DraftKings NFL Lineup Advice: Conference Championship Round (1/24)
Both Conference Championship games boast over/under totals north of 50 points, and we’ve got identical three-point spreads favoring the hosts, according to the consensus lines at BettingPros. A stud tight end highlighted as a great standalone play and a three-man stack touted from the same game forms the backbone of this week’s lineup advice. A value play from the other Conference Championship game opens things, though.
Favorite Value Play
Rob Gronkowski (TE – TB): $3,200 at Packers
Gronk reeled in a pair of grabs — both touchdowns — for 58 yards in Week 16’s romp of the Lions. He hauled in only three receptions on 10 targets for 43 yards in his next three games. Gronk trailed fellow tight end Cameron Brate in routes run in Week 16, Week 17, and the Wild Card round, per Adam Levitan.
Cam Brate has run more routes than Rob Gronkowski in three straight games.
* 18-17 in Week 16
* 27-23 in Week 17
* 22-18 in Wild Card
Brate has out-targeted Gronk 10-7 during that span.
– Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) January 11, 2021
Gronk overtook Brate in routes last week, according to Jared Smola.
Rob Gronkowski climbed slightly back ahead of Cam Brate in routes yesterday (56% to 47%).
– Jared Smola (@SmolaDS) January 18, 2021
Gronk’s recent lack of production and Brate’s presence in the passing attack could serve to suppress the percentage of rosters he’s on this weekend. The potential for rostering him at a low roster percentage is appealing for a few reasons.
First, he’s cheap. Salary relief is helpful on a slate of any size. Second, the veteran tight end receives high-quality targets in Tampa Bay’s offense, thus offsetting his low volume. Gronk’s 14 red-zone targets are the second-most on the Buccaneers behind only Mike Evans’ 18 red-zone targets, per Lineups. He’s also tallied an average depth of target of 10.6 yards, according to Sports Info Solutions. The combination of targets in the red zone and deep is tantalizing.
Finally, and more theoretically, Gronk could run more routes this week thanks to the matchup with the Packers. It’s possible, if not probable, that he was kept in to block more often due to matchups with talented pass-rushing defenses in the Wild Card and Divisional Round. The Saints tied for the sixth-highest pressure percentage, and the Washington Football Team had the seventh-highest pressure percentage in the regular season, per Pro-Football-Reference. In contrast, the Packers pressured quarterbacks at the seventh-lowest percentage. Since Green Bay struggles to get after the quarterback, Gronk should be able to run routes more often this weekend, and his rapport with fellow former Patriot Tom Brady could be on full display as a result.
Travis Kelce (TE – KC): $8,000 vs. Bills
Doubling up on tight ends is a roster strategy I’m planning to deploy on multiple GPP rosters this weekend. Kelce is the league’s best tight end, and he’s a no-doubt selection in a plus matchup this weekend. Buffalo’s defense yielded the most receptions (92), second-most receiving yards (993), and tied for the 12th-most touchdown receptions (eight) allowed to tight ends, according to Pro-Football-Reference.
The Bills held Mark Andrews to four receptions for 28 yards on a team-high 11 targets last week, but tight ends spanked them in the Wild Card Round. Jack Doyle, Trey Burton, and Mo Alie-Cox combined for 16 targets, 14 receptions, 136 yards, and one touchdown. Kelce runs laps around that trio, and Patrick Mahomes is leaps and bounds better than Philip Rivers, too. Kelce was great when the Chiefs traveled to Buffalo in Week 6, as he ripped off a 5-65-2 line on seven targets. He’s a good bet to have success again this weekend.
The Bills have passed on 67% of their plays in the postseason, per Sharp Football Stats. There’s little reason to believe that they’ll deviate from the formula that’s helped them reach the AFC Championship Game. Allen had a dud in last week’s 17-3 victory over the Ravens, but he has a more fantasy-friendly matchup against the Chiefs this week. Also, Kansas City coughed up the ninth-most DraftKings points per game to quarterbacks this year. They even yielded five explosive pass plays to the Browns last week, per Sharp Football Stats. Allen and the Bills’ receiving corps are a far higher-powered group than the Chiefs played last week.
If you’re using Allen, stacking him with his No. 1 receiving has become a no-brainer decision. Diggs led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards in the regular season, and he’s duplicating that feat in the postseason. He’s been unguardable. Diggs is my second-favorite stud on this week’s slate behind only Kelce, making him a superb one-off option for gamers who aren’t using Allen as well.
Edwards-Helaire’s availability could come down to a game-time decision. Thankfully, Williams is $200 cheaper and makes for a simple pivot if CEH is inactive. The rookie running back ran roughshod on Buffalo’s defense in Week 6, piling up a season-high 161 rushing yards on 26 carries as well as four receptions for eight yards. He was inactive last week, and Williams commanded 79% of the team’s offensive snaps compared to 16% for Le’Veon Bell. Williams was busy, too, as he ran 13 times for 78 yards and secured all four of his targets for 16 yards.
The Bills allowed 4.51 yards per carry to running backs in the regular season. They did an admirable job against Jonathan Taylor in the Wild Card Round, keeping him in check with 21 carries for 78 yards. That said, Nyheim Hines trounced them for 75 yards on six carries. J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards totaled identical 10-42-0 rushing lines while the former added three receptions for 51 yards on five targets. The matchup is a plus for a healthy CEH or Williams if he once again starts this week.
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