So this is where things get tricky. Just four teams and two games to choose players from. This is where those filler players that you put in your lineup for less than $5,000 really make a difference. Let’s get right into it.
Matt Ryan ($7,700)
Choosing a quarterback for this week is probably the toughest decision to make considering all have played extremely well this year. At $8,100, I think Rodgers may be overpriced considering the health of his receiving core. Although it’s enticing to choose Big Ben at a cheap $5,800, I’d avoid him based on his play away from home this season. Why I’m narrowly choosing Matty Ice over Tom Brady ($7,100) is because of his matchup and the fact that he’s been on fire these past couple weeks. The Packers secondary is fresh off of being diced by rookie signal caller Dak Prescott and has allowed the second most passing yards per game this season. Given that Matt Ryan is averaging 23.7 fantasy points per game and has thrown 14 touchdowns to zero interceptions in his last five games, I like his chances to have a big game on Sunday.
Le’Veon Bell ($10,300)
If you’re a frequent reader of my Draft Kings advice (by the way, I was on fire last week), you’ll know that- regardless of the price- I believe Le’Veon Bell is a must start every week. No exceptions. I know the Patriots have been great against the run this season, but Bell is matchup proof. Remember when he had 31.7 fantasy points against the Ravens’ number one run defense in Week 16? Me too. Stick with what got you here and start Bell.
Ty Montgomery ($5,600)
Montgomery is one of the few Packers offensive players that has remained off the injury report this week. He should see plenty of work in the passing game, as he remains a favorite target of Aaron Rodgers in short passing situations. In fact, the Falcons’ defense has allowed the most receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns to opposing running backs this season. Montgomery has also produced on the ground, receiving 11 carries in both playoff games. After rushing for two touchdowns last week, it’s clear that the Packers trust Montgomery in goal line scenarios, further increasing his value.
LeGarrette Blount ($4,400)
Dion Lewis was the Patriots back to own last game, but I have a feeling this week will feature a heavy dosage of LeGarrette Blount. Belichick has been known to under-use running backs who are coming off of big performances. Furthermore, with a majority of owners starting Lewis this week, Blount makes for a great contrarian play. The Steelers are a below average run defense that were gashed by Blount in Week 7 for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
Julian Edelman ($7,300)
After a slow start to the year, Edelman has returned to one of Tom Brady’s most productive targets. Since Week 11, Edelman is averaging 7.25 receptions per game that have translated into about 19 fantasy points per game. When you consider the high price of Antonio Brown, and uncertainty around Jordy Nelson and Julio Jones, I believe that Edelman is the best option for a high-priced receiver.
Taylor Gabriel ($4,900)
Julio Jones has been battling turf toe for several weeks now and- although he is off the injury report- I don’t think he’ll be playing at 100 percent. The possibility of Julio being used as a decoy would create more opportunities for other Falcons receivers. I’m taking Gabriel over Sanu mainly because of his big play ability. Matty Ice loves to spread the wealth on offense, and he’s been finding Taylor Gabriel deep all season long.
Jeff Janis ($3,000)
Crazy, right? Why start a guy who has just one reception in the past seven weeks? Seriously, hear me out. It was reported that Nelson, Adams, and Allison would all not be playing if this were a regular season game. With all these guys battling injuries and questionable to play, Janis is next up in the pecking order. Hey, Aaron Rodgers has to throw the ball to someone when facing an Atlanta secondary that has allowed the seventh most passing yards in the league this season.
Jared Cook ($5,100)
Cook has developed into one of the Rodgers’ favorite targets this postseason. Last game, he secured 6 receptions for 103 yards and a score. He comes at a high price for a tight end this week, but considering how many of Rodgers’ receivers are injured, he figures to be very active in the offense.
Jesse James ($2,700)
If you’re looking to go cheap at tight end, Jesse James is your best bet. He was a go-to target for Big Ben in last week’s divisional round matchup- with five receptions for 83 yards- and should ride this momentum into Foxborough.