What’s up everyone and welcome to Ben’s Building Blocks! If you’ve never read my content before, welcome. To those that have, welcome back. I truly appreciate everyone that reads and supports during NFL season. This article is designed for me to highlight the top plays of the week, and my overall player pool for the main slate. Obviously, things can change rapidly in the NFL with injury news on the weekends, so I would be sure to subscribe to our premium package for access to my Final Thoughts cheat sheet, our premium discord channel and my core plays. Our Core Plays product gives you the ability to tail all of our analysts in your contests each week. We do the work for you, and you simply plug and play with our premium Core Plays. With that being said, let’s hop into the playoffs…
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Jalen Hurts ($7,300)
I’m writing up Hurts, but I think locking in Patrick Mahomes with this narrative that he’s too hurt to do anything is certainly interesting. It’s going to come down to Hurts vs Burrow for the highest-owned option this weekend, but it’s really hard to get off Hurts even against this defense. Philly has the offensive line to counteract the 49ers pass rush, and San Francisco has struggled at times to contain mobile QB’s. Hurts is such a threat to run one in when in the red-zone, but I actually think there’s going to be more passing in this game than people think. The secondary is the way to attack this defense, and I think Philly is one of the smarter coaching staffs in the NFL and they’re going to try and exploit that. I think we see multiple deep shots early on from Hurts, and if he finds the end-zone with his legs it’s going to be hard to beat him as the top scorer on just a two game slate.
Jerick McKinnon ($5,600)
I completely faded 40% owned Jerick McKinnon last week which tuned out to be a great move. He posted a sub-3 fantasy point dud, but that doesn’t tell the full story. He actually dominated the snaps — logging 65% compared to the 35% Isaiah Pacheco saw. No other running back saw the field. Much has been made about McKinnon’s pass protection this week, which may come in handy against the Bengals pass rush with a presumably limited Mahomes in terms of his mobility. Cincinnati has also been one of the best run-defenses in football with DJ Reader healthy and active, making this a spot where the Chiefs should target him more out of the backfield. It’s no doubt he ran hot with touchdowns down the stretch of the season, but the usage over those last few games was concerning. McKinnon was their main back in the playoffs last year and that usage he saw against Jacksonville tells us he is their most trusted option again. I’m back in on McKinnon this weekend.
AJ Brown ($7,100)
Given that I wrote up Hurts, I will be looking to force in Brown alongside him and I’m hoping that more people side with DeVonta Smith due to the price-tags. The talk of the week has been AJ Brown being unhappy about not getting the ball last weekend, and I don’t see how they don’t come out and force him the ball early and often. San Francisco has a dominant defensive front, but they have a leaky secondary and that’s been shown the past few weeks. DK Metcalf lit them up — especially with the deep ball — in their first playoff matchup and CeeDee Lamb was able to rack up 10-117 against them when everyone on the planet knew that’s where the ball was going. It’s expensive to stuff in both Hurts and Brown together, so you naturally get a different build by doing so. Most people spending up at WR will b focused on Ja’Marr Chase, but I’m siding with Brown on Sunday and I think the Eagles are going to show exactly why they traded for him.
Last week I went with 100% Travis Kelce and that paid off with him having a monster game. He did pop up with a back injury late this week, but he’s going to play in this game and once again I don’t see how we fade him. He’s topped 90+ receiving yards in his last seven playoff games and we can confidently expect Mahomes to lean on his best friend again. I think there are ways to jam in Kelce even with the expensive Eagles stack — and it comes with using guys like Kadarius Toney and Semaje Perine. I also think that Hayden Hurst is going to be massively-owned this week with people looking for value and using two-TE builds across all sites. I have no issues with Hurst, but if someone like Toney is going to be lower-owned I will side with him.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)