Championship Round Start 'Em or Sit 'Em

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The NFL fantasy season is coming to a close with three games left on the schedule. We have four teams to work with this Sunday. Below is my favorite stack and top value plays.

Favorite Stack – Bengals QB Joe Burrow with WRs Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins

At 54.5 points, Bengals-Chiefs has an 8.5-point edge on 49ers-Rams (46.5), so that’s one way to lean toward the AFC Championship when picking a favorite stack. Additionally, on DraftKings, the trio of Burrow-Chase-Higgins requires just $19,000 of our $50K salary cap, while Patrick Mahomes-Tyreek Hill-Travis Kelce comes in at $20,900. Mahomes is probably the top value at quarterback, even at his slate-high $7,400 salary, but Burrow has thrown for 300-plus yards in five of his last seven games and brings his best when stakes are highest. The Bengals are going to have to keep pace with the high-flying Chiefs, and one would figure Burrow will be doing the heavy lifting. When these two teams met in Week 17, Burrow completed 30-of-39 throws for 446 yards and four touchdowns, dropping bombs over the top to Chase. The rookie wideout hung an 11-266-3 receiving line, doing the Gabriel Davis to the Chiefs before Davis did last weekend. When picking a secondary Bengals pass-catcher, I lean toward Higgins’ big-play ability on the outside opposite Chase, who figures to draw plenty of defensive attention after embarrassing DC Steve Spagnuolo’s unit four weeks back. Higgins should see single-coverage.

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Favorite Value Plays

Rams RB Cam Akers – Akers almost cost the Rams the game against the Bucs with a fumble at the goal line in the first half followed by another one in the late-fourth quarter when the Rams were trying to kill the clock. Still, Akers played 81% of the offensive snaps and handled 27-of-30 backfield touches. The fumbles raise some concern headed into the NFC Championship, but Sony Michel has already been phased out almost completely the last couple weeks, and Darrell Henderson has yet to play since spraining his MCL in Week 16, though he was designated for return from I.R. The Rams dialed up 27 run calls against San Francisco in Week 18 and targeted their running backs seven times. Dominating snaps and touches, Akers is too cheap.

Rams WR Odell Beckham – OBJ has narrowly out-snapped Van Jefferson 106-104 in two playoff games, but Beckham has the significant 12-4 advantage in targets while Jefferson nurses some nicks and dings. He was DNP Wednesday with a knee issue and has been missing a lot of practice reps the last couple weeks. OBJ is a premier route-runner with vise-grip hands. He has six touchdowns over his last nine games with the Rams.

Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill – Hill is $1,800 cheaper than Cooper Kupp and arguably has a much higher ceiling in a game with a higher total and better scoring environment. Over his late-season heel issue, Hill is coming off a flawless 11-150-1 line on 13 targets against the Bills, playing a three week-high 83% of the snaps while showcasing his class-of-his-own speed and playmaking ability. Getting Hill at $7K is simply stealing. We should be prioritizing Bengals-Chiefs players.

Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah – Uzomah ($3400) and Tyler Higbee ($3700) are both well below the price points of Travis Kelce ($6500) and George Kittle ($5000), but I’m siding with Uzomah in the better game environment. Both are virtually every-snap players at their position and come at marked discounts compared to Kelce and Kittle. Uzomah has at least six targets in four straight games and six of his last seven outings. He has just one touchdown since Week 7, but Uzomah is on the field plenty and will be involved in a likely shootout trying to keep up with the Chiefs.