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DFS deep dive: The top plays of the Conference Championships

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 08: Zach Ertz #86 of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts after a first down catch in the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at Lincoln Financial Field on October 8, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Cardinals 34-7. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Although your redraft season may be over, DFS is still in full swing. We’re in the Conference Championship round of the playoffs, and we are continuing our series looking at how to approach the postseason weeks for DFS. Keep in mind my original advice (especially this week on just a two-game slate) on the importance of late-swapping and why we shouldn’t necessarily be afraid to go dumpster-diving with certain inexpensive players. Here’s my breakdown on each offense this week:

Notes: If you’re looking for an even deeper dive with more of an emphasis on strategy, be sure to check out the Chalk Talk DFS Podcast, where I also break down all fantasy-relevant options available on this slate.

New England Patriots (Home, Line: -9.0, Implied Point Total: 27.75)

New England is typically considered a tough offense to analyze because their offensive strategy tends to change so drastically every week. The truth is, it’s fairly easy and they actually approach their opposition the same way every week. Bill Belichick seems to be the one coach who does what all coaches should do – every week, he attacks a defense where they are weakest, while also avoiding their greatest strengths. This week, he’d be best off with Tom Brady getting the ball out quickly (Jacksonville ranks third-best in pressure rate) while avoiding Jacksonville’s shutdown cornerbacks (Jacksonville ranks fifth-best in opposing passer rating to slot wide receivers and best to outside wide receivers).

The 2017 Jaguars led the league, and, over the past decade rank seventh-best in opposing passer rating and fifth-best in yards per pass attempt allowed. The Jaguars ranked seventh-worst in yards per carry allowed this season, but saw that improve to fourth-best since trading for Marcell Dareus in Week 9. Ben Roethlisberger showed last week there is still potential for a big game from Brady, dropping 469 yards and five touchdowns against Jacksonville (his second-best fantasy game ever). Brady, meanwhile, dropped 337 yards and three touchdowns in a softer matchup against Tennessee, throwing the ball 53 times – the most for him in any game since last season’s Super Bowl. This again showed New England wanted to attack where their opponent was weakest (Tennessee ranked fourth-best in yards per carry allowed and 17th-worst in opposing passer rating). While I don’t expect Brady to score 39 fantasy points like Roethlisberger did, I still think he’s a strong play. Brady is our highest-graded passer this season and ranks fifth in fantasy points per game (well above all other quarterbacks on this slate). In last week’s article we mentioned a slight decline for Brady while dealing with an Achilles injury, but he was taken off of the injury report last week.

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