Your last chance at winning big in daily fantasy football contests arrives on Sunday. Both DraftKings and FanDuel will be actively promoting huge GPP tournaments, as this week’s conference championship tilts offer the last 2-game schedule of the year.
Sure, DK offers a new one-game contest and there might be something involving the Pro Bowl, but for true NFL DFS die hards, this is where the daily fantasy football season officially ends. Because of that, there should be a ton of volume in terms of entries this weekend and everyone will be looking for that huge edge in NFL DFS circles.
The news that would-be chalk quarterback Tom Brady has a hand injury complicates matters, too. It will be very interesting to see if – even on a tiny slate – Brady and his Patriots counterparts could (gasp) be low-owned.
Regardless, let’s take a look at 5 core plays that I’ll personally be rostering across the majority of my NFL DFS lineups this weekend:
Tom Brady – New England Patriots ($7.7k at DK, $9k at FD)
I know Brady banged his hand and he’s facing the Jags, but Big Ben just shredded this would-be elite defense a week ago. You can talk about sacks, turnovers and game flow all you want, but Jacksonville still gave up nearly 500 passing yards, 5 passing touchdowns and 42 overall points when it was said and done.
There is also the minor detail of Jacksonville not really being tested that much at an elite level in 2017. Their schedule wasn’t that troubling and they also tripped up several times. Remember when Jimmy Garoppolo destroyed them in San Francisco a few weeks ago? Yeah.
Brady being hurt could be a big problem, but New England’s game plan is likely to establish the run, execute short, quick passes and utilized The Gronk in the red-zone. That probably doesn’t change. And if the Pats do want to take deep shots (something Pittsburgh had a ton of success with), they have the speed to do it via Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan on the outside.
Healthy or not, Brady is tough to fade on this slate. Maybe it’s because he’s Brady or that he’s at home and has so many weapons.
Latavius Murray – Minnesota Vikings ($5.7k at DK, $6.9k at FD)
Obviously there is a strong case to play rookie phenom Leonard Fournette and/or Dion Lewis, but I’m personally interested in saving cash this week to load up on wide receiver talent. That isn’t the case for every single lineup and DK/FD have different pricing in spots (Alshon Jeffery is one of the biggest discrepancies), but for my core team I really like Murray about all other backs.
Murray shares the load with Jerick McKinnon and is admittedly on the road against a brutal Eagles run defense, but with him you know you’re getting two things; plenty of carries and some chances at goal-line work.
The Vikings could crater after their miracle win last week. This is not an easy road game at all, but Murray should be fed the rock and if Minnesota gets into scoring position, he’ll be one of their go-to options. I like his chances of getting a score and 60+ total yards, but if you want PPR upside, consider McKinnon as a pivot on DK.
Danny Amendola – New England Patriots ($5.5k at DK, $6.4k at FD)
Amendola is a must for me this week. He delivered for me last week (11 catches, 100+ yards) and I think he could do the same in the AFC title game. He’s notorious for stepping up during the playoffs and he also continues to be Tom Brady’s safety blanket, i.e., the new Julian Edelman.
Maybe Brady will stink it up in this game, but if you’re spending on him to be your top QB, you might as well go all in and pick a couple of his receiving weapons to also benefit along with him.
New England’s game plan is likely going to be short area attacks and Amendola is shifty and smart enough to beat the Jags inside. I think he racks up 5+ catches again and maybe even gets a score.
Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots ($7.9k at DK, $8.4k at FD)
Zach Ertz and Kyle Rudolph are actually pretty viable on this small slate, as they’re offering a steep discount (particularly at DraftKings) this weekend. They could be fine, but the guy who has the most upside and also likely to have the most ownership is The Gronk.
Jalen Ramsey seems to think he can stifle the best tight end in football, but I have my doubts. Vance freaking McDonald caught 11 balls for over 100 yards last week and Gronkowski has been borderline matchup proof throughout his career. Even if he doesn’t go nuts, he’s got a better floor than everyone else at his position.
This could easily be a week where no tight ends stand out. The Eagles, Vikings and Jaguars all rank inside the top-14 against the tight end position this year, so there is a decent chance nobody goes off. However, Gronkowski gives you the best chance and he’s the best red-zone target of the lot.
I’m down for spending up to get that extra edge, although given his talent and upside, I’m not sure he’ll be remotely low-owned.
Overall, I am rostering these guys in most of my daily fantasy football lineups this week. I’ll have some lineups that pivot off of these guys, but I love them and think they all pay off.