Each week of the NFL season, NFL DFS gamers must survey the landscape to find potential building blocks, or the core plays that form the foundation of most lineups. The selections are fewer and the decisions carry more pressure, so let’s see what we can find as the best NFL DFS picks for the AFC and NFC Conference Championships on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Stokastic provides a variety of tools for all DFS sports that can help you sort through the large featured slate player pool for the NFL slate. These were used when coming up with the recommendations in this article and include, and they are far from limited to such offerings as the NFL DFS Top Stacks tool, player projections, the Boom/Bust tool and the Lineup Generator.
All tools are updated for the DraftKings and FanDuel main slates each week. Additionally, multiple tools are also at your disposal for the sub-slates as well as the primetime “island games” which have turned into one of the most popular DFS offerings on DraftKings and FanDuel. If you’re in the market for more DFS tools — especially for non-NFL sports as the season comes to an end — take a look at the Stokastic Discounts and Coupon Code page as well as the Subscription page to see what packages best suit your needs.
NFL DFS Picks: AFC & NFC Conference Championships at DraftKings & FanDuel
NFL DFS Conference Championship Picks and Building Blocks: Quarterbacks
Lamar Jackson crushed it against the Texans by throwing for two scores and adding 100 yards and another two tuddies on 11 carries. He was also 16 of 22 (72.7%) for 152 yards. The only blemish was three sacks, but that is not a negative DFS factor. He should get tight end Mark Andrews back, which adds another trusted receiver to the mix. The presumptive NFL MVP is easily the top quarterback in the player pool this week.
He did not have the most efficient game against Green Bay, completing 23 of 39 passes (58.9%) for 252 yards and one touchdown. It’s crazy to think that Mr. Irrelevant is already playing in his second NFC Championship and making his fifth postseason start. Detroit is hemorrhaging production to opposing quarterbacks, ceding an average of 373.6 yards per game over the last five weeks, including two games where Nick Mullens threw for 411 and 396 yards. Each quarterback has thrown for two touchdowns, with Baker Mayfield tossing three last weekend.
Brock Purdy should have everyone healthy and available across the skill positions on Sunday, which means the Detroit defense will have to make some difficult choices. While Purdy is not as flashy as the other three quarterbacks on the slate, he has the salary advantage and is at the helm of one of the most efficient offenses in the league.
Once again, Patrick Mahomes did just enough to coax his team to victory, and Kansas City is now on the cusp of a return trip to the Super Bowl. The reigning NFL and Super Bowl MVP is playing in just his second career road playoff game. Sunday marks his 18th playoff start. The same issues from last week apply in that he has the thinnest receiving group of his career, but this time, he’ll have to enter hostile territory against the best defense in the league.
Mahomes has 38 postseason touchdowns against just seven interceptions, with his last pick occurring in the 2021 AFC Championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He has just two games with three or more touchdowns this season, with the last coming back in Week 7 against the Chargers. Never doubt Mahomes, but this is arguably his toughest game yet.
Just two interceptions in the last six games and four in the last nine is a great showing by Jared Goff. He is well beyond the “just happy to be here” phase, and the Lions are desperate to make it to the Super Bowl. It will be interesting to see if Detroit can continue to use the running game to set up the pass, which would be the ideal approach against the 15th-ranked defense by rushing DVOA and the fourth-best unit by passing DVOA. Four of the last six opposing signal-callers to face San Francisco have tossed two touchdowns, but just three of them threw for more than 195 yards.
NFL DFS Conference Championship Picks and Building Blocks: Running Backs
Quick thoughts on the key contributors:
- Christian McCaffrey (49ers-Lions): Tied for the league lead with 21 touchdowns (14 rushing, 7 receiving), he ran for a pair last week against Green Bay. He also had a dozen targets, which marked his second game in the last three with double-digits. Enjoy!
- Isiah Pacheco (Chiefs-Ravens): Limited in practice with toe and ankle issues, Pacheco is expected to suit up on Sunday. He will be the key to victory as the Chiefs have been reliant on the running game down the stretch. Last weekend, Pacheco had 15 carries for 97 yards and a score in Buffalo, giving him his fourth touchdown in the last five games and fourth effort over 89 rushing yards. Houston was too busy playing catch-up last week to worry about the run, but it is worth noting that Baltimore did allow four backs to top the century mark in the final five games.
- Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery: The rookie gets the nod over the savvy veteran with a big edge in the passing game. Both will see a dozen touches, and while touchdowns will ultimately decide the better performer, Gibbs’ electric running, both in the open field and after the catch, gives him the edge. Monty stays on the same line because of his appropriately discounted salary.
- Justice Hill: Hill went 13 for 66 on the ground last week, which was a surprise, but his role in the receiving game is what we care about. Takes a bit of a hit with Andrews returning, but still is the best combo-back for Baltimore.
- Gus Edwards: Sadly he will be a decimal back unless he gets a touchdown, and even then, he will be dealing with Jackson as a red-zone vulture.
NFL DFS Conference Championship Picks and Building Blocks: Wide Receivers
Quick thoughts on the key contributors:
- Amon-Ra St. Brown: The third-year man has been outstanding and is getting better every season. He somehow did not get a Pro Bowl nod this year, but he was a first-team All-Pro. He is outstanding on all three levels and can nail every route under the sun. He has scored a touchdown in eight of his last 11 games, but racking up receptions and receiving yards is his calling card.
- Rashee Rice: Rice was held in check last week, but he did bring in all four targets for 47 yards. Should bounce back and is a three for triple-digit yardage or a score.
- Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel: Less than sexy game logs for Aiyuk could keep some looking elsewhere, and with no injury tag for Samuel, Aiyuk could see some of his popularity (45%-50% across the main DFS sites) dip a little. Just two targets and no carries last weekend for Deebo are creating another sparse game log. If the popularity of Aiyuk holds, look to Samuel as the leverage option if he holds at a quarter. #GameTheoryTime
- Zay Flowers: Things are getting a little crowded for the rookie now, but he is still the most dynamic wideout on the team.
- Josh Reynolds: He is dealing with sore ribs but isn’t on the injury report. Expect him to be on the field for close to 70% of the snaps as the best blocking receiver. That gives him a chance for some targets from Goff, who has already gone his direction in both playoff games.
- Jameson Williams: Still a tick below Reynolds, but with Kalif Raymond still out, Williams should get time as the third wideout with Donovan Peoples-Jones backing him up. Last weekend he was on the field for 58% of the offensive plays, which worked out to 42 snaps, while Peoples-Jones and Antoine Green saw the field three times each. Williams had just two targets, but there is the potential for doubling that if the 49ers overbalance things against St. Brown.
Premium Members can check out all the specific wide receiver projections here.
NFL DFS Conference Championship Picks and Building Blocks: Tight Ends
Tight end is the spot to find differentiation, and each of the remaining teams offers up an outstanding option.
First up: Travis Kelce. The superstar is fresh off of a two-touchdown performance and has tallied 70-plus yards in each playoff game. Of course, he’ll cost you the highest salary for the position on both DraftKings and FanDuel and is projected for top-two popularity.
Sam LaPorta has been everything the Lions could have hoped for and more. But he is still a rookie, and while he brought in nine of his 11 targets last weekend for 65 yards, he won’t surprise anyone this weekend. The knee brace does not seem to be dramatically impacting his play, which is good to see.
George Kittle racked up 81 yards and a touchdown, catching four of his seven targets. He will get lost in the sauce as a blocker for long stretches of the game, but he can be a slate-breaker. He has to compete for touches with three other outstanding playmakers, which hurts his volume, but that also means someone will be left with dreamy coverage by opposing defenses.
Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely will each curb the upside of the other, but both have double-digit fantasy point potential, even on FanDuel with the half-PPR scoring. It currently appears that Andrews will have two or three times the popularity of Likely while coming in fourth overall for this position. There is a good chance that the Ravens limit his snaps somewhat, as he hasn’t taken the field in Week 11, but he should be out there for the high-leverage plays.
Noah Gray is a punt option on DraftKings ($2,500) and not that much different than the dart-throw receivers. He has less likelihood of half a dozen fantasy points than the other scrubs, but with Mahomes under center, he has similar long-shot touchdown equity.
NFL DFS Conference Championship Picks and Building Blocks: Defense/Special Teams
Things are looking different this weekend with fewer extreme weather concerns.
- Baltimore Ravens: Top rushing DVOA and fourth passing DVOA, along with a league-leading 60 sacks and 31 takeaways. Oh, and they led the league with just 16.5 points allowed per tilt. Mahomes is in the AFC Championship Game for the fifth consecutive season, but he had his highest stack and interception rates this year to go with his lowest touchdown percentage.
- San Francisco 49ers: This squad was just one point per game behind the Ravens in terms of scoring while collecting 28 turnovers and 48 quarterback sacks. Though San Francisco did not sack Jordan Love last week, the two interceptions were crucial.
- Kansas City Chiefs: No sacks or takeaways last weekend in Buffalo and Sunday is another challenging road game, but this is an experienced unit. Kansas City has the fifth-best passing DVOA, though they can be had via a good running game, with the fifth-worst rushing defense. Unless the offense can put points on the board, expect a ground-based strategy from coach John Harbaugh.
- Detroit Lions: Not too shabby with the third-best rushing DVOA and a steady 16th against the pass. Performed the best of these four D/STs last weekend with four sacks and two picks. Clearly, this is a wildly variant position for DFS.
As you get your best NFL DFS Championship Round Sunday picks and lineups prepped on DraftKings and FanDuel, Stokastic can help. We have more free DFS content on the NFL DFS homepage, premium DFS software including NFL Sims and the Lineup Generator, and the best live shows and videos from your favorite analysts on our YouTube channel.
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