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Conference Championship Round DFS GPP Stacks For FanDuel And DraftKings


Hey there RotoBallers! After an exciting Divisional Round, there are just four NFL teams left standing. Not surprisingly, all four teams left possess excellent offenses that can rack up points in a hurry. One thing to keep in mind when setting lineups this Sunday are the expected weather conditions in Kansas City. While the Rams and Saints will be enjoying the temperature-controlled environs of the Mercedes Benz Superdome, the Patriots and Chiefs will be playing in forecasted 26-degree weather. That isn't to say you have to fade players in that game but it does give the Saints and Rams players a distinct advantage and is information that can be used to break ties if you can't make up your mind between two players.

The goal of this weekly column will be to locate some of the best DFS stacks each week. Stacking, or pairing a quarterback with one of his pass-catchers, is a great way to maximize point scoring. This method is generally viewed as a strategy in tournaments, but I also have no problem using safe, high-floor stacks in cash games, as well.

The top Conference Championship Round DFS stacks will be listed below, sorted by my personal quarterback preference. As there are only four teams in play, I will touch on each of the four starting quarterbacks along with possible stacking partners for each. All references to team defense DVOA come from Football Outsiders while cornerback and wide receiver matchups and grade references come from Pro Football Focus.

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Conference Championship Round DFS Stacks

New Orleans QB Drew Brees and WR Michael Thomas vs. Los Angeles

Playing at home in the offense-friendly Superdome with a slate-high implied team total of 30.25 points, Drew Brees is my top quarterback play on the slate. The Saints' passing offense has historically been much better at home, with this year being no exception. Of New Orleans' 33 passing touchdowns this season, 22 came at home while they averaged 69.3 more passing yards per game. The Rams possess a strong offense, themselves, ensuring that the Saints should have to throw often if they want to advance to the Super Bowl.

Michael Thomas put on a show last week, ripping the Eagles for 171 yards and a touchdown. Thomas also had his best game of the season back in Week 9 when he played the Rams, popping off for 211 receiving yards and a score. The star wideout is the top receiver play on the slate without question. He shouldn't have much trouble against Marcus Peters, who earned just a 58.1 grade from Pro Football Focus and was the man primarily responsible for covering Thomas when he went off last time.

New Orleans QB Drew Brees and RB Alvin Kamara vs. Los Angeles

Kamara was mostly kept in check last week, posting just 106 all-purpose yards without a score, although he did receive chances in the red zone. That game wound up being more of a defensive struggle than was expected, which capped his ceiling. Look for Kamara to be a focal point of the New Orleans game plan against the Rams this weekend. He found the end zone three times back when these two teams met in Week 9. Kamara will continue to operate as Brees' second-favorite target after Thomas and should serve as a solid stacking partner.

 

Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes and WR Tyreek Hill vs. New England

Mahomes had a relatively pedestrian game (by his standards) last week, although he still played well. The Chiefs simply built a comfortable lead over the Colts and didn't need Mahomes to do Mahomes things. This weekend could wind up going differently as the battle-tested Patriots are fully expected to give the Chiefs everything they can handle. While the cold weather is a concern this weekend, it didn't appear to bother Mahomes last weekend and he's simply been too good this season to downgrade as a fantasy option because of weather concerns. The Patriots possess an average defense, ranking 14th in pass defense DVOA and allowing the 18th-most fantasy points per game to the quarterback position during the regular season.

Hill drew a team-high 13 targets in the Divisional Round and managed to find the end zone on a 36-yard rush. The speedy wideout remains one of the top big-play threats in the league and Mahomes' top target in the passing attack. As an added bonus, Hill runs the majority of his routes out of the slot, which means he will mostly avoid lockd0wn stud Stephon Gilmore in this contest. Veteran slot corner Jason McCourty is no slouch, either, but Hill is the top receiving option on the best offense in the league. There's no need to overthink this one.

Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes and TE Travis Kelce vs. New England

Kelce just continued rolling in the Divisional Round, posting seven catches for 108 yards against the Colts. As the 1B to Hill's 1A in a passing offense that has become more consolidated of late, Kelce is a fantastic option, not to mention the only safe tight end play on the slate. Kelce is far and away the top tight end option as the Saints and Rams don't have a clear cut target magnet at the position and Rob Gronkowski has been a shell of his former self for much of the season.

 

Los Angeles QB Jared Goff and WR Robert Woods @ New Orleans

The weather concerns for Tom Brady in Kansas City gives Goff the slight edge as my QB3 on this slate. While Goff has struggled since the Week 13 bye, he remains at the helm of an explosive offense which will play in a great offensive environment in New Orleans. While Goff didn't post a big stat line in the Divisional Round against the Cowboys, he played well, it just so happens the Los Angeles run game was dominant and Goff's arm wasn't really needed. That will not be the case this weekend as the Rams will have to throw often to keep up with a Saints offense that is dynamite at home. Goff threw for 391 yards and three touchdowns back when these two teams met in Week 9.

Woods sets up as the preferred play of the Los Angeles pass-catchers. While Brandin Cooks is the more explosive player and possesses more upside, he will spend most of the game locked up with top New Orleans corner Marshon Lattimore. That will free Woods up to take shots against P.J. Williams, who has been the weak link in the Saints secondary this season. Williams' coverage in the slot earned him just a 50.6 grade from PFF during the regular season.

Los Angeles QB Jared Goff and WR Josh Reynolds @ New Orleans

Much like last week, Reynolds is worth considering as a GPP dart throw. While he didn't produce in the Divisional Round, the Rams only threw 28 passes in a game where they went extremely run-heavy. As mentioned above, the Rams aren't going to be able to play that way against the Saints in New Orleans, which bodes well for Reynolds' outlook this weekend. Reynolds will draw primary coverage from left corner Eli Apple, thus avoiding lockdown defender Marshon Lattimore on the majority of his routes.

 

New England QB Tom Brady and WR Julian Edelman @ Kansas City

While he isn't a bad play, Brady stands as my least favorite quarterback option on the slate. The future Hall of Famer hasn't shown fantasy gamers many ceiling games this season while the Patriots have not been nearly as good passing the ball in road games this season, with five fewer passing touchdowns and 15.5 fewer passing yards per game. As mentioned before, the expected cold weather in Kansas City coupled with the Patriots' lack of big-play receivers leaves Brady as a high-floor, low-ceiling type in DFS contests.

With Josh Gordon out of the way over the past three games, Edelman is averaging 9.7 targets, 6.7 catches, and 96.7 yards with two total touchdowns. Clearly established as Tom Brady's top target with little competition, Edelman should be peppered with targets in a road game where the Patriots are three-point underdogs. New England is going to have to pass frequently to keep up with a dominant Chiefs offense, making Edelman one of the top wide receiver options on the slate after Michael Thomas.

New England QB Tom Brady and RB James White @ Kansas City

James White exploded in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, ripping off 15 receptions for 97 yards while leading the team with 17 targets. As is the case with Edelman, the absence of Josh Gordon should force New England to lean more heavily on White in the passing game. If the Patriots are forced to play catch-up against Kansas City, we could see a lot of White in the second half. The Chiefs struggled to contain running games in the passing game during the regular season, ranking 21st in pass defense DVOA against the position.

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