also could be a game where the Saints try to control the clock and attack the Rams where they’re the most vulnerable.
Ingram is a dice roll, but he has a role in the offense. If the Saints can get in scoring position and turn to him, he could smash in a hurry.
RB: Damien Williams – Kansas City Chiefs ($7.2k)
You can pay up for Todd Gurley or Alvin Kamara, while James White and Sony Michel are also very appealing. I’m just going to slide Williams in here as a rock solid play in a spot where he should get plenty of work.
New England is not immune to giving up production to running backs and Williams is on a bit of a heater at the moment. I like the Pats to win this game, but it’s going to be cold and I wouldn’t be shocked if KC ran a bit more than usual.
There is merit to spending big for Gurley and/or Kamara, but I’m trying to stock up on a plethora of viable options and not just two or three. It also requires fewer deep dives on a slate where there simply aren’t many you can trust.
WR: Tyreek Hill – Kansas City Chiefs ($8.4k)
While the temperatures aren’t ideal for slinging the football all over the field, I don’t necessarily expect the Chiefs to be grounded in this one.
Hill completely destroyed the Pats earlier this year (140 yards, 3 TDs) and while I doubt he goes nuts like that, I’m sure he’ll get free a few times and put up some fantasy points.
There isn’t a big sales pitch here. I actually think New England’s secondary is pretty good, but they’re not going to go into KC and completely stifle one of the best passing games in the league. Hill won’t crush them, but he’ll get his and will be worth using.
WR: Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints ($8.8k)
The same goes for Michael Thomas, who embarrassed the Rams (12-211-1 line) earlier this year. Again, you probably shouldn’t be demanding a repeat, but the talent, role and matchup all align to allow for a pretty big outing.
The Rams don’t really have anyone that can stop MT, while he’s become arguably the most reliable pass-catcher in all of football. Even if he doesn’t haul in any big plays, he’s a pretty good bet to meet value merely on receptions and yardage.
One option is to pivot down to Julian Edelman or Brandin Cooks (true revenge of the playoff variety), but I see MT as a necessity due to his upside. Hopefully the steep price tag and the presence of Todd Gurley will help lower his ownership a bit.
WR: Josh Reynolds – Los Angeles Rams ($5.4k)
Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods are the safer Rams wide receivers and offer way more upside, but one of them could be shadowed by Marshon Lattimore. That probably means one of them will be a bust, which could open the door for #3 receiver Josh Reynolds to pop off a bit.
Reynolds was a huge disappointment last week, but he has upside as evidenced by two multi-score games this year. The matchup is there for the taking and he remains a red-zone threat, while it might not take a whole lot for him to return value based on his salary.
TE: Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots ($5.6k)
Travis Kelce is the top tight end on this slate, but you have to fork over an extra $1.8k to get him. He could be worth it, but he was held relatively in check (5-61) the first time he saw the Pats and the savings could be a big deal on this slate.
Kelce and Gronkowski are very different at the moment. One is extremely involved in his offense and the other, Gronk, seems ready to retire. That may be the case, but Gronkowski has the better matchup and is set up to be a very contrarian option by comparison.
Ownership could easily be split between the only two truly viable tight end options, but I’m taking the savings and hoping Gronk can step up with a big game.
Gronk hauled in three catches for 97 yards the first time and he still has the ability to put up solid numbers. Here’s to hoping he can make it happen and save you some cash at the same time.
FLEX: Ted Ginn Jr. – New Orleans Saints ($5.3k)
You can consider a few other options here or make changes as you see fit. One option I mentioned was pivoting off of Michael Thomas to Edelman and if you also dropped from the Saints defense (below) to New England’s, that’d get you another solid weapon to use.
I’ll just stand pat and use Ginn, largely because I like everyone else I have and also because he has the speed to bust the NFC title game wide open. Much of the focus will understandably be on Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, but Ginn can pay off in as little as one long touchdown.
Ginn’s got a penchant for hauling in big plays and just last week he drew seven targets. If just one of those results in a huge play, he’ll be worth rostering in your Flex spot.
DEF: New Orleans Saints ($4.6k)
Lastly, I’ll roll with the New Orleans defense. They’re probably the best defense on the table right now and they’re also at home, where they tend to play their best. They also stop the run and if the Rams can’t run effectively, they’re probably going to be in trouble.
The big thing here is Jared Goff has not looked good down the stretch this year. His road splits are also awful. If this game turns into Goff trying to will the Rams into the Super Bowl, there’s a chance it could get ugly.
Both games could be crazy shootouts, but I’m rolling with a defense I think wins and does enough to not be horrible. The Saints make the most sense, so even though I’m eating a few extra bucks I still think they’re the smart play.
Overall, I’m trying not to lean too hard in any one direction, while considering which teams I think will advance, how game flow will play out and how I can maximize value.
Some of these matchups work against how we look at fantasy football in general and the playoff setting only makes it worse. That means fading guys like Patrick Mahomes, Todd Gurley and Travis Kelce feels like a huge mistake, but honestly could help you win in the end.
That doesn’t mean I have all the answers. This just happens to be my favorite overall team after going through the lineup building process. As always, feel free to use this squad as it stands or just use whatever NFL DFS picks you agree with.
Hopefully I shed some light on how to get where you need to go. Whatever you decide, I wish you luck. Enjoy the games!