The NFC Championship will take place Sunday at 3:05 p.m. ET, and both DraftKings and FanDuel will be offering tournaments with large prize pools for this slate.
If you’re unfamiliar with the single-game NFL DFS format, it differs a bit on DraftKings and FanDuel. On DraftKings, you have one “captain” spot and five flexes. The captain will score 1.5x fantasy points, but he also costs 1.5x salary. That means if you want to roster Davante Adams at Captain and take advantage of the scoring boost, you’ll have to pay $17,400 as opposed to $11,600.
FanDuel’s single-game format features one “MVP” spot and four flexes. The MVP also scores 1.5x fantasy points, but he doesn’t cost any additional salary. That takes away a bit of the strategy and makes the goal simple: get your highest-scoring player in the MVP spot.
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Adams is the most expensive player on this slate, and he has been virtually unstoppable this season. He averaged 8.2 receptions, 98.1 receiving yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game during the regular season and followed that up with nine catches for 66 yards and a touchdown in the Packers’ first playoff game. That performance came in a brutal matchup vs. Jalen Ramsey, so Adams is essentially matchup-proof at this point.
Adams doesn’t even have any matchup concerns vs. the Bucs. He owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.3 on DraftKings, which is one of the better marks on the slate. He is expected to be shadowed by Carlton Davis, but Adams is more than capable of winning in that matchup. Adams owns a Pro Football Focus grade of 92.5, while Davis checks in at 69.5.
Overall, Adams leads all players on this slate in median and floor projection in our NFL Models, which makes him a safe choice to anchor your lineups.
Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady round out the stud group.
The Vegas data points towards Rodgers being the superior option. The Packers are 3.5-point home favorites, which gives Rodgers a slight edge in terms of implied team total. Rodgers has also historically been elite as a home favorite, posting an average Plus/Minus of +3.13 (per the Trends tool). He was able to return value last week vs. the Rams as a home favorite, and they had previously been one of the best defensive teams in the league.
The biggest concern with Rodgers is the Bucs’ pass rush. They were able to fluster Rodgers into his worst performance of the season back in Week 6. He threw for just 160 yards with two interceptions without a touchdown, and Tampa Bay also managed to record four sacks. The scariest part is that game came with Vita Vea out of the lineup for the Bucs and David Bakhtiari in the lineup for the Packers. It appears those roles will be reversed in this matchup.
If Rodgers has a flaw, it’s his ability to perform under pressure. He finished with a 96.4 PFF grade with a clean pocket this season, but that mark dropped to 68.3 when under duress. That makes this matchup vs. the Bucs tougher than it appears to be on paper.
Brady is a road underdog in this contest, which is not a role that he’s very familiar with. He’s only been a road underdog seven times since the start of the 2014-15 season, but he’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +3.82 in those contests. Four of those contests have come this season, and he averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.14 and posted a perfect 100% Consistency Rating in those games.
That said, Brady will face a stiff test this week. The Packers defense is solid, led by all-world cornerback Jaire Alexander. Brady owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of -2.5, which is one of the worst marks on the slate.
He’ll also have to navigate this matchup without Antonio Brown, who has become one of his favorite targets, due to a knee injury. The Bucs still have plenty of offensive weapons for Brady to lean on, but Brown’s absence is a blow nonetheless.
Aaron Jones put together a solid performance last week vs. the Rams, finishing with 18.3 DraftKings points. However, his performance was a bit deceptive. The vast majority of his rushing yards came on one 60-yard carry. Removing that from the equation makes his stat line a bit less impressive: 13 carries, 39 yards and one touchdown.
He also continues to lose a bunch of work to the other Packers’ running backs. Jamal Williams and A.J. Dillon combined for 18 carries last week, and Jones played on just 63% of the snaps.
That makes him very tough to trust in a brutal matchup. They have been one of the best teams in football against the run this season, giving Jones an Opponent Plus/Minus of -2.9.
Next up is the Bucs’ pass-catching duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Evans is slightly more expensive, and he’s always a threat to score a touchdown or two, but he has by far the tougher matchup in this contest. He plays the majority of his snaps on the outside, and that’s where Alexander plays for the Packers. Alexander has played just 4% of his snaps in the slot this season, so expect him to spend a lot of time on Evans.
That leaves Godwin to have his way with the Packers’ other corners. Pro Football Focus gives him a 28% edge over Packers’ slot CB Chandon Sullivan, which is the largest mismatch on the slate. Godwin is an easy choice at his current price tag across the industry and should even warrant heavy consideration at Captain on DraftKings.
The Bucs’ running back situation is a bit more difficult to figure out. Ronald Jones was able to return to the lineup last week, but Leonard Fournette still operated as the starter. He finished with four additional carries and five additional targets and had at least 21.7 DraftKings points for the second-straight game.
That would appear to make Fournette the preferred option at the position, but there’s no guarantee he continues to serve as the Bucs’ primary RB. That role belonged to Jones for most of the season, and he went through a full practice on Friday. Considering the price difference, that could make Jones the better value.
Rounding out this tier is the Packers’ secondary pass catchers. Allen Lazard, Robert Tonyan and Marques Valdez-Scantling all have their merits on this slate. Lazard and MVS both saw eight targets against the Rams, which put them right behind Adams for the team lead.
MVS is much cheaper than Lazard — which does increase his value — but his matchup is also significantly tougher. He’s expected to spend the majority of his time matched up with Jamel Dean, who owns the top PFF grade among the Bucs’ corners. Lazard operates out of the slot, which sets up a very winnable matchup vs. Sean Murphy-Bunting. Finding the extra salary for Lazard seems like the safer bet.
Tonyan is a bit more boom or bust because he needs to score a touchdown to return value. He has done plenty of that this season — he scored 11 touchdowns during the regular season — but he’s failed to find the end zone in two of his past three games. However, Tampa Bay ranks just 25th in DVOA vs. TEs this season, so this might be a nice time to buy low on him.
- Cameron Brate: $4,800 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel — Brate put together one of the weirdest stat lines you’ll ever see last week vs. the Saints. He finished with five targets for four catches and 50 yards, but he played on just seven snaps. It’s hard to imagine he’ll be able to duplicate his success against the Packers barring a large increase in playing time. He makes much more sense on FanDuel than DraftKings.
- Rob Gronkowski: $4,400 on DraftKings, $9,500 on FanDuel — Gronk is obviously the preferred Bucs TE on DraftKings, given that he’s $400 cheaper than Brate. His production has been a bit down recently, but he did see five targets last week. He also remains a threat around the goal line, and he could see a slight bump in opportunities with Brown out of the lineup.
- Defenses and Kickers: These options are always in play in the single-game format. The weather is not expected to be great — the current forecast calls for 17-degree temperatures and a 70% chance of snow — which could lead to a few more turnovers than usual. That boosts the value for the defenses.
- Jamaal Williams: $2,200 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel — Williams has the same difficult matchup as Jones, but he costs significantly less across the industry. Williams finished with 12 carries for 65 yards last week, so he’s much more involved than the typical backup RB.
- Scotty Miller: $1,800 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel — Miller figures to serve as the Bucs’ WR3 with Brown out of the lineup, which is going to make him a very popular play at this current salary. He played on 43 of the Bucs’ 70 offensive snaps last week, and that number should only go up vs. the Packers.
- Equanimeous St. Brown: $1,000 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel — St. Brown shouldn’t carry as much ownership as the Bucs’ WRs in this price range, but he has arguably just as much upside. He played on more than 40% of the Packers’ snaps last week and saw two targets.
- Tyler Johnson: $800 on DraftKings, $5,500 on FanDuel — He’s another member of the Bucs’ receiving corps who should see an uptick in snaps this week.
Pictured above: Aaron Rodgers
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