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RIVAL Fantasy Over/Under DFS Prop Picks: AFC Conference Championships

Isiah Pacheco - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Rookies

Hello everybody, I'm Josh Constantinou! I'm excited to tell you about an awesome new site that offers a unique blend of player props and fantasy sports. My friends over at RIVAL Fantasy have a TON of great games we can look to take advantage of. RIVAL Fantasy is a great DFS site where you can play multiple fantasy games, including Challenges, Fantasy Bingo, and FantasyBook Over/Under contests. With promo code BALLER, you get a risk-free deposit of up to $50, and also a free year of RotoBaller Premium access ($199 value).

The contest we will focus on in this article is the FantasyBook Over/Under DFS Props contest, specifically for the AFC Championship Game, which features the Cincinnati Bengals at the Kansas City Chiefs. FantasyBook allows you to build a two-to-five pick based on their fantasy points projection and pick over or under the projected total. If you get all of your picks correct, you can win up to 18x your buy-in.

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RIVAL Over/Under Picks - AFC Conference Championships

Before we get to the matchup, I thought it would be an ideal time to take inventory of the previous bets to see if there's anything we can learn for this week. I've listed them below.

  • Week 13 Bills at Patriots - 2/4 correct (missed two overs by fewer than five points)
  • Week 14 Patriots at Cardinals - 1/4 correct (missed two overs from players who suffered an injury, missed one under)
  • Week 16 Saturday Slate - 5/5 correct (18X payout)
  • Week 17 Bills at Bengals - bet canceled
  • Week 18 Saturday Slate - 1/4 correct (missed three overs by fewer than five points)
  • Wild Card Weekend Cowboys at Buccaneers - 0/4 correct (missed two under bets and two over bets)
  • Divisional Round Saturday Slate - 3/5 correct (two overs missed, one from injury and one by 3.5 points)

In total, 11 missed bets were from players the over was selected for, and only three were from the under. It reinforces the approach of taking the under more than the over primarily because injuries frequently impact a player's performance, along with weather or role changes. With that in mind, let's move to the game.

We get a rematch of last year's AFC championship game between two of the most talented young quarterbacks in the league. It has all the makings of a thriller, except that Patrick Mahomes is dealing with a high ankle sprain, which will undoubtedly impact how to approach the Kansas City passing attack.  

JuJu Smith-Schuster UNDER 10.29 fantasy points

Let's start with one of the pass-catchers from that passing attack, Smith-Schuster. He's finished with three or fewer receptions in four straight outings, along with 35 or fewer yards. His highest fantasy total during that stretch was 5.7, just about half the line he needs to hit this week. Since the Chiefs traded away Tyreek Hill, they've hyper-targeted Travis Kelce and distributed the ball among everyone else.

It's also a tougher matchup, the Bengals allowed the 12th-fewest points to the position this season, plus they rank sixth in coverage, according to Pro Football Focus, and 12th in pass defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. Furthermore, the best performance by a wide receiver last week against Cincinnati was four receptions for 35 yards. Two weeks ago, the leading wideout caught four passes for 43 yards and a score. Take the under on Smith-Schuster.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling UNDER 8.23 fantasy points

The line is lower, but the same argument applies here. It's amplified because Valdes-Scantling has only caught more than three passes four times all year. On top of that, he has just three touchdowns this season, one of which came last week when he still found a way to miss the line. Aside from a touchdown, there's virtually no chance he scores enough fantasy points, and even then, it might not suffice. He's a great player to target for a poor day.

Jerick McKinnon UNDER 15.64 fantasy points

Much like Smith-Schuster and Valdes-Scantling, McKinnon thrives as a receiver. He generated 512 yards and nine touchdowns through the air this season compared to only 291 and one on the ground. Despite playing on 65% of the offensive snaps against Jacksonville, he totaled just 25 yards on 11 touches, averaging 2.3 yards per carry. He's being utilized more in pass protection but lacks the explosiveness to produce big plays as a runner. Additionally, the 11 rushing attempts were the most all year, meaning he's likely to see fewer of them this week.

He's had three or fewer targets in three of his past four contests, failing to clear the mark in each one. Moreover, the touchdowns that were propping up his fantasy points for several weeks haven't been able to save him. Two of the three times he missed the mark, he still found the end zone. Without a significant role as a receiver, he'll require multiple touchdowns to have a shot at this line, which is highly improbable. Take the under McKinnon.

Isiah Pacheco OVER 9.9 fantasy points

His running mate is the only player to count on for a good game against the Bengals, other than Mahomes and Kelce. Pacheco's role has continuously grown since taking over as the starter in Week 10. He's finished with double-digit carries in every game but two and 60-plus yards in eight of ten outings. The team also made him a focal point last week because Mahomes's ankle was hurt, which should be part of the game plan in this one.

He's missed clearing the line only once in the past nine weeks, and it was by 1.2 fantasy points. He's also coming off three consecutive weeks of 100 scrimmage yards or a touchdown. Furthermore, it's an area to target against Cincinnati, whose run defense is ranked lower than the pass defense by all three metrics (DVOA, PFF grade, and fantasy points allowed). Take the over on Pacheco, who will be integral to their success.


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