The Conference Championships takes place this Sunday and it’s our final NFL slate of the year with more than two games on it. Let’s not waste it. Patrick Mahomes vs Lamar Jackson figures to be an epic battle and there will be a lot of pressure on Jackson and the Ravens to finally get past the AFC final boss and make the Super Bowl. The other side features a 49ers team that looked shaky last week, vs the upstart Lions who have been winning despite a terrible defense. This game may not have as much star power but it could easily be the funner game of the day.
Speaking of fun, let’s stop with the formalities and dive into it all.
Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers vs Detroit Lions, $6,400 - Purdy takes on a Lions secondary that has allowed bundles of yards and fantasy points down the stretch. The last five QBs who have faced the Lions have now all thrown for over 340+ yards AND two or more TD passes. Purdy may not have the rushing upside of Lamar Jackson but the matchup dictates that his upside this week is quite similar. The second-year QB has averaged 21.5 DKFP in eight home starts this season and has gone for over 25.0 DKFP on five occasions this season as well. On top of being $1.3K cheaper than Jackson, Purdy is also easier to stack given that both George Kittle ($5,300) and Brandon Aiyuk ($6,900) figure to act as primary targets this week with Deebo Samuel ($7,300) injured.
Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers vs Detroit Lions, $9,000 - I’m not sure how you get around rostering Christian McCaffrey this week. The Lions’ defensive front is stout, but McCaffrey has been nearly matchup-proof in the Shanahan offensive scheme. He’s scored in all but two games this season and still managed to go for 100+ yards and a TD on the ground in the 49ers’ horrific home loss to the Ravens in Week 16. Last week, he was the only 49er who took a carry inside the red zone and with Deebo Samuel hurting or out for this game he’ll only be assured of an even bigger workload — and have a tighter grip on the red zone work. There’s value from a game theory perspective in fading McCaffrey on a two-game slate but certainly having a core group of lineups with him involved is still recommended.
David Montgomery, Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers, $5,600 - One way to get a little different if you are using McCaffrey is to stack him with the Lions lead RB. Most people likely won’t choose to use Montgomery in this spot (over Gibbs) for the simple fact that the Lions are underdogs and Montgomery typically doesn’t handle a ton of the passing work. However, the former Bear has been outstanding on the road for the Lions averaging 70.1 yards rushing and 1.0 TDs per game over eight road starts. The Lions’ philosophy this week on offense should center around attacking the middle with Montgomery as well. The 49ers were below average in EPA per rush on defense and using Montgomery would neutralize the 49ers’ pass rush. He’s a solid GPP target and value this week at under $6K.
Rashee Rice, Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens, $6,500 - While the matchup this week is tough, I do think there is solid value in the sub-$7K salary on Rashee Rice. The Chiefs rookie has received nine or more targets in six of his last nine games now and has little to no competition from the rest of the Chiefs bare bones WR unit, who act as deep threat and gadget-type players. The Ravens will almost certainly be preoccupied with limiting Travis Kelce this week, as well, after he averaged 15 yards per catch and scored twice against the Bills. Rice should also benefit from injuries to the Ravens’ secondary (Rock Ya-Sin and Marlon Humphrey are banged up) which may have multiple players at less than 100% or playing through injury. Either way, $6,500 for Patrick Mahomes’ ($6,900) primary receiver sounds like a great bargain and Rice may not even be that heavily owned given the perceived tough matchup.
Josh Reynolds, Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers, $4,400 - I expect the Lions to try and run the ball a lot this week but also recognize that the 49ers will at some point, put the Lions into situations where the score will dictate they have to pass. At that point, I expect Josh Reynolds to once again be a pivotal player for the Lions. Reynolds scored his sixth touchdown of the season last week and over his last three games, has more red targets than team alpha Amon Ra St. Brown ($7,900). The 49ers also haven’t been great at defending WRs in the short end of the field as they’ve allowed the sixth-most TDs to opposing WRs this season. Reynolds, at just $4K, sets up as a solid value and feels likely to pay off his meager salary once again.
George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers vs Detroit Lions, $5,300 - With no Deebo Samuel in the lineup, George Kittle has been a beast. Over his last five games where he’s played and Samuel has not, Kittle has averaged 92.4 receiving yards and has caught five TDs. While Samuel may actually play it’s likely that if he does see the field he’ll be limited in routes and snaps making him more of a decoy than anything. The matchup this week is fantastic for Kittle as well. Cade Otton was able to hammer the Lions secondary last week for multiple big plays (5-65-1) and Detroit ranks last in the league in yards per play over their last three starts. Kittle’s an easy pay-up target this week and must stack receiver if you’re starting lineups with Brock Purdy.
Chiefs DST at Ravens, $2,900 - With Lamar Jackson certainly being one of the most popular QB plays on the slate (likely the highest owned) going with the DST that is facing him has some benefits from a leverage perspective. If Jackson falters or turns the ball over, it’s the Chiefs DST who will benefit. Additionally, as a byproduct of Jackson being popular, the Chiefs DST themselves will likely come in as one of the lowest owned, if not THEE lowest owned, DST on the slate. The Chiefs still have a top-ten pass defense and have a pass rush that ranked second in pressure rate and sacks this year. They did allow Josh Allen multiple scores last week, but did well spying against rushing QBs in the regular season — holding Justin Fields and Jalen Hurts to much more muted days. At under $3K, they’re the unit to turn to if you’re looking to punt this volatile position.
The Crown Is Yours: Sign up for DraftKings and experience the ultimate host for games and betting experiences!
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.