Conference Championship Weekend is quickly approaching, and we have the two best matchups we could have possibly asked for. Both games should deliver an entertaining duel amongst rising superstars on both sides of the ball. Fans are eager to see which teams finish on top and advance to the Super Bowl.
However, the main question on my mind is which players will excel in DFS this week. While I can’t tell you which teams are going to prevail, I do know a few key players that will help you win your DFS matchup.
A.J. Brown, WR, Eagles ($7000)
A.J. Brown is listed as the second most expensive receiver in DFS this week and for good reason. He has made the leap to superstar status this year and is now about to play the most important game of his career.
While the 49ers’ defense has been stellar as a whole all season, the secondary has been far from perfect. In fact, in three of the last four weeks, they have allowed monster performances to CeeDee Lamb, DK Metcalf, and Davante Adams, all players of the same caliber as A.J. Brown.
Brown didn’t see much action last week against the Giants, but the Eagles didn’t need to throw the ball very much to win that game. This week will be different. The game will be much more competitive, and the 49ers’ run defense will force Hurts to look to the passing game much more than he did last week. The connection that Hurts and Brown have created this year is special, and they will certainly look to showcase that bond on Sunday. Yes, $7000 is an expensive pick for a player this week, but A.J. Brown is more than worth that price. Brown and the Eagles are not to be underestimated on Sunday, playing at home in what should be one of the best games of the season.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, Chiefs ($5400)
Toward the end of the regular season, Jerick McKinnon emerged out of nowhere as one of the most prominent weapons on the Kansas City offense. He was also able to put up some monster DFS performances due to his volume both in the air and on the ground.
Over the past couple of weeks, McKinnon’s production seems to have gone back down to normal as Isiah Pacheco took over as the undisputed RB1 role in Kansas City, a position he deserves. While Pacheco will certainly see a fair amount of touches against Cincinnati, I believe this will be the week McKinnon catches fire again and puts up a performance good enough to carry a DFS lineup.
The Chiefs’ game plan will look different this week, and that is because Patrick Mahomes is not as mobile as he would like to be due to the ankle injury he sustained last week against the Jaguars. While he most certainly will play, he probably won’t be able to conjure up as much of his signature “Mahomes Magic” that he brings to every playoff game. Instead, I see the Chiefs exploring short, quick passes along with other plays that don’t require Mahomes to scramble too much. Jerick McKinnon sees most of his volume on quick passes and should benefit accordingly from this strategy. He is certainly more valuable than his $5400 price would imply.
George Kittle, TE, 49ers ($5200)
George Kittle has emerged as both Brock Purdy’s biggest fan and his favorite receiving target. After a slow start to the season, Kittle has seen plenty of volume in nearly every game since Purdy took over at QB. However, while Purdy has played near-flawless at the beginning of his young career, this Eagles’ unit will indisputably be the most difficult defense he has ever faced. This is probably part of the reason why Kittle’s price has dropped so low. Yet, it is important not to forget how ridiculously talented this 49ers’ offense is. They will surely find ways to move the ball down the field. On top of that, both of these teams are run-dominant. So, it’s likely each defense will look to force their opponent to throw the ball.
A couple of years ago Kittle was toe-to-toe with Travis Kelce in the conversation for the best tight end in the league. Since then, Kelce has clearly taken the top spot. However, the Brock Purdy-led 49ers have seen Kittle play himself back into that conversation.
The 49ers have had a few chances to reach the Super Bowl under Kyle Shanahan but have come up short every time. If they are able to punch their ticket to the big game this year, it will be on the backs of their star offensive players: Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle.
This is one of the most highly anticipated NFL weeks in recent memory. It seems like the four best teams in the league truly earned their spots, and there is no clear favorite to be the Super Bowl Champion. I expect all four teams to reach deep into their bag of tricks and leave it all on the field this Sunday. I also anticipate teams will try to go with what has been working for them all season. That means players like A.J. Brown, Jerick McKinnon, and George Kittle should serve your DFS lineup well. I think I speak for everyone when I say Sunday can’t come soon enough.
WATCH: Target Quez Watkins in DFS for Championship Week