I am as big a fantasy lover as there is, but full disclosure, I will not be playing this weekend. My beloved New England Patriots are in the final eight and I will be focused on the real games and not the fantasy contests. But that doesn’t mean I can’t help you all out.
There are less players to pick now, so make your picks count. There are worse matchups for offensive players and a smaller player pool, so there will be fewer recommendations than usual. Here we go:
Tom Brady, New England Patriots ($7,400): Yes – Kansas City is 5th in defensive efficiency against the pass, but they are facing the league leader in passing touchdowns who was third in passing yards. Brady will be getting his top receiver back in Julian Edelman and his #2 receiver Danny Amendola should be fully healthy for the first time in a while. And while KC’s pass defense has looked great recently, in their last 8 games they have faced the following quarterbacks: Hoyer, Carr, Manziel, Clausen, Rivers, Carr, Taylor and Rivers. Carr and Rivers are above average, but that certainly is no murderers row. Things are getting real for KC and Brady should play well.
Bang for Your Buck
Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos ($6,000) Conspicuous in his absence from my list is Carson Palmer, who, if I were playing DFS this weekend, I would be fading. He will be the most highly owned QB and I think Arizona will have a run heavy game plan against the Green Bay defense who is only 19th in Defensive Efficiency versus the run. I would instead roll with Manning who faces a Steelers defense who are 5th in Defensive Efficiency versus the run but only 15th versus the pass. Manning hasn’t been great this season, but I think this will be a vintage game in what might be his swan song.
David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals ($6,000): As stated earlier, the Packers are only 18th in defensive efficiency versus the run and I expect a heavy dose of Johnson this week. In his last four full games, he has not gone under 17 DraftKings points and has been over 20 three times, including 21.7 against these Packers in week 16. Expect another big game from Mr. Johnson.
Bang for your Buck
Fitzgerald Toussaint, Pittsburgh Steelers ($4,200): This is assuming that DeAngelo Williams will still be out this game, which looks like a fair assumption. It will either be a hobbled Big Ben throwing for the Steelers or an often ineffective Landry Jones. That will leave Toussaint to carry the offense by running the ball and corralling short passes. Denver has a tough run defense, but on volume alone, this play is worth the money.
C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos ($3,700): While I don’t think Anderson will have a huge game, I love the price point here. He has had double digit touches and a touchdown in each of his last two games. There aren’t too many running backs worth rostering this week and Anderson will likely get 12-14 touches and has a good chance of finding the end zone. I love the value.
Julian Edelman, New England Patriots ($7,100): Obviously this pick is a bit risky since Edelman has not played since week 10. That having been said, I think Edelman is healthy and I think the Patriots will have a short pass heavy game plan against the relentless pass rush of the Chiefs. DraftKings is PPR scoring and I think the Patriots top receiver will catch 8+ balls and be the key to their offense this week.
Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos ($7,000): Great price for Thomas who faces the worst pass defense left in the playoffs and was still a top 10 receiver in targets, catches and yards this season. Thomas had 20+ DraftKings points in 2 of his last 3 games, including a 23.1 point performance against these same Steelers. This could be another nice game.
Bang for your Buck
James Jones, Green Bay Packers ($4,600): Reminder – it was James Jones and not Randall Cobb who was the Packers’ leader in receiving yards this year. The Cardinals have a great passing defense, but Jones did manage double digit DraftKings points in his last game against Arizona. I think that the Packers will need to throw a lot to keep up with Arizona and Jones will be the beneficiary.
Albert Wilson, Kansas City Chiefs ($3,800): Jeremy Maclin may try to play for the Chiefs this week, but even if he gets on the field he will likely be pretty limited. That leaves Wilson as the Chiefs’ top target. The Chiefs will have to throw to someone (aside from Travis Kelce) and Wilson could be a surprising and cheap source for some points.
Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers ($6,900): The Panthers’ top receiver has already faced the Seahawks this year and caught 7 balls for 131 yards and a touchdown. That led, in part, to Seattle only being ranked 26th in defensive efficiency against the tight end. This looks to be a matchup that Cam Newton will and should look to exploit.
Bang for your Buck
Owen Daniels, Denver Broncos ($2,500): He is priced at the minimum and is not really a min price player. Peyton Manning will likely not take many deep shots, so I could see 6-8 targets for Daniels, including some red zone chances. Worth a dart throw at this price.
Bang for your buck
Denver Broncos ($3,900) vs. Steelers: The Steelers are missing too many weapons. If Landry Jones plays, expect a couple of turnovers and few points allowed.
New England Patriots ($3,500) vs. Cheifs: The Chiefs don’t turn the ball over much so don’t expect a huge amount of points from the Patriots, but I think they will be able to get to Alex Smith and potentially limit the Chiefs offense. A double digit point day is within their grasp.
For my complete lineup, follow me on twitter @AssemblyNeil