Conference Championship Sunday. Two games to set the stage for a sacred Sunday two weeks away from this one, and we kickoff this season’s deciding day with the American Football Conference’s final bout.
A Championship game that features two of the top six offenses per DVOA rankings of Football Outsiders, with the Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans representing the bookends of the AFC Playoff race as number one and six seeds, respectively.
The spotlight is on Patrick Mahomes to right the Kansas City lore of losing with redemption from last season’s overtime loss to the New England Patriots in this same title game. The opposition in Tennessee has bested them once this season: in the waning moments of a 35-32 Week 10 matchup, so for the Chiefs this is game is littered with vengeful narrative.
It’s time to let the roster construction run wild, but don’t forget to vest some realism. Let’s jump in and make some cash while enjoying a memorable day in NFL Playoff history.
Patrick Mahomes (KC), QB ($13,200/$19,800 Capt.)
It’s not in that I care to merely state the obvious play, but to pose the question as to how we’ll roster him at Captain with reasonable pieces around him. At nearly $20K when slotted into said position, it’s certainly achievable but leaves roster construction a bit stringent.
While there’s no denying that Patrick Mahomes is still-MVP caliber and should shine in this spot against the Titans defense (as he did in Week 10 this season), there’s an added element of pressure here…along with a truckload of the field’s ownership.
Mahomes slung 36-of-50 for 446 yards passing yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in Week 10 against the Titans, and I will certainly get to several rosters with the 2018 MVP as my Captain. Facing a Tennesse defense ranking 21st against the pass per DVOA, it’s hard to argue against rostering Mahomes at Captain after what we witnessed against the Texans last weekend.
It’s damn near impossible not to roster 100% Patrick Mahomes on a slate with two teams, but if you’re multi-entering you may choose to get creative and make a hedge lineup just in case things go awry for one reason or another and you can capitalize on massive leverage.
Derrick Henry (TEN), RB ($12,000/18,000 Capt.)
This dude has been a steamroller all season, with stiff-arms for good measure, and Derrick Henry is in an undeniably outstanding matchup against a Kansas City defense that ranks 29th overall against the rush, and whom he has already paved-over earlier this season.
In a Week 10 romp for the season’s rushing titleholder, Henry jammed all day on 23 carries for 188 rushing yards and two touchdowns, manhandling the Chiefs defense much like the others who’ve stood in front of him this year.
While the Tennessee offensive line ranks third-worst overall in sacks allowed with 56 in total, this bruising unit ranks fifth overall in Running Back Yards (4.65 yds/CAR), aiding Henry’s cause even further. The Chiefs have been playing better defensively of late, but Derrick Henry’s dominance makes for yet another unavoidable roster option in a small player pool.
Tyreek Hill (KC), WR ($10,200/$15,300 Capt.)
The Cheetah has put on a Houdini act as of recently, but in such a monumental game with a proven track record to blaze past helpless defensive backs, Tyreek Hill makes for a stellar roster option with Captain candidacy fully feasible.
Another player from this matchup who chiseled out quite the stat line from their regular season matchup, Tyreek Hill managed a whopping 19 targets, posting 11 receptions for 157 receiving yards and a touchdown. In fact, Hill hasn’t produced a performance anywhere close to that on DraftKings since that Week 10 outing.
One must also consider his role in the special teams returning kicks (in rotation with Mecole Hardman), and may be lower-owned given his recent performances and lofty price tag, and especially at the Captain spot where he could easily break a slate wide open at that designation should he bounce back here.
Tyreek Hill is definitely more avoidable than the other two previously mentioned player options, but I will definitely be finding myself over the field in both Utility and Captain designations for him.
Mecole Hardman (KC), WR ($3,800/$5,700 Capt.)
He only had one catch in their previous matchup but it went for a 63-yard touchdown, and Mecole Hardman’s Tyreek-like abilities on the field make for an excellent priced option given his ceiling, and an interesting contrarian pivot at a low-owned Captain designation.
Also like Tyreek Hill, he’s featured in the kick return game and has added touchdown potential with this bonus role in consideration. The one problem lies in that he doesn’t receive many targets with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Damien Williams taking precedence, but the gamble is on his multi-facted talents hitting on a big play.
Mecole Hardman is by no means a must, rather a very tournament-minded option to say the least.
Anthony Firkser (TEN), TE ($600/$900)
You may have seen me mention him in a recent Playoff article while everybody is still mesmerized by Jonnu Smith, but Anthony Firkser is coming in UNDER $1K as your Captain. Given his target share under Ryan Tannehill’s offensive guidance, Firkser is an insane bargain in salary relief consideration.
Firkser was the second-highest targeted player on the Tennessee offense in Week 10 against the Chiefs, notching three receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown. He diced up my Patriots to the steady tune of 10.30 DraftKings Fantasy Points with a similar stat line in the Wild Card round.
He’s nobody I would hang my hat on immediately in every lineup, but given his super affordable salary cost, it’s mildly tempting to lock him in everywhere and LET IT RIDE!