Golden Nuggets: Conference Championship Fantasy Advice

Who should you be starting on Sunday?

Here are the top 3 players at each fantasy position in the NFC and AFC Championship games. Feel free to use these rankings for Champions Round if you were fortunate enough to make it past the Cut Line.

Quarterbacks

  1. Patrick Mahomes

After watching last week’s offensive performance, did you think there was anyone else to put here? Mahomes and the KC offense turned in one of the most impressive offensive performances in postseason history against the Texans. Now they get the Titans, who rank №21 in DVOA against the pass. I think the Chiefs figured out something in that Houston game, which is that they need to go full pedal to the metal from the beginning and they can’t let up. That leads me to believe Mahomes could be in for a huge game. The Chiefs have no interest in dealing with a tight game against Derrick Henry. There’s going to try to get up early and score often. I think it’s likely Mahomes has at least 350 yards and at least two TDs, while adding some rushing yards.

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2. Aaron Rodgers

The Packers lost 37–8 to the 49ers in Week 12. On top of the chance to go to the Super Bowl, I think Rodgers has something extra to prove. There’s always an extra bit of motivation for Rodgers when he plays San Francisco. While I’m not sure if Green Bay can beat the 49ers on Sunday, I do believe the game script will lead them to throw the ball a lot down the field. The 49ers secondary is very good, but can get exposed at times. I think Rodgers is going to throw the ball at least 35 times and should go for around 270 yards and two TDs.

3. Ryan Tannehill

The Chiefs rank №6 in DVOA against the pass, so Tannehill doesn’t exactly have a juicy matchup here. However, I believe Tannehill has a good chance of outscoring Jimmy G. Why? Well, for one, I feel like the Titans have a better shot of getting down double digits than the 49ers do, which means they’ll be more inclined to throw the ball. Second, I believe Tannehill will be able to do some damage on the ground. I think that the Titans will have some read-option plays in the playbook to counter everyone focusing on Derrick Henry. Those rushing yards could be valuable to Tannehill from a fantasy perspective.

Running Backs

1. Derrick Henry

Henry may be the hottest running back in the history of the NFL right now. Seriously. Combine his production over the last 8 weeks with how important all of those games have been to the Titans and there’s a strong case to be made. Henry faces another incredible matchup on Sunday as Tennessee takes on Kansas City. The Chiefs defense has been really good since these two teams last met, but KC’s D is better at stopping the pass than the run. In Fact, KC ranks №29 in DVOA against the run on the season. If the Titans are able to keep the game close, Henry is going to end up with 30 carries for 150 yards and a TD. If they get behind, Henry’s production could slow down. But still, there’s no doubt Henry is the best fantasy RB option this week.

2. Aaron Jones

The last time the Packers played the 49ers, Jones was only used on 51 percent of snaps. In every game since, they’ve used him more than that. We all know that Jones is a TD machine for the Green Bay offense and is going to get the ball around the goal line. I expect the Packers to use Jones more in the passing game as well against SF. There’s a chance that, like Henry, the Packers are playing from behind and need to go to the passing game. Regardless of the game script, Jones is the second best offensive weapon the Packers have and will be asked to have a huge role against the 49ers.

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3. Damien Williams

Williams has been on an absolute tear over the last month or so. He has averaged 22.1 fantasy points per game since Week 9 (excluding Week 11 — injury). I don’t expect Williams to do much on the ground, maybe 40–50 rushing yards, but he has been special in the passing game and that should continue versus Tennessee. It’s fair to expect Williams to have 5 receptions for 60 yards and a TD.

Wide Receivers

1. Tyreek Hill

The Chiefs managed to score 51 points against the Texans without Hill being involved much at all. He had 45 yards of offense and also fumbled a punt. That being said, Hill is a nightmare matchup for the Titans. His speed is incredible and the Tennessee secondary is dicey at best. In their previous matchup this season, Hill had 11 catches for 157 yards and a TD. I would expect Hill to outrun the Titans secondary on at least one occasion for a big play or long TD. Our projection for Hill is 8 catches for 130 yards and a TD.

2. Davante Adams

Adams had a gigantic game against the Seahawks in Lambeau last Sunday. We had him ranked as our top WR going into that matchup, which was very favorable. We’ll keep him in the top 2 even though this matchup against the 49ers is much more difficult. Regardless of the matchup, Aaron Rodgers is going to find a way to get Adams the ball. He’s gotten double digits targets in each of his last four games and is averaging almost 9 catches per game during that stretch. I believe Adams will have at least 7 receptions for 90 yards against SF.

3. A.J. Brown

No one on the Titans has been successful from a fantasy perspective, outside of Derrick Henry. That’s ok. Brown is likely to be a bigger part of the game plan against the Chiefs and has shown this year that he can be a big time difference maker. If the Titans are forced to throw the ball if they’re behind, Brown could be a great addition to your roster.

Tight Ends

1. Travis Kelce

We know what Kelce did last week. He had one of the most dominant performances of his career and made it look easy. What do we expect this week? Well, probably more of the same considering the matchup. The Titans allowed more than 70 yards to six different TEs this year and Kelce had 7 catches for 75 yards and a TD against Tennessee earlier this season.

2. George Kittle

Despite the fact that Kittle didn’t have great fantasy day against the Vikings, he had an incredible game blocking for the 49ers running backs. Unfortunately, that doesn’t matter for us. Kittle should have a bounce back game this week. He had 6 catches for 129 yards and a TD against the Packers in Week 12. The Packers have had issues with tight ends all year and we expect Kittle to have a big week. A 20 point fantasy week is possible.

3. Jonnu Smith

The Titans have yet to have a game in the playoffs in which they were forced to throw the ball. Smith has a TD and five targets over the past two weeks, which doesn’t seem impressive. But Ryan Tannehill has yet to throw for 200 yards total in the playoffs. Smith should have a breakout game this week as the Chiefs have seen almost nine targets per game thrown at the direction of the TE. Smith is going to see a lot of targets this week as the Titans open up the playbook a little bit more this week as they try to advance to the Super Bowl.

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