NFL DFS First Look at Salaries & Matchups for Conference Championships (Fantasy Football)

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Every week the First Look article gives you a taste of the slate and some of the more intriguing salaries that DraftKings and FanDuel release. The goal is to identify early-week cash game considerations, as well as potential tournament plays, before we piece together the stacking options.

Check back on Friday when Matthew Betz and myself share our official DraftKings and FanDuel picks for cash and GPPs exclusively in the DFS Pass.

Here are the games for this week’s main slate* including team-implied totals (TIP) for each matchup.

Overview

At first glance, here are a couple of things to note:

  • On a 2-game slate, there is little room for error knowing your choices (especially at the onesie positions) have inherent opportunity costs.
  • The line in the KC/CIN game has moved throughout the week opening at KC -2 and now reaching CIN -2. It’s not odd given Mahomes’ injury but with the Bengals momentum (10 wins in a row), it’s hard having a ton of confidence in KC covering. They’ve done it five times on the year, a league low. This game also sported a 54.5(!) opening total last year.
  • NOTE: All salaries listed are DraftKings or FanDuel. The colors are simply organized by “salary tiers”, not at all indicative of projections or points per dollar rankings.

Quarterbacks

  • Patrick Mahomes– A hobbled Mahomes is still capable of being QB1 on any slate. However, his salary on DraftKings is a bit of a hindrance when you factor in lineup construction and the fact that Hurts and Burrow project better from a points-per-dollar perspective. This is now his 5th consecutive AFC Championship game which is just wild to consider. Mahomes has played Burrpw three times and lost all three matchups while putting up 20.86, 19.82, & 20.9 DK points. He didn’t hit the 300-yard bonus but the Chiefs did average 26.3 points in those contests. The combined roster percentage of Mahomes + Kelce will be an interesting talking point in tournament strategy this week.
  • Jalen Hurts– Hurts is arguably the best QB play on the slate. He shows up as our top points per dollar on DraftKings. It is interesting to see him priced up over Mahomes & Burrow considerably on FanDuel. I do tend to lean into rushing QBs on that site given the fact we don’t have any 300+ yard bonuses in play. He’s a goal-line back tied for the 2nd most carries inside the 5-yard line among all runners in the NFL.
  • Joe Burrow– Last week, the Bengals let him rip off 27 first-half pass attempts which gives you just a taste of the volume you can count on with Burrow. His price increased $300 but it’s still low relative to the other two QBs on this slate. It comes down to how much pressure the KC front can create to get after Burrow.

  • Brock Purdy– If winning is your thing, Purdy only knows one thing through seven games played. But to compete on this slate at this price point, you need him to clear 25+ DK points. While 3xing on his salary seems to be the norm, he’s only surpassed 4xing just twice. For clarity, the Eagles have allowed opposing QBs to hit that 4x mark in just six of their 17 regular season games and ranked 11th in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed.

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