Analysis

All Three Phases Matter: Examining Chiefs’ Win Over Bengals

Marvin Lewis and Mike Zimmer dive into the Xs and Os of the Chiefs’ win against the Bengals. Zimmer explains how the Bengals’ defensive versatility allowed them to slow Patrick Mahomes down. But penalties helped Kansas City secure the win. Even though Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins made explosive plays, the Bengals made too many mistakes in the other phases of the game.

Important Championship-Week Stats for Chiefs vs. Eagles Super Bowl Matchup

Important Championship-Week Stats for Chiefs vs. Eagles Super Bowl Matchup
Welcome to the NFL playoffs recap series. Each week, The 33rd Team’s Nic Bodiford will break down the results of the most recent playoff round, offering thoughts for NFL fans, fantasy football players and sports bettors. This article will provide you with important stats from the past weekend for the Chiefs-Eagles Super Bowl matchup and […]

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DFS

Previewing the Conference Championship DFS Slate

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

Two-game slates force a player to be close to perfect, and the normal rules do not exist. Play three pass-catchers with one quarterback, two running backs from the same team, or a player against your defense. I already broke down the matchups, so I want to take you position by position with my thoughts before telling you my favorite stack, favorite play, and favorite fade.

For the full breakdown of coverage analysis, click the link below!

https://www.the33rdteam.com/category/dfs/defensive-coverage-breakdown-for-every-conference-championship-team/

We also have Rostership Data for FREE, which can be found in the link below.
https://www.the33rdteam.com/dfs/how-to-utilize-rostership-data-to-win-dfs-tournaments/ 

Quarterback

Patrick Mahomes

  • Patrick Mahomes is not coming in popular with that ankle injury
  • In 2019, he had a high ankle sprain in Week 1 on the opposite foot, and in the next six weeks on the injury report averaged 300.3 yards passing and two passing touchdowns
  • The Cincinnati Bengals will likely play Cover 0 and Cover 1 at a high rate; Mahomes ranked ninth in yards per attempt amongst QBs with at least 100 snaps against it
  • Pair Mahomes with two pass-catchers in every build; for large field tournaments, three can be viable

Jalen Hurts

  • The San Francisco 49ers will play a lot of zone coverage, and Jalen Hurts ranked third in yards per attempt against zone amongst QBs with 100 snaps against it
  • Hurts is the only QB on the slate with an ability to run, and I expect him to use his legs against this 49ers defense
  • The game script can go either way, and I believe we will see a big game from Hurts
  • Hurts is my favorite quarterback on the slate, and I am willing to eat the chalk

Joe Burrow

  • The Kansas City Chiefs will run a lot of Cover 1 or Cover 2 coverage against Burrow
  • Joe Burrow averages 8.6 yards per attempt and a 70.4% completion percentage against these two coverages
  • Against the Chiefs, Burrow led seven drives of at least eight plays. Five of his drives lasted four minutes of game time, and they will likely attempt to do that again
  • The ceiling game for Burrow comes down to the offensive line holding up and his ability to continue attempting quick yardage throws
  • Burrow is ranked third amongst QBs, and I will be underweight compared to the field

Brock Purdy

  • I will not be playing Brock Purdy this weekend; the pricing doesn’t generate enough of an advantage for paying down, and I don’t believe he has a high enough ceiling

 

Running Back

Christian McCaffrey

  • The 49ers have the advantage in the run game, and Christian McCaffrey is chalk I am willing to buy into
  • McCaffrey has an injury to monitor, but Shanahan knows he has to dial up the run game for his rookie quarterback on the road
  • The Eagles have given up over 100 yards rushing in six straight weeks
  • The trenches tool gives the 49ers a significant advantage in the run game
  • If you are not playing McCaffrey, I recommend getting to Elijah Mitchell

Joe Mixon

  • Slow, methodical drives will lead to Joe Mixon rushing attempts 
  • Mixon did not play in the first matchup. Samaje Perine ran for 106 yards and had six receptions for 49 yards
  • Mixon is a target for Burrow out of the backfield and will get usage near the red zone
  • I don’t believe Mixon is a must-have, but the slate of RBs is weak, and it won’t take a big game to be in the optimal build

Jerick McKinnon

  • Jerick McKinnon is the Chiefs running back I want because of his ability to pass protect. Isiah Pacheco will out-carry him, but McKinnon will make it up in the passing game
  • McKinnon played 65% of the snaps against the Jaguars, and I believe that was because of the Mahomes’ injury
  • McKinnon is projected to be more popular than Pacheco

Miles Sanders

  • I will not be getting Miles Sanders; I think the Eagles throw a lot more than run, and near the red zone, it will be Hurts

Elijah Mitchell

  • McCaffrey is nursing an injury, and so is Mitchell, but I expect him to get enough carries to be viable
  • Mitchell is my preferred punt play at running back because I expect the 49ers to be run-heavy

Samaje Perine

  • Perine played extremely well against the Chiefs and has played over 40% of the snaps in each of the last two weeks
  • The only problem with Perine is he is more popular than Mitchell, and Mitchell will likely see more touches

Wide Receivers

Ja’Marr Chase

  • The most popular wide receiver on the entire slate, and it’s for a good reason
  • Ja’Marr Chase averages 139 yards against the Chiefs and has four touchdowns in three games
  • This season, he came off an injury and had seven receptions for 97 yards in that game, and whenever they saw Cover 1, it was an easy play for him to make
  • If the Chiefs can play Cover 2 for most of the game, I don’t believe he will have a big game to pay off the price. If they get the lead and force them into Cover 1, the explosive play is just waiting to happen

A.J. Brown

  • The 49ers’ corners can be beaten on the outside, and A.J. Brown will be able to out-physical them the way we saw DK Metcalf do in the wild-card round
  • If the 49ers attempt to play more Cover 3 coverage, Brown will be the player to have, but in Cover 4, Smith has been the preferred option
  • Crossing routes have hurt the 49ers this season, and Brown has 19% of his targets on these routes

DeVonta Smith

  • DeVonta Smith has been the go-to for the Eagles against Cover 4, and in games where the 49ers will have the lead or be in a one-score game, they will play plenty of that coverage
  • Smith has had eight targets in every game since Week 10, and I don’t think he will be under that number in this one
  • Brown has the highest ceiling, but Smith can have a big game

 

Deebo Samuel

  • I don’t trust Purdy enough to make plays down the field against a defense that is one of the best in the NFL. Deebo Samuel has not been getting much usage in the ground game to compensate for that

Tee Higgins

  • Burrow spreads the ball against Cover 2 coverage, and I think that style of play will limit the pass-catching group
  • Tee Higgins is priced in a spot where he will be popular, but it is chalk I am willing to go to because he has a high ceiling
  • In Cover 1, I expect Chase to be the main focus for this defense, and they will try to trust their corners on an island vs. Higgins

JuJu Smith-Schuster

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster is not great against man coverage. However, he will have the opportunity to run routes one on one with Eli Apple, and can win in that matchup

Brandon Aiyuk

  • The Eagles’ safeties stay over the middle of the field, and James Bradberry gets beat in man situations down the sidelines
  • The only concern I have for Brandon Aiyuk is Purdy’s ability to make the throw, but out of the 49ers’ pass-catchers, he is my preferred option

Tyler Boyd

  • Tyler Boyd led the team in yards against Cover 2 coverage and is someone Burrow likes to target
  • In Burrow stacks, I will get plenty of exposure to Boyd

Kadarius Toney

  • Kadarius Toney is the most explosive player after the catch for the Chiefs, and I believe he is key to their offense performance.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling

  • The Bengals will play man-to-man coverage and bring pressure; the deep play will be there for the Chiefs’ pass catchers like Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Quez Watkins

  • Quez Watkins is my favorite option under $4,000, and I believe he will have the opportunity to have a big play touchdown in the game

 

Tight End

Travis Kelce

  • Travis Kelce will get plenty of work in this game, and you shouldn’t be concerned about what he can do
  • The Bengals have a great scheme, but the chemistry between Mahomes and Kelce is too great

George Kittle

  • George Kittle scares me off because of his price and because he might be needed a lot more in pass protection and blocking in the run game
  • Kittle has a defensive scheme he can play well against, but like the wide receivers, I am not sure that Purdy can get the job done

Dallas Goedert

  • The 49ers have one of the best linebacking crews in the NFL, but they will have plenty to deal with against this Eagles’ run game and wide receiver room
  • Dallas Goedert is way too cheap on DraftKings, and is a strong play on the slate

Hayden Hurst

  • Like the quarterback position this weekend, I don’t think Hayden Hurst can keep pace with the top portion of the tight end room

Defense/Special Teams

49ers

  • The 49ers are viable, and I will be loading up those builds with the Chiefs-Bengals game

Eagles

  • The safest defense on the slate is the Eagles’; they are at home and going up against a rookie quarterback
  • I would correlate them with Hurts’ stacks because you want them to play with the lead and get after Purdy

Chiefs

  • Their defensive line is very motivated, and I am not buying into how well the Bengals’ offensive line played against the Bills
  • Chris Jones can be a game-wrecker, and I will be banking on him in this matchup

Bengals

  • Lou Anarumo has slowed this team down and confused them in coverages
  • They are the cheapest defense on the slate against a limited Patrick Mahomes

 

Favorite Stacks

  • QB Jalen Hurts, WR AJ Brown, WR Quez Watkins
    • Runback: RB Christian McCaffrey
  • QB Patrick Mahomes, WR Kadarius Toney, TE Travis Kelce
    • Runback: WR Ja’Marr Chase
  • QB Joe Burrow, WR Ja’Marr Chase, WR Tyler Boyd
    • Runback: WR Kadarius Toney

Favorite Play

Quez Watkins

Favorite Fade

Deebo Samuel

Player Pool

Player Pos Team Opp DK Salary FD Salary VegasPts
Patrick Mahomes QB KC vs CIN $7,600 $8,500 24.5
Jalen Hurts QB PHI vs SF $7,200 $9,200 24.25
Joe Burrow QB CIN @ KC $6,800 $8,300 23.5
Christian McCaffrey RB SF @ PHI $8,000 $9,000 22.25
Joe Mixon RB CIN @ KC $6,500 $8,100 23.5
Jerick McKinnon RB KC vs CIN $5,400 $6,500 24.5
Eli Mitchell RB SF @ PHI $4,900 $5,600 22.25
Samaje Perine RB CIN @ KC $4,500 $5,300 23.5
JaMarr Chase WR CIN @ KC $7,600 $8,600 23.5
A.J. Brown WR PHI vs SF $7,000 $8,000 24.25
DeVonta Smith WR PHI vs SF $6,800 $7,700 24.25
Deebo Samuel WR SF @ PHI $5,700 $7,000 22.25
Tee Higgins WR CIN @ KC $5,400 $6,700 23.5
JuJu Smith-Schuster WR KC vs CIN $4,700 $6,100 24.5
Brandon Aiyuk WR SF @ PHI $4,400 $6,000 22.25
Tyler Boyd WR CIN @ KC $3,800 $5,300 23.5
Kadarius Toney WR KC vs CIN $3,700 $5,600 24.5
Marquez Valdes-Scantling WR KC vs CIN $3,600 $5,100 24.5
Quez Watkins WR PHI vs SF $3,100 $4,800 24.25
Travis Kelce TE KC vs CIN $7,800 $8,500 24.5
George Kittle TE SF @ PHI $5,200 $6,800 22.25
Dallas Goedert TE PHI vs SF $4,100 $6,400 24.25
49ers DST SF @ PHI $3,000 $4,100 24.25
Eagles DST PHI vs SF $2,800 $4,600 22.25
Chiefs DST KC vs CIN $2,500 $4,200 23.5
Bengals DST CIN @ KC $2,300 $4,000 24.5

WATCH: Finding a DFS Big Play Option From 49ers

DFS

AFC Championship DFS: Which Bengals Pass Catcher to Take vs. Chiefs

An AFC Championship game featuring the Cincinnati and Kansas City offenses offers no shortage of exciting options for DFS players to pick from, and in a game that should be pass-happy, the Bengals’ Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase could both have good games vs. the Chiefs, and be strong options for anyone playing that game this weekend.

Other Jennings/Vanek Previews: Chiefs, Eagles

Betting

AFC Championship Betting: Odds, Spreads, Picks, Predictions for Bengals vs. Chiefs

An in-depth betting breakdown of the AFC Championship Game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday:

Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs

Opening Spread: Chiefs -1

Opening Game Total: 47.5

Opening Team Totals: Chiefs (24.25) Bengals (23.25)

Weather: Outdoors, cold temperatures expected

Line Report

  • This line opened between Chiefs -1 and Chiefs -1.5
  • This line has moved to Chiefs -2
  • This total opened at 47.5 points
  • This total remains at 47.5 points

Notable Injuries

Chiefs: Questionable: TE Travis Kelce, WR Mecole Hardman, WR Justin Watson

Bengals: Out: LT Jonah Williams, RG Alex Cappa.

Chiefs Offense vs. Bengals Defense

The Chiefs have a top-10-level offensive line with one of the better interiors in the league. The Bengals have a below-average pass rush, but an above-average run defense. The Chiefs have an advantage in pass protection, but this trench matchup is more of a draw in the run game.

Regular Season Betting Notes Per TruMedia

  • The Chiefs are 7-10 against the spread this season
  • Kansas City is 8-9 on overs this season
  • Patrick Mahomes is 41-37-2 against the spread in his career
  • Mahomes is 42-37-1 on overs in his career
  • Andy Reid is 197-166-7 against the spread since 2000 as an NFL head coach
  • Reid is 181-178-11 on overs since 2000 as an NFL head coach

Chiefs Offense (Regular Season)

  • The Chiefs scored 29.2 points per game, which was the best in the league
  • Kansas City is first in the league in yards passing per game and 20th in yards rushing
  • The Chiefs are passing on 67% of plays and running on 33% of plays, per Sports Info Solutions
  • Per The Edge, Isiah Pacheco has at least 58 yards rushing in nine of his last 10 games, which includes last week’s matchup with the Jaguars
  • Jerick McKinnon has a touchdown in each of his last six regular season games with a total of nine scores during that span
  • Pacheco has been the Chiefs’ primary ball carrier since Week 10 against the Jaguars, while McKinnon takes on the bulk of the passing game and goal-line work
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster finished the regular season with 78 receptions for 933 yards receiving and three touchdowns on a 17.1% target share and a 17.2% air yards share
  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling finished the regular season with 42 receptions for 687 yards receiving and two touchdowns on a 13.2% target share and a 25.5% air yards share
  • Travis Kelce finished the regular season with the third most receptions in the league (110), eighth in yards receiving (1,338) and second in receiving touchdowns (12)
  • Kelce finished third among tight ends in target share (24.9%) and third in air yards share (24.2%)
  • Per TruMedia, Smith-Schuster played 433 snaps on the perimeter and 298 in the slot this season
  • Valdes-Scantling played 469 snaps on the perimeter and 264 in the slot this season
  • Kelce played 321 snaps as an inline tight end, 223 on the perimeter, and 313 in the slot this season

 

Bengals Defense (Regular Season)

  • The Bengals allowed 20.1 points per game, which is sixth in the league
  • Cincinnati is 29th in the league in sacks, 10th in forced fumbles and 18th in interceptions
  • Per The Edge, the Bengals allowed the 26th-most yards rushing per game and the 23rd-most yards receiving per game to running backs this season
  • Cincinnati gave up the 19th-most yards receiving per game to wide receivers this year
  • The Bengals gave up the ninth-most PPR points per game to slot receivers
  • Cincinnati allowed the seventh-most yards receiving per game to tight ends this season
  • The Bengals allowed the eighth-most PPR points per game to tight ends lined up in the slot 

Bengals Offense vs. Chiefs Defense

The Bengals’ injury-ravaged offensive line held up much better than expected against the Bills last week. Even still, we should treat this group as a below-average unit if they are down multiple starters once again. The Chiefs have a fringe top-10 defensive front. Kansas City has a significant advantage in the trenches in this matchup. Chiefs premium defensive tackle Chris Jones has a major individual advantage in this contest.

Betting Notes Per TruMedia

  • The Bengals are 12-4 against the spread this season
  • The Bengals are 6-9-1 on overs this season
  • Joe Burrow is 27-15 against the spread in his career
  • Burrow is 20-20-2 on overs in his career
  • Zac Taylor is 38-27 against the spread in his career as an NFL head coach
  • Taylor is 29-34-2 on overs in his career as an NFL head coach

Bengals Offense (Regular Season)

  • The Bengals scored 26.1 points per game, good for seventh in the league
  • Cincinnati is third in the league in yards passing per game and 29th in yards rushing
  • The Bengals are passing on 66% of plays and running on 34% of plays, per Sports Info Solutions
  • Per The Edge, Joe Mixon finished the season 27th in yards rushing with 814, and he’s sixth among running backs in yards receiving with 441
  • Samaje Perine is 21st among running backs in yards receiving
  • In 12 games Ja’Marr Chase finished with 87 receptions for 1,046 yards receiving and nine touchdowns with a 29.3% target share and a 39.1% air yards share
  • Tee Higgins finished with 74 receptions for 1,029 yards receiving and seven touchdowns with an 18.4% target share and a 28.5% air yards share
  • Tyler Boyd finished with 58 receptions for 762 yards receiving and five touchdowns with a 13.7% target share and a 17.8% air yards share
  • In 13 games, Hayden Hurst finished with 52 receptions for 414 yards receiving and two touchdowns with a 14.2% target share and a 9.7% air yards share
  • Per TruMedia, Chase has played 585 snaps on the perimeter and 154 in the slot
  • Higgins has played 585 snaps on the perimeter and 132 in the slot
  • Boyd has played 123 snaps on the perimeter and 633 in the slot

 

Chiefs Defense (Regular Season)

  • The Chiefs allowed 21.7 points per game, which is 16th in the league
  • Kansas City is second in the league in sacks, 18th in forced fumbles and 21st in interceptions
  • Per The Edge, the Chiefs allowed the 25th-most yards rushing per game and the fourth-most yards receiving per game to running backs this season
  • Kansas City gave up the 18th-most yards receiving per game to wide receivers this year
  • The Chiefs gave up the seventh-most PPR points per game to slots receivers this year
  • Kansas City allowed the 20th-most yards receiving per game to tight ends this season
  • The Chiefs have allowed the most PPR points per game to tight ends lined up in the slot this year

This Is What You’re Betting On

Back in Week 13, the Bengals beat the Chiefs, in Cincinnati, 27-24. Burrow’s Bengals enter this game with a 3-0 record against Mahomes’ Chiefs. That includes a 27-24 overtime win, in Kansas City, in last year’s AFC Championship. The Chiefs or Bengals have represented the AFC in the Super Bowl in each of the last three years.

If You’re Betting on the Chiefs

Any bet on the Chiefs is always built around Reid and Mahomes’ offense. Kansas City is the measuring stick in the AFC, and they have been the most reliable team in the league for years. The status of Mahomes’ ankle changes all of that.

Mahomes suffered, and played through, a high-ankle sprain against the Jaguars last week. Mahomes intends to play against the Bengals, but we can reasonably expect this injury to negatively impact his ability to extend plays and manage pressure. Expect Reid and his staff to game plan around Mahomes’ injury situation. That could include shorter, quick-release passes along with an uptick in screen passes. Reid is the master of the screen pass. If you’re betting on the Chiefs, you’re still building that bet around Kansas City meeting its team total.

The Chiefs’ defensive front against the Bengals’ injury-reduced offensive line is a key matchup in this contest. If Kansas City’s front can have more of an impact than Buffalo’s had last week, that creates a path where the Chiefs’ defense can spearhead a win in this contest.

Your primary concern as a Chiefs’ bettor is Mahomes either can’t finish this contest or is ruled out before the end of the week. Athletes generally miss at least four weeks with a high ankle sprain, so that type of outcome is in play. Your second biggest concern is the Chiefs’ pass rush doesn’t make a significant impact, and Burrow’s offense exceeds expectations.

If You’re Betting on the Bengals

Any bet on the Bengals is built around Burrow and his high-end skill group. The Bengals’ injury-reduced offensive line held up better than just about everyone expected last week. Taylor helped that group out with a self-aware game plan. I’m higher on Taylor than most because he’s shown throughout his Bengals’ tenure he is an opponent-specific game planner. Burrow and his fleet of difference-making playmakers are what makes the Bengals a title contender, but Taylor’s ability to game plan around his injury-ravaged offensive line is a major key to the game for the second week in a row.

The Bengals’ defense catches a major break in this matchup as Mahomes will play with a high ankle sprain. Chances are Mahomes’ ability to play out of structure will be significantly impacted. There’s also a chance Mahomes won’t finish this game due to this injury. The bottom line is Mahomes’ ankle injury creates more paths to a Bengals victory.

You have two major concerns as a Bengals bettor. The first is their offensive line doesn’t hold up against the Chiefs’ front. That’s the clearest path to the Bengals falling below expectations on offense. Your second biggest concern is Mahomes’ high ankle sprain doesn’t significantly limit his mobility.

I bet this game early this week here because I expected this line to move due to Mahomes’ injury situation. 

Score Prediction: Bengals 23, Chiefs 20

Ryan’s Recent Betting Record:

TS 2021: 49-31

ATS 2022: 48-32

Props 2022: 60-43

WATCH: Rich Gannon’s Championship Game Picks

Rankings

Top 5 NFL Wide Receivers Playing on Championship Sunday

If you look at the final four teams left in the playoffs, three of them have not only one but two outstanding wide receivers. In the case of the Kansas City Chiefs, well, they have maybe the best receiver in the game in tight end Travis Kelce.

Before I get into my top five wide receivers playing on Championship Sunday, one thing to know: This is not just about stats. If you make this list, you have to be an impact player. You have to have impact and value for your team, as well as production.

These five wide receivers meet the criteria:

1. Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

134 Targets | 87 Catches | 1,046 Yards Receiving | 9 Total TDs

Chase has been doing this since he got into the NFL. Obviously, he was limited by a hip injury that slowed him down a little bit. He picked up where he left off in last year’s Super Bowl run, being a top target for his team and quarterback. He is one of the most electrifying receivers in all of football.

2. A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles

145  Targets | 88 Catches | 1,496 Yards Receiving | 11 Total TDs

Brown arguably has had the greatest impact for his of any player traded this past year. And what he’s provided for DeVonta Smith is an opportunity to just have regular one-on-ones.

Brown is a big, bruising receiver that gets the ball in his hands and he’s hard to bring down. He’s like a running back. And once he gets the ball in his hands, we know what he can do down the field. Plus, he can get over the top of your defense and stretch the field. He’s made life a lot easier for Jalen Hurts and that Eagles offense.

3. DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles

136 Targets | 95 Catches | 1,196 Yards Receiving | 7 Total TDs

Smith is a bona fide player in the NFL. He’s showing us every bit of why he was a first-round draft pick. He’s been special all season.

He’s been a huge compliment to Brown, and they’ve both complemented Hurts very, very well. They’re all integral parts of who and what this offense can look like when it’s at its best. We saw last week against the Giants, Smith had big play after big play and was just letting his presence be felt all over the field.

4. Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

109 Targets | 74 Catches | 1,029 Yards Receiving | 7 Total TDs

Higgins is a No. 1 receiver, and he has been an impact player since the moment he put on that Bengals helmet and jersey and took the field in Cincinnati. And once Joe Burrow got there, it was just like, “OK, let’s kiss this and let’s bless it.”

Higgins has always been one of those deep-threat guys who can stretch the field. He’s long, he’s rangy, he can run routes and he has great hips. I love everything about Tee Higgins, and that’s why he is No. 4 on this list and playing on Championship Sunday.

5. Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers

87 Targets | 56 Catches | 632 Yards Receiving | 2 Total TDs 

Samuel might look like a hybrid running back and wide receiver, but the fact is, he’s a true No. 1 wide receiver. He gets the ball in his hands, and he impacts the game. You have to know where he is at all times if you are a defensive back with the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

Honorable Mention: Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers

113 Targets | 78 Catches | 1,015 Yards Receiving | 8 Total TDs

I love this young man. He is emerging to be one of the better receivers and definitely one of the better routes runners in all of football. He didn’t make the top five, but he’s right there.

Greg Jennings is a former NFL wide receiver who played for the Packers, Vikings and Dolphins. A two-time Pro Bowl player, Jennings was a member of the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV championship team and is inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter @GregJennings.

DFS

Optimal DFS Plays For 2023 Two-Day Divisional Round Main Slate

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

This weekend’s main slate lasts two days, so late swapping will benefit those who utilize players from Sunday’s games. I have a Divisional Coverage primer that you should look at because this piece will reference a lot of data from that piece. There are many ways to get unique on this week’s main slate and leverage spots at certain price ranges. I will be looking to flip the script with some of my builds based on the popularity of the expensive quarterbacks.

We also have Rostership Data for FREE, which can be found HERE.

Double Stacks

Stack: QB Jalen Hurts, WR DeVonta Smith, TE Dallas Goedert

The week of rest couldn’t have been more important to any playoff team with Hurts’ shoulder injury. A fully healthy Jalen Hurts can put up big numbers against the Giants, and there’s a blueprint to put up big numbers on them. Dallas Goedert has to watch the film of T.J. Hockenson and Mark Andrews and be ready to win in man-coverage situations.

A.J. Brown is the No. 1 receiver in the NFL against man coverage. However, Martindale has his former Titans teammate in Adoree’ Jackson, and I think they will have a good game plan for this matchup. DeVonta Smith is also a top wide receiver against man coverage, and I think being looked at as a second option in this game will allow him to work freely. I don’t believe I want to run it back in this game because of how good this Eagles’ defense is and how the Giants can utilize multiple wide receivers.

Stack: QB Trevor Lawrence, WR Christian Kirk, WR Zay Jones

Runback: TE Travis Kelce

The Jaguars-Chiefs game features the highest point total on the entire slate, and Trevor Lawrence isn’t projected to be one of the most popular quarterbacks on the slate. When Lawrence gets man coverage, who he targets has been relatively consistent week-to-week, and it’s Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. Since Week 10, Lawrence saw a high man coverage rate against the Chiefs, Lions, Titans, and Cowboys. During that span of weeks, Kirk had a 33.3% target share, with Jones at 29.6%, and with the game flow, I believe it’s the spot for the Jaguars to find success. The Chiefs are one of three teams to give up 20 or more touchdowns to wide receivers this year, and these two wide receivers combine for a 55.8% target share.

 

Travis Kelce has had 90 yards receiving in six straight playoff matchups and has scored in five of the last six games. All of these team’s games planned to slow down Kelce and couldn’t find any success, and I don’t expect that to change here. The Chiefs have a wide receiver rotation that I don’t plan on trying to guess in tournaments because I think the number of players they utilize will limit the upside of breaking the slate with the value at wide receiver this week. Kadarius Toney is the one Chiefs wide receiver I would bet on, and if Clyde Edwards-Helaire is activated, I have no interest in this running back room.

Single Stacks

I’m not single stacking this week.

Mini-Stacks

WR Tee Higgins, WR Gabriel Davis

Greg Jennings believes we could see Tre’Davious White shadow with Ja’Marr Chase, and with three starting offensive linemen, I think Joe Burrow throws Tee Higgins’ way in contested coverage. Higgins has been the best player against Cover 3 coverage, and with the Bills’ struggles against the run, I think we see plenty of that coverage for Higgins to exploit.

Gabriel Davis will get Eli Apple in this matchup, and Stefon Diggs will deal with bracketed coverages. Davis has to win in his matchup against the Bills for this offense to find success and score points. Last weekend, Demarcus Robinson was able to win deep on Apple, and Davis will have plenty of film on the matchup to be able to replicate that double move.

RB Christian McCaffrey, WR Brandon Aiyuk, WR CeeDee Lamb

Christian McCaffrey is a chess piece that Dan Quinn has not seen Kyle Shanahan have on his board before, and he will need to get going if they want to slow down the pass rush. Mike Martz believes that the Cowboys are weak in their interior defensive line and that McCaffrey can exploit that area of the field.

Brandon Aiyuk is a lethal route runner and the 49ers’ pass catcher that can get the job done down the field against the Cowboys’ secondary. Aiyuk is the down-the-field threat with Brock Purdy, and I believe he will continue that trend in this matchup.

The Cowboys should be looking at the Davante Adams film against the 49ers and getting every bit of the route combinations he ran for CeeDee Lamb to get free against the 49ers. The 49ers’ weakest point is the slot, and Lamb will frequently align in that area. The 49ers’ primary coverages also bode well for Lamb because he has a high target rate against them, with Dak Prescott as the starter.

 

Divisional Round DFS Player Pool

Player Pos Team Opp DK Salary FD Salary VegasPts
Jalen Hurts QB PHI vs NYG $7,600 $9,000 27.5
Trevor Lawrence QB JAC @ KC $6,000 $7,600 22.5
Christian McCaffrey RB SF vs DAL $8,000 $9,200 25
Saquon Barkley RB NYG @ PHI $7,900 $8,500 20.5
Joe Mixon RB CIN @ BUF $6,500 $7,700 21.75
Travis Etienne RB JAC @ KC $6,400 $6,800 22.5
Tony Pollard RB DAL @ SF $6,100 $7,100 21
Jerick McKinnon RB KC vs JAC $6,000 $7,000 30.5
Miles Sanders RB PHI vs NYG $5,700 $7,200 27.5
James Cook RB BUF vs CIN $4,800 $5,800 26.75
Eli Mitchell RB SF vs DAL $4,700 $5,400 25
A.J. Brown WR PHI vs NYG $7,600 $8,300 27.5
CeeDee Lamb WR DAL @ SF $7,300 $7,800 21
DeVonta Smith WR PHI vs NYG $7,200 $7,400 27.5
Christian Kirk WR JAC @ KC $6,000 $7,600 22.5
Deebo Samuel WR SF vs DAL $5,900 $7,100 25
Tee Higgins WR CIN @ BUF $5,800 $7,000 21.75
Brandon Aiyuk WR SF vs DAL $5,000 $6,500 25
Gabriel Davis WR BUF vs CIN $4,800 $6,600 26.75
Zay Jones WR JAC @ KC $4,700 $6,500 22.5
Kadarius Toney WR KC vs JAC $4,100 $5,800 30.5
Michael Gallup WR DAL @ SF $3,800 $5,700 21
Isaiah McKenzie WR BUF vs CIN $3,300 $5,100 26.75
T.Y. Hilton WR DAL @ SF $3,200 $5,000 21
Travis Kelce TE KC vs JAC $7,700 $8,000 30.5
George Kittle TE SF vs DAL $5,700 $7,100 25
Dallas Goedert TE PHI vs NYG $4,500 $6,300 27.5
Dalton Schultz TE DAL @ SF $4,200 $6,400 21
Hayden Hurst TE CIN @ BUF $3,200 $5,000 21.75
49ers DST SF vs DAL $3,300 $4,500 21
Eagles DST PHI vs NYG $3,200 $4,800 20.5
Chiefs DST KC vs JAC $3,100 $4,200 22.5
Cowboys DST DAL @ SF $3,000 $3,900 25
Bills DST BUF vs CIN $2,900 $4,100 21.75
Giants DST NYG @ PHI $2,500 $3,000 27.5
Bengals DST CIN @ BUF $2,400 $3,400 26.75

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