While most daily fantasy players are more familiar with the usual salary-cap structure, DraftKings also has tournaments in a pick’em style: There are no player salaries. You simply select one player across each tier.
This style of game allows you to quickly create lineups because you don’t have to spend time weighing cap costs against points. Just choose the best player. For FantasyLabs readers, our Models — powered by Sean Koerner’s No. 1 in-season rankings — are a massive edge in choosing the best players and making weekly profits in Tiers.
Here’s a breakdown of the DraftKings Tiers slate for the conference championships.
Tier 1: Elite Passers
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
According to our Models, Mahomes is the only choice at quarterback this Sunday. His median projection is nearly three points higher than the next. He’s also the only quarterback with rushing potential: Mahomes has 280 rushing yards this season, which is more than all other conference championship passers combined.
Mahomes will be chalky, so be prepared to differentiate in the upcoming tiers.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Brees owns the second-highest projection and should come at lower ownership. He’ll be playing in the highest total game of the weekend at the Coor’s Field of fantasy football — the Superdome.
Brees is projected to score fewer points than the rightful MVP, but in large-field tournaments, Brees will be more unique.
Tier 2: Elite Receivers
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
Hill is the only player this season with more than two games with more than 40 points. One of his three came in New England, where he hung a 7-142-3 stat line on the Patriots.
Tyreek Hill in two career games against the Patriots:
4 TDs pic.twitter.com/zpk0UgJHfs
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) January 15, 2019
Fade the cold narrative, which John Ewing debunked, and stack Hill and Mahomes.
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Thomas gets the Rams secondary, which have been gashed by No. 1 receivers. The Rams are 28th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA against No. 1 WRs, including a 12-211-1 line to Thomas in Week 9.
The Saints also have the highest implied team total at 30. Bet on scoring with Thomas.
Tier 3: Receiving Backs
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints & Damien Williams, Kansas City Chiefs
Williams and Kamara each have top-five ceiling projections for flex players.
The downside is that both have weak or negative correlations with the passing game: Kamara has a .2 correlation with Brees and .16 with Thomas. Williams is at .24 with Hill and -.6 with Mahomes.
That leaves two potential cores to build around this week.
Tier 4: Non-Favorite Teams
James White, RB, New England Patriots
White led all running backs in targets (125) and air yards (417) this season. He followed it up with 15 targets and 14 catches against the Chargers in the Divisional Round.
This season, when the Pats are in shootouts, White’s role has been in even higher demand as well.
The Patriots-Chiefs total is at 55.5 as of writing (see live odds here), which is more than enough for another big week for White.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Los Angeles Rams
The Rams will likely be forced to pass more as 3-point dogs on the road. The Saints defense is also considerably more susceptible to the pass than the run:
- Rush success rate against: 44.9% (4th)
- Adjusted Yards per Attempt: 8.2 (27th)
Cooks is a great bet to capitalize on a good matchup for the Rams receivers.
Tier 5: More Passing Stacks
Sammy Watkins, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
In his first full game since the start of November, Watkins was dropped seamlessly into the Chiefs offense. He was targeted eight times and caught six of them for 62 yards. Watkins was also on the field for 93.1-percent of the team’s snaps.
Returning to a meaningful role in the highest scoring offense, Watkins is the best play of Tier 5.
Ted Ginn Jr., WR, New Orleans Saints
Ginn played five regular season games with the Saints this season. He led the team with 464 air yards in those five games. He was also targeted 15 times in the Divisional Round and his Week 16 finale.
— NFL (@NFL) January 13, 2019
If he and Brees can finally connect on a deep shot, Ginn will be a tournament winner.
Tier 6: Long Shots
Chris Hogan, WR, New England Patriots
Hogan has made a push for fantasy relevancy over the past two weeks. He was targeted 11 times and garnered another five last week.
Without Josh Gordon, Hogan has taken over the role as the deep threat. He has 12.7 average depth of target on the season and the third-most targets in three games without him.
Hogan is a sneaky play with deep-ball potential.
Gerald Everett, TE, Los Angeles Rams
Everett has to find the end zone to payoff, but that might be possible for him. He’s fourth on the team in targets within the 10-yard line. He also saw at least six times in three consecutive games before Week 17.
Everett’s four highest scoring outings this season have all come in games that hit the over and more than 50 points were scored. Should that happen against the Saints, Everett could be the key to winning big in Tiers.
Pictured above: Damien Williams and Patrick Mahomes
Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports