The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 17, 2014

Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet | 2013 Conference Championships (Week 20): Players to target and avoid

By Eric Pehowic
The Daily Item

— There are only four teams left to worry about in daily fantasy football and playoff leagues this week.

Volatility will be turned up to high in daily leagues, so don't invest too much and play in a couple $1 leagues with big payouts. You're just as likely as most people to pick the surprise 3-TD performer this week.

Let's take a quick look at the Las Vegas odds to try to get an idea how these championship games are going to turn out.

Denver 31, New England 25 (O/U 56, DEN favored by 6)

It seems like the oddsmakers are expecting the status quo from Peyton Manning and company. Denver has been a consistent 30-points per game play regardless of matchup.

If that rings true, Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker will all be nice plays. Knowshon Moreno is getting a lot of love from the Fantasy Pros too.

Shane Vereen, especially if you're getting a full point per reception, is my favorite play out of New England. Broncos linebackers have struggled with pass-catching backs this season. Julian Edelman is a PPR machine as well. Tom Brady feels like an inexpensive pick this week.

Seattle 22, San Francisco 17 (O/U 39, SEA favored by 3.5)

Steven Hauschka is a favorite across many rankings this week, and I like him as a strong play, especially at FanDuel where he's the least expensive option.

Marshawn Lynch is an obvious choice, but he'll be played by a LOT of owners. If he goes big, you match everyone. If you go with more of a dark horse backfield and you hit, you'll be more likely to rise above the pack.

Considering the expected low point totals, players from this contest might be risky, but Frank Gore is likely to score a TD based his usage this season. Anquan Boldin has a stellar performance record in the postseason. They're "bad" plays based on matchup, but Doug Baldwin is a consistent PPR scorer and Golden Tate has explosive potential.

There really are only two worthy options at tight end this week, Vernon Davis or Julius Thomas. I'm going with Davis, who is cheaper, and just as likely as Thomas to score 2 TDs.

I'm also picking a defense from this contest in lineups. Unfortunately, they're top-shelf performance comes at a top shelf price this week. (If you want to roll the dice, the Patriots defense seems like an interesting option.) Kickers get you between six and 15 points, but the good defenses can post 20-30 points, so I'm rolling with that and rostering the Seahawks in most lineups.

Good luck this week.