DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Conference Championships
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After 20 weeks of football we end with chalk in the Conference Championships. Both games have an over/under that exceeds 55 points, and all four teams have an implied total over 26 points. Thankfully, the ominous sounding arctic blast that had single-digit temperatures in the forecast for Kansas City earlier this week has been upgraded to minimal winds, partly sunny, and a high near 30 degrees.
Patrick Mahomes ($6,600): Not only does Patrick Mahomes lead the four remaining starting quarterbacks in projected points, he sits atop our projections among all players on the slate. Mahomes didn't throw a touchdown in last week's chilly conditions, but he ran for a score and otherwise played well against the Indianapolis Colts, completing 27 of 41 passes for 278 yards. Back in Week 6, Mahomes faced the New England Patriots on the road and posted 352 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions in a narrow defeat. When looking from Week 14 through the playoffs, New England's defense ranks 13th in passing success rate yet is dead last in explosive passing, according to Sharp Football Stats.
Drew Brees ($5,900): Across his 15 regular season starts, Drew Brees was held to fewer than 250 passing yards on eight occasions. However, six of those came on the road. In five of those road games, Brees was limited to either a single touchdown or none at all. Thankfully, Brees will be in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the second consecutive week. Brees is coming off a contest in which he hit up the Philadelphia Eagles 301 yards and 2 touchdowns, which gives Brees five 300-yard passing performances over his last six home games. The New Orleans Saints carry the highest implied team total among the four squads playing in the conference championships. The opposing Los Angeles Rams have a pass defense that rates 10th by numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics, although that should not deter anyone from going heavy on Brees and the Saints' passing attack.
Alvin Kamara ($6,500): Even though Alvin Kamara didn't score last week against the Eagles -- a deep touchdown pass from Taysom Hill was wiped off the board by an offensive line penalty -- Kamara exceeded 100 yards from scrimmage and carried the ball 16 times, his highest total since Week 9. Kamara leads our projections among non-quarterbacks as he's facing a bottom top-10 Rams run defense, per our metrics. Additionally, L.A. is 19th by rushing success rate and 28th in explosive rushing.
Damien Williams ($6,400): With three games of 29 or more DraftKings points over his four starts, Damien Williams has been a revelation for the Kansas City Chiefs down the stretch. New England has been solid against opposing running backs for much of the year in the box score but not as much by efficiency. In fact, the Pats' run defense is 23rd in success rate and 30th in explosive runs. In last week's dismantling of the Colts, Williams played on a season-high 74.7 percent of the snaps, totaling 129 yards on 25 attempts. As a receiver, he's now caught 28 passes on 30 targets.
James White ($5,400): The top value at running back this week is James White. He didn't record a single carry last week yet tied a postseason record with 15 receptions on 17 targets for 97 yards. Back in Week 6 against K.C., White caught 5 of 7 targets for 53 yards and added 39 rushing yards. During the regular season, Kansas City was top 10 in receptions allowed to running backs and were 5th in receiving yards to the position. Sony Michel ($5,600) is similarly priced and coming off a three-touchdown performance in which New England dominated. A cold-weather shootout would obviously favor White's style of play.
Michael Thomas ($8,200): Somehow, after roasting the Eagles for 171 yards and a touchdown while also snagging 12 of 16 targets, the price tag for Michael Thomas did not move. And even though the Rams are a top-10 pass defense by our metrics, Thomas is by far the top-projected wide receiver for the conference title games. He is easily the most expensive wide receiver on the slate, yet it's super easy to stack him with Robert Woods ($5,700) and Brandin Cooks ($5,300), the top point-per-dollar wide receivers, per our projections.
Julian Edelman ($6,600): Last week against a formidable secondary, Julian Edelman had his way with the Los Angeles Chargers, securing 9 of 13 targets for a season-high 151 yards. Over the last five weeks, Edelman is averaging 21.4 DraftKings points per game, scoring no fewer than 16 during that time. Edelman got into the end zone against Kansas City in Week 6 while managing only 54 yards on 4 receptions. Edelman costs significantly more than either Woods or Cooks and could go under-owned as a result.
Ted Ginn Jr. ($4,300): The very first play from the Saints last week was a deep shot to Ted Ginn. Unfortunately, the pass was underthrown and intercepted. Ginn ended the day with 7 targets but reeled in just 3 of them for 44 yards. However, Ginn's price went down slightly, and he remains an upside play for the second straight week. The Rams are 5th in success rate against the pass but 30th in explosive pass rate. Keith Kirkwood (calf) out-snapped Ginn and scored against the Eagles but has been ruled out, which should result in a boost Ginn's playing time.
Travis Kelce ($7,100): Even though Travis Kelce hasn't found the end zone since Week 14, he's averaged 13.9 DraftKings points per game during this streak of four scoreless games. Kelce has been plenty active, averaging 9.3 targets, 6.0 receptions, and 71.3 yards. New England allowed a similar line to Kelce in Week 6 and hasn't faced many notable tight ends during the second half of the season. Kelce ought to be the piece Bill Belichick looks to take away, but that doesn't mean we should be fading Kelce.
Josh Hill ($2,500): Going for the minimum price at tight end, Josh Hill has played on no less than 62 percent of the offensive snaps since Week 14. During that time, however, Hill has seen a single-game high of three targets and did not find the end zone. On the flip side, Los Angeles was 10th in success rate against tight ends, yet 31st in explosive passing. Veteran Benjamin Watson has been dealing with an illness all week and is not expected to play, making Hill an enticing dart throw.
Kansas City D/ST ($2,500): Kansas City is the cheaper of the two home teams looking to punch their Super Bowl ticket, even though last week's 9.0 DraftKings points was highest among the four remaining defensive units. The Chiefs also extended their streak of three or more sacks to four consecutive games, hitting that mark in seven of the last eight. Tom Brady could be difficult to take down, however. He's been sacked multiple times only once over his last seven games, totaling a mere four interceptions in that span. That said, Kansas City is tied with New Orleans for our highest projected defense this week, and KC could see far less ownership.
Eric McClung is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.