AFC Championship: Tennesee @ Kansas City
- Derrick Henry (12,000) is the first player you have to make a decision on. He had 195 yards last week, and didn't find the end zone. As I mentioned on Twitter after that game, he has put up these games the past couple of weeks against the 6th ranked rush defense of the Patriots, and the 19th ranked defense of the Ravens. The Chiefs? 29th against the rush. In their first meeting, Henry had 23 rushes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. I don't see a reason to fade him, but I don't think you have to captain him. You certainly can but even if he does something like 150 yards rushing and a touchdown, you won't need to have him at captain to win.
- As for the rest of the Titans: I don't have a great feeling on any of them. Ryan Tannehill (8,400) only threw 19 times in the first meeting but did have 187 yards, two touchdowns, and 37 rushing yards. I don't mind him here, especially if you think the Titans have to come from behind in the fourth quarter. A.J. Brown (7,200) has dropped with a total of three catches in the Playoffs so far. He's face two tough secondaries and the Chiefs aren't much easier, ranking 3rd against WR1s. I thought I would like him more but playing him is a bet on talent. Corey Davis (5,400) has been the WR2, but not producing. Tajae Sharpe (2,400) is a cheap, last man into your lineup play and hope that he finds the end zone or a few garbage time catches if you think the Titans fall behind in this game. Jonnu Smith (4,400) has only had two targets the past two weeks, but draws a decent matchup against the Chiefs, who allowed the 5th most points to the position. If you need an absolute punt, MyCole Pruitt (400) is seeing more snaps and more "consistent' targets than Anthony Firsker (600). Playing Pruitt is hoping the other 5 pieces hit and that his one or two targets get you 4-5 points or a TD.
- Patrick Mahomes (13,200) is one of the highest prices we've seen all year in any showdown slate. The Week 10 game was the first one off of his injury, and all he did was throw for 446 yards and three touchdowns. The Titans rank 21st against the pass, and some may forget how much this secondary struggled all year, especially with the Patriots and Ravens not designed to throw deep down field as often as the Chiefs should. Like Henry, Mahomes is a tough one to fade here, but you certainly could if you think the Titans can control the clock. He's an expensive captain that unless you find value plays you really like, it would be hard to roster him at captain, and play Henry in the same lineup.
- There are three other top Chiefs plays and prioritizing them will be tough. Damien Williams (9,400) was average last week, saving his week with three touchdowns. While the Titans are 10th against the run, they are bottom 10 against pass-catching RBs. Williams feels like the safest play for the Chiefs at the best value. Both Travis Kelce (11,000) and Tyreek Hill (10,200) had big games back in the Week 10 game. Kelce went 7/75/1 while Hill went 11/157/1 (on 19 targets!). The Titans are 30th against WR1s, while 20th against TEs. Add in the recency bias of Kelce's huge week last week and Hill not doing much (I played Hill over Kelce in both showdown and the 4-game slate. I had a nice cash in the 4-game, but had I gone Kelce instead, would have been a great week), and I think Hill is the preferred option, and you get a discount. Outside of them, you're taking chances on Sammy Watkins (6,600), Mecole Hardman (3,800), and Demarcus Robinson (3,600). Robinson sees more snaps than Hardman, but Hardman is the bigger play threat and could add a return TD to help matters.
- I really don't have much interest in either defense. Greg Joseph (3,200) hasn't attempted a field goal yet since signing with the Titans, so no thank you. Perhaps instead of gambling on which Chiefs WR to play, take Harrison Butker (4,000) who is as consistent of a kicker as you will find.
Titans I am Considering: Henry, Tannehill, Smith, Pruitt, Brown, Davis/Sharpe (Only 1, and not with Brown)
Chiefs I am Considering: Mahomes, Williams, Hill, Kelce, Butker, Robinson/Hardman
NFC Championship: Green Bay @ San Francisco
This was a 37-8 49ers win back in Week 12. There are things to take away from that game (a Sunday Night game) but relying on it too much I think would be a mistake.
- The obvious play here is DaVante Adams (11,400). He has put up 20+ fantasy points in five of his last six games and has seen double-digit targets in all but one game since coming back from injury. In the first meeting, he went 7-43-1 on 12 targets. While SF is 2nd in DVOA vs the pass, they "only" rank 10th against WR1s. Adams will get his and is someone I have a hard time fading in this showdown slate. Aaron Rodgers (10,000) only had 104 yards and 1 touchdown pass on 33 pass attempts in the first meeting. I think he will have a better day this time around and may be throwing a lot with the Packers potentially playing from behind. He hasn't put up massive numbers this season but is the QB I trust more in this spot. The rest of the Packer receiving options are low-owned, last guy into your lineup plays. Even Allen Lazard (5,600) isn't safe as he's dealing with an injury. If he misses, I think guys like Geronimo Allison (2,800) or Marques Valdez-Scantling (2,400) would get a bump up: but even then that's thin. If going into this range, even punting with Jake Kumerow (1,000) isn't the worst idea. he saw the second most snaps behind Adams last week and he's cheap enough that a couple of catches won't kill your lineup, if you get the other five spots right.
- The running game is where you could see Green Bay attack the 49ers, as they are 11th in DVOA vs the rush. We didn't see a real efficient game from Aaron Jones (9,200) last week, but he saved the week with two touchdowns. He did struggle in the first matchup with less than 3 yards a carry. I think I prefer Rodgers at 800 more, but don't have a problem with Jones, as I expect him to put up better number than the first matchup. Jamaal Williams (4,200) saw two touches last week and is a complete avoid for me. If trying to fit in expensive options, Tyler Ervin (600) seems to be a speed guy the Packers may try to use. He had 2 carries for 25 yards last week, and I believe he does some work in the return game. Like Kumerow, he's not the worst punt play to consider this week.
- I think the 49ers options start with George Kittle (9,400) as he basically is the 49ers top receiving option. GB ranks 24th against the TE and Kittle went for 6/129/1 in the first matchup. Like Adams, I don't see a reason to avoid him this week. From there, I prefer Deebo Samuel (7,400) as he has been putting up steadier, more consistent production than Emmanuel Sanders (6,800) though Sanders did see more snaps last week. Samuel saw more targets and the price differential isn't high enough for me to use Sanders over Samuel. Even Kendrick Bourne (6,000) saw more targets than Sanders last week and did score. But, I think I would choose Sanders over Bourne just due to talent and trying to be on the other end of recency bias. Jimmy Garoppolo (8,200) could be a sneaky play if you think this game gets higher scoring. He's probably like Ryan Tannehill where he will have to be efficient to hit value, but did score 18.22 fantasy points in the first meeting. His floor is low but if GB can score, Garoppolo can match and would be a solid play at that point.
- Seemingly out of nowhere, we saw Tevin Coleman (8,800) get 22 carries last week. Coleman had 22 TOTAL carries in his previous 5 games. If we know we will get a similar usage, he's in a great spot as the Packers are 23rd against the rush. Like a few others seemingly on this slate, he is a high ceiling, low floor type of play. Raheem Mostert (6,400) still saw 12 carries last week and matched Coleman's YPC at 4.8. He left the game with cramps but is practicing in full this week. Coleman got the TD last week but I don't think that means Mostert is completely shut out of that role. I personally would rather take the discount on Mostert, but understand that it is risky if Coleman has emerged as the top running back in San Francisco.
- I don't have any interest in Green Bay's Defense/Special Teams. I don't think the 49ers Defense (5,000) is a horrible play, as they did sack Rodgers 5 times in the first spot. I just don't like that 5k price tag. Robbie Gould (4,000) continues to put up around 10 points a game, making him a good salary saver that can produce at this price tag.
Packers I am Considering: Adams, Rodgers, Jones, Kumerow/Ervin (Only One Punt)
49ers I am Considering: Kittle, Garoppolo, Samuel/Sanders, Mostert, Coleman, Gould, 49ers Defense