Divisional Playoffs: Top Plays For Daily Fantasy Football
Another round of daily fantasy football is upon us, as this coming weekend presents the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. We warned last week that daily fantasy football as you knew it was gone until next year, but this week offers the last chance to experience anything close to what you enjoyed during the regular season.
The player pool will shrink to a point where it’s barely worth playing cash games a week from now, so with four games on the schedule, this is your last best opportunity to piece together some good teams and compete for some serious cash.
To get an idea of the best options you’ll want to consider in daily fantasy football leagues at DraftKings this week, let’s break down our favorite picks at each position:
QB: Aaron Rodgers – Packers ($6.7k) and Carson Palmer – Cardinals ($6.5k)
The weird thing about the playoffs is that anytime an elite defense is involved in a game, it’s very possible they shut down even the best players. After seeing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers come back to life this past weekend, though, I’m not a mild believer that Green Bay could be a very tough out for a good Cardinals defense. If they’re indeed back, A-Rod isn’t just a sick value play, but he might be the top play at quarterback for the entire weekend.
Not too far behind Rodgers could be Palmer, who had little trouble dispatching Green Bay just two weeks ago in Arizona. The matchup and setting is the same, so it’s tough to imagine Palmer coming up lame. He’s even cheaper than Rodgers, too, so he should make for an even better value and may have even more upside in this potential shootout.
RB: David Johnson – Cardinals ($6k) and James White – Patriots ($5.2k)
Running back is a very weird position for the second week in a row. It was very difficult to feel good about Adrian Peterson last week as he faced the stout Seahawks run defense, and as we expected, he was awful. There really were no stable options and for the second week in a row we may be without both DeAngelo Williams and Marshawn Lynch.
With the running back pool thinned out, I think it’s quite clear that Johnson and White are the top two options to target. White is very involved as a receiver with the Pats and in a tough matchup with an elite KC defense, it’s pretty likely Tom Brady checks down to him quite a bit.
Johnson is a tad more expensive, but is even safer against a Packers defense he dropped 21 fantasy points on just a couple of weeks ago. At home in a huge game, I can’t see Johnson finishing with fewer than 10 fantasy points given his talent and role.
WR: Antonio Brown – Steelers ($9.8k) and Demaryius Thomas – Broncos ($7k)
Brown suffered a concussion last week, so his availability is obviously going to be key. That being said, he was solid last game with 21 fantasy points and earlier this year when he faced Denver he hauled in 16 catches. He’s clearly matchup proof, so eve with a tough road matchup, if he’s healthy he’s going to be one of the top receiver plays of the week.
Brown isn’t a tough call if he’s active, but he is rather expensive. DT isn’t, yet he still has tremendous talent and upside to take advantage of. He also has Peyton Manning back and will face a very beatable Steelers pass defense, so I can see him crushing this price tag in what very well could end up being a shootout.
TE: Rob Gronkowski – Patriots ($7.5k) and Greg Olsen – Panthers ($6.9k)
I don’t see a reason to get too cute at tight end this week. Travis Kelce wrecked the Texans for the second time last week, but I think his matchup with the Pats is a little tougher. He’s a decent value, but I might prefer to pay up for one of Gronk or Olsen.
The Gronk has the stiffer matchup, but this is a huge home playoff game and even if he doesn’t crush, I think he’s still in for a solid outing. I think the same for Olsen, who dominated the Seahawks in Seattle earlier this year and would easily be the better value. Olsen takes the top spot for tight ends this week, but Gronk is right there with him.
DEF: Seattle Seahawks ($4.1k) and Denver Broncos ($3.9k)
The playoffs make picking a defense pretty tough, especially when a unit like the Chiefs feels so strong, but it’s hard to see them walking into Foxboro and completely shutting down the Patriots.
That could be said about just any defense, so I’m leaning towards using the Seahawks and Broncos. Seattle is on the road against a good Panthers team, but by the numbers, Seattle has the best defense and they’re fairly reliable.
I like Kansas City to an extent (they were amazing last week), but Denver is going to be the play of the week if either Big Ben and/or Antonio Brown end up sitting out. The Broncos have the talent and numbers to make you feel confident regardless, but a Pittsburgh offense at less than full strength would obviously make for a better matchup.
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