We’re down to the final four. The Championship Round of the NFL postseason will take place this Sunday, starting with 49ers-Eagles at 3 p.m. ET and wrapping up with Bengals-Chiefs at 6:30 p.m. ET.
In this article, I’ll be using various FantasyLabs tools and other industry metrics to break down the slate.
Finally, make sure to check out all the projections available for purchase within the FantasyLabs Models. Subscribers now have the option to purchase Derek Carty’s THE BLITZ from our Marketplace. Projections from One Week Season and Establish the Run are available if you’re a subscriber to those specific sites (our optimizer is a separate add-on feature).
You can also combine them to create your own aggregate projections:
NFL DFS Quarterback Picks
The remaining quarterback options for the final four teams are unsurprisingly very strong. However, Jalen Hurts stands out as the clear top choice from a fantasy perspective. Hurts wasn’t really needed last week vs. the Giants, with the Eagles absolutely dominating their division rivals in the trenches. They ran all over the Giants like a varsity team scrimmaging against the JV, rolling up 268 yards on 44 carries. Hurts was able to get in on the fun thanks to a rushing touchdown, but he only attempted 24 passes in a comfortable victory.
Even though his volume was down, Hurts still delivered a strong fantasy performance. He added two passing touchdowns to his rushing score, bringing his fantasy total to 23.56 DraftKings points. Hurts’ rushing ability is a big part of his skill set, and it’s a big reason why he was the best quarterback in fantasy during the regular season. His average of 25.6 points per game just narrowly edged out Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, and he had at least 30.38 DraftKings points in four straight games before missing time with an injury.
Hurts is going to face a stiff test this week vs. the 49ers. They boast the best defense in the league, ranking first in points and yards per game allowed. His Opponent Plus/Minus of -3.4 is the worst mark on the slate, and they limited Dak Prescott to just 206 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions last week.
Still, Hurts is impossible to ignore at $7,200 on DraftKings. It results in a Bargain Rating of 93%, and Hurts has averaged a Plus/Minus of +7.81 with a comparable salary this season (per the Trends tool).
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Hurts is the best value at the position on this slate, but if you’re looking to go a bit cheaper, Joe Burrow has appeal against the Chiefs. Burrow has made a name for himself by delivering on the biggest stage, and he led his team to a 27-10 road upset vs. the Bills last week. He wasn’t great from a fantasy perspective, but he finished with at least 20.78 DraftKings points for the fourth time in the past five weeks.
Burrow should be able to put together a better performance vs. the Chiefs. While the Bills have been one of the best defensive teams in football this season, the Chiefs have been much more pedestrian. They’re 20th in Football Outsiders pass defense DVOA, and they allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing QBs during the regular season.
That said, the Chiefs’ biggest strength is their pass rush. They were third in adjusted sack rate during the regular season, and the Bengals are dealing with a host of injuries on their offensive line. That could cause some problems in this matchup.
Patrick Mahomes is the big x-factor on this slate. He’s going to play through a reported high-ankle sprain, which is an injury that can sideline players for up to eight weeks. That means he could be significantly hobbled, which would have a major impact on his effectiveness. Of course, Mahomes on one leg is still better than basically any other QB in football. His ownership is expected to be significantly lower than Hurts’ and Burrow’s, so he’s an interesting pivot for tournaments. The Chiefs’ implied team total of 24.75 also ranks first on the slate.
Brock Purdy rounds out the signal callers and is in his own tier on this slate. The rookie has impressed as a starter, posting a perfect 7-0 record, but he came back to reality in last week’s win over the Cowboys. Now, he’ll have to face an Eagles’ defense that ranks first in pass defense DVOA in one of the most hostile environments in football.
NFL DFS Running Back Picks
One of the easiest ways to take the pressure off Purdy is for the 49ers to get the ball to Christian McCaffrey as much as possible. McCaffrey hasn’t been a true bell-cow back since moving to San Francisco, but he remains one of the most dynamic running backs in football. He’s capable of doing damage on the ground and through the air, and he’s one of the best touchdown scorers in football. McCaffrey has scored 12 touchdowns in 13 games with the 49ers, and he’s scored at least once in each of his past eight games.
The Eagles are a great matchup for McCaffrey to do some damage. The Eagles have been far more vulnerable on the ground than through the air, ranking just 21st in rush defense DVOA. They’re also 24th in pass defense DVOA vs. opposing running backs, so this sets up as a perfect matchup for McCaffrey’s skill set.
McCaffrey will still have to split some of the touches, but Elijah Mitchell is currently dealing with a groin injury. He’s listed as questionable after getting in a limited practice on Friday, so there’s a legit chance that he sits. I expect him to play, but if he’s at less than 100%, McCaffrey could see a larger workload than usual.
Jerick McKinnon ended the regular season on a massive heater. He scored eight receiving touchdowns in his final six games, and he added one rushing touchdown as well. Overall, he posted a positive Plus/Minus in five straight games from Week 13 through 17, including two performances with at least 34.2 DraftKings points.
McKinnon averaged 5.2 targets over his final six games of the regular season but was surprisingly kept off the board in his first playoff contest. He failed to log a single target and managed just 25 rushing yards on his 11 carries.
Still, there were some positives for McKinnon in that contest. He saw a nice uptick in snaps, leading the backfield with a 65% snap share, and he also ran more routes than usual. With Mahomes banged up, the Chiefs could lean heavier than usual on McKinnon once again, who is the team’s best pass blocker and receiver out of the backfield.
His salary has also decreased to $5,400 on DraftKings after peaking at $6,300. It results in a Bargain Rating of 88%, making McKinnon an appealing buy-low target.
Joe Mixon is another excellent value on DraftKings, where his $6,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 94%. He’s lost some work to Samaje Perine in recent weeks, but Mixon still managed 20 carries and three targets last week vs. the Bills. Part of that was due to the Bengals maintaining a comfortable lead for most of the game, but Mixon has ultimately posted a positive Plus/Minus in three of his past four games.
Isiah Pacheco is another potential option for the Chiefs, particularly on FanDuel. His lack of production in the passing game isn’t as detrimental on FanDuel, and he’s served as the Chiefs’ top runner over the second half of the year. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in three straight games and averaged at least 7.9 yards per carry in back-to-back contests.
The Eagles employ a three-man committee at running back, but Miles Sanders is their clear lead option. Sanders’ rushing market share was down last week, but that’s not a huge surprise given how thoroughly the Eagles dominated the Giants. He was also the Eagles’ only running back who failed to find the paint last week, which is a clear outlier. He was second to Hurts in touchdowns for the Eagles during the regular season, so he should be a bit more involved vs. the 49ers.
NFL DFS Wide Receiver Picks
For a slate with three of the best quarterbacks in fantasy, the receiving options are surprisingly slim. Only Ja’Marr Chase is priced above $7,000 on DraftKings, and it’s hard to argue against him as the top receiver on the slate. He has previously formed a 1A/1B combination with Tee Higgins, but Chase has established himself as the clear-cut alpha in Cincinnati of late. Since returning to the lineup in Week 13, Chase has racked up a 31.4% target share. That’s the fourth-best mark in the league over that time frame, and it ranks first among the remaining receivers.
Chase has also been the team’s top big-play threat. He’s racked up 40.6% of the team’s air yards over their past seven games, and he’s scored a touchdown in five of his past six.
He’s in a phenomenal spot this week vs. the Chiefs. They rank 31st in DVOA vs. No. 1 receivers, and Pro Football Focus credits him with the second-largest advantage at the position.
There aren’t a ton of appealing value options at the position, but JuJu Smith-Schuster stands out on DraftKings. He’s priced at just $4,700, which is his cheapest price tag of the entire season. He’s coming off a subpar performance in his last contest, but the Chiefs’ passing attack was highly condensed around Travis Kelce. Only two players saw more than two targets in that matchup, and Smith-Schuster wasn’t one of them.
That’s not necessarily a new development. JuJu now has a target share of nine percent or lower in three straight games, which obviously isn’t ideal. Still, he led the team’s receivers in terms of route participation, so he has plenty of room for improvement. Playing for the explosive Chiefs’ offense certainly doesn’t hurt, either.
Deebo Samuel missed some time at the end of the regular season, but he’s reestablished himself as the team’s top pass-catcher. He has at least seven targets in both playoff contests, and he’s had at least three rushing attempts in both games as well. He’s very reasonably priced at $5,700 on DraftKings.
Kadarius Toney doesn’t see a ton of snaps for the Chiefs. He was on the field for just 20 snaps last week, but that didn’t stop him from racking up seven targets. Most of his work comes around the line of scrimmage, which caps his upside a bit, but the Chiefs could utilize the quick passing game a bit more than usual to try to protect Mahomes.
The biggest matchup edge of the week per PFF belongs to A.J. Brown. That might not seem right on the surface given how good the 49ers’ defense has been this season, but they have struggled to defend against the deep ball. Brown is one of the best deep threats in football, so he has the potential to rack up a couple of big plays, just like D.K. Metcalf did in the Wild Card round.
NFL DFS Tight End Picks
When it comes to the tight end position, there is only one true stud. Travis Kelce had a quiet finish to his regular season, but he reminded everyone of just how good he is last week. He racked up a ridiculous 17 targets vs. the Jaguars, which he turned into 14 catches, 98 yards, and two touchdowns. He ultimately finished with 35.8 DraftKings, and no one at the position can match his upside.
However, Kelce has been priced up quite a bit following last week’s performance, and he’s now questionable with a back injury. There’s almost no chance that he doesn’t suit up, but he might not be quite as effective as he was last week.
Kelce still owns the top ceiling at the position by a solid margin, but there are better options available on a per-dollar perspective. Kelce is best deployed on FanDuel, where his $8,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 78%.
Dallas Goedert stands out as the top option on DraftKings. He’s been a big part of the Eagles’ offense when healthy this season, posting a target share of around 20%. He caught all five of his targets last week vs. the Giants, finishing with 16.8 DraftKings points.
His matchup vs. the 49ers is tougher than last week’s, but the 49ers aren’t quite as dominant against tight ends as they are against other positions. They rank 13th in DVOA vs. the position, so this matchup isn’t a death knell for Goedert’s fantasy value. In fact, his Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.4 actually ranks first on the slate.
He leads all tight ends with nine Pro Trends on DraftKings, where his $4,100 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 96%.
If you need to go even cheaper on DraftKings, Hayden Hurst stands out at $3,000 on DraftKings. Like Goedert, he also owns a Bargain Rating of 96%, and he’s racked up 17 targets over his past three games. He was a bit unlucky from a touchdown perspective during the regular season, but he managed to get in the paint in the Bengals’ last contest.
George Kittle is the other main tight end, and his role has shrunk since the return of Deebo. He still managed to rack up five catches for 95 yards last week, but he did it on just five targets. He’s managed just seven targets during his first two postseason contests, and he’s not going to be as efficient as he was last week very often.