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Conference Championship Round Daily Fantasy Football Matchups & Best NFL Player Props Picks




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The Fantasy Football Matchups Column returns for the Conference Championship Round of the 2022 NFL postseason. The column will break down key matchups for the most important players each week to provide tips for NFL DFS and give the best NFL player prop bets. Let’s dive into the all the NFL DFS tips matchups and daily fantasy football lineup decisions for DraftKings and FanDuel this week.

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Conference Championship Daily Fantasy Football Matchups

Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes needed to play flawless football in the second half of the divisional round in order to have any shot of keeping pace with Josh Allen and the Bills, and that is exactly what Mahomes did. He threw for 378 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for an additional 69 yards and a score, finishing the contest with a whopping 40 fantasy points. Mahomes has the benefit of having played the Bengals before this season. While Mahomes was highly unspectacular in that contest, throwing for just 259 yards and two touchdowns, the Chiefs still managed 31 points in a losing effort. More importantly, with the way Mahomes has been playing during the postseason, there is almost no chance the Cincinnati secondary will be able to hold Mahomes to a similar stat line. Mahomes’ matchup this week is arguably the best he has had this entire postseason, as the Bengals’ ranked dead last among all playoff teams in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to opposing offenses during the regular season. Mahomes’ passing yards prop line sits at 289.5 for this weekend’s game, and our projections still see that as an easy over bet. He hits 290 yards in nearly 60% of our latest simulations.

Quarterback: Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford was reeling heading into this season’s playoffs. Dealing with a massive turnover problem, Stafford threw eight interceptions over the season’s final four games and only topped 8.0 yards per attempt in one contest during that span. Since losing to this same San Francisco squad in Week 18, Stafford has been nothing short of spectacular, throwing for over 10.3 yards per attempt in the first two rounds of the playoffs. He has even added a bit with his legs, something we absolutely never see from Stafford, as his 28 yards rushing over the last two games is the most he has had in a two-game stretch in nearly two seasons. The 49ers have certainly frustrated Stafford in their previous two meetings, picking off the Rams’ quarterback a total of four times. That trend will certainly need to reverse course if the Rams want to successfully defend their home field this Sunday. For DFS purposes, Stafford looks like a so-so play, as the Rams have a 31% chance of being the top stack on the two-game main slate, but our projections love Stafford compared to his modest prop lines. OddsShopper is currently suggesting the over on 23.5 completions, 275.5 passing yards and 1.5 passing touchdowns, with Stafford’s passing yards prop being the favorite of the three. Stafford has a 60% chance of hitting 276 or more passing yards this Sunday.

Running Backs: Jerrick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire

As everyone with even a passing knowledge of the NFL knows, the Chiefs are a pass-first team. Their running game has always been a complement to the superstar trio of Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce. And yet, the Chiefs have a back that they have been willing to give 17-plus opportunities for each of the first two rounds of this year’s playoffs. That player just so happens to be someone other than former first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who continues to be worked back slowly into the offense. In his first game back from a shoulder injury he suffered in Week 16, Edwards-Helaire saw seven carries and two targets, finishing with a solid 69 total yards. Jerrick McKinnon, who has averaged 110 total yards per game over the last two weeks, saw eight more opportunities than Edwards-Helaire and still looks like the preferred option in the passing game. He also out-touched Edwards-Helaire four to one in the red zone. While it is reasonable to expect Edwards-Helaire’s touches to increase slightly this week, we should not expect McKinnon to be phased out of the offense any time soon. McKinnon still makes for a fantastic value option in DFS on this two-game slate, while Edwards-Helaire remains a large-field tournament option only. Our latest run of simulations shows Edwards-Helaire finishing with under 37.5 rushing yards, his current prop line, in nearly two-thirds of our simulations.

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Running Back: Joe Mixon

The Bengals enter Sunday’s conference championship as touchdown favorites against the home-team Chiefs. Most, including this article’s author, believe that the only way for the Bengals to keep pace with Kansas City, especially the way they have been playing offensively lately, is for the trio of Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins, and Ja’Marr Chase to play well above expectations. That is not the only way the Bengals can pull off the upset, though. The most straightforward means of keeping this game close might be the ability to keep Mahomes off the field by orchestrating long, methodical, rushing-oriented drives spearheaded by workhorse back Joe Mixon. Mixon was top-five in the NFL in carries, red zone touches, rush yards and fantasy points per game. While the Bengals offensive line ranks right around league-average in run blocking efficiency, the Chiefs ranked bottom-three in yards allowed per rush attempt this season. If Cincinnati is able to get Mixon going, it could drastically alter the game environment, possibly limiting the total plays in the game, and therefore the ceiling potential of the Chiefs’ superstars on the other side of the ball. Our projections are surprisingly bullish on Mixon despite his team being touchdown underdogs this Sunday. We have Mixon going over his rushing yards prop line of 55.5 in nearly 59% of our projection simulations.

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Wide Receiver: Deebo Samuel

Deebo Samuel was by far the best player on the field in the 49ers’ upset win over the Green Bay Packers last Saturday. San Francisco’s do-it-all weapon continues to receive one of the most unique roles of any offensive player in football, earning a total of 15 opportunities throughout Sunday’s contest, just two short of starting running back Eli Mitchell. Samuel returned two kicks for 59 yards, averaged nearly 15 yards per reception on three catches and averaged nearly 4.0 yards per attempt on ten carries. The faith coach Kyle Shanahan has in Samuel was apparent during the team’s game-winning drive, as the team opted to run the ball with Samuel on third-and-seven in a tied game with less than two minutes to go. While he was banged up a bit in last week’s victory, it has already been announced that Samuel is “good to go” for this Sunday’s game. We can expect the creativity to continue, as the 49ers will likely do everything in their power to keep Samuel away from superstar cornerback Jalen Ramsey. With that in mind, our projections are incredibly bullish on Samuel in the receiving game, as our sims suggest Samuel goes over 50.5 receiving yards in a whopping two-thirds of the time.

Wide Receiver: Tyler Boyd

The Bengals are blessed with an abundance of talent at the wide receiver position, and with the elevated play of second-year receiver Tee Higgins and breakout rookie Ja’Marr Chase, not much has been made of Tyler Boyd’s consistent contributions to the Cincinnati offense. Boyd finished outside the top-40 wide receivers in target share and outside the top-70 in air yards share, but still finished with the 34th-most receiving yards in the NFL this season. Despite being a clear third-option on his own team, he ranked top-30 in yards per target and top-12 in average separation per target while playing the most slot snaps of any wideout in the NFL this season. Boyd has become the reliable, sure-handed, consistently open slot receiver that every team wishes they had this time of year, and he will be relied upon as a chain mover in this likely shootout against the Chiefs. Boyd has three games in his last seven starts with at least 85 yards receiving, and four games during that span with at least five targets, making the over on Boyd’s modest receiving prop lines easy over bets. Boyd goes over 3.5 receptions in 63% of our simulations.

Wide Receiver & Tight End: Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce

The Chiefs’ superstar receiving corps was at its very best last Sunday night, as both players made spectacular plays in the most crucial moments, ultimately propelling their squad to the conference championship round. Each player found the end zone in that thrilling overtime victory, with Kelce sealing the win with a walk-off touchdown. Meanwhile, Hill had one of his best games of the season, racking up 150 yards receiving on 11 receptions. For Kelce, it was his second-straight game with 90-plus yards on nine targets and his fourth game in the last five where he has earned at least seven targets. This week, they face arguably the weakest secondary of any team to qualify for the playoffs and are looking to make up for subpar performances against this same Cincinnati team in Week 16. The duo combined for just 60 total yards, which is among the five lowest combined totals from the duo all season. Our projections do not see a repeat of that dud performance at all and our confidence in both players is only increased due to our bullish projection for quarterback Mahomes. Our rosy projections seem to be putting us right in line with betting for markets for many of Hill and Kelce’s props. Our player props tool particularly likes over 75.5 yards for Hill, a number he hits 60% of the time in our latest run of simulations. From there, it might be better to just play these two superstars in DFS, where their ceiling games could easily propel you to the top of the leaderboards.

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View our DraftKings DFS NFL ownership rankings and our FanDuel NFL ownership rankings. We also have NFL showdown projections and NFL showdown ownership projections. Take a look at our depth charts for NFL games, NFL starting lineups and NFL inactives. If you’re interested in other NFL DFS tips for multiple game slates, head over to NFL ownership projections, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, daily fantasy football rankings, and NFL DFS stacks.

A middling athlete who was offered his first sports analytics position at age 14, I've been working on NFL and fantasy football data science since 2017. With a particular passion for data visualization and dashboard building, I love to make data accessible by using graphs and charts to communicate ideas that are difficult to explain with words alone. You can contact me by e-mailing [email protected]

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