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It's hard to believe we have only one more weekend before the Super Bowl matchup is set. It could very well be a showdown between the top two seeds, which is something that hasn't happened since... well, it happened two years ago actually.

For all the unpredictability the NFL brings, especially in the fantasy realm, talent usually supersedes storylines or engaging narratives. Sure, there could be an upset in the works, but when you are playing daily fantasy or money leagues of any kind, you can't worry about the headlines - you need to focus on the stats and the matchups.

Now, let's get to my fantasy "heroes" and "zeroes" at each position for the NFL Conference Championship Round Playoffs. For a full set of rankings, look no further than our very own RotoBaller consensus weekly rankings.

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Conference Championship Lineup Heroes

QUARTERBACK

Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars - For the record, I do not have Bortles as my top QB this week. That honor will go to Mr. Tom Brady regardless of opponent, so long as the Patriots are playing. Maybe even if they lose, who knows? After Brady, you're left with his opponent on the other side, Blake Bortles (a.k.a. the Lebron James of the NFL, or at least Jacksonville). Bortles didn't put up very good numbers last week with 214 passing yards, one touchdown and 35 rushing yards, but that's because he didn't have to. Conversely, Ben Roethlisberger's jaw-dropping numbers came as a result of his team getting absolutely kicked around the field throughout the first half and the Jaguars coasting in the second half. Unless we want to hitch our wagons to the Jaguars bandwagon and believe that they can jump ahead of the defending champions early and control the game, it might be a different scenario for Bortles this weekend. The Pats clamped down on Derrick Henry and forced the Titans to pass, allowing Marcus Mariota to put up decent numbers and Corey Davis to suddenly go off. Imagine what the Patriot gameplan might be for Jacksonville? Bortles is highly unlikely to throw for 300+ yards, but it's certainly possible; he did it three times in the final five games of the season. Moreover, his scrambling ability will be key to generating yards when the play breaks down. Remember, he ran for 88 yards against Buffalo in the Wild Card game. Bortles faces the least resistance in terms of opposing defenses and could have the most favorable fantasy game script in the second half, which is why I would put my money on him over Case Keenum or Nick Foles.

RUNNING BACK

Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings - In the Vikings' first playoff game of 2017, Latavius Murray was the preferred play and proved to be the featured back as expected. Murray outrushed McKinnon 19-8 and outgained him both on the ground (50-34) and even through the air (17-6). It's time to flip the (game) script, however, as McKinnon might be forced into more action against the Eagles. While Minnesota owns the best overall run defense in the NFL, Philadelphia actually allowed the fewest rushing yards to RB and was the only team to hold opposing running backs under 1,000 total yards (949). They clamped down on several star runners throughout the year, so Murray will find tougher sledding. McKinnon's role in the passing game makes him more valuable, as he not only brings a higher floor with him, but could get more touches if the Vikings have to shift toward the passing game more than they'd like. The Eagles also gave up five receiving touchdowns to running backs, which is tied for second-most among all teams. While others are chasing Murray's stats from last week, you can save a few hundred dollars on DraftKings and get the better point producer in this matchup.

WIDE RECEIVER

Danny Amendola, New England Patriots - Who plays matchups better than the Pats? Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan will be tangling with two of the best corners in the game all afternoon, which means we'll see a lot of ball control offense through the run game and short passes. Gronk aside, if there's a New England receiver you could see dividends from, it might be forgotten slot man Danny Amendola. He gets the easiest of the WR/CB matchups with Aaron Colvin on the other side. Colvin was beaten deep twice last week and the safeties will have to pay extra attention to Gronk down the middle, so Amendola could be left free on multiple occasions. He put up 112 yards against Tennessee, which follows up his 8-78-1 line in last year's Super Bowl. He's been targeted 24 times in New England's last two playoff games. That seems like a pretty high floor for an AFC Championship game.

TIGHT END

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings - This position serves as the sternest reminder that we're talking conference championships now. The only defense that didn't finish in the top 10 against tight ends this season was Philadelphia. That doesn't mean Rudolph will go off, but that and the fact he was targeted eight times last week makes him the safest TE on the slate. The other choice is to just punt this position altogether and hope that Brad Koyack scores again. Not saying that's what you should do, but maybe that's what you should do.

 

Conference Championship Lineup Zeroes

QUARTERBACK

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles - Before piling on Foles any more, he should get credit for leading his team to victory against the defending NFC champs after starting just three games in the regular season. He completed 76% of his passes and didn't turn the ball over at all. He also didn't throw any touchdowns, but a win is a win, right? Foles will have a much tougher time against a Vikings defense that picked off the most efficient QB in the league, Drew Brees, twice in the first quarter and shut down the Saints for three quarters before succumbing to a furious comeback attempt. Foles does not have the same caliber of weapons or the experience to draw back on if things get tough. This could be a low-scoring game all around, so putting money on the Eagles in any respect is a big risk.

RUNNING BACK

Jay Ajayi, Philadelphia Eagles - At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, Ajayi has the worst matchup and is the least reliable among all "starting" running backs this week. We know Minnesota has the best rush defense in the game - they showed that by swallowing up Mark Ingram (25 yards) and Alvin Kamara (43 yards) on the ground. While Kamara did some damage on the receiving end of things, we know that he is a far superior pass-catcher than Ajayi. If only we'd known that before the season started... Anyway, Ajayi may be taken away from the offense early on, leaving the team to grind it out with LeGarrette Blount or utilize Corey Clement as a passing-down back.

WIDE RECEIVER

Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars - The potential to exploit New England's secondary is there. The potential for garbage time production is there. The potential for a WR1 game is not. Lee might seem like a sneaky play this week, but he's simply not a high-volume receiver and may never be. He was targeted a team-high six times last week, but only came down with three catches for 28 yards. Despite the year-long absence of Allen Robinson and a tissue-soft strength of schedule, Lee never even broke the 90-yard mark in a game and scored three touchdowns all season. The return of Allen Hurns and ascension of Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook make Lee nothing more than another low-end receiving option in a run-first offense. Even if Bortles puts up big numbers, it won't all go to one or two receivers. If you want a Jags receiver on the cheap in DFS, save a little money and go with Keelan Cole in hopes that he gets free for a deep ball.

TIGHT END

Trey Burton, Philadelphia Eagles - Look, there aren't too many fantasy-viable tight ends in this particular week, so putting Gronk, Rudolph, or Ertz here would just be bad advice. If you want to find a sleeper at the position or simply punt and forget (which I'm totally not sort of recommending above), then don't opt for Burton. He's an athletic tight end who has shown glimpses of his receiving ability, but he is the least effective blocker of the three Eagles tight ends. Moreover, Brent Celek has out-targeted Burton 7-4 in the weeks since Carson Wentz went down, and Burton didn't see a single target last week versus Atlanta. If you're not even the TE2 on your own team, you just can't compete with James O'Shaughnessy.

 

More Conference Championship Round Lineup Prep