DraftKings NFL: Conference Championship Breakdown

DraftKings NFL: Conference Championship Breakdown

This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.

The Games

Over/UnderRoad TeamRoad 
Implied Total
Home TeamHome 
Implied Total
44.5Kansas City Chiefs20.25Baltimore Ravens24.25
51Detroit Lions22San Francisco 49ers29

Quarterback

This slate closely resembles last week's in that the 49ers are underpriced and therefore popping in projections. They have a 29-point implied total and a matchup against a Lions defense that struggled stopping the pass all season. They were in a similar spot against the Packers last week but managed just 24 points and scraped by. Purdy wasn't his best and clearly missed Deebo Samuel, who is expected to play with a shoulder injury. Nevertheless, Purdy will be the most popular player at the position, and rightly so as he should be priced around $7K. 

Despite throwing for a season-low 152 yards last week against the Texans, Jackson was on all of the winning lineups as he rushed for 100 yards and two TDs on his way to 39 fantasy points. This week's matchup against Kansas City should be tougher as the Chiefs have one of the better defenses in the league, but Jackson is unstoppable when he's running like that and capable of putting up big fantasy scores in any spot. He'll be the second-most popular choice behind Purdy. That means Patrick Mahomes ($6,900) and Jared Goff ($6,300) are the leverage options. It sounds crazy to say this about Mahomes, but I just don't see much upside there considering he hasn't topped 21 DK points since Week 7 and the Ravens boast one of the best defensive units in the league. I'd rather take a chance on Goff as he'll likely be even less popular than Mahomes and the Lions have five pass-catchers who project well and with whom you can credibly pair him. 

Running Back

McCaffrey continues to be significantly underpriced and will be far and away the chalkiest player on the slate as a result. He stands out so much that it's difficult to even suggest fading him. There just isn't a lot of opportunity cost to rostering him given the lack of spend-up options across the board and also the relative lack of replacement value at running back. Isiah Pacheco ($6,500) projects as the second-best choice and likely will be second-most popular. He's scored a touchdown in six consecutive games and largely has been great in an expanded role since the Chiefs lost Jerick McKinnon. Kansas City faces a tough matchup against a stout Baltimore defense, but the Ravens haven't been quite as good against the run as they have against the pass. One of the tougher decisions will be deciding between Pacheco and Jahmyr Gibbs ($6,400) as they're essentially the same price. Gibbs looks explosive about every time he touches the ball so despite the relatively light workload, he's still scored eight touchdowns in his last seven games. He has four catches in back-to-back games and I'm expecting him to be heavily involved in the passing-game again with the Lions likely playing catch-up. Assuming he's going to be less popular, I prefer Gibbs over Pacheco based on the leverage he offers. 

Recommending Hill is mostly about the salary relief he provides, but his emergence in recent weeks has been notable. He played 57 percent of the snaps last week against the Texans and 54 percent against the Dolphins in the regular-season finale. Contrast with Gus Edwards ($5,500), who played 34 and 33 percent in those games. Hill's looked pretty good too. He rushed for 66 yards on 13 carries against the Texans and remains the Ravens' top pass-catching option out of the backfield as he's drawn 17 targets the last three games. He'll be relatively popular as a result. It's worth mentioning that David Montgomery ($5,600) won't be popular, which makes him viable for GPPs as he still sees most of the goal-line carries for the Lions. 

Wide Receiver

St. Brown continues to be as consistent as any WR in the league. He's on a run of six consecutive games with at least 21 fantasy points after eight catches for 77 yards and a touchdown last week against the Bucs. He projects as the top WR, both in terms of point-per-dollar value and ceiling potential. It's a tough matchup against San Francisco but still a better spot than the Chiefs and Ravens WRs will face. Rashee Rice ($6,500) will continue to be popular as he projects well based on volume, but he'll have his hands full with two of the league's best defensive backs in Kyle Hamilton and Marlon Humphrey. That's a spot I'm willing to fade. 

The 49ers WRs clearly have the most favorable matchup as the Lions defense has struggled against the pass most of the season. Deebo Samuel ($7,300), who missed most of last week's game with a shoulder injury, seems likely to play, which complicates things as there are only so many targets to go around. If Samuel ends up missing, Brandon Aiyuk ($6,900) and Jauan Jennings ($4,600) would become the chalk of the position. I'm assume Samuel won't be 100 percent healthy, which makes me question if he'll see enough usage to pay off his salary. I feel good about Aiyuk no matter what. The Lions allow big plays and he should have chances to get behind the defense. 

You'll need at least one punt to afford the likes of McCaffrey and St. Brown. Williams and Josh Reynolds ($4,000) were the most popular choices last week and that will be the case again this week. I slightly prefer Williams being that he's $300 cheaper and more likely to break a long touchdown. The Ravens have a couple cheap options that you could pair with Jackson in GPPs. Rashod Bateman ($3,600) seems to be the No. 2 WR after playing 65 percent of the snaps last week while many were surprised that Nelson Agholor ($3,800) played considerably more than Odell Beckham ($4,400), who's 29 percent snap share was a season low. I don't have too much interest in the cheap Chiefs, but I'd rather take a chance on Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($3,400), who played 50 percent of the snaps and drew four targets than the mistake prone Mecole Hardman ($3,000)

Tight End

For a two-game slate, tight end is loaded but no one necessarily stands out as better than the rest. Kittle caught four passes for 81 yards and a score last week. He'd clearly be the top option if Samuel is out or limited and is going to be the most popular regardless — partly because he's cheaper than Travis Kelce ($6,600) but also because the 49ers are in a better spot and have the highest implied total. Speaking of Kelce, he's coming off his best game of the season, as he always shows up in the playoffs. The matchup is obviously tough, but he's proven he can succeed against anyone. Sam LaPorta ($5,400) caught nine of 11 targets last week and didn't seem too bothered by the knee injury he suffered in the regular-season finale. He's expected to be significantly less popular than Kittle and that alone makes him a good option for GPPs. 

For the Ravens, Mark Andrews ($5,000) has been cleared to play for the first time since Week 11 when he injured his ankle and needed surgery. It's really anyone's guess as to who plays more between and Isaiah Likely ($4,300), who looked good in Andrew's absence and caught a nice touchdown last week against the Texans. I'd guess that Andrews is on the field more when the Ravens are in the red zone. If you're looking for a punt, Noah Gray ($2,500) continues to play half of the snaps while drawing about three targets per game. I'm more likely to consider him in double TE lineups as it allows for a slightly different lineup construction rather than punting another WR. 

Defense/Special Teams

  • San Francisco 49ers vs. DET ($3,300)

The Ravens ($3,200) and Chiefs ($2,900) will be most popular. I suppose it makes sense as both teams have great defenses and that game has a much lower total. I highlighted the 49ers specifically because they'll be considerably less popular on a slate where none of the options stand out. That means that the Lions ($2,600) are also viable given that they offer more salary relief. I like the 49ers because they have elite pass rushers and a matchup against the statuesque Jared Goff, who can be mistake-prone at times. 

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Belongia
Ryan is the top-ranked DFS soccer player on RG, reigning King of the Pitch Champion at DraftKings and 2021 finalist for FSWA's Soccer Writer of the Year.
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