DFS Gut Plays Conf Champ week 20 2017

By JJ Buck
JJ Buck What a year it is to talk about ‘elite’ quarterbacks. The conference championship games are dominated by defenses and three quarterbacks no one would have bet on before the season. Of course Brady leads the way as it sets up to be a really interesting and challenging weekend on the fantasy front. The pricing used is Draft Kings (DK), Yahoo Sports (YS) and Fan Duel (FD).


1. Tom Brady – New England – (DK $7,700 – YS $40 – FD $9,000)
We all had the Steelers-Jaguars as the game changing fantasy game…nope. Sports are wild and the one thing we know with Brady is he brings the safest floor of the final four quarterbacks and the Patriots will exploit the best matchups on the field.

2. Blake Bortles – Jacksonville – (DK $5,000 – YS $29 – FD $7,600)
No turnovers through two playoff games for Bortles and if that continues he brings enough to exceed value on DK. Marcus Mariota threw for 245 yards with two touchdowns and added 37 rush yards on four attempts last week at NE. The Jags’ used ‘RPO’ plays early and that seems to be the best case for Bortles with a few shots down field.

3. Case Keenum – Minnesota – (DK $6,600 – YS $29 – FD $8,000)
The Eagles defense made sure everyone who overlooked them took notice by shutting out Atlanta in the second half. If you take away the 61 yard game winning touchdown, Keenum was 24-39, 257 yards no touchdowns and an interception against the Saints. Stefon Diggs and Adam Theilen tip the scales his way.

4. Nick Foles – Philadelphia – (DK $4,800 – YS $20 – FD $7,100)
In his last 41 pass attempts Foles has thrown one interception and no touchdowns. He’s the cheapest option on DK and YS; he didn’t turn the football over last week and completed 77% of his passes. The Eagles drive chart vs. ATL; FUM, punt, TD, punt, FG, punt, punt, FG, kneel down. I expect more of the same against the Vikings defense.

Running Backs

1. Dion Lewis – New England – (DK $8,100 – YS $28 – FD $7,700)
Lewis is still my number one guy even with Leonard Fournette coming off a 109-3 day against the Steelers. If Rex Burkhead see’s snaps, James White will be the one affected. Lewis rushed 15 times for 62 yards and caught 9-for-79 yards. James White did vulture two touchdowns and that is the one area White and Burkhead can throw off Lewis’s big time projections.

2. Jay Ajayi – Philadelphia – (DK $5,200 – YS $17 – FD $7,200)
Minnesota held Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram to 58 combined yards. Ajayi should be down on the list along with the fact LeGarrette Blount is there to take goal line carries. This is the gut talking; Ajayi needs to outpace the other Eagle running backs. He turned three catches into 44 yards last week and that’s the edge I’m gambling especially on DK and YS.

3. Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville – (DK $9,600 – YS $40 – FD $9,400)
With the collisions this man takes on the field a fender bender is no biggie. The work load is safe, but I don’t see him hitting value this weekend as the highest priced running back across the board. The Patriots held Derrick Henry scoreless on 12 carries for 28 yards. I’ll take the over, but not feeling good about the return for the price.

4. Latavius Murray – Minnesota – (DK $5,700 – YS $20 – FD $6,900)
Murray and Jerrick McKinnon are so close this weekend; it comes down to believing in which style will win out. Murray out carried McKinnon 19-8, but McKinnon out snapped Murray 44-36. Tevin Coleman went 10-79 on the ground while Devonta Freeman went 5-26-1 receiving last week against the Eagles.

5. James White – New England – (DK $4,900 – YS $16 – FD $4,800)
I stacked White with Lewis last week and will jump on that again if Rex Burkhead is ruled out. Even with the return of Burkhead, White holds a valuable role in the Patriots offense and produces.

6. Jerrick McKinnon – Minnesota – (DK $5,100 – YS $16 – FD $6,800)
McKinnon scored the Vikings first touchdown of the game from 14 yards out last weekend. Coleman’s success on the edge against the Eagles could bode well for McKinnon’s chances at a few more carries this weekend.

7. LeGarrette Blount – Philadelphia – (DK $3,700 – YS $11 – FD $5,700)
If the Eagles get inside the 10 yard line you know Doug Pederson will be rolling out Blount. It’s TD or bust with the big man.

8. T.J. Yeldon – Jacksonville – (DK $4,200 – YS $14 – FD $5,200)
Fournette graciously allowed Yeldon to grab one of the red zone opportunities and he cashed in for a nice day against Pittsburgh; 5-20-1 on the ground and 3-57 receiving. Yeldon’s value comes in the passing game and that is very limited as Fournette was on the field for 40 snaps compared to 19 for Yeldon.

9. Rex Burkhead – (DK $5,400 – YS $16 – FD $6,000)
No price relief despite the missed time for Burkhead. If he plays the one thing that could happen is he does slide right back into his red zone role and that would be so Patriot. Monitor the final reports on Sunday to make the decision on the Patriots backfield.

10. Corey Clement – Philadelphia – (DK $3,100 – YS $10 – FD $5,000)
Clement caught all five of his targets last week for 31 yards. A nice punt on DK if that continues as he only saw four less snaps than Blount, 20-16.

Wide Receivers

1. Adam Thielen – Minnesota – (DK $7,400 – YS $28 – FD $7,400)
From Pro Football Focus, “Just 12.5 percent of Keenum’s pass attempts traveled 20-plus yards downfield this year, but he scored 27.2 percent of his touchdowns on those throws.” Thielen is still the number one target and against a stout Philadelphia secondary and I expect him to soak up plenty of targets underneath to try and open it up downfield.

2. Brandin Cooks – New England – (DK $6,100 – YS $21 – FD $7,000)
Cooks only caught 3-of-9 targets last week. Antonio Brown showed that the deep shots can work and that’s what you’re betting on with Cooks is to cash in on one or two looks.

3. Danny Amendola – New England – (DK $5,500 – YS $14 – FD $6,400)
Where will the Patriots decide to attack the Jags’ in the pass? The slot master is a great bet on DK as a PPR machine underneath.

4. Stefon Diggs – Minnesota – (DK $6,900 – YS $23 – FD $6,700)
A touchdown in four straight games, a highlight that will live on forever and Keenum has settled into a nice rhythm getting his top two receivers involved.

5. Nelson Agholor – Philadelphia – (DK $4,800 – YS $16 FD $4,900)
The Eagles gave Agholor two carries as they tried to get him involved in the offense last week. He caught all three of his targets and I expect more of the same this weekend in terms of production.

6. Alshon Jeffery – Philadelphia – (DK $4,600 – YS $19 – FD $7,300)
You’ve heard talk this week about the Eagles playing horizontal football as they did what was needed to get past Atlanta. Jeffery caught 4-of-5 targets for 61 yards last week and will need to win a few more downfield this weekend. If Xavier Rhodes gets the call to shadow, it’ll be a long day.

7. Chris Hogan – New England – (DK $5,000 – YS $20 – FD $6,100)
It was a quiet day for Hogan in his return as his one catch resulted in a four yard touchdown. Being a part of that offense will always get you a look and possibly avoiding the top two Jags’ corners and the price will keep his ownership down.

8. Marqise Lee – Jacksonville – (DK $4,400 – YS $16 – FD $6,100)
DeDe Westbrook and Lee played the most snaps out of the Jags’ receivers last weekend, 42 and 39. Lee saw six targets but only produced 28 yards on three catches. If you want to get wild, these are the two to take a chance on.

9. Torrey Smith – Philadelphia – (DK $3,000 – YS $11 – FD $5,400)
Smith has seen nine targets in the last two full games Foles has played. One deep shot or turning a screen into something big seems to be Smith’s outlook this weekend.

10. Jarius Wright – Minnesota – (DK $3,000 – YS $10 – FD $4,900)
Wright was able to turn three catches into 56 yards with some nice YAC. Will Minnesota use more three WR sets to spread out Philly?

Tight Ends

1, Rob Gronkowski – New England – (DK $7,900 – YS $34 – FD $8,400)
This is the matchup I am most excited to watch, who covers Gronk: Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, a little of both? He’s worth the price giving the potential return.

2. Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota – (DK $4,500 – YS $17 – FD $6,100)
The price and opportunity could make Rudolph the highest owned TE this weekend. While he didn’t score, Rudolph saw two red zone targets last weekend and is the number one option in the red zone.

3. Zac Ertz – Philadelphia – (DK $4,500 – YS $28 – FD $7,000)
The last time a TE scored on the Vikings was during week five of the NFL season. The Eagles can win the game, but it’s hard to expect any big time performances from their pass catchers.

4. Mercedes Lewis – Jacksonville – (DK $2,500 – YS $10 – FD $4,500)
Lewis holds down the edge for Jacksonville as he played 53 snaps against the Steelers. He was only targeted once and has six receptions over the team’s last four games.