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Dan Podheiser

Dan  Podheiser

Dan Podheiser has covered the gambling industry since 2013, but he has been an avid poker player for more than a decade, starting when he was just 14 years old. When he turned 18, he played online poker regularly on U.S.-friendly sites until Black Friday in April 2011.

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Dan's DFS picks for NFL Championship Round

21 Jan 2016

By Dan Podheiser
Well, I flamed out last week in the $100 buy-in Millionaire Maker on DraftKings. My Divisional round lineup was a complete bust.

With just three games left in the 2015 NFL season, it's time to make it count in these GPPs. No more complete busts. No more min-cashes. I want a five-figure score or nothing. (OK, I'll take four figures.)

DFS players have just two games to work with this weekend, meaning it will be tough to set your team apart from the pack. My strategy will be to fill my roster with studs across the board, and use really cheap running backs to fill the gaps, hoping they can find their way into the end zone a couple of times in goal line situations. That's really my only shot.

For a full explanation of the differences between DraftKings and FanDuel scoring, read this blog post by Daily Fantasy Sports 101.

Quarterback: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (DK: $7,200; FD: $8,500)

Despite attempting just 22 passes, Newton was absolutely brilliant last week against the Seahawks. He was a bust from a fantasy perspective, but that was because his chances were limited, as the Carolina defense and running game propelled the Panthers to a 31-0 halftime lead.

I'm guessing this week's NFC Championship game against Arizona will be a much closer contest, allowing for Newton to be the focal point of the offense on every snap. I think he has a chance to throw for 300 and rush for another 100 yards in this game, despite the Cardinals' defensive prowess.

Running Back (DK): Steven Jackson, New England Patriots ($3,000)

Jackson had just six carries in last week's Divisional round win over the Chiefs, but look for the 32-year-old veteran to get more attention in what should be a grind-it-out type of game against the Broncos in Denver.

Jackson, who may have a shot at the Hall of Fame someday, has never appeared in a Super Bowl, but has a great shot this year. It would be cool to see him score a couple of touchdowns to help lift himself to the promise land.

Running Back (FD): Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers ($4,600)

Tolbert likely won't be much of a factor on Sunday. But he is a goal line monster, and always has a shot to score multiple touchdowns because of his size and strength. Again, I don't expect much from him. But I need to hit the lottery to win one of these things.

Wide Receiver (DK): Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals ($6,900)

Fitzgerald, already one of the greatest regular season wide receivers of all time, has to be considered a legend because of what he's accomplished in the postseason during his career. He put up another magical performance Saturday night against Green Bay, catching eight balls for 176 yards, including the game-winning touchdown pass on the final drive in overtime (and the long run after the previous catch to set it up).

If Arizona wants to get back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2009, it will have to rely on its stars. If the Cardinals are going to go down Sunday, they'll go down trying to feed the ball to Fitzgerald as many times as possible.

Wide Receiver (FD): Julian Edelman, New England Patriots ($7,800)

If there were any questions about Edelman's nagging injuries, they were vanquished after the star wideout's 10-catch, 100-yard performance against the Chiefs on Saturday. Edelman is truly one of the great clutch receivers in this game, and when he and Tom Brady are clicking, the Patriots are just about unstoppable.

I don't see any reason why Brady won't rely on Edelman again in Denver this weekend. He's a sure thing.

Tight End: Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (DK: $7,100; FD: $7,000)

If I'm starting Newton, I'm starting Olsen, who caught Newton's lone touchdown pass of the game last week against Seattle. I will probably also start Rob Gronkowski at the flex position, which will give me the two most expensive tight ends on the board. But I love both players, and I expect both to have big games when their teams need them most.

Defense: New England Patriots (DK: $3,100; FD: $4,600)

The Patriots get to face Peyton Manning's noodle arm on Sunday. I don't care what you think of their defense; the Broncos will have trouble moving the ball in this game.
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