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NFL DFS RB and WR Anchors for Conference Championships - Players to Build Around for Daily Fantasy Football Lineups

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In this piece, we're looking at the top running backs or wide receivers to build your cash or tournament lineups around. Most weeks I am going to recommend two running backs and two wide receivers who you can use as building blocks, but occasionally a tight end sneaks in here, too.

Make sure you're thoroughly informed before you start building your lineups for FanDuel or DraftKings by checking out the rest of RotoBaller's top-notch Premium DFS research and analysis.


RBs and WRs to Build Around - Conference Championships

It's finally here, the last full slate of NFL DFS, and the four best teams in the league still remain (other than maybe the Bills, can you really argue against the fact that these are the four best teams in the league?)

Two game slates are chalky, and you have to get different in certain spots, but you simply have to eat a lot of chalk, too, otherwise, you'll be on the outside looking in when the big-name players go off and star players are usually the guys we can count on the most in these big games.


Running Backs

Jerick McKinnon vs. Cincinnati

Choosing a KC back is going to be a bit maddening, but even after Pacheco outproduced McKinnon last week, I still think J-Mac could be the back to have in lineups this week.

The receiving work that McKinnon gets in this offense is of such high value that you simply can't overlook it. Pacheco is a hard runner and has had a lot of success in the second half. But without a guaranteed role around the goal line, he simply isn't all that safe of a play. Andy Reid is still giving McKinnon carries (he had 11 to Pacheco's 12 last week) and has worked Kadarius Toney into the run game, too.

McKinnon isn't entirely safe either, but I want to attack this Bengals run defense with one of them and I think the game script sets up best for McKinnon in that I don't see KC getting too far out ahead of the Bengals and then just running the ball.

If anything, I think KC may play from behind and be forced to throw it a lot - which is something they don't mind doing anyway. No targets for J-Mac last week seems awfully fluky because he averaged six targets a game from weeks 13-18 to finish the season. And last week was the first week he hadn't scored a TD since Week 12, too.

Joe Mixon @ Kansas City

Mixon is my other back here basically by default. I don't think we need to pay 8k for McCaffrey this week. I'll certainly get some exposure to him in tournaments, but last week we saw Eli Mitchell eat into McCaffrey's touches quite a bit and CMC wasn't even all that effective with the touches that he did get.

Mixon, on the other hand, ran roughshod over the Bills for 105 yards and a TD. He yielded most of the receiving work to Samaje Perine, but he still caught two passes for another 18 yards, too. He's the same price as he was last week on DK - $6500, which just feels so wrong based on his volume of touches and how well this offense is playing. He's a goalline back, a guy who can catch passes, and while his second half of the season was a bit of a snoozer - let's not forget that he broke the NFL in Week 9 when he had 58 DK points.

Mixon should be a popular play and I'll definitely have plenty of shares of his backup Perine, too, but I think you can start your builds with him and feel good about the ceiling/floor combo you're getting.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Ja'Marr Chase @ Kansas City

Chase really stands out here as probably the top play on the slate. He's managed to get in the end zone in both of the Bengals' first two playoff games and had an incredible second half of the regular season after missing a big chunk of time during the middle of the year.

He "only" a 7-97 line against KC in the first matchup this year and failed to score in that one. But last year we all remember how he torched them for a monster 200-yard, 2-TD game, too.

The Chiefs have been abysmal against opposing WR1s this year regardless of the game script. If they're up early, then they're giving up a ton of passing yards to teams playing catch-up. And if they're trailing, it's because their defense has already given up some big plays to the opposing offense. The Bengals came out like gangbusters last week, going up 14-0 on Buffalo before the Bills even knew what hit them and I think Zac Taylor will want to strike early this week, too, testing this secondary early and often.

Chase can win his matchup this week and Joe Burrow is going to be feeding him the ball every chance he gets. Sure, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Hayden Hurst all deserve some consideration, too, but Chase is the most important playmaker on this offense and the guy who has the big play potential.

If the Bengals win, I think it's probably a result of a huge game from Burrow and Chase. I really can't see an argument for fading him other than just hoping for an injury at high ownership, which is probably not the best process for making your picks.

A.J. Brown vs. San Francisco

After a quiet week against the Giants last week, I think AJB is poised for an eruption this week against the Niners. The masses are going to flock to DeVonta Smith based on how he finished the season and his big game last week, but AJ Brown is the guy this week for a few reasons.

He's a much bigger mismatch physically for these Niners' corners than Smith. And last week's poor stat total has more to do with the Eagles doing whatever they wanted to in the run game and getting up big early than it does with Brown not making plays. His ability to get off the line and create separation is going to result in him being open this week and I think we see Hurts make an effort to feed him early and often, especially on his trademark slant routes.

Brown finished with 11 receiving TDs this year and had one of the highest Red Zone target rates in the league. He stands a great chance of getting into the end zone and I think he could push Chase as far as which guy ends up as the top-scoring receiver on the day. It's not too easy to fit both of them into builds without fading McCaffrey and/or Kelce, but I like him more than both of those guys who are going to draw a lot of attention from the opposing defenses.

There's not much the Niners can do to stop Brown. If they do try to bracket him or double-cover him, Hurts is going to find Goedert (another smash play) or Smith or just pull it down and run the ball. I respect the Niners' defense, but their pass defense is vulnerable and Dak Prescott let them off the hook last week. If we get the MVP version of Jalen Hurts this week, he could shred this secondary and I'll have plenty of Hurts-Brown combos in case that comes to fruition.


Good luck to everyone in your contests!  Don't forget that you can chat with me and other NFL analysts in our new premium RotoBaller DISCORD at any point during the week or hit me up on Twitter @ThunderDanDFS.

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