Divisional Round DFS
Welcome everyone to the Divisional Round! Hopefully, we’ve skimmed off the fat and are now down to just the tasty teams, as SUPER WILDCARD WEEKEND didn’t live up to all of those words. Blowouts don’t always tend to be good news for DFS purposes and points in some of these games were heavily falling on one side of the table. It’s one of the reasons I mentioned that taking a different approach can pay off. If you stacked the Bills (as I did on my best team, thanks for asking), then it was hard to go too wrong. I brought it back with Hunter Henry, but even that wasn’t necessary. The same applies to the Chiefs, as no receivers or running backs from the Steelers finished inside the top ten at their position. We have to think differently for these small slates, and that becomes even more important as they get even smaller.
Overall I was fairly pleased with last week’s results. The first of two big errors was calling Josh Allen a fade, I came around to the other side of that late and I wish I had put it in here rather than just tweeting it out. Secondly, calling a fade on Bengal’s pass catchers. Ja’Marr Chase is just ridiculous and has shown that he always warrants attention. The highlights of the correct calls include nailing Mike Evans as the best play of the week, and he lived up to it as the WR1 on the slate. I called for a fade on Najee Harris and he finished as the RB21. So a mix of good and bad really, but hopefully you found your way to a winning lineup.
So far this season:
Great plays (3x$) – 130 (47%)
Good plays (2x$) – 72 (27%)
Bad plays (<2x$) – 71 (26%)
If you play Dynasty you can check me out on this week’s 5Yard Dynasty show with Rich Cooling, breaking down the top tight ends from this season and what to do with them moving forward. Please do give the Twitter posts for the column a retweet or even just a like if you enjoy the read. Those little interactions help the posts come up on more people’s timelines and help us gain a bigger audience.
Josh Allen $7600 @ Kansas City Chiefs
There are only two teams I want to win it all at this point, the Bills or the Rams. Sorry to everyone else, but I’ve had enough of your teams. The Bills demolition of the Patriots was quite possibly the single greatest offensive performance in NFL history. They got every single yard that was available to them, and that’s not even hyperbolic, they did. Of the remaining defences in the playoffs, no team allowed more regular-season fantasy points than the Chiefs, who ranked 29th in regular fantasy points and are 31st by Draftkings opponent ranking, which is a slightly different metric. No matter which way you look at it, Allen seems like a lock to be involved in all scoring that the Bills achieve. In his last three games, he’s thrown for seven touchdowns and ran for another two. Allen’s rushing has increased as the season has gone, putting up four games in a row with over 60 yards, in comparison to his season average of 44.8. As the most expensive quarterback, it might reduce Allen’s rostership numbers slightly, but I’ll be playing him plenty and there are obvious stacking opportunities in play. But more on them later.
Week 5 matchup result: Bills won 38-20. Allen 315 yards & 3 TD’s. 39.5 DK points
Joe Burrow $6600 @ Tennessee Titans
No playoff quarterback has racked up more DK points in their last three games than Joe Burrow’s 96.5. A switch seems to have been flipped with the Bengals who now seem intent on passing and scoring as many points as possible rather than relying on their running attack to manage the game, as they did through portions of the season. The Titans defence may be coming off a bye week and feeling fresh, but ice runs through Burrow’s veins and I fully expect him to pass on this Titans defence which has allowed the third-most passing attempts in the league and the last time we saw them they were allowing Davis Mills to throw for 289 yards and three touchdowns.
Matthew Stafford $6200 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Stafford’s first-ever playoff victory came about rather easily after all the years of struggles with the Lions. Who knew that all he needed was to face Kliff Kingsbury to have it gifted to him as Kyler Murray put up the worst game of his young career. Stafford looks to be slightly under-owned this weekend in a matchup that isn’t awful. The Buccaneers defence has lived off reputation at times this year, with a schedule that played out easier than most division winners would experience, as they stomped on weak teams. As a pass funnel team, who have been very good against running backs, the Buccs have seen the most pass attempts (680) and completions (445) of any team in the league as teams seek to keep up with them through the air. The Rams have all the weapons they should need to do this and are a far more imposing team than the Eagles were for the Buccs in the previous round.
Week 3 matchup result: Rams won 34-24. Stafford 343 yards, 4TD’s. 32.5 DK points.
Sneaky tournament play
Ryan Tannehill $5800 vs Cincinnati Bengals
At just $5800 Tannehill has the kind of pricing that could lead to him breaking the slate if he gets hot. With Derrick Henry expected to return I imagine rostership numbers will be down for Tannehill. Combine the Big Dawg factor with Tannehill not being in sparkling form of late, and you can see a scenario where nobody wants to play him. Instead, if we take the risk that Tannehill can get hot or at least efficient for the playoffs, then we would gain huge leverage away from the Derrick Henry play. With A.J Brown and Julio Jones also healthy, if the Bengals pass-happy attack forces the Titans to follow suit we could be in for a treat. The Bengals passing defence has allowed the third-most completions (420) and the seventh-most yards (4222) during the regular season, and last week allowed Derek Carr to put up over 300 yards as the Raiders came back into the game.
Jimmy Garoppolo $5200 @ Green Bay Packers
This is on-brand for me, and if Jimmy Garoppolo turns out to be the key to the slate and win someone a million dollars I’ll be sulking and avoiding Twitter for a few days. Somehow though I don’t expect that to occur. The soon to be ex-Niners quarterback is now nursing injuries to both his throwing thumb and a shoulder sprain. NFL networks Ian Rapport reported that Garoppolo experiences a sharp pain every time he throws the ball, much like the sharp pain I experience seeing Trey Lance not play. That was before he experienced a shoulder sprain that led to more below-average play against the Cowboys. It’s a tempting price but against a Green Bay offence that allowed the 29th fewest points to QB’s over the final few weeks of the season, it’s not one I’ll be taking. For anyone still holding out interest, consider the fact that Jimmy has thrown for two touchdowns in his last three games.
Derrick Henry $7500 vs Cincinnati Bengals
The Big Dawg Returns! Derrick Henry was on pace for all kinds of records before getting injured in week eight, but thanks to his God-like abilities he’s recovered in time to play in this game. It should be noted that he’ll be playing with a steel plate in his foot, which sounds less than ideal but videos of him practising in full pads have shown him to look great and I’d happily take an 80% healthy Henry. The Bengals are by no means a pushover against the run this season, with their rebuilt defence not getting the column inches that the offence has, but deserving the praise all the same. Derrick Henry is just a different breed of running back to others though and after the woeful Josh Jacobs went 13-85 at an average of 6.5 yards per carry, well up from his season average of 4.0, I have no doubt that Henry can perform in this game, in front of the Titans faithful. Also worth noting is the fact that for the first time in Henry’s career he was utilised consistently in the passing game before his injury, averaging 2.3 receptions per game, a big bump from his career average of 1.2. As discussed previously, expect Henry to be very chalky.
Devin Singletary $5900 @ Kansas City Chiefs
It’s been a funny old season for Singletary who at times found himself behind Zack Moss and then Matt Breida, but everything has come up Millhouse for him at the right time and now he finds himself undoubtedly a key part of this Bills attack. Over the last three games, Singletary has averaged a table-smashing 25.2 points with an average of two touchdowns per game and over 100 all-purpose yards. Singletary’s breakout hasn’t gone under the radar so don’t be surprised if he’s the most rostered back on the slate. The Chiefs rushing defence allowed the second-most yards per attempt during the regular season (4.8) and over the final five weeks no team gave up more points to running backs catching the ball, an area where Singletary has been utilised of late, leading all running backs in routes ran in the Wildcard Round with a juicy 81%. Don’t be afraid to stack both Allen and Singletary in a lineup. It’s a move some will avoid, but it paid off for me last weekend.
Cam Akers $5500 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cam Akers could have had an even more incredible night against the disgracefully bad Cardinals had it not been for holding penalties bringing back two more long plays, but as it is we can still marvel at how explosive he looked against the Arizona defence as he returns to fitness from his Achilles tear. Whilst Sony Michel will no doubt mix in against Tampa, Michel’s running style is very head down and straight ahead. That path will take him directly towards the Human Mountain, Vita Vea. Teams have enjoyed success running the ball away from Vea, for obvious reasons… and Akers is more suited to this type of play having excelled in outside zone runs under McVay, as well as being an excellent pass catcher. Tampa has been far below average against running backs catching the ball for two seasons now and I’m all in on Akers having a big receiving night.
Chiefs Running Backs – Jerrick McKinnon looked fantastic against the Steelers, but the Steelers have been one of the worst defences against running backs this year. Now Clyde-Edwards Helaire is back and Darrell Williams is practising as well. The three of them will no doubt form some kind of committee against the Bills defence that allows just 4.2 YPC and hasn’t allowed over 100 rushing yards in their last three games.
There is so much to talk about at wide receiver I’ve done things slightly different to usual, trying to briefly mention every stud and my thoughts on the group as a whole.
Tampa Receivers vs L.A Rams
Mike Evans ($6800) is eating in this offence as the only true option under 30 years old. In his last three games, he’s averaged 23.7 DK points, 84 yards and 1.3 touchdowns. With fewer options to throw to Brady has honed in on Evans and targeted him 28 times in three games. It’s possible Jalen Ramsey shadows Mike Evans but I wasn’t worried about Darrius Slay last week and I’m not worried about Ramsey this week. Ramsey plays the majority of his snaps in the slot and with the sheer volume Evans could see, he can get enough points for us. In the Week 3 matchup, Evans scored 21.6 points with 75 yards and two touchdowns. I find it very hard to trust any other Buccaneer receivers, outside of Tyler Johnson ($3700), but I expect him to see a lot of Jalen Ramsey where the two will meet in the slot so it’s really just a salary relief option, or a pivot if you’re convinced Ramsey will follow Evans. Perriman and Miller have both shown themselves to be mediocre ceiling players with an ice-cold floor.
Buffalo Receivers @ Kansas City Chiefs
It’s all gone a little quiet for Stefon Diggs ($6500) lately with no real blow-up games. Despite that, he’s maintained a healthy target average of nine per game, but for one reason or another the touchdowns and huge returns haven’t quite happened, with just 14.1 DK points per game. The Chiefs gave up the fourth-most points to receivers during the regular season and I’m not expecting them to have suddenly become elite against the pass. We’re not that far removed from Ja’Marr Chase putting up obscene numbers on this defence. Diggs is too talented to be this cheap and I’m expecting him to be very popular. The leverage play is to use a different Bills receiver and fade Diggs. I like how the team has used McKenzie ($3500) over Cole Beasley ($4000) of late. McKenzie’s burst and ability seem to be valued by the team with them giving him rushing opportunities and designed plays, as well as Allen trusting him on difficult throws by the sideline. McKenzie will probably be less rostered than Gabriel Davis ($4600) but more so than Emmanuel Sanders ($4100). If you’re creating a lineup without Diggs, Davis is the better play to use, but if you’re stacking with Diggs it’ll be a much easier build with McKenzie. Sanders’ floor seems so hard to predict that he and Beasley are fades for me.
Bengals Receivers vs Tennessee Titans
How wrong I was to fade Ja’Marr Chase last week as he continued his impressive rookie season. This week Chase ($7100) will no doubt be a popular play against this Titans side that allowed the second-most points to receivers during the regular season. With 88.9 DK points in his last three games and 28 targets, Chase has undeniable upside. It is worth considering the pivot to Tee Higgins ($5700), who seems underpriced and whilst Higgins wasn’t used as much as Chase last week, his ceiling is still impressive. With the differences in price being substantial between the two I would expect both to be similarly rostered. There’s an argument to make that on this small slate stacking both may work out. A lineup with Derrick Henry, Chase and Higgins will take up 40.6% of your total salary, but it’s not prohibitive and could lead to a lot of points. Tyler Boyd ($4800) has become an afterthought to many, but has put up four touchdowns in his last four games played and at this price is both a fine play in itself and as leverage off Higgins and Uzomah who will also attract a lot of people.
Packers Receivers vs San Francisco 49ers
Davante Adams ($8500), is an absolute stud who rolls into this matchup after a bye week which punctuated a three-game streak of putting up an average of 101.6 yards per game and an average of 1.0 touchdowns to boot. The only receiver to score more in their last three games is Ja’Maar Chase and whilst Chase might be the new dog in town, I’d be more willing to bet on Adams who has zero single-digit games this year compared to Chase’s four. Over the final five games of the season, the Niners allowed the sixth-most points to receivers and when the teams met in Week 3 Adams went off with 34.2 DK points, 12 catches, 132 yards and 1 touchdown. Outside of Adams, the picture is a little less clear with my best ball prince, Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($4300) struggling with a back injury. Despite MVS seeming to gain Rodgers trust, the production hasn’t been there of late, with just 101 yards and no touchdowns in his last three. Allen Lazard ($4400) has been more productive, with 17-13-192-4TD’s in his last three. That has shaken out to a very healthy 19.1 DK points average and it’s very hard to trust MVS over him at the minute. The only rain on those chips however is the return of Randall Cobb ($3100), a man who Rodgers personally campaigned the front office to bring back. Cobb was used by Rodgers in important situations and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him do so again, but in my opinion, this shakes out as Adams, Lazard, Cobb and MVS in that order. If reports say MVS is healthy, I’ll reconsider that.
Rams Receivers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cooper Kupp ($8600) had a quiet game by his standards against the Cardinals, putting up his lowest score (17.1) since Week 5. Don’t expect that to keep his rostership down though as people expect the Rams to be fighting for their playoff lives as the underdogs. You don’t need me to tell you how excellent Kupp is, his quiet game was a product of the Rams only needing to drop back and pass 22 times against the Cardinals. If you can build a lineup with Kupp, it’s off to a good start. I would expect him to be much higher owned than Davante Adams though, so if you’re looking for a pivot, he’s very much in play. Odell Beckham ($5300) has scored six touchdowns since joining the Rams and whilst he’s not above having a goose-egg he’s established himself clearly above Van Jefferson ($4200) who has averaged just 6.8 DK points per game over his last three games. Whilst Van Jefferson continues to be a downfield threat Beckham sees red-zone work and designed plays. It’s a little hard to build a lineup with both Beckham and Kupp that you feel pleased with, but Kupp and Van Jefferson work with Mike Evans also in there for 39.2% of your total salary. I’ll use Beckham and Kupp as standalones, but Van Jefferson only as part of stacks.
Chiefs Receivers vs Buffalo Bills
Tyreek Hill ($6600) is the cheapest I have seen him in a long time and despite coming up against the best pass defence in the league, I would expect that price tag pushes his rostership up into the higher tiers. At this price we’re looking for around an 18+ point game for him to pay off and whilst we know Tyreek has that in his bag that bag hasn’t been unzipped lately. Over the last half of the season, Hill has three games over 20 and five games under 12 points, including three under five points. As much as I love watching Tyreek Hill play, he’s heading towards being a fade for me as he faces this Bills defence that allows 163.0 passing yards per game and 0.7 passing touchdowns. Byron Pringle ($4200) has emerged into an established role within the offence and has a safe floor, seeing 19 targets in his last three games and putting up seven touchdowns this season. Mecole Hardman ($3900) has come alive for the big games to give dynasty managers hope (sell now whilst you still can) and his ceiling is higher than Pringle, with the team designing plays for him and if I was to take a punt on a Chiefs receiver as a bring-back to a Bills stack, Hardman makes a lot of sense. Not only does he have the most red-zone targets behind Kelce and Hill, he frequently finds himself in highlight plays. It’s very boom-bust, but we’re not looking for a safety-first attitude. Demarcus Robinson ($3600) has just three touchdowns as a part of an offence that has scored 37 passing touchdowns this year, and he has surpassed three receptions just once all season. He’s an extreme dart throw at best in large Chief’s stacks.
49ers Receivers vs Green Bay Packers
Deebo Samuel ($7600) is his lowest-priced since Week 10 and looks set to be under-rostered in this week’s slate. Despite averaging 24.3 DK points over his last four games his pricing will lead people to either pay up higher or lower and miss him out altogether. The last time these teams played in Week 3 Green Bay held Deebo to his lowest total of the season (10.2). Since then Shanahan has increased his rushing attempts from two per game to an average of 5.6 over his last six games, peaking with 10 against the Cowboys last weekend. His floor is much higher now and there is no ceiling with Deebo. The price makes for an easy pivot away from Ja’Marr Chase and we know we don’t need to stack Deebo thanks to his rancid quarterback. I’ll play Deebo as a standalone in virtually any lineup where I can accommodate it. Outside of Deebo, Brandon Aiyuk ($5200) is incredibly cheap and has averaged 89 yards and 5 receptions per game over his last three. A far cry from his dog house days. The Packers allowed the thirteenth most points to receivers during the last five games of the season and whilst they aren’t imposing, they’re no gimme either. If I’m playing Aiyuk it’s as a bring-back on a Green Bay stack. Juan Jennings ($3400) is a nice dart throw, having led the team in third and fourth down targets over the last three games and averaged five targets per game over his last five games. Jennings has five receiving touchdowns on the year, behind only Deebo, Aiyuk and Kittle, this role seems to be established and safe. Trent Sherfield ($3000) has seen no more than two targets per game and a total of 4.5 DK points since Week 14.
Titans Receivers vs Cincinnati Bengals
A.J Brown ($6200) may have been disappointing in season-long fantasy but over his last three games for us DFS heroes he’s put up 57.4 DK points, seeing 27 targets and turning them into 254 yards and 2 touchdowns. Now he finds himself taking on a Bengals side that has given up 26 receiving touchdowns and allowed an average of 248 passing yards per game. We’ve seen Brown become the focal point of this offence numerous times and it wouldn’t be surprising for him to have a ten target day if this game tilts into a pass-happy scenario. Julio Jones ($4700) may feel like an even bigger bust for season-long and best ball managers (stop talking about me!) however PFF graded him with 74.7, just ahead of Amari Cooper. Unfortunately, Jones is touchdown or bust these days and he has one single touchdown since joining the Titans. I like building Titans stacks with Tannehill and both Brown and Jones, but I wouldn’t play either of them in the same lineup as Derrick Henry. The only other Titans pass catcher under consideration is Nick Westbrook-Ikhine ($3800) who leads the team in red-zone targets and has put up 476 yards on 38 receptions this year. I can see myself playing Westbrook-Ikhine in lineups where I stack the Bengals. He would represent a cheap bring-back in a lineup hoping for an explosive passing game.
Travis Kelce $6500 vs Buffalo Bills
The Bills are the best defence left in the playoffs against tight ends and ranked as the third-best throughout the season. Kelce’s floor seems a little safer of late, scoring touchdowns in his last three games and exploding against the Steelers for 28.9 points. It’s very difficult to turn down the chance to stack Mahomes, Hill and Kelce for a cost of $20’400, but we have to temper expectations against this defence. If I decide to go that route, I’ll pad the lineup out with safer players in case these three don’t quite hit their ceiling.
Rob Gronkowski $5800 vs L.A Rams
With Jalen Ramsey being predominantly a slot corner these days I’d expect the Buccs to try to keep Gronk out of that area, although as viewers it would be a real treat. As with Mike Evans seeing an increased target share of late due to injuries, so has Gronk with 26 targets in his last three games and 59.3 points to show for it, which is particularly impressive as he’s only scored one touchdown in that period. Over the last five games of the season, the Rams allowed the ninth-most points to the position. We know how much Brady trusts Gronk in these big moments.
Josiah Degura $3000 vs San Francisco 49ers
I’m a sucker for a cheap dart throw at tight end and whilst I’m a bit worried Cobb’s return might spell fewer opportunities for Degura, he’s coming off a season-high usage of 4-66-1TD. As part of stacks, it’s a good way to open up salary.
George Kittle $5300 vs Green Bay Packers
You might have heard me on the 5Yard Dynasty podcast this week berating the usage of George Kittle in San Fran. How is it possible that this man only has 20 career touchdowns? This season he has just eight red-zone targets. That’s the same amount as Devin Duvernay and Mack Hollins. In Kittle’s last three games he has a total of 67 yards and it’s very difficult to project him for an explosive game here. On the season Kittle has seven games below 10 points and only three over 20. The only way I play Kittle is as a bring-back to Green Bay stacks.
Dawson Knox $4900 vs Kansas City Chiefs
The chiefs have defended the position well all season and before Knox’s two-touchdown game, which included catching a ball Allen intended to go out of the back of the endzone, he hadn’t had a double-digit game since week 14. It feels very much like points chasing to go back to the well here.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you! I’ll keep updating as we get more news and as always my DM’s are open for any lineup questions. Please do give the Twitter posts a retweet or even just a like if you’ve enjoyed the column. Those little interactions help the posts come up on more people’s timelines and help us gain a bigger audience.
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