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January 17, 2015

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): FanDuel Favorite Plays for Championship Games

After posting my favorite DraftKings plays for this weekend earlier this week, tonight I turn my attention to FanDuel contests.

Like with the DraftKings post, I will focus on plays that I like regardless of salary (as opposed to normal emphasis placed on low-priced values) given that there is only a two-game slate this weekend.

As you can imagine with only four teams in action, there is a ton of overlap between these two posts. With that said, here are the FanDuel plays that will be in many of my lineups this weekend:

QB - Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (at NE), $9,200

Separated by only $300 of salary, the four starting quarterbacks are priced in the same tier and Luck is my top-ranked quarterback for the weekend. Based on my fantasy football projections, Luck is the best value on a cost-per-projected-point basis ($443.37) despite owning this weekend's highest salary. More so than any of the other three quarterbacks this weekend, the Colts will rely on Luck to do the heavy lifting to give them a shot to advance to Super Bowl XLIX.

QB - Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. GB), $8,900

Wilson is my second-ranked fantasy quarterback yet he's the least expensive of the starters this weekend. In terms of salary per projected point, Wilson's cost ($445.89) is only slightly more than Luck's and a lot lower than those of Tom Brady ($475.94) and Aaron Rodgers ($604.25). Even though 18 quarterbacks threw the ball more than Wilson over the course of the regular season, only Rodgers and Luck scored more fantasy points this season. Keeping mistakes to a minimum (72:26 TD-to-INT ratio over three seasons), Wilson also rushed for 849 yards and six touchdowns. Only 15 running backs outgained Wilson this season.

FanDuel's $2M NFL Sunday Million: FanDuel is running a one-day contest this Sunday with $2 Million in prizes ($200K to first).

RB - Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (vs. GB), $8,600

Even though Lynch is the highest-priced running back, it would be difficult to fade Lynch in a two-game slate. After all, only the next guy on the list has a lower cost per point than Lynch. Regardless of position, few NFL players have as high of a ceiling and floor as Lynch, who has four consecutive seasons of 1,200-plus rushing yards and double-digit rushing scores. Lynch had 110 yards and two scores in his first matchup against the Packers and has averaged 17.7 FanDuel points per game this season.

RB - Dan Herron, Indianapolis Colts (at NE), $7,000

Even though he's better on DraftKings than FanDuel due to the difference in scoring (full-PPR at DraftKings; half-PPR at FanDuel), I love Herron on both sites this weekend. In two playoff games, Herron has 18 catches on 19 targets. Given the talent in New England's secondary, Herron could certainly see 8-10 receptions like he has had in the first two playoff games. Despite losing some of the clock-killing fourth-quarter carries against the Bengals after a couple of fumbles, Herron has a total of 53 touches in two playoff games for 236 yards and two scores.

RB - LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots (vs. IND), $5,400

Trying to figure out what Bill Belichick will do with his allocation of touches to the team's group of running backs is always a risky proposition. That said, the Patriots ground game against the Colts rush defense is one of the more favorable matchups of the weekend in general terms.

Even though Jonas Gray rushed for 201 yards and four touchdowns against the Colts in Week 11, that was just before Blount was reunited with the Pats. In the playoffs last year against the Colts, Blount himself rushed for four touchdowns (and 166 yards). Given Gray was inactive last week and has only 20 total carries since the addition of Blount, I suspect that Belichick & Co. will put the majority of their faith in Blount on Sunday.

At DraftKings, I have about a 75/25 ratio of Blount to Gray. At FanDuel, I'm rolling exclusively with Blount out of this duo. Gray's salary ($2,800) on DraftKings is only 62.22 percent that of Blount's ($4,500). On FanDuel, however, the difference is just $100 ($5,400 for Blount, $5,300 for Gray) so all of my diversification with Gray will come via my DraftKings lineups.

WR - Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers (at SEA), $8,900

The matchup against the league's stingiest defense to opposing wide receivers, Aaron Rodgers' calf injury and Nelson's sub-par 2/22 performance last week may not inspire a ton of confidence. That said, I expect a bounce-back week from Nelson, who had a 9/83 line in Week 1 against the Seahawks with all 14 of his targets coming on the opposite side of the field than Richard Sherman. Nelson may be the most-expensive wide receiver option this weekend, but he's second at the position in terms of lowest cost per point ($609.59).

WR - Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (vs. IND), $7,500

Edelman had five catches for 50 yards on eight targets and two rush attempts for 31 yards in Week 11 against the Colts. Edelman missed the final two regular-season games with a concussion, but he has had double-digit targets and at least seven receptions in his past five games played since the first matchup against the Colts. In addition, he has at least 74 yards in four of those five games. Over his past seven games played, Edelman has a minimum of 8.3 FanDuel points and double-digit points in six of those seven games. In addition, he has at least 17.44 points in each of his past three games.

WR - Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (vs. GB), $6,200

Given the team's run-first philosophy, Baldwin has averaged just 6.13 targets per game, which potentially caps his upside and my level of enthusiasm for playing him. That said, Baldwin has a minimum of 6.6 FanDuel points over his past five games with an average of 11.54 points per game during that stretch. Earlier I noted that Nelson had the second-lowest cost per point among wideouts; Baldwin's cost per point ($590.48) is the lowest.

WR - Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts (at NE), $5,300

The first time around this season, it was Reggie Wayne that visited Revis Island. This time around, it would make sense for the tourist to be Hilton. Earlier this week, Revis seemed to hint that would be the case by posting a picture of Hilton on his Instagram account although he said he was "just promoting the game." (Um, ok.) While Luck spreads the wealth around, Moncrief has the most upside among the wide receivers not named T.Y. and could benefit a little more than usual if Revis shadows Hilton. Although Moncrief provides some salary-cap relief and has seen a boost in his snap count over the second half of the season, there is still plenty of risk with Moncrief as he's a boom-or-bust option. Moncrief has a couple of games this season with more than 20 fantasy points, but he has scored 4.8 points or less in five of his past seven games.

TE - Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots (vs. IND), $8,200

This just in: Gronk is good. Of course, you don't need me to tell you that Gronk is a stud, but he has the third-lowest cost per projected point behind Herron and Lynch this week making him more than worthy of his lofty price tag.

TE - Luke Willson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. GB), $5,400

Capitalizing on his limited opportunities in the team's run-first offense, Willson has a total of 239 yards and three touchdowns in his past three games. One of the faster tight ends in the league with 4.5 speed, Willson will likely be the least-owned of the top-four tight end options this weekend and it wouldn't surprise me if he finished second behind only Gronk in production.

In addition, check out our site's sortable FanDuel NFL cheat sheet.

Here are my fantasy football playoff rankings:

Has your team been eliminated from the playoffs? Check out my 2015 NFL mock draft for a look ahead to this April's draft.

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