After one of the best weekends of NFL football in recent memory, the playoff field is down to four. Options are limited as the NFL fantasy season draws to a close, which sets up situations where the critical pieces overlap and winners come down to the value plays; this article will cover The Professor’s low-cost DFS options for the upcoming slate of NFL action, with prices from the two-game Sunday contests on FanDuel and DraftKings.
Joe Burrow, CIN @ KC, $7500 FanDuel, $6600 DraftKings
Joe Burrow has yet to produce a game-winning fantasy performance in his two playoff wins, and that will need to change if the Bengals are going to keep up with a red-hot Patrick Mahomes, who comes in as the highest-priced DFS quarterback for good reason. Burrow threw for 446 yards and four touchdowns in a home win against the Chiefs a month ago; if he can repeat that at Arrowhead, he could get the Bengals to the Super Bowl and your DFS team in the winner’s circle.
Matthew Stafford, SF @ LAR, $7500 FanDuel, $6300 DraftKings
San Francisco’s defense has shut down offenses quarterbacked by Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers, but Matthew Stafford threw for three touchdowns against them the first time around, albeit with two interceptions. The picks aren’t as much of a concern in fantasy, however, and Stafford should be feeling good coming off last week’s performance, which could mean they don’t pop up this time.
Avoid: Jimmy Garoppolo, SF @ LAR, $6200 FanDuel, $5400 DraftKings
Jimmy Garoppolo has posted 4.24 and 5.98 fantasy points in San Francisco’s two playoff wins, and the minimized role he has played is part of a larger theme that was most prominently on display in the NFC Conference Championship against the Packers. Garoppolo went six of eight in that game, a week after he had thrown for 131 yards against the Vikings in the Divisional Round, which makes his 219-yard, one-touchdown, two-interception Super Bowl performance against the Chiefs as his best playoff stat line. Garoppolo did rally the 49ers against the Rams in the final week of the NFL regular season to get into the playoffs, but he only posted 14.98 fantasy points in that game; he is a hard pass at this point.
Cam Akers, SF @ LAR, $6200 FanDuel, $5000 DraftKings
Cam Akers seized the lead role for the Rams last week, and while he was not efficient with his touches, it appears head coach Sean McVay will move forward with Akers as the lead back in his offense. Akers is the cheapest of the three bell-cow backs this weekend behind Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon and San Francisco’s Eli Mitchell; the 49ers defense is on a roll, but Akers should get the opportunity to provide value at this price.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, CIN @ KC, $5700 FanDuel, $5300 DraftKings
Jerick McKinnon, CIN @ KC, $6200 FanDuel, $5100 DraftKings
Jerick McKinnon played the receiving role out of the backfield but only gained 24 yards on his ten carries against the Bills, which sets Clyde Edwards-Helaire to seize an increased role after he moved well in his return from injury last week. Edwards-Helaire seems likely to get more touches and is likely the safer bet, but with the way the Chiefs offense is rolling, McKinnon could put up a solid score in a receiving role.
Tee Higgins, CIN @ KC $6400 FanDuel, $5700 DraftKings
Tee Higgins only posted ten yards in the Wild Card game but was an errant Joe Burrow pass from a touchdown in that game, and he rebounded with seven catches for 96 yards against the Titans. This week will likely be the Ja’Marr Chase show at receiver again, as the rookie has dominated the NFL over the past month, but Burrow will need to score points to keep up with the Chiefs, and that will take more than one receiver. Higgins posted a modest 7.7 fantasy points with three receptions for 62 yards in the first matchup between these teams; look for him to top that this week.
Brandon Aiyuk, SF @ LAR, $5600 FanDuel, $5000 DraftKings
Brandon Aiyuk is coming off a zero in fantasy, but he posted six catches for 107 yards the last time the 49ers played the Rams, and San Francisco is almost certainly going to have to do more than they did on offense in zero-degree Green Bay temperatures to beat Matthew Stafford and the Rams in the warm weather of Los Angeles. There are only so many completions to go around in the run-heavy San Francisco offense, but there have been games when the bulk of Jimmy Garoppolo’s targets go to Aiyuk.
Byron Pringle, CIN @ KC, $5700 FanDuel, $4300 DraftKings
Byron Pringle has posted five receptions in three straight games and has racked up three touchdown receptions over that stretch. His teammate, Mecole Hardman, is the better-known name and is arguably the more explosive option at receiver, but Pringle’s targets have been more consistent over the past five games, and as he showed in a pair of two-touchdown performances against the Steelers this season, he is not a low-ceiling player.
Tyler Higbee, SF @ LAR, $5500 FanDuel, $3700 DraftKings
Tyler Higbee has emerged as a vital cog in the Los Angeles passing attack alongside receivers Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr., with at least 40 receiving yards in his last six outings. It doesn’t hurt that Higbee posted two touchdown catches against the 49ers in their last much; a repeat of that game is a bit much to expect, but if Matthew Stafford comes out dealing, it is certainly possible.
This article covered The Professor’s low-cost DFS plays for the upcoming week. For more fantasy content from The Professor check out his weekly appearance on Razor’s RedZone and the rest of his content on BeerLife Sports!
Steven Clinton, better known as "The Professor", is a former D-1 Quality Control Assistant (Northwestern, Toledo) who holds a B.A. in Economics and M.S. in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University. He maintains an end-to-end NFL game projection model and is a film junkie who breaks down the tape of every NFL game.
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