DraftKings NFL Cash Lineup Advice: Conference Championships
As we roll into the two-game Conference Championship round of the NFL playoffs, cash game lineup construction becomes more about game theory and less about the matchups than usual. The emphasis should still be on getting high-volume players, even if it requires rostering a couple of cheaper dart throws to fit the high-priced studs into your DraftKings lineup. So, look to identify the three or four highest-scoring options on the slate, and then fit in the rest of the pieces from there.
Patrick Mahomes (KC): $7,700 vs. TEN
Due to the salary difference, there could be a case made to consider Ryan Tannehill over Mahomes in cash games. However, it’s easier to get exposure to the key Titans players who get the bulk of the touches on offense than it is to zero in on who will be the big producer any given week for the Chiefs. So, I’ll pay the money to roster Mahomes to get a piece of the entire Chiefs passing game regardless of who the “go-to” receiver will be this week.
- Ryan Tannehill (TEN): $5,500 at KC
Derrick Henry (TEN): $8,700 at KC
Henry continues to be a monster in the postseason with back-to-back games over 200 total yards. Next up, he gets what’s potentially his easiest matchup of the postseason against the Chiefs defense, although he must once again face the potential of a negative game script if the Titans fall behind early. I’m of the belief that even if the Titans fall behind, they are not going to take their best offensive player completely out of the game plan. Henry has shown the ability to catch the ball at times during his career, and he is always the first option when the Titans get near the goal line. Henry’s floor and ceiling are just too high to fade in your cash game lineup, given the other options at the position.
Damien Williams (KC): $7,000 vs. TEN
Williams found the end zone three times last week to propel him to a big day despite only managing 68 total yards. The good news, other than his red-zone usage, is that Williams was the only Chiefs running back to get a carry or target, as he played on nearly every offensive snap. It’s that three-down role that keeps Williams ahead of the other backs on the slate. He also has the potential to see an increase in his workload if the Chiefs jump out to a lead instead of trailing by 24 points like they did last week.
A.J. Brown (TEN): $5,200 at KC
Brown has a total of two catches on four targets for 13 yards through the first two playoff games, so you might think he is my “leap of faith” play of the slate. Maybe he is, to a certain extent, but my real leap of faith play comes up next. Brown’s “problem” has just been that the Titans have constantly worked with the lead in the first two games, thus allowing them to deploy a run-heavy play distribution. That should change this week against the Chiefs, which will allow Brown’s targets and production to rise. He has the biggest upside at the wide receiver position this week outside of Tyreek Hill, and yet he has a very reasonable salary thanks to his recent lack of production.
Emmanuel Sanders (SF): $4,900 vs. GB
My “leap of faith” plays are 2-for-2 so far in the playoffs with Adam Thielen in the Wild Card and Marquise Brown in the Divisional Round. This week’s “leap of faith” play is Sanders, who has dropped to third in the pecking order in the 49ers’ passing game behind George Kittle and Deebo Samuel. However, this is the exact spot that the 49ers envisioned when they acquired the veteran receiver during the season. Look for his experience and route-running ability to come into play against a young Packers secondary, as he still has some of that big-play ability left in the tank.
- Tyreek Hill (KC): $7,200 vs. TEN
- Sammy Watkins (KC): $4,600 vs. TEN
- Demarcus Robinson (KC): $3,300 vs. TEN
George Kittle (SF): $5,800 vs. GB
Last week, the salary difference between Kittle and Travis Kelce was just $200, which should have forced more ownership to Kelce in the better matchup. This week it is more about salary than matchup when comparing the two tight ends, as Kittle is now $1,300 cheaper than Kelce in an equally good matchup. Kittle roasted the Packers with six catches for 129 yards and a score earlier this season. Expect Kittle to be a big part of the 49ers’ game plan this week in an exploitable matchup while coming in at a very affordable salary.
- Travis Kelce (KC): $7,100 vs. TEN
San Francisco: $2,900 vs. GB
The 49ers defense applied a lot of pressure on Kirk Cousins and the Vikings last week while racking up six sacks. They should be able to get after Aaron Rodgers this week, who they sacked five times in their earlier matchup, especially since they are starting to get healthier on the defensive side of the ball.
- Kansas City: $3,100 vs. TEN
- Green Bay: $2,400 at SF