Yahoo DFS Football: Championship Round Picks

Yahoo DFS Football: Championship Round Picks

This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Football series.

The AFC and NFC Championship Games are scheduled for Sunday at 3:00 and 6:30 p.m EST, respectively. Kansas City is a clear favorite at home against Cincinnati in what's supposed to be the substantially higher-scoring game, while the Rams are favored at home against the 49ers, though it's worth noting that San Francisco swept the pair of regular-season meetings between these familiar foes. Wins by both favorites would set up a second consecutive Super Bowl in the NFC champion's home stadium for Kansas City. Andy Reid's squad's top weapons should continue to thrive in this one, but a couple members of the supporting cast make for strong value plays as well. If Kansas City's defensive performance last week is an indicator of things to come, one Bengals receiver in particular is primed for a big game, while the contrast in styles between the Rams and 49ers will help dictate which options from those teams to target.

QUARTERBACK

Patrick Mahomes, KC vs. CIN ($40): Mahomes has posted eye-popping numbers over the first two rounds of the playoffs, throwing for 782 yards and an 8:1 TD:INT while adding 98 yards and a touchdown on the ground. At the end of the day, Mahomes sits firmly atop the throne as the best quarterback in the game, and he's likely to post another strong performance at home in what should be the higher-scoring of the two games. Lock him in and find a way to clear cap space elsewhere.

RUNNING BACK

Elijah Mitchell, SF at LAR ($23): The 49ers can't hang with any of the other three remaining teams when it comes to throwing the ball, but San Francisco's offense is adept at working the clock and keeping the team's defense rested. Mitchell has touched the ball 48 times through two playoff games, and he should continue to see a heavy workload on the ground. While wide receiver Deebo Samuel is a threat to siphon off some carries in big moments, Mitchell is San Francisco's leading option on the ground, including in crucial goal-line situations. The Rams have allowed four touchdowns through two playoff games, and three of those touchdowns were scored on the ground by running backs.

Jerick McKinnon, KC vs. CIN ($18): Even with Clyde Edwards-Helaire looking spry in his return from a shoulder injury last week, McKinnon out-touched him 15-8. McKinnon is by far the best receiving option in Kansas City's backfield, which is a big deal given the pass-heavy nature of the offense. He has 11 catches for 135 yards through two games this postseason, as well as 85 yards on 22 rushing attempts. McKinnon's skill set makes him a tough matchup for a Bengals defense that allowed 769 receiving yards to running backs during the regular season — sixth most in the league.

WIDE RECEIVER

Cooper Kupp, LAR vs. SF ($40): Kupp will be hard to fit under the salary cap if you're building around Mahomes, but he should be in your lineup otherwise. The league's best receiver in 2021 has kept it going with a four-game touchdown streak since the calendar flipped to 2022, including 183 yards and a touchdown in the divisional-round triumph over Tampa Bay. Kupp also had 118 yards and a touchdown against the 49ers during this streak, building on his 122-yard performance from the previous clash between this pair of NFC West rivals. Expect another huge game from Kupp against a San Francisco defense that has been incapable of stopping him in two previous attempts this season.

Tee Higgins, CIN at KC ($24): Kansas City's defensive approach in the divisional round was to take away the Bills' top wide receiver and make others beat them. It's debatable how effective that strategy was — K.C. won, but it was no thanks to the defense — but it wouldn't be surprising to see the AFC West champs try to execute a similar approach against the high-powered Bengals passing game. Higgins will look to follow in the footsteps of Gabriel Davis, who racked up 201 yards and four touchdowns while Stefon Diggs was held to seven yards last week. Higgins struggled in the wild-card round but bounced back with 96 yards on a team-high nine targets in the divisional round, giving him 96-plus receiving yards in five of his last eight games.

Byron Pringle, KC vs. CIN ($16): With all the pricey star power in action Sunday, you have to save cap space somewhere. One way to do so is by locking in Pringle, who has managed to chip in three touchdowns through two games this postseason. He's caught five of seven targets in each of those games, and with the Bengals defense likely to focus primarily on slowing down Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, Pringle should continue to capitalize on facing single coverage. When he beats his man, Mahomes rarely misses him.

TIGHT END

Travis Kelce, KC at CIN ($32): Given his postseason dominance and the lackluster recent performances of the other remaining tight ends, Kelce should be worth paying up for. C.J. Uzomah has also stepped his game up in the playoffs, but he, George Kittle and Tyler Higbee have combined for one touchdown and topped out at 71 yards in a game, while Kelce has at least 96 yards in both playoff games, as well as a touchdown in each. In fact, Kelce's 96 yards against the Bills were his fewest in five playoff games dating back to the start of last year's playoffs, and he has five touchdowns in those five games.

DEFENSE

Los Angeles Rams, LAR vs. SF ($17): One of the four remaining offenses is not like the others. Kansas City, the Rams and the Bengals all ranked in the top eight with at least 26.6 points per game in the regular season, and it can be argued that all of these offenses are peaking now. Meanwhile, San Francisco finished a middling 14th with 24.4 points per game in the regular season, and the 49ers have scored just two offensive touchdowns through two playoff games while quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has a 0:2 TD:INT in addition to a few near-interceptions that don't show up on the stat sheet. Los Angeles' defense is teeming with playmakers and has racked up three interceptions, a fumble recovery, five sacks and a touchdown this postseason after picking off Garoppolo twice in the regular-season finale. This unit has by far the highest floor among the defenses in action Sunday.

Honorable Mentions

QB: Matthew Stafford (LAR, $31), Joe Burrow (CIN, $36)
RB: Joe Mixon (CIN, $33), Cam Akers (LAR, $21), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC, $18)
WR: Tyreek Hill (KC, $29), Ja'Marr Chase (CIN, $36), Odell Beckham (LAR, $24)
TE: C.J. Uzomah (CIN, $18), George Kittle (SF, $22)
DST: Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CIN, $14), San Francisco 49ers (at LAR, $18)

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. Sasha Yodashkin plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Youngsash, DraftKings: Yashdogg,Yahoo: Sasha, Fanball: Yashdogg.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.
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