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2024 Fantasy Football: Conference Championship DFS Strategy

Lamar Jackson throwing / conference championship dfs
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) warms up prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium. (Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports)

If you are new to DFS, check out our introductory pieces, such as DFS 101, Contest Selection, Stacking, Rostership, and Lineup Construction.

This article will go in-depth on each conference championship game and pull the players I am most interested in from them. 

If you haven’t already, check out the Cover 5 show on YouTube.

Conference Championship Round DFS Analysis

Kansas City Chiefs @ Baltimore Ravens

Weather: 45 degrees with some rain

O/U: 44.5

Spread: BAL -3.5

Kansas City Offense vs. Baltimore Defense

The Kansas City Chiefs' offense has clicked in the playoffs. However, their opponents have been more injured than any other defense in the league, and this unit hasn't been as overly dominant as it has in years past.

For example, Buffalo Bills LB A.J. Klein played over 90 percent of the snaps last week, and he was active for two regular-season games this year. That’s not the player you want in the middle of the field dealing with Travis Kelce or Isiah Pacheco.

This Baltimore Ravens defense plays every coverage, and they play every coverage extremely well. Patrick Mahomes is my least favorite quarterback on this slate, but as a two-gamer, you shouldn’t completely rule any quarterback out. The path for Mahomes is through Kelce and Rashee Rice. These two have over 50 percent of his targets and are the only two who continue to make plays for him when things break down. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Justin Watson are the two I would have slightly more interest in if I fully game-stack this one, but I don’t believe the Chiefs will be effective against this defense.

The run game is where Kansas City needs to find success, and Pacheco has been great this year. Baltimore has allowed seven different running backs to get over 95 yards rushing, and if Pacheco hits the 100-yard bonus on DraftKings, he likely hits the optimal. Pacheco has found usage in the passing game to end the season, and Andy Reid is one of the best in the business at calling screen plays.

Baltimore Offense vs. Kansas City Defense

Kansas City has held every quarterback it has played to under 300 yards passing but has struggled to contain them and keep them from scrambling. Lamar Jackson is arguably the best rushing quarterback in the history of the NFL and is averaging over 90 yards rushing per game in the playoffs.

Jackson is my favorite quarterback on the slate, and I think you can play him without any other Ravens pass-catchers. Mini-stacking him with Pacheco or Kelce and loading up on the other game will provide a unique Jackson stack

The weakness of Kansas City's secondary is the linebacker position, which bodes well for Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely. I would only play them together in a Jackson stack in the Milly-Maker contest, but I don’t mind either as a stack on a single entry or three-entry max. Baltimore has gone heavy and found a ton of success doing that, and you want to force the Chiefs to have more linebackers than defensive backs on the field.

The Ravens’ use of wide receivers vs. the Houston Texans was awful. Likely, Zay Flowers and Rashod Bateman were the only ones to run routes at a high rate. Nelson Agholor was next at a 50 percent rate, and Odell Beckham Jr. only ran eight routes. Beckham Jr. could easily play a bigger role this weekend, but it’s hard to look away from Bateman in this matchup.

Dalvin Cook didn’t see a snap until the game vs. Houston was out of reach. When it was competitive, running back was a 60-40 split in favor of Justice Hill over Gus Edwards. I don’t mind playing Hill or Edwards in a Jackson stack, but I believe you’ll want the Ravens' defense, as well.

The path for them with Jackson is a dominant rushing performance, and it will likely force the Chiefs to be one-dimensional, which can create sacks and turnovers. Baltimore's defense has dominated all year, and I don't believe in Kansas City's recent offensive performances.

Detroit Lions @ San Francisco 49ers

Weather: 77 degrees

O/U: 51.5

Spread: SF -7

Detroit Offense vs. San Francisco Defense

Jared Goff will be the lowest-rostered quarterback this weekend, and his ability to be a great DFS asset comes down to the Detroit Lions' offensive line against the San Francisco 49ers' defensive line. If Goff has time to throw, he'll find the soft spots in zone coverage and move the ball up the field.

If I play Goff, I will be buying into this environment and over-stacking this game as the projected shootout. If Goff is the optimal quarterback, that will come from a double stack of Amon-Ra St. Brown and one of Sam LaPorta, Josh Reynolds or Jameson Williams. I prefer Williams because I'll chase that big-play ability and because I believe he’s the one who takes the top off of the 49ers' defense.

San Francisco’s primary coverage is Cover 4 — on the season, Goff has an 81.1 percent completion percentage and averages 9.5 yards per pass attempt. Both of these are at the top of the entire NFL.

Detroit's run game has to be effective against this defense, and that starts with Jahmyr Gibbs. He needs to use his speed to make plays and get past Fred Warner in the second level. Matt LaFleur showed the way with Aaron Jones as he rushed for 108 yards on 18 attempts. David Montgomery will be used on the goal line and will be the power running back here, but his only path to a great game is scoring multiple goal-line touchdowns.

conference championship dfs Jared Goff Target Share

San Francisco Offense vs. Detroit Defense

Just like last weekend, the key to this two-game slate starts with Christian McCaffrey.

McCaffrey had 17 carries and 12 targets last week. That type of usage has brought his price to the top on both websites, and the field is simply getting to him at a high rate. He has scored over 28 DraftKings points in three of his last four games. With this being a small slate, there’s a chance he’s optimal with a 20-point output.

He has as many games over 30 points as he does under 20 this season, so him being optimal isn’t a high probability, but it isn’t impossible. If McCaffrey fails to score 20 and you didn’t play him, there’s a chance for a massive edge on the field.

The way to escape McCaffrey starts with Brock Purdy and a double stack of Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle. You need to take away as many yards and touchdowns as you can from McCaffrey, and the Lions will likely play a lot of single-high coverages to eliminate him.

When Detroit does this, Aiyuk and Kittle will have the advantages against the Lions' defense. These two account for over 50 percent of the targets and are the only two players averaging over two yards per route run.

This isn't going to be a Deebo Samuel game, and with him being injured, it’s more of a reason to fade him. If he isn’t playing, I would rather take the gamble with Ray-Ray McCloud than Juan Jennings, and that’s because of the leverage away from the field for a player for whom I would expect some schemed-up touches to go his way.