NFL DFS Lineup Advice & Picks: Conference Championships (Sunday)
We’re down to four teams. This postseason has been filled with several exceptional football games, and this weekend should be no exception. Does the Brock Purdy fantasy ride continue into the Super Bowl? Does Jalen Hurts strengthen his case for MVP? Can Burrow bring the Bengals back to the big game for two consecutive seasons? Will Mahomes and his one good leg be able to will the Chiefs to victory?
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NFL DFS Lineup Advice: Conference Championships
It will all be on display this weekend. Let’s dive into the DFS plays to jam into your lineups. Good luck, fam, and I’ll see you at the top of the leaderboards this week.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
- PHI -2.5, O/U 46
- 49ers vs. Eagles Player Prop Bets via BettingPros
Jalen Hurts: Hurts looked healthy last week, completing 66.6% of his passes while rushing for 34 yards on nine carries in a game where the Eagles dominated the Giants. Hurts has continued to play down the stretch run. Since Week 13, he is eighth in yards per attempt, tenth in big-time throw rate, and 14th in adjusted completion rate (minimum 100 dropbacks). Since Week 15, the 49ers have been an average pass defense, ranking 23rd in passing yards per game, 16th in EPA per drop back, and 16th in explosive pass rate allowed. They have also ranked 21st in pressure rate, so Hurts should have ample time in the pocket to find open receivers. Hurts carries arguably the highest ceiling among the quarterbacks on this slate. Hurts leads the pack with three games of a least 37 DK points (Mahomes two, Burrow one).
|Player||Rush attempts||Routes||Red zone carries|
Christian McCaffrey: Last week, despite getting banged up late in the game, McCaffrey played 67% of the snaps with 16 touches, 57 total yards, and a score. He split the red zone work with Mitchell but dwarfed him in the passing game with an 81.8% route run rate and 30.8% target share. Unless we get any reports of him being limited, he should be expected to play 70% of the snaps or higher. McCaffrey ranks 16th in evaded tackles, fourth in yards created, and third in yards per route run. Since Week 15, the Eagles have been 18th in rushing yards per game, 21st in EPA per rush, and 15th in explosive run rate allowed. Over their last four games, Philadelphia has been 19th in fantasy points per game allowed to running backs.
On the field at the same time with Brock Purdy under center…
Team Target share:
Deebo Samuel 30.4%
Brandon Aiyuk 18.8%
— Rich Hribar (@LordReebs) January 24, 2023
Deebo Samuel: Since Week 19, Samuel has led the team with a 29.6% target share while ranking second to Brandon Aiyuk in air yard share (23.8%). Samuel has been targeted on 28% of his routes, with 3.07 yards per route run. He leads all pass catchers in weighted opportunity in this two-game sample. Samuel is my favorite 49er this week in mini stacks or as a runback to an Eagles stack. Samuel will run about 68% of his routes against Darius Slay (since Week 15: 65% catch rate, 125.8 passer rating) and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (88% catch rate, 123.0 passer rating).
Jauan Jennings: Over the last two games, Jennings has had a 13% target share, 25% end zone target share, and 19.9% air yard share. He has mustered a 53% route run rate and 1.91 yards per route run. Jennings is viable in a game stack, large field tournament, or MME. Jennings will run about 54% of his routes against Gardner-Johnson.
A.J. Brown: Brown got dinged up last week, but he still saw a 25% target share, 50% end zone target share, and 43.8% air yard share (88.5% route run rate). Brown ranks seventh in target share, second in end zone target share, and fourth in air yard share with 2.81 yards per route run (second-best, minimum 50 targets). The 49ers might be first in DVOA against short passing, but they are 24th in deep passing DVOA. Since Week 13, Brown has led the team with 18 deep targets (Smith, 12). Brown will run about 84% of his routes against Charvarius Ward (66.7% catch rate, 106.0 passer rating) and Deommodore Lenoir (65.2% catch rate, 81.5 passer rating). Brown has taken over as the team’s leading option against zone coverage. Since Week 14, the 49ers have utilized zone on 68-69% of their coverage snaps. Since Week 12, Brown has seen 58.2% of his volume against zone, ranking 16th in PFF receiving grade and sixth in yards per route run (minimum ten zone targets).
DeVonta Smith is tied with A.J. Brown at a 28% target share after last week's 43% performance against the Giants.
It is extremely hard to demand that many looks across from a high-end talent like Brown.
The Eagles have one of the top WR duos, and Smith's outlook is fantastic.
— Dwain McFarland (@dwainmcfarland) January 24, 2023
DeVonta Smith: Since Week 16, Smith has led the team with a 35.5% target share, 57.1% end zone target share, and 2.58 yards per route run. He’s been targeted on 31% of his routes with a 0.74 weighted opportunity. Since Week 12, Smith ranks 20th in PFF receiving grade (51.4% of his target volume against zone) and 29th in yards per route run against zone coverage (minimum ten zone targets). He is a stacking option with Hurts whether you single, double, or triple stack (onslaught) with him. Smith ranks 19th in deep targets and 18th in open rate among wide receivers. Smith will run about 72% of his routes against Ward and Lenoir.
George Kittle: With Brock Purdy tossing passes, Kittle has had a 22.6% target share and 50% end zone target share (24% air yard share). Zooming in even further since Samuel has returned during the same stretch, Kittle still has maintained an 18.9% target share and 33.3% end zone target share. Since Week 18, he has produced 2.24 yards per route run while being targeted on 19% of his routes. Kittle hasn’t seen any red zone targets over the last two games, but he has seven over his last five games. Since Week 15, the Eagles have been 23rd in catch rate and 26th in receiving yards per game allowed to tight ends. Over their last four contests, they have also been 28th in fantasy points per game allowed to tight ends from the slot. Since Week 18, Kittle has been second on the team in slot snaps.
Dallas Goedert should be mentioned in the same breath as:
ELITE. ELITE. ELITE. Tight End.
— Derek Brown (@DBro_FFB) January 22, 2023
Dallas Goedert: Since returning to the lineup, Goedert has had a 17.4% target share, 14.3% end zone target share, 83% route run rate, and 1.77 yards per route run. Goedert has five red zone targets in his last two games. He remains an elite tight end in the efficiency department ranking third in yards per route run and seventh in fantasy points per route run. Since Week 15, the 49ers have been 27th in catch rate, 24th in receiving yards per game, and 23rd in yards per reception allowed to tight ends. Goedert is a viable stacking partner with Hurts, even a skinny stack. He’s also part of why two tight-end lineups are in play again this week.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs
- CIN -2.5, O/U 46.5
- Bengals vs. Chiefs Player Prop Bets via BettingPros
Joe Burrow: Burrow has ripped this pass defense to shreds in their last three meetings. He has completed 72.2% of his passes with 9.0 yards per attempt and an 8:1 passing touchdown to interception ratio. Joe Cool. Burrow’s swag has stretched from the closet to the boxscores all season. He’s first in PFF passing grade and eighth in adjusted completion rate (minimum 150 dropbacks). He’s ninth in fantasy points per dropback and top five in accuracy rating against man and zone coverage. Since Week 15, Kansas City has been seventh in success rate per dropback, fifth in EPA per drop back, and 11th in explosive pass rate allowed. Burrow has his work cut out for him, but he’s my favorite quarterback of this slate.
Patrick Mahomes: Andy Reid will have to chain the locker room doors to keep Mahomes off the field. Injury or not, Mahomes is suiting up this week. I would be shocked if he wasn’t out there after nudging his way back onto the field last week. On one leg, Mahomes still ranked fourth among the nine quarterbacks playing last week in adjusted completion rate and second in passer rating. Across his last three meetings with Cincinnati, he’s eclipsed 260 passing yards once, finished higher than 7.5 yards per attempt once, and managed multiple passing touchdowns twice. Since Week 15, Cincinnati has been fifth in success rate per dropback, 11th in EPA per drop back, and 21st in explosive pass rate. The Bengals are sixth in DVOA against deep passing, but they are only middle of the road against the underneath stuff. Mahomes will is more of a contrarian play for me on this slate. I’ll likely come in below the field on him. I’ll have more exposure to Hurts and Burrow this weekend.
|Player||Rush attempts||Routes||Red zone carries|
Joe Mixon: Over the last two weeks, Mixon has played 45-56% of snaps averaging 18 touches and 89.7 total yards. Mixon is no longer the workhorse in Cincinnati, but he’s rather the committee lead. He owned all of the red zone work last week. Even if Perine factors in this week inside the 20, Mixon should still have the upper hand. Mixon has been a torturous volume landfill all season. He ranks 54th in juke rate, 49th in evaded tackles, and 43rd in yards created per touch. Woof! The bright side is Mixon has averaged 21.5 touches and 100.5 total yards across his last two meetings with the Bengals, and the team could look to lean on him again. Since Week 15, the Chiefs have been ninth in rushing success rate, 23rd in EPA per rush, and 22nd in explosive run rate allowed. Mixon has been losing routes to Perine, but he has had a 10.6% target share and 32% target per route rate over the last two weeks. Pass game prowess hasn’t been the problem for Mixon this year, as he’s 11th in yards per route run and seventh in target share among running backs. Kansas City is tied for the most receptions per game and second-most receiving yards per game allowed to running backs.
Samaje Perine: Perine has played at least 41% of the snaps in four of the last five games. He has had at least seven touches in four of those games, including last week’s 12-touch and 64 total yard showing. Perine has hands down been the better back for Cincinnati this season. He ranks 15th in yards after contact per attempt and 23rd in PFF elusive rating (minimum 100 carries). Perine ranks 15th in yards per route run. Over the last five weeks, he has had a 7.1% target share and a 43% route run rate. Perine is stackable with Burrow, and a fantastic leverage play off Mixon, who will be popular after last week’s strong game against Buffalo.
|Player||Rush attempts||Routes||Red zone carries|
Mahomes' scramble path is hilarious but also watch the journey Jerick McKinnon takes on this play pic.twitter.com/j6he5LrBZq
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) January 19, 2023
Jerick McKinnon: Last week’s mild 11 carry for 25 rushing yards box score with zero production is a devious mistress. This vanilla stat line hides the fact that McKinnon saw his snap rate climb to 65%, which is his highest of the season. Despite the goose egg in the target department still had a 48.7% route run rate last week. If McKinnon’s snap rate stays in this range this week, his volume will likely jump, with last week’s lack of pass-game usage being an extreme outlier. McKinnon is fourth in yards per touch, eighth in yards per route run, and 33rd in juke rate. He could flirt with 15-16 opportunities this week. Since Week 15, the Bengals have been 20th in rushing success rate, fifth in explosive run rate allowed, and first in fantasy points per game allowed to running backs. This two-game slate is devoid of any clear-cut smash running back workhorse plays. McKinnon’s uptick in usage and high-ceiling potential in the Chiefs’ offense makes him my favorite running back play of this slate.
Isiah Pacheco: Pacheco has been unreal as a rusher the last two weeks. Since Week 18, he has posted single-game yards after contact totals of 5.38 and 5.75. Wow. While it hasn’t equated to big fantasy days, Pacheco has a massive day percolating. It’s coming. He has run for 8.0 and 7.9 yards per carry in those games. Pacheco ranks 12th in yards after contact per attempt (minimum 100 carries), 16th in yards per touch, and 24th in breakaway runs. Pacheco is a solid play for about 12 touches with the upside for more if Reid looks to keep the ball on the ground to limit Mahomes’ hits in the pocket.
Ja’Marr Chase: Since Week 13, Chase has been the clear every week alpha. He has had a 30.7% target share, 36.8% end zone target share, and 40.2% air yard share. Chase is 11th in PFF receiving grade, 17th in yards per route run, and 21st in YAC per reception (minimum 50 targets). Chase had at least eight targets in every game since Week 5. Chase will run about 75% of his routes against L’Jarius Sneed (since Week 15: 69.7% catch rate, 82.4 passer rating) and Jaylen Watson (since Week 15: 52.9% catch rate, 48.9 passer rating). Chase is in the running for my favorite receiver play on this two-game slate.
Tyler Boyd: I”m going back to the Boyd well this week. I know it didn’t work out last week against Buffalo as Boyd looked to possibly headed for a big day catching a 23-yarder early, but sadly that was his only reception of the game. Since Week 15, Boyd has only one receiving touchdown and one game above 50 receiving yards, so this obviously is a GPP play only. I’m usually only playing tournaments on a two-game slate, so consider me in on Boyd. While Trent McDuffie moved outside last week as Sneed covered Christian Kirk in the slot, I expect McDuffie to handle slot coverage duties as Sneed moves back to the perimeter to deal with Chase. In three games as the team’s slot corner, McDuffied allowed a 66.7% catch rate and 103.2 passer rating.
JuJu Smith-Schuster: Smith-Schuster hasn’t seen more than four targets in any game since Week 16. Over his last four games, he has only two red zone targets, an 8.7% target share, and a 14.3% end zone target share (74.5% route run rate). Even with that said, Smith-Schuster is an intriguing play this week. Smith-Schuster still ranks 34th in yards per route run and ninth in YAC per reception (minimum 50 targets). Last week the slot trio of Khalil Shakir, Cole Beasley, and Isaiah McKenzie combined for 83 receiving yards. Since Week 15, the Bengals have faced two notable slot receivers, Jakobi Meyers and Chris Godwin, and each finished with 83 receiving yards and a score. Smith-Schuster will run a little over half of his routes against Mike Hilton (69.1% catch rate, 87.8 passer rating).
Kadarius Toney: Last week, Toney finished with a 20.6% target share drawing seven looks on his 12 total routes. Since Week 16, Toney has had an 11.9% target share and 28.3% route run rate, which is baffling considering his 3.24 yards per route run and 37% target per route run rate. Toney has had four red zone targets over his last four games. Toney will run about 54% of his routes against Eli Apple (since Week 15: 62.5% catch rate, 116.3 passer rating) and Cam Taylor-Britt (since Week 15: 42.9% catch rate, 72.3 passer rating). Even on limited volume, Toney could break one reception for a touchdown and finish the weekend in the optimal lineup.
Hayden Hurst: Since Week 18, Hurst has had a 16% target share, a 28.6% end zone target share, and a 71.8% route run rate. Hurst is 23rd in PFF receiving grade and 30th in yards per route run (minimum 30 targets). Since Week 15, the Chiefs have been 21st in yards per reception and 28th in fantasy points per game allowed to tight ends. They have allowed the most fantasy points per game over that stretch to tight ends from the slot. Over the last three games, Hurst has run 31.3-42.9% of his routes from the slot.
Travis Kelce led all tight ends in receptions, receiving yards & receiving yards over expected from the slot in 2022.
The Bengals allowed the most targets (71), completions (47) & receiving yards (495) to tight ends aligned in the slot this season.#CINvsKC | #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/SgqXqC9QYP
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) January 24, 2023
Travis Kelce: Last week’s game is one where you pour a cold drink and just enjoy the brilliance of one of the NFL’s best players doing what he does best. Kelce commanded a 50% target share (17 targets), finishing with 98 receiving yards and two scores. Kelce has been the best tight end in the game this season by a wide margin. Kelce ranks third in target share, eighth in deep targets, and first in red zone targets among tight ends. Since Week 15, Cincinnati has been 29th in fantasy points per game and 24th in yards per reception allowed to tight ends. Kelce is about as close as you can get to a lock play this week.
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All data utilized in this article is courtesy of FantasyPros, ESPN analytics, PFF, SharpFootball Stats, Football Outsiders, FTN, 4for4, Rotoviz, RBdsm.com, The Edge from the 33rd Team, and Playerprofiler.com unless otherwise specified.