NFL Start ’em Sit ’em for NFL Conference Championship games

Fantasy football managers have arrived at a drastically different landscape when it comes to start/sit dilemmas. Sit ’em options aren’t the best investment of energy since the player pool is limited in playoff fantasy and DFS formats, so we will consider all the start ’em options for the Conference Championships of the 2020-2021 NFL Playoffs. 

NFL Conference Championships Start or Sit Fantasy Quarterbacks | Start ’em

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (at Kansas City Chiefs)

Josh Allen is the best fantasy quarterback chucking the rock for the Conference Championships. His ability to generate yards and TDs on the ground always keeps his floor high. Couple that with his budding precision as a passer, and you have an absolutely lethal fantasy starter on your hands.

I have concerns with Patrick Mahomes dealing with turf toe. The last time Allen faced Kansas City in Week 6, he was dealing with an injured shoulder and played in a monsoon. Expect Allen to light it up this weekend and continue to cement his status in the quarterback elite.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

I don’t see a repeat performance from Week 6, where Rodgers had 2 interceptions and zero passing touchdowns. Rodgers tossed close to 300 passing yards against the Los Angeles Rams last week, and he will be in his element on Sunday.

The likely NFL MVP will look to beat the most accomplished QB of all-time on his home field. Look for Rodgers to continue his “why did you draft Jordan Love” revenge tour. Luckily for Packers fans, he’s taking it out on his opponents.

NFL Conference Championships — Start or Sit Fantasy Running Backs | Start ’em

Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Green Bay Packers)

Fournette played in 70% of the snaps last week, while Ronald Jones played in only 30%. Fournette rushed for over 100 yards against a stout Saints defense. I’m banking that he continues to get that volume against a more favorable matchup against the Packers’ rush defense that also has issues covering ball carriers in the passing game.

Jones’ health status is a salient factor in this equation, so keep an eye on the injury report.

Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills (at Kansas City Chiefs)

Singletary is everything in the Bills’ backfield nowadays and played in 85% of the offensive snaps last week. Kansas City has allowed 4.5 yards per carry to opposing running backs this season, and I expect the Bills to be more committed to the run this week.

Featured | NFL Recap: Previewing the Conference Championship teams

I also expect him to be utilized in the passing game, where the Chiefs have allowed close to 850 receiving yards to opposing running backs this season.

Other running backs to consider starting for the Conference Championships

1) Aaron Jones, Packers — Jones rushed for over 100 yards against the Rams last week. Another difficult matchup is ahead, but I expect Jones to be utilized in the passing game as well, and Tampa’s defense has allowed the most receptions to opposing ball carriers this season.

2) Ronald Jones, Buccaneers — Jones is dealing with a quad injury but has been able to practice this week. I expect him to make the most of the limited volume he gets behind Leonard Fournette.

NFL Conference Championships — Start or Sit Fantasy Wide Receivers | Start ’em

Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills (at Kansas City Chiefs)

My favorite stack this week is Allen to Stefon Diggs. He posted over 100 yards against the Los Angeles Rams’ exceptional secondary last week, so this should be a much juicier matchup against a Chiefs secondary that is allowing WR1s to score at will.

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Green Bay Packers)

Evans has 14 touchdowns this season, and no matter how difficult the matchup, Brady still looks his way in the red zone. Will Evans avoid corner Jaire Alexander this week? That is the BIG question. Considering Alexander spends the majority of his time on one side of the field, will he remain there or be manned up against Evans? I still expect Evans to find the end zone on Sunday.

Allen Lazard, Green Bay Packers (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Lazard got 8 targets last week and regaining form from his midseason stint with the injury bug. He has elevated to Rodgers’ WR2 and earned his trust. Lazard should have success against a Tampa Bay secondary that is allowing over 8 yards per target to opposing wideouts. Todd Bowles will key on Davante Adams — will Lazard win his 1-on-1 matchups? My vote is yes.

Other wide receivers to consider starting for the Conference Championships

1) Davante Adams, Packers — the Buccaneers’ defense ranks second-to-last in receptions allowed to opposing WRs. I expect Adams to get a ton of targets, but his typical production may be mitigated in this contest.

2) Chris Godwin, Buccaneers — Godwin will face slot corner Chandon Sullivan, where he spends over 60% of his time. In the Week 6 contest, Godwin received 25% of the target share.

3) Scotty Miller, Buccaneers

Conference Championships — Tight End Start ‘Em Options

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Buffalo Bills)

Kelce is hands down the best tight end suiting up for the Conference Championships, and he has been for the entire playoffs, really. Regardless of his matchup, his volume compels you to start him each and every week. To put in perspective, Kelce’s fantasy points per game double any other tight ends the last few weeks.

Kelce is in a class all his own.

Conference Championships — Flex Start ‘Em Options

John Brown, Buffalo Bills (at Kansas City Chiefs)

Gabriel Davis is dealing with an ankle injury and has not been able to practice this week. If Davis is inactive, I love Brown even more with the amount of target share he should receive, especially stretching the field. The Bills will need big plays in the AFC Championship Game, and Brown may be the hidden assassin while the spotlight is focused on Stefon Diggs.

Conference Championships — Fantasy Defense 

Green Bay Packers (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Brady is only completing 55% of his completions in the last two weeks. The Packers’ defense is playing head and shoulders better as of late, and opponents are only averaging 16 points per game the last four weeks.

Want more analysis and news?

Be sure to follow us on Twitter: @PFN365 to stay up to date with all things around the NFL and the 2020-2021 fantasy football season beyond start ’em and sit ’em advice. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also visiting our fantasy football section for more coverage and up-to-date rankings.

Anita Marks is a fantasy analyst at Pro Football Network. Marks is also a gambling analyst for ESPN and appears on Daily Wager, which airs from 6-7 PM ET on ESPN 2. Her radio show – Weekend Wager – airs on ESPN New York (98.7) FM every Friday at 10 PM ET. Follow her on Twitter: @AnitaMarks.

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