DraftKings plays for Championship Weekend
Renee Miller discusses strategy for the short slate and gives her favorite picks at each position for Championship weekend DFS
DraftKings plays for Championship Weekend
Each week I’ll comb through the options at each position to bring you my picks for the players with the best combination of safety and upside over a wide price range. These are guys you’ll use in cash games for the most part, but there’s nothing wrong with slotting a couple into your tournament lineups as well for stability.
With only two games on the schedule it’s important than ever to create more than one lineup to give you a better chance of getting everything right. Here are the players I’m using most often this weekend in lineups which I’m biasing heavily toward tournaments.
Carson Palmer $6800: Palmer wasn’t perfect last weekend in the win over Green Bay and I don’t expect him to be perfect this weekend either, but I do think he’s in a good spot to surprise a lot of people. Arizona was our second-best graded offense this season, and Palmer is the primary reason.
The fact that he’s had three healthy wide receivers so often has been huge, and should be again this week (see below). There is no such thing as good DvP this week, but it’s hard for any defense to effectively cover three good wide receivers. In this close high scoring game, as Vegas has it, I expect another solid (e.g. 300-plus yards and three touchdowns) passing performance from the discounted Palmer.
C.J. Anderson $4400: While everyone is busy congratulating New England on the easy victory, I don’t think it’s fair to count Denver out of this game. Manning may not be the Manning of old, but he’s not laying down. In fact if you really want to save at quarterback, I like him for 1-2 touchdowns and 250 yards minimum. The safer play in Denver is C. J. Anderson, who is some kind of second-half savant at the running back position.
In three consecutive games he’s scored a rushing touchdown, rushed for at least 70 yards, and averaged over six yards per carry. He’s an integral part of the Broncos’ post-season strategy and really helps take the pressure off Manning. Expect Anderson’s ownership to be high, accept it, and differentiate at your other running back spot with David Johnson, James White, or Jonathan Stewart.
Larry Fitzgerald $6900: Fitzgerald has the best chance among the Cardinals receivers to avoid Josh Norman as he mainly lines up in the slot and Norman does not. Fitzgerald has been the number one target for Palmer all season, and even as his unbelievable first half pace has slowed, he’s continued to provide relatively safe value for DFS. He’s scored now in three consecutive games and has averaged eight targets per game in that span. Sheer volume and end zone opportunities make Fitzgerald a must-play for me, whether I’m using Palmer or not.
Michael Floyd $5300: A couple of my tournament lineups are “all-in” style, where I might have Palmer, Fitz, Floyd and David Johnson or Brady, Gronkowski, James White, and the Pats D. Mike Clay ranks Floyd’s matchup with Robert McClain the week’s best, although he may realistically spend some time with Norman too since both guys line up left and right pretty evenly.
Between Floyd and John Brown, I’m leaning strongly to Floyd. That’s partly due to Brown being limited in practice with a sore shoulder, but not entirely because I’m confident that Brown plays in this critical game. I just think Floyd thrives in this kind of competitive game.
Rob Gronkowski $7600: Give me a reason not to play Gronkowski. Because everyone else is? I don’t care. No one has more upside, and when the Patriots do well, Gronk does well. He shook off any concerns about his health with a vengeance last weekend, and actually gets a good matchup. The Broncos allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to tight ends this year, including a nice game for Gronk the last time these teams played each other. There’s salary to spare this week and no reason to choose between Gronk and Greg Olsen because you can use Olsen at flex.
New England Patriots $3100: I do think Denver puts up a fight this weekend, and although they were relatively mistake-free last week, the Broncos had given opposing defenses the ninth-most fantasy points per game this season. New England is a popular, but not huge favorite this weekend, so I’m not going all in on the value pick. Rather, I’m splitting my lineups with some exposure to all four defenses this weekend.
Renee Miller is a neuroscientist and fantasy sports enthusiast. She's played NBA and NFL DFS since 2011/12 and added MLB to her addiction this summer. Recently, Renee combined her knowledge of the brain with her love of football in an eBook, "Cognitive Bias in Fantasy Sports: Is your brain sabotaging your team?". You can find the book on her website www.unbiasedfantasysports.com. She'll be writing this weekly NFL DFS strategy column.