This time of year is always bittersweet in NFL circles because while the Super Bowl is ahead, that also means the end of the fantasy football season. The fewer the games, the more difficult it is to win in DFS, especially if you don't pick the top players. That was seen last week when the Steelers and Jaguars filled up the scoreboard with Le'Veon Bell and Leonard Fournette leading the way. Both of them surpassed 30 fantasy points and were on the majority of winning squads no matter the format. With fewer games this weekend, it's even more important to hit on the top guys.
Blake Bortles, JAX at NE ($10,600): Bortles isn't consistent, but I think he can do enough at a cheap price to keep DFS teams afloat. I'm avoiding the Philly-Minnesota game at quarterback, which left the more expensive Tom Brady ($13,900) as the only other option. I think the Patriots are going to make Bortles throw and that's reason enough to consider him. There's a chance Brady goes for 40 fantasy points and is must-own, but I think Bortles can do enough with his legs, and a touchdown or two can have him close to 20 fantasy points. The Patriots still rank in the bottom half of pass defense and haven't faced many high-end quarterbacks lately.
Leonard Fournette, JAX at NE ($14,900): I'm not picking the Jaguars to win, but with an over/under of about eight points more than the NFC Championship, a lot of my picks will be in this game. Even if the Pats stack the box, Fournette will see the ball at least 20 times and, ideally, he'll have a few goal line opportunities. Similar to last week, it's better to spend on the big running backs instead of the ones that won't get as many touches. The Patriots are 30th in the league (according to Football Outsiders' DVOA) against the run so that doesn't hurt.
Dion Lewis, NE vs. JAX ($14,100): On the other side of Fournette, Lewis is close to must-own territory, even with Rex Burkhead ($10,300) expected back. Lewis has 20 receptions in the last three games and should be in line for plenty more in a secretly good spot. Per DVOA, the Jags rank as the 15th best team against running backs in the receiving game. As you'll find out, a lot of my fantasy picks are based off the prediction that the Pats will focus heavily on short, quick passes. That's been a common strategy they've taken against teams with a good defensive front and that means a lot of work for Lewis and hopefully some receivers.
Danny Amendola, NE vs. JAX ($10,900): I envision A.J. Bouye removing Brandin Cooks ($12,500) from the game and Jalen Ramsey either committing pass interference or not giving anything to Rob Gronkowski ($14,200). If that happens, Brady will again target Amendola a bunch and that worked to perfection with 11 receptions and 112 yards last week. He may not match those numbers, but I'm also backing the other Patriots wide receiver that could see more targets.
Chris Hogan, NE vs. JAX ($10,500): Hogan hasn't done much in the receiving game since returning from his shoulder injury, but he did log 67 snaps against the Titans. If there's one guy that Brady will look to instead of Amendola, it will probably be Hogan. He made a name for himself in last year's playoffs in this exact spot, going for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He was a touchdown magnet earlier in the season and even grabbed one against Tennessee with his only reception.
Kyle Rudolph, MIN at PHI ($9,400): Rudolph disappointed last week, but still managed five grabs for 28 yards. With Gronkowski the only other tight end to consider, I'm fading him with the potential for Ramsey to stay on him most of the game. The Eagles are middle of the road against tight ends (17th in DVOA) and I expect Rudolph to get plenty of quick looks and maybe convert a red zone opportunity, which is where most of his fantasy value comes from. As a reminder, don't put too much into the final few weeks of the regular season because Rudolph battled through an ankle injury and his numbers were down across the board.
Jay Ajayi, PHI vs. MIN ($9,800): This isn't my favorite pick, but the toss up between James White ($8,300) and Rex Burkhead ($10,300) is what led me here. With Burkhead returning, his touches will be unknown, yet he'll also dig into White's playing time. At the least, I know Ajayi is going to be the focal point of Philadelphia's attack and while the Vikings have a great defense, touches trump no touches. It helps that Ajayi has seven receptions in the last three games and hopefully he'll break a tackle or two and get into the end zone.
Stefon Diggs, MIN at PHI ($13,400): In the last five games, Diggs has 28 receptions for 356 yards and four touchdowns, while Adam Thielen has 23 grabs for 294 yards and one touchdown. Even if you remove the miracle catch for Diggs, he's still been a better fantasy receiver and more consistent with at least five catches in every game in that period. If the Vikings rush for 3.3 yards per carry again, Case Keenum will have to throw and I'm taking Diggs to benefit the most.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. MIN ($5,600): The defensive prices are interesting this week and with enough money to spend I'm still going with the cheapest one. In addition to Keenum having a couple bad throws every game, the Vikings offensive line got exposed in the second half against the Saints. On the road against the Eagles, I think Keenum will see pressure almost the entire game against this front. In addition, I don't think either team will score more than 20 points, similar to Philadelphia's win over Atlanta.