The AMBUSH – Championship Weekend

NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS - DFS PREVIEW

We aren’t done yet folks.  I certainly prefer the four game slates the last two weekends to this weekends Conference Championship weekend for DFS purposes, but we have been rewarded with arguably the best combination of teams remaining not only for football purposes but also for fantasy and DFS purposes this weekend with the Chiefs, Patriots, Rams and Saints all advancing to the Conference Championship games.

So you’re getting a BONUS AMBUSH article as we go into the two games this weekend and look through different strategies for this weekends games.

Image result for 2018 nfl playoffs

All three main sites DraftKings, FanDuel and  Yahoo! have relevant contests that we can focus on.  There’s some logic to playing MME this weekend if you have the bankroll to roll out a ton of lineups into them, but you have to understand that there’s really no such thing as a low owned play this weekend and it’s not common to find that 2% owned play in a spot like this that will catapult you to the top easily.  Rather, the key pivots are going to be the 20-30% owned RB or WR comparative to the 70% owned RB-WR.

 

 

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP

LOS ANGELES RAMS at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Sunday, 3:05 PM EST. 

Saints favored by 3.5, over/under is 57

Superdome.  No rain outside the stadium, just very Breesy.

TV:  FOX (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Mike Pereira)

There’s plenty of good reasons to expect this game to be a shootout and higher scoring than the AFC battle.  For starters, this one gets to be played in the Superdome compared to the chilly  temps in the AFC Championship game and that alone will draw the common player over to this game.  Secondly, the prior meeting between these teams in week 9 yielded 80 points in a 45-35 Saints victory and likely could have easily had more points in that game.  There aren’t a ton of changes all around for these two teams from that game that should warrant a massive drop off in explosive plays and I wouldn’t advise anyone to try and get too cute and go massive fade on this game for the AFC title spot this weekend.

 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Sunday, 6:40 PM EST. 

Chiefs favored by 3, over/under is 55 (and falling)

Weather is balls cold.  5 degrees, with no wind thankfully for these guys.

TV:  CBS (Hello Friends it’s Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson and Gene Steratore)

This is gonna be fun.  That’s the immediate thought on this game.  Lots of narratives and what not in play here, but I’ll throw this one nugget out at you.  In the 2004 playoffs on their way to beating the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots as a #2 seed went on the road for the AFC Championship game to play the #1 seed team.  That #1 seeded team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, had the offensive rookie of the year at Quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger and a pretty good offense all around.  The temps in the game were a huge deal with temperatures around 11 degrees at kickoff and a wind chill of -1.  The final score of that game?

Patriots 41, Steelers 27.

 

 

THE AMBUSH PICKS

QUARTERBACKS

Quarterback is pretty clear to me this week but it’s not a certainty for sure.  When I say clear, I mean that what we likely expect from the 4 Quarterbacks seems pretty clear.  Brees should get his yardage and throw for 2+ TD at home.  Goff likely finds a way to backdoor the yardage totals in this game but might not get the TD.  Mahomes can rush one in which really boosts his value and Brady is …. well, he’s Brady and I think he throws a bunch of 2 and 3 yard passes to keep the chains moving and chewing up clock thus getting good volume.

Drew Brees … After the first throw of the game when he double-clutched and ended up throwing it too late Brees was spot on last week in his mastery of attacking the Eagles.  But what Philly didn’t really allow the Saints to do outside of a couple shots was take it deep down field and Brees ended up settling underneath for carving up the zone coverages.  The Rams wont play as much zone, which means more big plays for Brees to isolate 1:1 matchups.  I am not worried about Talib slowing down Michael Thomas and in my mind that only opens up great value for Tedd Ginn and Tre’Quan Smith and the Rams linebackers really are no match for Kamara out of the backfield.  Brees should get plenty of big plays this weekend.

Patrick Mahomes … In the prior meeting this year Mahomes threw for 352 yards and 4 TD which meant he didn’t have to do any damage on the ground with a total of 2 rushes for 9 yards.  This week though I think there’s going to be more situations where he ends up using his legs to extend plays and especially around the goal line I think him scoring on the ground as he did last week is a high probability.  The young phenom QB has been someone overpriced for a while now given other options but down to a short slate like this he is definitely worthy of using and the rushing TD upside is why I have him above Brady, even though I think Brady wins.

 

RUNNING BACKS

Image result for alvin kamaraAlvin Kamara … In the two meetings with the Rams (2017 and 2018) Kamara has been a nightmare for the Rams to keep out of the end zone.  In those two games he has five touchdowns and over 300 combined yards from scrimmage.  The Saints oddly enough have not been a great screen game team this year but the best way for them to combat the interior rush of the Rams will be getting Kamara out on the edges.  If the Rams come up to stop Kamara then they’ll get torched by the speed threats of Tre’Quan Smith, Tedd Ginn and Taysom Hill.  This is a dangerous spot for the Rams defense to pitch a perfect game in terms of fantasy as one of these players I just mentioned is going to go off for a huge day, but the most consistent and reliable one has to be Kamara.

Todd Gurley … 7500 for Gurley is just too cheap, even against a very good rush defense that no doubt will make sure they keep him in check as best they can.  That said, when in the red zone I trust Gurley >>>>>>>>>> more than CJ Anderson and you should too.

James White … A terrible performance from Marlon Mack and the Colts last week will not keep me away from attacking the Chiefs with pass catching RB and we saw #Playoff-James-White come out early and often last week as the next WR option for the Pats and Brady.  They will have to do that again this week and we’re basically getting the Pats 2nd best WR at $5400 for a full PPR on DK?  Easy value play here IMO.

 

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Ted Ginn, TreQuan Smith and why cant Taysom Hill be listed as a WR … Let’s be frank here.  Taysom Hill played more snaps last week as a WR than he did anything else, for like the 10th game in a row, he should be a WR.  But I digress…  Ginn didn’t play in the first meeting and his presence is going to be a thorn in the Rams side.  As I broke down above with Kamara above, the Rams are gonna have to pray they can get a quick pass rush on Brees and also take away the short pass to Kamara or give up bombs to Teddy Ginn and Tre’Quan Smith all game.  I left the Superdome last week and had an immediate gut feeling that Tre’Quan Smith was going to have a huge TD this week, sooooooo that’s where I am leaning.

Michael Thomas … I’m not really sure what analysis is needed anymore.  Go back to last weeks write-up.  He is the most used WR remaining in the game and if the game is close he will push 150+ yards and a touchdown.  And if it’s a blowout, he’s likely gonna still do the same.

Brandin Cooks … Cooks back on turf in the Superdome is a big threat for the Saints defense this week.  I think he gets a first quarter touchdown.

Julian Edelman … My fade on the Pats this week.  I’m too heavy on Gronk and White to overload with Edelman.

Tyreek Hill … He is always 1 big play away, but you know that already.  I wont have him.

 

 

LONGSHOT #3 WR’s

I think this is the week to take a gamble on one of these guys.  These are typically names that you would use on the Showdown single game slates, and there’s no reason not to use them on the 2 game slate this weekend.

Tre’Quan Smith (3600) … He will outscore Josh Reynolds

Cordarrelle Patterson (3300) Feels like the ultimate Belichek think to do this week to use CPTD

Sammy Watkins … I would go Watkins over Tyreek based on roster construction this week.

 

 

TIGHT ENDS

Rob Gronkowski … Welcome to Gronk week folks.  2 TD incoming.

Travis Kelce … Travis Kelce or Rob Gronkowski this weekend.   I don’t see any reason to mess with the TE in the Saints/Rams game outside of throwing a punt in at $2500.  Honestly, the Gronk is dead narrative feels like a major chalk hit this week given his price at $4100 where he comes out of nowhere to have a big game against a team who has really struggled vs TE.  But Kelce is the clear cut #1 guy at this position.  I’d pay for him given that RB has a lot of miss-priced players.

Josh Hill … Watson out actually helps Taysom, but these DFS sites are as clueless as other DFS touts who think they are the God’s because they have been doing analysis that resembles 1997 work.  Taysom is the next TE in line for the Saints from a pass catching standpoint, but in terms of snap %, Josh Hill (playoff Josh Hill folks) is next in line.

 

DEFENSES

Saints … The Saints are the best defense remaining and have not given up anything in the second half of games for a long time now.  They’re generating turnovers at home and should get to Goff this week.

Pats … They’re gonna win IMO.

 

 

 

PREDICTIONS

  • Taysom Hill and Josh Hill factor in BIG TIME this week.
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