Strategy Notes For NFL Playoff Fantasy Football Conference Championship Weekend
NFL Playoff Fantasy Football is reaching its’ fever pitch during the AFC and NFC Conference Championship weekend. In games such as NFFC NFL Playoff Fantasy Football, where you receive a multiplier based on how many times the player has been in your lineup and won their previous playoff games, some of your decisions are already made. The key in most playoff Fantasy Football formats is going to be choosing players from the winning teams, and in formats where players from the losing teams are replaced in the Super Bowl weekend, choosing the right players from the losing teams is your goal.
First, we need to make our selections of who will win Sunday’s games so that we can be sure that we are selecting players who will provide the maximum amount of points. For games that are using a multiplier based on weeks that a player has been in your team, you will have to weigh the chances of that team advancing versus what they are projected for this week with the multiplier in place.
I expect the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints to advance to the Super Bowl and that will color the information provided this week. Last week, we hit on a very low-owned Sony Michel in playoff formats and we’ll hope to have that success this week.
Drew Brees Over Patrick Mahomes If You Are Behind
Before you are able to make any of your choices in regard to player selections, you will need to determine where you are in your given contest standings. If you are in a massive player pool with over 500 entries and you’re somewhere in the middle, using Patrick Mahomes probably does not make a ton of sense. Of the four quarterbacks in play this week, he is without a doubt going to be the most highly owned. Given that we expect the Saints to win and the Rams and Patriots to lose, in formats where you won’t be selecting brand new players every week but there is some sort of consequence for choosing a losing player, Drew Brees is the clear option for chasing teams.
The game environment for Kansas City and New England is much less friendly than the confines of the SuperDome; the projected temperature for the K.C game is in the single digits and the Las Vegas points total has slowly fallen through the course of the week. Furthermore, Ted Ginn Jr. is one of the better lower owned offensive options and he makes a nice stack with Brees. Ginn left a monster game on the field against the Eagles, as the team went deep to him on the opening play and his first target was a yard underthrown and could have been an 80-yard touchdown.
In formats where you are simply re-selecting and replacing players each round based on which teams advance, Jared Goff is actually the preferred “chasing” option. He will be the lowest-owned of the four quarterbacks, but has the best combination of team total, ceiling and matchup. Goff had over 30 Fantasy points the first time these two teams played and his Fantasy point total generally correlates to how much the Rams have to try to score to keep up with their opponent. Of course, if you are near the top of the leaderboard this week, you need to be focusing on Patrick Mahomes, Damien Williams, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce and not worrying about ownership.
Sammy Watkins Is a Lock
I think Watkins is the most interesting play of the week for precisely what I mentioned before. Teams that are ahead in contests will likely not be looking to play him over Damien Williams or Travis Kelce in a Chiefs slot. For teams that are lower in the standings, it might make more sense to gamble on a New England Patriots or Los Angeles Rams win in order to differentiate lineups in formats where you are penalized for picking players on a losing team. However, I think Watkins is the perfect middle ground for any team in any format. He is not likely to be one of the five most owned wide receivers and is likely to be the fifth most selected Chief. He offers the bonus of likely advancing another round and was legitimately 0% owned in the past round of the NFFC playoff championship, which is a guiding ownership percentage for this article.
In his first game back since Week 11 against the Rams, Watkins was a full-time starter for the Chiefs offense. He gained 62 yards on eight targets, which was third highest on the team. More importantly, he was not showing any ill effects from his foot injury in the cold weather against what proved over the course of the regular season to be a good defensive secondary. Watkins is essentially my Sony Michel call from last week; I don’t expect him to be highly owned, he fits with pretty much all lineup constructions, has a massive ceiling and also projects to be playing in the next round of games.
Edelman is likely to be the highest owned Patriot this weekend, more than Tom Brady and James White. Sony Michel, despite his three touchdown heroics from last week, is still poised to be a better leverage component than Edelman. The one plus corner that the Chiefs have plays in the slot (Kendall Fuller) and overall, I am just pessimistic about the Patriots ability to string together drives in this game against the Chiefs. As I’ve mentioned several times, the total for this game is dropping as rapidly as the temperature in Kansas City. This could be one of the most frigid games ever played in the postseason and that bodes well for fading Edelman if you are chasing the leaders of your competition at all.
Edelman is owned at about 65% in the FFPC competition and is very highly owned in other playoff-long contests. While he had a studly game against the Chargers, I would rather play Watkins in the same game at lower ownership or gamble on the Rams stud wide receivers and their potential ability to beat the Saints. The most likely game script for the Patriots is loads of James White targets with a healthy dose of Sony Michel in an attempt to control the ball.