After another two awful blowout games on Saturday, we finally got an instant classic on Sunday between the Packers and Cowboys and while the Steelers and Chiefs game was a bit ugly, at least it was close. We enter championship weekend with a two-game slate where it can be extremely difficult to put together a roster. You pretty much have to nail every big game and avoid all land mines to have a chance to cash in tournaments. Luckily, we have two games that are projected to be high scoring so we have many more options than usual in a two-game slate. This week I am going to give you my favorite quarterback and then try and find some value at the other positions to help you get in the studs that you want and also make your roster a little different than the norm. The pricing at DraftKings this week gives us a lot of really cheap options to play with to try and fit in a number of the top end guys we want.
Both games this weekend have large over/unders which should provide us some fireworks on the fantasy side. The AFC game has an over/under of 50.5, which is usually one of the bigger numbers even on a full slate, but pales in comparison to the enormous 60.5 total in the NFC game. Both game features a point spread of under a touchdown so we hopefully get a couple of close games in addition to high scoring ones. The picks for this week will be a bit thinner than usual with the extremely abbreviated slate, but hopefully we can unearth some gems. This is the last week of DraftKings so this will be the last write-up for the season, hopefully everyone has enjoyed reading them half as much as I have enjoyed putting them together each week.
This is a really interesting spot as DraftKings has priced three of the quarterbacks in the same relative range, but have dropped Ben Roethlisberger all the way down to $5,800. If you want to play Ben, he will allow you to fit a ton of other strong players in and there is a good chance that he will have to throw a lot, but I’m still going with:
Matt Ryan, ATL v. GB ($7,700) – Ben is tempting at the price and I may try and build a couple of teams with him, but I just cannot pass on the red-hot Matt Ryan. It is hard not to love Ryan in a home game with a 60.5 projected total against a Packers secondary that just allowed 302 yards and three touchdowns to Dak Prescott last week. I get that Aaron Rodgers is unstoppable and hot right now (he made some absolutely absurd throws that last week), but I am still siding with Ryan this week with the game being in Atlanta. Ryan lit up a tough Seahawks defense last week for 338 yards and three scores and I see more of the same this week in a game that could turn into an absolute shootout.
Le’Veon Bell is on his own level salary-wise this week with a price tag of $10,300. You can use him this week and still fit in a lot of players, but it seems that Bill Belichick always does his best to game plan to take away the other team’s best option and I think the Patriots defense keys really hard on Bell this week so I will probably build without him. Further, the Patriots defense has not allowed any individual running back to rush for over 90 yards on them all season.
How to handle the New England running backs is also a very interesting call at this position. Dion Lewis was the star of divisional week with three touchdowns against the Texans. He is still only $5,200 and is likely to be very popular this week. He is peaking at the right time and is likely to be very active this weekend, but if you wanted to take a contrarian stab this week in that backfield it would be LeGarrette Blount at only $4,400. Blount burned a lot of people with only 31 yards against the Texans, but he did score 18 touchdowns this season and is likely to be way less owned than last week as everyone moves to Lewis.
Tevin Coleman, ATL vs. GB ($4,800) – Coleman was only on the field for 29 snaps on Saturday against Seattle, but Atlanta got him heavily involved with 11 carries and four targets. Coleman looked electric on those touches, running for 57 yards and catching a touchdown pass. Coleman is a dynamic weapon who looked especially fast last week and the Falcons will definitely draw up some plays to get Coleman the ball in space. The Packers gave up 125 yards on only 22 carries last week to Ezekiel Elliott and in a game that is expected to be very high-scoring, I love getting Coleman at only $4,800.
Nothing groundbreaking with this take, but I really like Julio Jones and Antonio Brown this week and am going to try and get both of them in in lineups where I don’t use Bell and definitely in any Roethlisberger lineup. I think the Patriots’ focus on Bell will free up Brown and the Steelers are likely going to have to throw the ball a lot to win this week. As long as Jones looks healthy and good to go, he should also be a monster on Sunday.
Randall Cobb, GB at ATL, ($5,900) – It looks like Jordy Nelson will not play on Sunday and Davante Adams is now also banged up and hasn’t practiced so far this week, but the Packers do fully expect Adams to play on Sunday. The Falcons gave up 80 yards to Doug Baldwin last week and 83 yards to Paul Richardson and now face a beyond-hot Aaron Rodgers. Cobb is finally healthy and has been very active in the Packers’ two playoff games. He has 15 targets and 12 receptions in the playoffs and has really been the beneficiary of Nelson’s absence. If Adams is slowed at all by his injury, Cobb could see even more work in an offense that is going to obviously throw the ball a lot on Sunday.
Taylor Gabriel, ATL vs. GB ($4,900) – Gabriel had a nice game against the Seahawks last week posting four catches for 71 yards. Gabriel has a ton of speed and in a game with a lot of points, the Falcons are definitely going to try an get Gabriel the ball in space a few times. He is the type of explosive guy who could bust out for a huge game and be a difference maker in tournaments. In their first matchup against the Packers in Week 8, he had a strong game with three catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. I really like Gabriel as a cheap option who could flash and hopefully not be especially popular.
There are a number of receivers that could make an impact this week who are priced very cheaply. My favorite three are Geronimo Allison ($3,800), Eli Rogers ($3,400) and Chris Hogan ($3,900). Allison could go from cheapie stab to on everyone’s roster if somehow Davante Adams were not able to play and Allison were to move up to WR2 behind Cobb. Hogan had a great game last week with 95 yards on four catches and seems very likely to be targeted on a couple of deep shots from Tom Brady. Rogers has been quiet in the playoffs so far, but he did have 7 targets last week while catching five balls for 27 yards. If the Steelers fall behind and have to throw it all day, Rogers could be the beneficiary of that and be productive, especially in PPR scoring. I could see using two of these three guys in a lineup with one of them as WR3 and one in the flex to try and fit in the top-end receivers.
Martellus Bennett, NE vs. PIT ($3,300) – Everyone, and I mean everyone, will have Jared Cook this week. He is tough to fade at only $5,100, but in a two-game slate, you have to be different somewhere. I like saving $1,800 and getting a much lower percentage player in Bennett this week. Bennett was very quiet last week against the Texans with only one catch for four yards, but he was in for 64 snaps and I expect him to see more action this week. The Steelers have allowed five catches each to Travis Kelce and Dion Sims in the first two weeks of the playoffs and this could be a very nice spot for Bennett to be a difference maker. If you want to lock in Cook, I also like using Bennett as a flex instead of one of the cheaper wide receivers. I like Bennett to be active in the red zone this week and catch at least one touchdown pass.
DraftKings has priced the defenses in an interesting manner this week with the Patriots at $4,000 and everyone else $2,300 or under.
Atlanta, vs. GB ($2,200) – None of the defense matchups are good, but if you have the money for the Patriots, they do have the best matchup considering Roethlisberger has not been nearly as good on the road this season. However, I don’t think they are that far ahead of the other defenses and I would rather save the cash and punt with the Falcons. Rodgers is on fire and the Packers are going to score and Rodgers has one interception in the past three months or so, but the Packers have had some issues protecting Rodgers in the playoffs. The Packers have allowed eight sacks in their two playoff games and in a week where none of the defenses look great, I will take the chance at getting points for some Falcons sacks and use the money elsewhere.