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Fantasy Football Picks: Chiefs vs. Bengals AFC Conference Championship DraftKings NFL DFS Showdown Strategy

Stan Son preps you for Sunday’s Chiefs vs. Bengals Conference Championship game with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

Welcome to the DraftKings NFL Showdown article for Sunday’s AFC Conference Championship game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals. Below, I analyze the Showdown slate and give plays to consider.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $400K Showdown Special [$100K to 1st] (CIN vs KC)


Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Captain’s Picks

Joe Mixon ($13,500 CPT)

Patrick Mahomes ($16,800 CPT) and Joe Burrow ($15,600 CPT) are probably the ways to go but the ownership is going to be very high for both and there is a scenario that Mixon is the highest scorer on the slate. If you want to click the X button on the top right of the browser, I don’t blame you.

Whew. You’re still here. Alright, these teams played four games ago with the Bengals winning at home, 34-31. Mahomes went 26-of-35 for 259 yards and two touchdowns. Good but not slate-breaking. The Bengals blitz at the seventh-lowest rate but they did allow the most air yards on completions. My thinking is that they will keep everything in front and make the Chiefs be patient and drive it down the field. The Bengals were 14th in allowing touchdowns in the red zone. Mahomes is Mahomes and has learned to slice and dice teams that play a shell defense so he could get busy regardless. That said, the explosive plays may not be there, which could cap his upside.

Burrow went HAM against the Chiefs in their prior meeting: 30-of-39 for 446 yards and four touchdowns. Ja’Marr Chase ($10,000) caught 11 of 12 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns. A reasonable assumption is that the Chiefs will make adjustments on defense. The Titans sacked Burrow nine times last week while the Chiefs got him five times. I can see a scenario in which the Bengals become a little more conservative on offense, especially since the crowd in Arrowhead will be bonkers, to protect Burrow and keep Mahomes off the field.

Which brings me to Mixon. In the prior meeting, he only put up 15.6 DKFP, rushing 12 times for 46 yards while catching seven of eight targets for 40 yards. In two games at the end of November, though, he rushed 28 times for 165 yards and two touchdowns in one game while carrying 30 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns. It’s within the range of outcomes that scenario comes to fruition.

The Chiefs were 20th in rush defense DVOA during the regular season and they did allow the fifth-most targets to running backs. Mixon scored at least 25 DKFP seven times this season with two games over 30. He’s also $2,000 cheaper than the two quarterbacks. If he scores above 25 DKFP with Mahomes and Burrow scoring in the same range, then you could leap all of those teams with the quarterbacks in the captain slot.

Patrick Mahomes ($16,800)

If the Chiefs win, it will more than likely be because of Mahomes. He’s gone for over 40 DKFP in the last two games with 378 yards and three touchdowns against the best pass defense (Bills) and 404 yards with five touchdowns against the Steelers.

The Chiefs’ backfield will likely be a three-head monster with Darrel Williams ($1,200), Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($7,000) and Jerick McKinnon ($5,000). The Bengals were 13th in rush defense DVOA and 24th in pass defense so the path of least resistance is through the air.

FLEX Plays

Travis Kelce (8,800)

Against the Bengals four games ago, Kelce caught five of seven targets for 25 yards and a touchdown. During the regular season, Cincinnati allowed the fourth-most targets to the position. They will likely keep everything in front of them so that Tyreek Hill ($10,800) and Mecole Hardman ($4,600) don’t beat them over the top, which should expose some gaps in the middle of the field. Kelce has scored a touchdown in each of the last five games with one contest with two. He’s received nine, seven, five, seven and 13 targets and gone over 90 yards in three of those games.

Darrel Williams ($1,200)

Williams missed the last two games due to a toe injury but he’s been a full participant at practices. It’s looking like a three-headed backfield for the Chiefs, which neuters the fantasy prospects for all. Williams is $1,200, though. He has playoff experience and should be able to pay off his salary expectations if he plays. Earlier in the season, all three backs did play but that’s when Edwards-Helaire was “the guy.” The snap distribution was 52% for CEH, 36% for Williams and 12% for McKinnon. 30% for each back could be the way it goes this weekend. Williams was getting targets in the passing game and goal line work and should be in the mix in those areas. Again, he’s $1,200.

Byron Pringle ($5,200)

Over the last five games, he’s received seven, seven, eight, four and seven targets. While he’s exceeded 50 yards receiving only twice, he has scored five touchdowns over that span with two games with two touchdowns. He’s played in over 70% of the snaps in three of those contests and has garnered seven red-zone looks.


Tyreek Hill ($10,000)

Hill caught six of 10 targets for 40 yards in the prior meeting with the Bengals. As mentioned above, I think Cincinnati will keep defenders back to limit the big plays. The action will likely flow towards Kelce and Pringle.

The Outcome

I think the Bengals can keep this game from shooting out. Hey, there’s a reason why I advocated Mixon as a viable Captain choice. I’m getting fired next week, aren’t I? The Bengals can control the tempo with Mixon and the run game while forcing the Chiefs’ offense to nickel and dime their way down the field. Is that the most likely scenario? Probably not and there are many reasons why the spread is seven points with the total at 54.5 points. That said, it is a viable scenario and within the range of outcomes. In the end, though, Mahomes is so freaking good and I expect him to deliver a victory.

Final Score: Chiefs 27, Bengals 24

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $400K Showdown Special [$100K to 1st] (CIN vs KC)

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