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From the Slot: Conference Championship NFL DFS Picks Based on Awesemo’s Grades

Geoff Ulrich

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NFL DFS Picks for Yahoo Cheat Sheet daily fantasy lineups AFC NFC Conference Championship Games featuring Travis Kelce

With three games left in the NFL season, we’re down to just one more multi-game NFL DFS slate of the year, and it should be a doozy. DraftKings still is offering a massive Millionaire Maker contest with $4 million guaranteed and $1 million to first place. With that in mind, we still want to go through the different positions of who the Awesemo model is popping on, even with the limited player pool of NFL DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel.

The two games in play here both look like good ones for fantasy too. The Buccaneers – Packers has a slightly smaller over/under, with a 51.5 number attached to it. It is supposed to be cold in Green Bay this week (high 20s) with a little snow, but that kind of weather didn’t stop the Packers and Rams from going for 50 points last week. In Kansas City the weather there also looks a little iffy, with possible showers and highs in the low 40s. That game still has a 54-point over/under, though, so oddsmakers don’t seem as concerned.

Injury-wise, the main skill players to keep an eye on are Patrick Mahomes (concussion) and Antonio Brown (knee). While the spotlight has been on Mahomes, he has been taking limited practice all week and seems likely to play. Brown, on the other hand, hasn’t practiced at all as of Thursday, although Bruce Arians came out and stated that he didn’t need to practice to play necessarily. He’ll likely be a game-time decision, which isn’t a huge deal given the Packers and Buccaneers play in the early game.

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QB: Josh Allen Grades: A, Values: A

The two quarterback in the Kansas City – Buffalo game are projected to be the two highest-owned quarterbacks on the slate with almost equal projected ownership as of writing, so choosing correctly between the two is going to be a massive start to getting things right. Allen comes in with a slightly lower points projection than Mahomes (only a 0.35 difference), but he’s far ahead of Mahomes in the value score department. Allen’s $700 discount on DraftKings is a big advantage on a slate which features three stud receivers and with Mahomes banged up, the third-year player likely also has a significant edge in what he can for you rushing this week too.

The Chiefs handed Allen his second-worst regular season fantasy total of the year (and were one of the Bills three losses on the year too), but since that game Allen has managed six DraftKings outputs of 29 or more points. The stretch run Allen put together and the fact he has averaged nine rush attempts in his first two playoff games of the year is enough for me to take the discount here. The Chiefs allowed the second-most touchdowns rushing to the quarterback position this season, and with everything on the line, expect the Bills not to be shy about using Allen’s legs this week.

Projected NFL DFS ownership: DraftKings: 34.7%


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RB: Aaron Jones Grades: B, Values: B

The matchup with the Buccaneers looks bad on paper for the Green Bay running backs, as Tampa Bay allowed the fewest yards per rush in the regular season (3.6) and just held Alvin Kamara to 85 yards rushing and zero touchdowns. For every problem there is a solution, though, and the Packers may in fact have it with Jones, who is one of the most explosive receiving backs in game. Jones comes in having averaged 7.6 yards per reception in the regular season and faces a Bucs team that gave up the most receptions to opposing running backs in the league this season. That likely bodes well for teammate Jamaal Williams as well, but Jones has been the only Packers running back to see a target in the last two games and is averaging 1.08 DraftKings point per touch this year, far better than Williams’ 0.85 average.

The site loves Jones too — despite the poor paper matchup — as it has Jones listed as the only running back with grades of B or higher in both value and score categories this week. Awesemo also has him with the highest projected points total of any other running back by over 2.0 points. Despite all that, he’s only the third-highest projected running back on the slate, so loading up seems proper here.

Projected NFL DFS ownership: DraftKings: 45.5%

WR: Chris Godwin Grades: B, Values: B

Wide receiver features a few big studs this week, but rather than try to dissect that market, I thought we’d turn to a more value option to highlight a player from the mid-tier the Awesemo model seems to be favoring. Godwin’s been a slight dud the last two weeks, but the potential for upside is firmly entrenched with all three receivers in this offense. Godwin is actually second in the league in overall targets since the playoffs began two weeks ago and should be in line to see more work given the injury status of Brown (questionable – knee).

Green Bay has been quite good at locking down opposing receivers, allowing the fifth-fewest receptions to the position this season. But Tampa is also averaging the sixth-most pass attempts per game and is entering this game as 3.5-point underdogs. The Green Bay offense should force more throws here, and Godwin rates on well on Awesemo with the fourth-highest points projection on the slate and a much better value score than his compatriot, Mike Evans. Godwin is the upside target for me if you want to get off one of the big three receivers this week.

Projected NFL DFS ownership: DraftKings: 33.7%

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TE: Travis Kelce Grades: A, Values: B

The fact Kelce is trending towards less than 70% ownership on this slate seems almost foolhardy. We won’t go through all his accolades here, but he did set the tight end record for yards in a season this year and also broke the team reception record with 105. The fact is we’re not talking about a tight end, we’re talking about the Chiefs’ main possession receiver, who is going to run rampant here against a weak Bills linebacker core. Buffalo allowed the second-most touchdowns and yards to opposing tight ends this year and nearly allowed Jack Doyle to take them out in the Wild Card round.

From a projection standpoint, eating the mammoth chalk with Kelce in one form of another (Flex or tight end) makes sense too. The highest projected tight end after Kelce this week is more than 13.0 DraftKings points behind him, and Kelce’s $8,000 salary isn’t even his highest of the year, making him the leader in the value score department as well. Kelce is good, the Chiefs throw a lot, Buffalo stinks at covering the tight end, and the model this week is saying this is the biggest discrepancy between a top play and the field, possibly ever. Play him.

Projected NFL DFS ownership: DraftKings: 57.6%

Contrarian DFS Target: Darrel Williams

While it appears as though Clyde Edwards-Helaire is healthy and trending towards playing this week, don’t discount the Williams love in Kansas City. Despite playing with two running backs in Le’Veon Bell and Darwin Thompson, who are assumed to be far more talented, it was Williams who rose from the ashes to carry Kansas City’s backfield last week, taking 54 snaps and 79% of the official workload. Despite this big number, plus the fact he converted four of four targets and had a bunch of red zone looks, Williams is projecting like a pure punt play with ownership hovering around 10%.

I don’t doubt we’ll see Edwards-Helaire here, assuming he’s healthy enough to contribute, but crunch time and 2-minute drills could easily belong to Williams, who obviously has earned the trust of his coaches. He’s my favorite pivot play and makes for a nice Flex given the Bills’ weakness against the run.

Projected NFL DFS ownership: DraftKings: 10.4%


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