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NFL DFS picks for Bengals-Chiefs DraftKings Showdown strategy in AFC Championship

The Bengals and Chiefs face off in the AFC Championship of the 2023 NFL Playoffs. We take a look at the best plays for the DraftKings Showdown contest, including captain picks and best value plays.

ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 22: Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks to throw a pass against the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Highmark Stadium on January 22, 2023 in Orchard Park, New York. Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The AFC Championship Game features a rematch of last year’s title game, as the Cincinnati Bengals head on the road to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, January 29. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. ET and will air on CBS.

Let’s take a look at some of the best DFS options for the AFC title game, including captain’s picks as well as some value plays.


Center Ted Karras (knee) is probable for Sunday’s game, while cornerback Tre Flowers (hamstring) remains questionable. Tackle Jonah Williams (knee) and guard Alex Cappa (ankle) are doubtful. For Kansas City, Patrick Mahomes (ankle) is probable to play as well as Jerick McKinnon (ankle). Mecole Hardman (pelvis) is listed as questionable after logging a limited practice session in the week.

Captain’s Chair

Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals ($15,900)

Should it be a surprise that Burrow is worthy of the captain’s chair in this matchup? Kansas City surrendered the fifth-most DKFP per game (21.3) to opposing quarterbacks in the regular season, and it’s not like he’ll be intimated by this Chiefs defense on Sunday. In his last two games versus Kansas City (including the 2022 AFC title game), Burrow averaged 366 yards and three touchdowns per game without an interception. Cincinnati’s offense goes as far as Burrow will take it, so ride with Joe cool on Sunday.

Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs ($17,100)

Ankle sprain or not, Mahomes will be out on the field come Sunday and it’s hard to bet against him. The Chiefs’ star quarterback has averaged 280 passing yards and 2.3 touchdowns per game in three games versus the Bengals throughout his career, and he’s also had experience in performing coming off an injury. Back in Week 2 of the 2019 season versus the Raiders, Mahomes threw for 443 yards and four TDs after coming off an ankle injury in the week prior. While his mobility will surely be limited, Mahomes is the fulcrum of the offense, and similar to Burrow, the majority of the offense should continue to run through him.

Value Plays

Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals — $8,400

Kansas City will have its hands full keeping track of Ja’Marr Chase, which should open up some nice targets for Higgins as a result. Higgins has scored at least 12.5 DK points 11 different times this season, and he’s exceeded 26 DK points four times. The Chiefs gave up 37.3 DKFP per game to opposing receivers in the regular season, which was the seventh-most in the NFL. At his price point, Higgins’ reasonable floor, but potential TD upside, could make him a nice value add in a potentially high-scoring affair.

Isiah Pacheco, RB, Kansas City Chiefs — $6,400

If Mahomes’ injury forces Andy Reid to shift his game plan on Sunday, then Pacheco’s performance last week should put the Chiefs’ coach at ease. The rookie running back finished with 12 carries for 95 yards last week versus the Jaguars, including a monster 39-yard run in the second quarter to move Kansas City into the red zone. Cincinnati allowed a solid 20.5 DKFP per game to opposing running backs in the regular season, but if Reid chooses to spotlight Pacheco and the ground game more in light of Mahomes’ injury, the rookie tailback could have tremendous upside at an affordable price tag.