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NFL DFS Value Plays: Conference Championship Games Bargain Bin for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo Including Isiah Pacheco, Tee Higgins, George Kittle, More

Welcome to the Conference Championship Games main slate edition of RotoBaller's NFL DFS Bargain Bin, where the goal is to touch on some potentially mispriced players across the industry that find themselves in favorable matchups and/or suddenly expanded roles.

Each week, I’ll give you my thoughts on where there may be some value spots to exploit, and on the Conference Championship main slate, I hunt for value plays that might be site-specific on Yahoo, FanDuel, and DraftKings.

We have a two-game conference championship slate on tap this weekend, but despite the reduced player pool and the highly talented defenses in action, we still have some solid value options to choose from with four high-powered offenses in play.

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NFL DFS Bargain Bin Intro

Before we go NFL DFS Bargain Bin hunting, a few particulars about format and content.

The nature of the beast with value plays is at least a modest amount (and sometimes substantially more) of risk. Therefore, the Bargain Bin may prove to be a bit more of a roller-coaster ride on some slates than your typical “tout” article! Naturally, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an upside to be had. All of these selections are therefore suitable for GPPs and can also often serve as solid cash game plays, while often helping you accommodate multiple higher-priced studs into your lineup.

Typically, I’ll suggest players that are value-priced across three major DFS sites (DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo). However, there are certainly occasions where one or more sites price a player significantly lower than others. Whenever possible, I’ll typically at least note those players as an “XYZ site special.”

This article is by no means intended to serve as an exhaustive list of all value options for the week. Rather, it’s meant to take a deeper dive into those I feel offer some of the best combinations of savings and upside.

The goal is to recommend truly affordable players, as opposed to, say, a player priced just $300-$400 away from the highest-priced option at his position. I don’t have set-in-stone price limits in mind for each site, but I do consider legitimate affordability a very important criterion.

 

Quarterback DFS Value Plays              

Brock Purdy, SF at PHI | DK: $5,300, FD: $6,900, Yahoo: $22

Purdy's imagination-capturing story seems to have no end at the moment, regardless of the matchups getting progressively tougher. Sunday's challenge will naturally be his stiffest yet, considering the Eagles recorded a league-high 67 sacks during the regular season and feature two stellar veteran cornerbacks in James Bradberry and Darius Slay. However, Purdy's salaries remain such that he doesn't have to turn in anything close to an otherworldly performance to justify rostering him, and he checks into Sunday's game with three straight interception-less performances and seven multi-touchdown tallies in his first eight games since replacing an injured Jimmy Garoppolo.

The Eagles have allowed an NFC-low 8.8 yards per completion dating back to the start of the regular season, but that actually dovetails well with Purdy's style of play for the most part. The rookie has naturally been managed fairly carefully by head coach Kyle Shanahan and is averaging 8.1 yards per attempt, and he has the type of short-area weapons that could help him frequently circumvent having to try and attack the perimeter, where the Eagles are especially adept at limiting production. Purdy is also benefitting significantly from the fact Niners pass catchers are averaging a robust 6.3 yards after receptions, certainly helping to pad his production.

DK-only Special: Joe Burrow, CIN at KC | $6,800

Running Back DFS Value Plays   

Isiah Pacheco, KC vs. CIN | DK: $5,300, FD: $6,300, Yahoo: $18

There's reportedly a chance Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle) makes his return from injured reserve this week, but Pacheco should retain a solid role in KC's backfield and has been running hard with plenty of success taking on primary early-down duties. Dating back to Week 10, the rookie has averaged 12.1 DK/11.1 FD/Yahoo points per game while rushing for 728 yards and four touchdowns at 5.3 yards per carry and bringing in 11 of 12 targets for 123 yards.

That stretch includes a 16.2 DK/15.2 FD/Yahoo-point effort versus the Bengals in Week 13 on the strength of a 14-carry, 66-yard, one-touchdown tally on the ground and a 2-16 line through the air. Then, Cincy has surrendered 112.0 rushing yards per road game since the start of the regular season, along with 4.3 yards per carry in that split. Pacheco is also logging a touch on over 53% of his snaps and is gaining an average of 2.7 yards per carry after first contact, giving him a solid chance of consistently putting together productive runs each time he touches the ball.

Elijah Mitchell, SF at PHI | DK: $4,900, FD: $5,600, Yahoo: $19

Mitchell is heading into Friday having missed two straight practices while resting a groin injury he apparently picked up in the Divisional Round win over the Cowboys, so naturally, the caveat about monitoring his status certainly applies. However, assuming reports eventually emerge Mitchell will play (which, as per head coach Kyle Shanahan, is the expectation) and the absences were merely precautionary, the second-year back is worthy of consideration in tournaments at a minimum.  Mitchell encouragingly logged 14 carries against Dallas, and although he wasn't involved as a receiver, his 2-25-1 line through the air versus Seattle the week prior certainly serves as a reminder he's capable of contributing in that capacity as well.

The Eagles are also a bit less daunting against the run compared to their work against the pass, as Philly has given up 121.4 rushing yards per game since the start of the regular season, including 125.3 in the last three contests overall. The Eagles have also given up 4.4 RB yards per carry, rank No. 21 in second-level yards surrendered since the start of the campaign, and conceded an 86-542-3 line to RBs during the regular season, all vulnerabilities Mitchell is capable of exploiting.

ALSO CONSIDER: Miles Sanders, PHI vs. SF | DK: $5,200, FD: $6,200, Yahoo: $20

DK/Yahoo Special: Joe Mixon, CIN at KC | DK: $6,500, Yahoo: $26

 

Wide Receiver DFS Value Plays      

Tee Higgins, CIN at KC | DK: $5,400, FD: $6,000, Yahoo: $22

Higgins's salaries are eye-opening considering his ceiling, and the fact the speedy downfield threat is facing a Chiefs defense that was highly vulnerable to wide receiver production all season. Higgins posted 12.5 DK/11.0 FD/Yahoo points against Kansas City back in Week 13 with a 3-35-1 line, and the fact his last big performance came in Week 16 has served to take his salaries down to unusually low levels. However, Higgins has 12 double-digit fantasy point tallies on the campaign overall, three over 20.

The Chiefs have given up 220.1 passing yards per game since the start of the regular season, as well as the eighth-most receptions (223) and second-most receiving touchdowns (20) to wideouts. KC also surrendered an NFL-high 27 red-zone passing touchdowns overall, while Higgins finished the season laying claim to 29% of the Bengals' air yards, 18.4% of the team's targets, and averaging just under two yards per route run, a particularly elevated figure.

Brandon Aiyuk, SF at PHI | DK: $4,400, FD: $6,000, Yahoo: $18

Aiyuk is another wideout capable of outpacing his current investment across all three sites, even as the matchup he faces versus the Eagles' corners is far from desirable. However, the 49ers have done a good job moving the 2020 first-round pick around all season, and Aiyuk is coming off a career-best regular season where he posted 78 receptions, 1,015 yards, and eight touchdowns, all-new high-water marks. He also posted a 3-73 line on just five targets in the Wild Card win over the Seahawks, a reminder of his ability to churn out some good yardage with modest opportunity.

Many of Aiyuk's peripheral receiving metrics stand out as exemplary -- he owned a 32.7% share of San Francisco's air yards and 22.4% of its targets and he was targeted on an elevated 23.4% of his routes during the regular season while averaging just over two yards per route run. Aiyuk's average depth of target was a relatively modest 9.8 yards, however, but that actually dovetails well with the Eagles' aforementioned tendency to force shorter throws. The fact Aiyuk is also highly adept at gaining yards after the catch certainly helps his chances of churning out some strong production yet again without a large number of receptions.

Kadarius Toney, KC vs. CIN | DK: $3,700, FD: $5,600, Yahoo: $15

Toney could see Mecole Hardman (pelvis) finally rejoin the action this week after a long absence, but the mid-season arrival should still enjoy a solid role and has demonstrated an ability to produce on the ground in addition to his work as a receiver. Toney posted his third straight double-digit DK-point tally against the Jaguars in the Divisional Round win with 50 yards on six total touches, and in Week 18 against the Raiders, he demonstrated his versatility by rushing for 26 yards and a touchdown on three carries in addition to posting a 2-18 line through the air.

The Bengals have allowed an elevated 11.1 yards per completion since the start of the regular season, including 12.2 in the last three games. Cincinnati has also given up 241 passing yards per road game and 248.7 in the last three contests overall, along with a bloated 14.1 yards per reception to wideouts specifically. Toney is also excellent with the ball in his hands after the catch (7.4 YAC per reception), upping his chances of churning out a big play or two.

ALSO CONSIDER: Deebo Samuel, SF at PHI | DK: $5,700, FD: $7,000, Yahoo: $20

 

Tight End DFS Value Plays  

George Kittle, SF at PHI | DK: $5,200, FD: $6,800, Yahoo: $24

Philadelphia's aforementioned lockdown veteran corners made life difficult on receivers all season, which helped lead to Philly facing the 10th-most tight end targets (120) and giving up a 67.5 percent catch rate to the position during the regular season. Kittle was a force in the Divisional Round win over the Cowboys with a 5-95 line on five targets, which resulted in a tally of 14.5 DK/12.0 FD/Yahoo points. The matchup could well line up for another busy day for Kittle, who can serve as a safety valve for Purdy down the seam and on crossing routes against linebackers and safeties.

The Eagles gave up an 81-801-3 line to tight ends during the regular season on those 120 targets, and Kittle's average depth of target of 6.6 yards and average yards per target figure of 8.9 are both good matches to the shorter area passing Philadelphia often forces. Additionally, Kittle, who scored a career-high 11 touchdowns this past regular season and was targeted on 22% of his routes, averaged more than a red-zone target per game (16 in 15 contests), with seven coming in the last three games of the campaign.

Hayden Hurst, CIN at KC | DK: $3,000, FD: $5,400, Yahoo: $14

With a 52-41-2 line across 13 regular-season games and nine receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets over the first two playoff games, Hurst has proven very capable of outpacing his current salaries. The veteran tight end did downgrade to limited practice participation due to a calf injury Thursday after putting in a full session Wednesday, however, but he reportedly had a very good practice Friday and is in line to play, according to the latest beat writer reports. Assuming he's indeed ready to suit up by Sunday, Hurst does make for a very viable play in both tournaments and cash, considering the amount of solid volume he continues to command and his matchup.

The Chiefs surrendered a 72-792-9 line to tight ends during the regular season, with the touchdown total tying for the fourth-highest in the league and third-most in the AFC. Hurst had a solid nine red-zone targets in 13 regular-season games and then has drawn three in Cincy's first two playoff games, particularly relevant when considering Kansas City's aforementioned league-high 27 red zone touchdown passes allowed during the regular season, as well as the fact the Chiefs have conceded an NFL-high 69.6% red zone TD scoring rate at home since the start of the regular season.

ALSO CONSIDER: Dallas Goedert, PHI vs. SF | DK: $4,100, FD: $6,400, Yahoo: $19



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