“Full slate” DFS lineups when just four teams are playing are always difficult, even when those four teams are among the very best in the NFL. Our FanDuel lineup for Championship weekend is fairly balanced with players from all four squads, but we’re building it around a four-player Chiefs stack and including two Rams, two 49ers, and one player from the Bengals. You could go a variety of ways with your picks, though, especially if you fade some of the stars we’ve included below. Whatever your daily fantasy football strategy this Sunday, you can bet there will be some surprises you couldn’t have seen coming.
Before we get into this week’s lineups, here are the basic rules for FanDuel contests. Scoring is pretty standard, with the only notable settings being four-point passing TDs and half-point PPR.
Conference Championship Games Full-Slate FanDuel Picks: NFL DFS lineup advice
Saturday main slate, $60,000 budget, no more than four players from one team
QB Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs vs. Bengals ($8,800)
Do we really need to provide reasoning for taking Mahomes? He has the highest ceiling of any QB on this slate, as shown by his monster first two playoff games (almost 800 passing yards, 100 rushing yards, and nine total TDs), so the only question is whether he’s worth the high price. Saving $1,300 on Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford, who also have a high ceilings, isn’t a bad idea, and Jimmy G at $6,200 is also tempting, but we’re fine with the lineup we put together around Mahomes, so we’ll gladly pay up.
RB Elijah Mitchell, 49ers @ Rams ($7,000)
The Rams’ RB situation screams “stay away,” and the Chiefs have become a committee, too. So, unless you want to pay top dollar for Joe Mixon ($8,200), you’re left with Mitchell and one of the committee members. We opted to save some dollars and take Mitchell, who figures to be chalky but also effective. He’s had 44 carries the past two weeks, and in his six games prior to last week’s 17-carry effort, he received at least 20 carries. He was especially busy in his two games against the Rams this year (27 carries for 91 yards in Week 10 and 21 carries for 85 yards in Week 18). The efficiency wasn’t great, but he should be active again, which is enough reason to invest in him.
RB Jerick McKinnon, Chiefs vs. Bengals ($6,200)
Because we don’t want to pay up for Mixon, we’re forced to take a committee back. The Rams situation is potentially messy (and the matchup is brutal), so we’re opting for a Chiefs runner. You could save $500 and take Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who could easily have a better showing that McKinnon, but because we’re taking Mahomes as our QB, we want the Chiefs’ primary receiving back. McKinnon has caught 11-of-13 targets for 135 yards and one TD the past two games (in addition to 22 carries and 85 rushing yards). The Bengals aren’t great against RBs, so everything lines up here. Like we said, CEH could easily do more overall since he’s a little more likely to get carries around the goal line, but we’ll stack up a key Mahomes target and hope KC does most of its damage through the air.
WR Cooper Kupp, Rams vs. 49ers ($9,700)
Kupp is automatic, as his two games this year against the 49ers showed (11 catches for 122 yards in Week 10 and seven catches for 118 yards and a TD in Week 18). Pay the premium, eat the chalk, and enjoy the production.
WR Tyreek Hill, Chiefs vs. Bengals ($8,100)
Hill is a pretty good fade candidate since he’s been inconsistent this year, but there’s no doubt the Chiefs lean on him in the playoffs. He’s scored in both of the first two postseason games, and he’s a threat to score from anywhere on the field. If you pick Mahomes as your QB, you pretty much have to take either Hill or TE Travis Kelce. Kelce is the more obvious candidate because of Cincinnati’s season-long struggles against tight ends, but we’re happy to go slightly contrarian with Hill and hope for another explosive game.
WR Tyler Boyd, Bengals @ Chiefs ($5,800)
Boyd’s four-game scoring streak ended with a thud last week, as he caught just two-of-three targets for 17 yards. However, with the Chiefs secondary banged up, we’re banking on them having more problems with secondary receivers. Boyd won’t score four TDs like Gabriel Davis did, but he’s capable of a big play or two and a touchdown. We’ll take that for this relatively affordable price.
TE Tyler Higbee, Rams vs. 49ers ($5,500)
In addition to Kupp, Higbee has been the one Ram who’s had success in both games against the Niners this year. He caught three passes for 20 yards and a score in Week 10, and in Week 18, he hauled in six passes for 55 yards and two TDs. It’s tempting fate to think he can have three straight big games against San Francisco, but as the cheapest starting TE on the slate, he screams value. When you pay up for Mahomes, Kupp, and Hill, you need to go cheaper elsewhere, so Higbee fits perfectly into this lineup.
FLEX (WR) Jauan Jennings, 49ers @ Rams ($4,900)
Jennings has had a quiet playoffs, catching just four-of-seven targets for 35 yards. However, he’s a big-bodied pass-catcher who made some big plays down the stretch for the Niners, including a career effort against the Rams in Week 18 (six catches, 94 yards, two TDs). We’re not picking him because of that game, but it’s always nice when a player has had past success against a team. We don’t need much from Jennings at this price, so he stands a good chance of paying off one way or another.
DEF Kansas City Chiefs vs. Bengals ($3,700)
The Bengals offensive line was thoroughly exposed last week, giving up nine sacks. The Kansas City pass rush isn’t as strong as Tennessee’s, but it’s had two sacks in each of the first two playoffs games, so three or four sacks plus a turnover or two is definitely doable. Most people will be taking the more expensive Rams or 49ers here, so we’re happy to save some money with the Chiefs.