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New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith are all finalists for the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award in 2022. Barkley was named a Pro Bowler for the first time since his rookie season and carried New York's offense this year with a career-high 1,312 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 295 carries over 16 regular season games. He also had 57 receptions for 338 yards. McCaffrey stayed healthy for the first time in the last three years and finished with his third 1,000-yard rushing season, adding 13 touchdowns with San Fran and Carolina. Smith led Seattle to a playoff berth in his first year as a full-time starter since 2014 with the Jets. He finished with a career-high 4,282 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 17 games.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney is an interesting fantasy option for Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes (ankle) likely will be looking to get the ball out fast, which should mean a good number of opportunities for Toney, who is the best option KC has for those kind of quick plays at the line of scrimmage. Last week, he was targeted seven times, second-most on the team, and it wouldn't be a shock to see a repeat of that because of the expected game script. Toney's a great DFS option because of his upside and his anticipated role.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster will be a risky DFS option on Sunday against the Bengals based on how he's played recently. The former Steelers wideout has had three or fewer receptions in four consecutive games, including just two catches for 29 yards in last week's win over the Jaguars. Factor in that quarterback Patrick Mahomes is dealing with an ankle issue that will likely limit the team's passing attack some, and there's not much appeal to Smith-Schuster in cash DFS games, though he's intriguing as a contrarian play in tournaments.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Jerick McKinnon didn't score a touchdown last week against the Jaguars in the Divisional Round, which is notable because McKinnon entered that game with a streak of six consecutive games with at least one touchdown, with at least one of those in each game being a receiving score. McKinnon actually wasn't targeted in the passing game last week, but he did see 11 touches in the run game. McKinnon hasn't really been producing on the ground, but his usage patterns over the last couple of months suggest that he's a good bet to find the end zone on a short reception against the Bengals on Sunday. McKinnon did find the end zone when these teams met in the regular season.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (foot) has already been ruled out for this week's NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but the 31-year-old stated that a return in the Super Bowl is "still up in the air." Rookie Brock Purdy has led San Francisco to eight consecutive wins and is expected to start for the remainder of the team's postseason run regardless of Garoppolo's availability. Still, the veteran would provide security and playoff experience as a backup. Garoppolo's progress will be worth monitoring should the 49ers defeat the Eagles in Philadelphia on Sunday.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco played a solid game last week against the Jaguars, carrying the ball 12 times for 95 yards. On Sunday against the Bengals, Pacheco projects to be an intriguing DFS option because quarterback Patrick Mahomes (ankle) is expected to be a little limited, increasing the potential number of touches for KC running backs. While Jerick McKinnon has carved out a role as the pass-catching back, Pacheco has been the main guy to tote the rock, and he found the end zone when these teams met in the regular season. Make sure to sprinkle him throughout your DFS lineups.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel will have a tough matchup against the league's No. 1 passing defense. The Eagles are allowing the fewest passing yards per game and the fewest per attempt. They also lead the league in sacks and are in the top five for interceptions, so the 49ers offense likely will not produce much through the air. Samuel could have some upside as a rushing threat. The Eagles run defense is no better than average, allowing 4.7 yards per rush. Samuel is a mid-range starter for people betting on some explosive plays this weekend.
The Philadelphia Eagles defense will take on the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Conference Championship game on Sunday. Philadelphia held the division rival New York Giants to seven points last week, racked up five sacks, and generated one turnover. They kept true to their formula from the regular season and put plenty of pressure on the quarterback, accumulating a ton of sacks while doing so. This week will be a tough task for the Eagles, even if they are facing a seventh-round rookie quarterback. The 49ers do not give up a high number of sacks, and Brock Purdy has not turned the ball over during the team's playoff run. San Francisco plays it safe for the most part on offense, so the point total could very easily be low by the end of regulation. The Eagles defense's fantasy ceiling is lower than last week's. However, with the only other options being San Francisco or Kansas City, and Cincinnati in what could be a shootout, Philadelphia heads into the weekend as a top option for DFS and playoff league lineups.
Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott will take on the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Conference Championship game this Sunday. The 28-year-old hit on all five of his extra point attempts and nailed a 30-yard field goal during last week's blowout victory over the New York Giants. The performance followed the same trend as it has all season. Elliott is given plenty of opportunity to convert extra points due to the nature of Philadelphia's offense, but he has few chances, if any, to attempt a three-pointer, capping his fantasy scoring ceiling. This week, the veteran will be tough to trust against the stiff 49ers defense. With the other options being Robbie Gould, Evan McPherson, and Harrison Butker this weekend, Elliott comes in as the clear No. 4 option with a low-ceiling.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert will take on the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Conference Championship game Sunday. In what was his first game back from injury with a fully healthy Jalen Hurts under center, the 28-year-old caught all five of his targets for 58 yards and a score against the New York Giants last weekend. This weekend's matchup against San Francisco is not so favorable. The 49ers allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to the tight end position this past regular season, and they have not allowed a tight end to top 30 yards receiving over the past two weeks. Goedert heads into the weekend as the clear No. 3 option at the position behind Travis Kelce and George Kittle. The veteran has the upside to finish ahead of those two due to a potentially high target share, but he also has a low fantasy scoring floor due to the tough matchup.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith will take on the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Conference Championship game this Sunday. The second-year receiver led the Eagles in receiving last week and was peppered with 10 targets. The addition of A.J. Brown has done wonders for Smith, as he has dominated No. 2 cornerbacks all season. This weekend's matchup against San Francisco is another good one, as the 49ers allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to the wide receiver position during this past regular season. DK Metcalf and CeeDee Lamb have both posted big stat lines against the 49ers the past two weeks, and while Brown should get his fair share of targets, Smith has been too good to sit out of fantasy lineups. The 24-year-old will be one of the top WR2 options in DFS and playoff league lineups this weekend.
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