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Draftkings NFL Championship Round: Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots

Draftkings NFL Championship Round: Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots


 

We’ve arrived at the Conference Championships and are down to four teams fighting for a chance to hoist the Lombardi trophy. For Brady, it’s just another ordinary January, but for the rest, this is a chance to put their stamp on a franchise that took a chance on them when no other team in the NFL would.

Unfortunately Championship weekend also signals the end of the DFS football season until late August. I’m assuming Draftkings will continue to run out single-game slates, but I haven’t played those, so I’m not sure if I’ll be playing. Because there are only two games this week, I’m going to run through my write up a little differently. Opposed to going position by position, I’ll break down both championship games and write off my favorite plays for the games. But before I do that, I wanted to go over some strategies I like to employ when playing only two game slates.

I’ve had some pretty good success over the past two season with the two-game prime time slates. They’re entertaining because you’re able to keep a close eye on each game and every play matters. Ownership is easier to predict, and the focus should be more on getting the best players into your lineup opposed to finding players with low ownership. Sure if you want to fire away multi-entries in the $4 Final Four with $400K + entries you can get crazy with playing a less than 10% owned player, but that’s not the ideal strategy for two-game slates.

The key to playing two-game slates is trying to figure out what the game flow of each game is going to be. We usually use Vegas lines to give us an idea of how the experts think the game will play out, but for two games slates, we need to combine that with our opinions of how the game script is going to go. You should always take a stance on whether you think a game total is too high or too low, but it’s important to set your lineup up with positive correlation to ensure you get the most out of your lineup.

You’ll see a lot of lineups this weekend with game stacks and even team stacks. We’ll likely see several lineups with people rostering all of the offensive Patriots and bringing it back with some Jaguars in hopes of accumulating all of the points in that game. The best way to do that is by running through the game script scenarios:

I.e., If the Patriots score 28 points, I think Brady will account for 3 touchdowns and their running back [Lewis, Burkhead, White] will account for the 4th touchdown. If the Pats score early, that opens up the passing defense to play Prevent Defense, which creates throwing lanes over the middle for Bortles. That’s a general idea of how I generate game stacks; the tricky part is finding which players have the highest touchdown equity and playing them in your lineups. I’ll do my best to break down how I see these two games playing out, but you should come up with your theory of the games this week and play lineups accordingly.

Jaguars (19.5) at Patriots (27) | NE [-9] | Over/Under 46.5

New England Patriots (27)

Draftkings NFL Championship Round: Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots

* News *

T. Brady – limited on Thursday (hand) – expected to play
R. Burkhead – limited on Thursday (knee) – expected to play

For the second consecutive week, the Patriots have the best Vegas numbers of all the teams on the slate. They are the largest favorites (-7), have the highest implied total (27), and have the highest game total (46.6). The difference from last week is that the Pats are not going up against the mediocre Titans defense again. They are going up against the Jags who ranked fourth DVOA in total defense, and first in passing defense, per Football Outsiders.

The Jags are coming off of a week where they allowed the Steelers to put up 42 points and 545 total yards (462 pass, 83 rush). That is only the second time the Jags defense has allowed more than 40 points this season (44 to 49ers and 42 to Steelers). While this defense is far from one that offense would like to face, they are far from unbeatable.

A very detailed article by Warren Sharp of Sharp Football Analysis broke down the secret to beating the Jaguars pass defense and essentially blueprinted the Patriots game plan. This is a must-read for anyone trying to figure out how the Patriots will attack this Jaguars defense. Check out the article here. Onto DFS.

You are surely going to want to get your exposure to the Patriots offense. But the question is where? As a team with an implied total near four touchdowns, that generally bodes well for Tom Brady ($7,700). But as a big home favorite and in a matchup against a defense that funnels offensive production to running backs, which also bodes well for the New England running backs. So which way should you go?

After reading Sharps article is crystal clear the best way to attack the Jags is over the middle with at most two wide receiver sets. They have a strong defensive line and secondary but are average at linebacker. That opens things up for Gronk and the running backs. So I’m looking to build Brady stacks with Gronk ($7,900) and one, possibly two of the New England running backs. Brady and Gronk are the top plays on the board and I will have them on 70% of my lineups.

Unfortunately, the New England running back situation is far from a clear picture. Dion Lewis ($8,100) is the slates highest price running back and has done exceptionally well over the past four weeks, scoring five touchdowns during that span. But with the news that Rex Burkhead ($5,400) will likely return for the first time in three weeks, it could eat away from Lewis’ production. On top of Burkhead’s return, we saw last week James White ($4,900) eat into Lewis’ production by scoring two touchdowns against the Titans.

I don’t have a problem with playing any one of these running backs with Brady because they are all capable of catching the ball. I still think Lewis will get the majority of the workload even with all three backs active. Even though Burkhead may return I strongly think White will have more opportunity over him because he was productive with his touches last week and the Pats are likely to ease Burkhead back into action. I really like White for the savings he brings, and I’m leaning toward a hard fade on Burkhead simply because on two-game slates you have to take a stand on questionable players.

I’d rank them Lewis, White, Burkhead.

I don’t mind pairing one or two of these running backs with Brady because I am likely not to stack Brady with any one of his wide receivers. As Sharp’s article pointed out, the best way to target the Jags is over the middle and with the running backs. I don’t like picking on Ramsey or Bouye on the corners. If I had to rank the Pats receivers

I’d go Chris Hogan ($5,000), Brandin Cooks ($6,100), Danny Amendola ($5,500). But none of these come close to Gronk.

Last week, the Jags allowed Steelers tight end Vance McDonald to a team-high 10 catches. Imagine what Gronk will do if he’s funneled with 16 targets that McDonald saw last week. Gronk is might be the best play of the entire slate.

PATRIOTS PLAYS:
T. Brady, R. Gronkowski, D. Lewis, J. White, C. Hogan, B. Cooks

Jacksonville Jaguars (19.5)

Draftkings NFL Championship Round: Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots

* News *

L. Fournette – limited on Thursday (ankle) – expected to play
T. Gipson (FS) – missed practice on Thursday (foot) – expected to play

On the Jags side of the ball, we have a few intriguing options, starting with the quarterback. Don’t throw up, but Blake Bortles ($5,000) is a popular punt play that is worthy of your consideration. NFL coverage on every station has bashed Bortles’ inconsistent play, but somehow he has gotten the Jags to the AFC championship game. In his two playoff games, Bortles has completed only 53% of his passes and has thrown for a combined 301 yards with 2 touchdowns. Those numbers are a far cry from what you’d like to see from a quarterback in a championship game, but Bortles has added some production with his legs to make up for his lack of production through the air. In the past two games, Bortles has 123 rushing yards on 15 attempts (8.2 YPC). The added rushing production has made him rosterable considering his minimum priced salary.

Now Bortles faces the Patriots defense that ranked 21st DVOA during the regular season but isn’t as bad as their ranking suggest. The Patriots haven’t allowed a quarterback to throw for 300 yards since week 6. However, even though the Patriots are much improved, if the game script goes as Vegas and several other analysts suggest, Bortles could be looking at plenty of garbage time opportunities to reach his value at only $5k. Even if the Jags manage an early lead, it bodes well for Bortles because he owns a passer rating of 103 when playing with a lead.

If I’m playing Bortles or trying to find a Jaguar receiver to create a game stack with I’m rostering Dede Westbrook ($3,900) or Marquise Lee ($4,400). Despite only seeing 9 targets combined last week, Westbrook and Lee still played over 65% of the snaps last week. Since the Jags got their full receiving corp healthy, Lee and Westbrook have led the way in snaps and targets, while Keelan Cole ($3,500) and Allen Hurns ($3,300) have split time in the slot. Although the best way to attack the Patriots secondary is receivers in the slot, I still prefer Westbrook and Lee over Cole and Hurns because they are more likely to be on the field.

My rankings for the Jags receivers are Westbrook, Lee, Cole, and Hurns.

The real focal point of the Jags offense is their running game. Leonard Fournette ($7,200) is the lone back on the slate that doesn’t have to worry about touches. Fournette is the only running back that is guaranteed to touch the ball over 20 times. He’s also the lone back that doesn’t have to share touches with anyone. The issue with Fournette is that he could suffer from a negative game script. If the game goes the way Vegas projects, that could limit Fournette’s rushes, and he has only averaged 3 receptions over the past four games. On top of that, Belichick gameplans to take away the opposing offenses’ best player and that means Fournette will likely see 7 to 8 men in the box. The positive side of rostering Fournette is that you get nice touchdown equity. Despite averaging a modest 4.4 YPC last week, he accounted for 3 of the 5 offensive touchdowns. It’s worth noting that the Patriots have only given up 5 rushing touchdowns on the year and last week held Derrick Henry 2.3 YPC. The matchup and negative game script make me cautious in rostering Fournette this week despite his $1,500 drop off from last week.

JAGUARS:
B. Bortles, D. Westbrook, M. Lee, L. Fournette *only if you are fading Brady and stacking with Jags DST*

Draftkings NFL Championship Round: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles

Draftkings NFL Championship Round: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles

 

 

Vegas.

Vikings (20.75) at Eagles (17.75) | MIN [-3] | Over/Under 38.5

Draftkings NFL Championship Round: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles

Unlike the AFC game, the NFC game isn’t your traditional top offense meets a top defense. These two teams were the top seeds in the NFC, but the Eagles aren’t the team that earned them the number 1 seed. This game features two unlikely quarterbacks and two teams that rank in the bottom 10 in pace of play and the rank as the top 2 defenses DVOA per Football Outsiders.With two relatively unproven quarterbacks and two very good defenses, it explains why the game total sits at 38.5. Both teams are expected to play really conservative and focus on protecting the ball long enough for their defense to make a play to win the game.

Philadelphia Eagles (17.5)

Draftkings NFL Championship Round: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles

* News

D. Ellerbe (LB) – returned to practice on Thursday (hamstring) – questionable

For the second consecutive week, the Eagles come in as home underdogs. They did just enough to win the game last week but have their hands full with the number 1 defense in the league. The Vikings’ defense ranks 1st overall, 4th against the pass, and 5th against the run. Going up against such a dominant defense, it’s no secret why they have the lowest implied total on the slate. So how will the Eagles attack this dominant Vikings defense?

There’s no double they will miss Carson Wentz. Nick Foles ($4,800) is the lowest priced quarterback on the slate. He’s had four starts as the Eagles starting quarterback but has really only played three full games. If we remove week 17 where he was rested, Foles is completing 62% of his passes and has thrown for a combined 626 yards (215 YPG), while throwing 4 touchdowns to 1 interceptions. At first glance, those numbers don’t seem half bad when considering his price tag. But those numbers are inflated from his start against the Giants. If we remove the Giants game, Foles numbers drop to a 61% completion percentage with 409 yards (204 YPG) and 1 touchdown and 1 interception. In 4 starts, Foles has yet to surpass 250 yards in any game. Even last week when he did a good job managing the game, Foles did not find the end zone. In all but one start this year Foles has yet to top 10 DK points and now going up against this stingy Minnesota defense that held Drew Brees to 62% completion percentage and picked him off twice. It’s not a good spot at all for Foles.

As you’d expect the matchup is just as bad for the Eagles receivers. Last week Alshon Jeffery ($4,600) led the receivers in targets with 5, followed by Torrey Smith ($3,000) with 4, and Nelson Agholor ($4,800) with 3. The three receivers combined for 10 catches and 124 yards (12.4 YPC) on 12 targets. If those were numbers from one receiver, we might be able to justify playing this combo receiver, but it’s not. This week they go up against Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Terrence Newman, all of which have a PFF grade higher than 78. Like Nick Foles, I’m not touching these Eagles wide receivers. If there is any receiver I have a slight interest in, it’s Torrey Smith. Smith offers some value because he is $3,000, plays more than 60% of the snaps, and doesn’t have to face Rhodes. On top of that, Smith still has the potential to catch a deep ball for a 60-yard touchdown. Agholor could become an essential part of the passing game with Jeffery presumably being locked up by Rhodes, but at $4,600 I rather take a shot at one of the Jags receivers given that their role is a little more stable.

I always love me some Zach Ertz ($5,300), but he disappointed last week with only 3 catches on 5 targets, and the Vikings rank 2nd in DVOA against tight ends. This season the Vikings have only allowed two tight ends to pass 50 yards and score more than 9 DK points. If I’m playing the Vegas narrative that the Eagles will be trailing in this game, Ertz is the only pass catcher that I would trust from Philadelphia’s offense.

Perhaps the most trusted Eagle this week is Jay Ajayi ($5,200). It’s only a matter of time before Doug Pederson realizes that Ajayi is the most talented back on their roster. Last week Ajayi led the team in touches with 15 carries and 3 receptions for 99 yards. Unfortunately, like the Patriots situation, Ajayi is splitting time with two other running backs. LeGarrette Blount ($3,700) is their goal-line back, and Corey Clement ($3,000) is their third-down back that gets work out of the passing game. Ajayi got 54% of the running back touches last week and is also explosive enough to break one, but after watching the Vikings front seven slow down Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram to 3.2 YPC last week, you can’t help but be hesitant about the entire Eagles offense. Kamara was able to get behind the secondary and score a 14-yard touchdown, so maybe Clement can get some of that same luck. It’s not a matchup-proof situation for these running backs, but it’s a two-game slate, you need to get risky sometime.

EAGLES PLAYS:

J. Ajayi, Eagles Defense, Z. Ertz

Minnesota Vikings (20.75)

Draftkings NFL Championship Round: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles

* News

A. Sendejo (FS) – limited practice on Thursday (concussion) – expected to play

A. Thielen – missed practice on Thursday (back) – Probable

The Vikings have the second highest implied total on the slate at 20.75. It’s not pretty, but that’s what you get when you have 3 top 5 defenses in the league in the final 4. The Eagles also have good defensive metrics DVOA (2nd total, 7th pass, 3rd rush). The biggest concern is how the Vikings will stop the Eagles defensive line. The Eagles relentless defensive line has 5 of PFF top 30 pass rushers with Brandon Graham (91.6), Fletcher Cox (90.7), Vinny Curry, (84.7) Tim Jernigan (82.7)and Chris Long (91.8). Their defensive line is among the best in the league and matches up well against the offensive line of the Vikings (offensive line average grade via PFF is 57.28). The Eagles are also allowing 10 fewer points per game at home opposed to on the road this season. Despite this line and home-field advantage for Philadelphia, I still like some Vikings again this week.

Case Keenum ($6,600) was able to salvage a poor fantasy day with a miracle catch by Stefon Diggs. Fortunately for Keenum, he has the best wide receiving corps left in the playoffs with Adam Thielen ($7,400) and Stefon Diggs ($6,900). Fortunately for Minnesota, the most exploitable hole in the Eagles defense is their secondary as they ranked 21st in aFPA to wide receivers, per 4for4. So the recipe for success for Keenum is to get the ball into their playmaking receivers quickly. Keenum is not a safe bet by any means because of the Eagles defensive line tendency to put pressure on the quarterback, but he has some upside with the talent he has surrounding him. I just can’t justify not spending the extra $1,100 to get Brady.

The Vikings receivers are where I would like to get exposure to this game. The Eagles secondary gave up 100 yards to Julio last week and also allowed for Sanu to go for 50 yards on 3 catches. According to PFF, the cornerback worth exploiting is Jalen Mills who has given up a league-high 9 touchdowns. Mills is not a pushover by any means, but he ranks the lowest (75) of their other two cornerbacks Patrick Robinson (89.7) and Ronald Darby (83.2). It’s difficult to say who will see Mills the most either Thielen or Diggs, especially after last week when Thielen spent the most time outside of the slot than he had all season. Part of that was due to a season-high in snap count by Jarius Wright ($3,000) who played a season-high in snaps and caught 3 of his 6 targets. I’m growing more and more confident about each of these receivers matchup this week, especially Diggs who I think should see the majority of Mills. My rankings for the Vikings receivers are Diggs, Thielen, Wright.

The Vikings running backs have done better at home than on the road, averaging 13.21 DK points at home opposed to 9.51 DK points on the road. Jerick McKinnon ($5,100) was slightly better on the road averaging 10.71 points while Latavius Murray ($5,700) averaged 8.47. In the 4 road game where the Vikings were favored, McKinnon also outscored Murray 11.65 to 8.3. In a backfield that is an actual 50-50 split, I’m torn 50-50. I feel like the game script should favor McKinnon with the Vikings moving the ball with dump-offs and screens to the running backs in hopes of slowing down the pass rush. But I’m hesitant in going all-in McKinnon over Murray because Murray has a higher floor and higher touchdown equity. Over the past two games, Murray has out-touched McKinnon 42 to 23 and has outscored McKinnon 3 to 1. Murray is the goal-line back and gets almost all of the work in the early downs. In a game that should be slow paced and slugged out, Murray could touch the ball 25 times.

VIKINGS PLAYS:

S. Diggs, J. McKinnon, A. Thielen, L. Murray, Vikings Defense

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations – Conference Championships

*Mike Barner*

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations – Conference Championships

The NFL DFS season comes to a close with the Conference Championships on Sunday. Thank you for reading all of our articles throughout this season. We hope we were able to help you craft a winning entry more often than not. Let’s ride off into the sunset with one more big payday. Put your favorite recommendations from the article below in our lineup optimizer and hit calculate. You can let it fill in the rest of the spots for you or choose your personal favorites from the NFL Player Lab.

**QUARTERBACKS**

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations - Conference Championships

Tom Brady vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Stadium – Gillette Stadium
DraftKings = $7,700
FanDuel = $9,000

Brady is well known for his success in the playoffs and started out true to form last weekend, throwing for 337 yards and three touchdowns against the Titans. He has by far the most playoff experience of any of the quarterbacks still playing, appearing in 11 career Conference Championship games. He threw for 2,756 yards and 15 touchdowns in those games. The Jaguars have an elite defense, but most teams still left standing at this point are going to be tough to score against. The Jaguars did allow 42 points to the Steelers last week, so they aren’t impenetrable. Brady is the most expensive quarterback, but he also has the highest upside.

Case Keenum vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Stadium – Lincoln Financial Field
DraftKings = $6,600
FanDuel = $8,000

Keenum carried his excellent play during the regular season into the playoffs, throwing for 318 yards and one touchdown last week against the Saints. The fact that he played so well and helped lead an improbable comeback was especially impressive when you consider it was his first career start in the playoffs. The Eagles defense is no pushover, but they did allow 24 passing touchdowns this season, tied with the Patriots for the most among the four teams still playing. If you don’t want to pay up for Brady, Keenum should be the next best option.

**RUNNING BACKS**

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations - Conference Championships

Leonard Fournette vs. New England Patriots
Stadium – Gillette Stadium
DraftKings = $7,200
FanDuel = $8,500

Fournette is the one clear workhorse left at running back in the playoffs. He rushed 25 times for 109 yards and three touchdowns in the Divisional Round, marking his ninth game with at least 20 carries this season. He’s been fairly involved in the passing game as well, receiving at least four targets in five of his last six games. Although the Patriots allowed only six rushing touchdowns all season, they did allow an average of 114.8 rushing yards per game, placing them in the bottom half of the league.  With plenty of carries likely on tap this week, Fournette is an excellent option for your entry.

Dion Lewis vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Stadium – Gillette Stadium
DraftKings = $8,100
FanDuel = $7,700

Lewis racked up yardage against the Titans last week, rushing 15 times for 62 yards and hauling in nine of ten targets for 79 yards. It marked his third-straight game with at least 100 total yards, all of which came with Rex Burkhead (knee) injured. Burkhead is expected to be available to return this week, but he might not be able to resume his normal workload right away. Lewis has done nothing to lose any touches either. The Jaguars allowed 116.3 rushing yards per game during the regular season, the most of any of the four remaining teams. Look for Lewis to provide enough value again in this game.

Latavius Murray vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Stadium – Lincoln Financial Field
DraftKings = $5,700
FanDuel = $6,900

Murray has been splitting time with Jerick McKinnon in the Vikings backfield but had 20 rushing attempts last week compared to only eight for McKinnon. He rushed for just 50 yards, but he did manage to score a touchdown. He’s had a knack for reaching the end zone lately, scoring at least one touchdown in three of his last four games. The Eagles are tough against the run, but Murray can still provide value at this price based on his touchdown potential.

**WIDE RECEIVERS**

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations - Conference Championships

Adam Thielen vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Stadium – Lincoln Financial Field
DraftKings = $7,400
FanDuel = $7,400

Thielen set career-highs across the board this season, finishing in the top-10 in the league in targets (142), receptions (91) and receiving yards (1,276). He only had four touchdowns, but still provided tremendous value in DFS most weeks. He showed no signs of slowing down last week against the Saints, hauling in six of nine targets for 74 yards. The Eagles allowed Julio Jones to record nine catches and 101 receiving yards for the Falcons in the Divisional Round, so they can give up some big performances. Volume alone makes Thielen worth consideration.

Stefon Diggs vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Stadium – Lincoln Financial Field
DraftKings = $6,900
FanDuel = $6,700

Diggs had 20 fewer receptions this regular season than he did in the previous year, but a lot of that was because his catch percentage dropped by almost nine percent. He still received 95 targets and finished with a career-high eight touchdowns. He made the most of his catches as well, averaging 13.3 yards per reception this season compared to only 10.8 yards per reception last year. Last week against the Saints, he caught six of 10 targets, finishing with 136 yards and, of course, the game-winning touchdown. Playing both he and Thielen in your lineup is not a bad idea when you consider the other options available during a limited week.

Marqise Lee vs. New England Patriots
Stadium – Gillette Stadium
DraftKings = $4,400
FanDuel = $6,100

Simply put, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has struggled to throw the ball in two games during the playoffs, combining to complete 26-of-49 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns. He’s provided value with rushing yards, but that doesn’t help his receivers. The Jaguars might need to throw the ball more Sunday to keep up with the Patriots offense, which could mean added production for Lee. Lee received six targets last week against the Steelers and had 95 targets during the regular season as one of Bortles’ go-to options. Of all the receivers on the Jaguars, Lee might have the highest ceiling.

Chris Hogan vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Stadium – Gillette Stadium
DraftKings = $5,000
FanDuel = $6,100

Hogan only caught one of his four targets last week but salvaged the day by cashing in that one catch for a touchdown. Although he only played nine games during the regular season, he finished with a career-high five touchdown receptions. He averaged 6.6 targets per game, so he’s played a significant role in the Patriots offense when healthy. There aren’t a lot of great cheap options with so many excellent defenses taking the field Sunday, but Hogan’s touchdown potential gives him upside.

**TIGHT ENDS**

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations - Conference Championships

Rob Gronkowski vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Stadium – Gillette Stadium
DraftKings = $7,900
FanDuel = $8,400

Gronkowski had another dominant playoff performance against the Titans last week, catching six passes for 81 yards and one touchdown. In 11 career playoff games, Gronkowski has 835 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. The Jaguars limited opposing tight ends to just five touchdowns during the regular season, but facing Gronkowski is an entirely different animal. He’s clearly the tight end with the highest ceiling in the Conference Championships.

Kyle Rudolph vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Stadium – Lincoln Financial Field
DraftKings = $4,500
FanDuel = $6,100

Rudolph finished with 83 receptions and 840 yards in 2016 but had only 57 receptions for 532 yards this year. He saw a drastic decrease in targets, but still managed to score eight touchdowns, which was actually one more than last year. The Vikings look for him when they get in close as he received 18 targets inside the red zone this season. If you don’t want to pay up for Gronkowski, take a chance on Rudolph possibly scoring a touchdown in this game.

**DEFENSES/SPECIAL TEAMS**

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations - Conference Championships

Minnesota Vikings vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Stadium – Lincoln Financial Field
DraftKings = $3,800
FanDuel = $4,900

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles wasn’t overly impressive against the Falcons last week, throwing for 246 yards and no touchdowns. He gets a tough matchup Sunday against a Vikings defense that allowed the second-fewest net passing yards per game (192) and the fewest touchdown passes (13) in the league during the regular season. With six interceptions in their last four games, the Vikings defense has excellent value Sunday.

New England Patriots vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Stadium – Gillette Stadium
DraftKings = $3,500
FanDuel = $5,200

With Bortles struggling, the Patriots defense could be in line for a big performance. They don’t create a ton of turnovers, but they do have 18 sacks in their last three games. Bortles really struggled on the road during the regular season, throwing only six touchdown passes to go along with eight interceptions away from EverBank Field. That’s not a recipe for success against the Patriots, who are dominant at home.

NFL Divisional Round DFS Strategy: Advice, Picks, Sleepers for Draftkings, Fanduel Playoff Tournaments

*Chris Tierney – cstcst*

NFL Divisional Round DFS Strategy: Advice, Picks, Sleepers for Draftkings, Fanduel Playoff Tournaments

If you’re playing DFS this weekend don’t get fancy.  Who is going to win the game and how?  Answer these questions for yourself prior to constructing anything from a lineup perspective.  Making more than one lineup?  Alter who will win and how a bit and construct again, all while keeping a similar core lineup.

As Demarcus Robinson and Josh Hill demonstrated last weekend, roughly one obscure player POPS in each playoff game.  It will likely take having one of these guys on your squad to take down a large GPP.  Rostering players such as these are a true dart throw and the risk often outweighs the reward.  My dart throws this week are Vance McDonald and Corey Davis.  Both guys can make the big play and both have decent matchups.  The Jags have a great defensive backfield and are also adept at rushing the passer.  Quick hitting plays to the TE and RB are two ways to attach a defense like the Jaguars.  Vance McDonald made some big plays for the 49ers last season and has seen his role expand down the stretch after being injured for much of the season.  Corey Davis’s role continues to expand in the Titans passing game.  He had a serviceable game last weekend and faces another spotty secondary this week in a game where his offense will likely have to throw the football.

Put your favorite recommendations from the article below in our lineup optimizer and hit calculate. You can let it fill in the rest of the spots for you or choose your personal favorites from the NFL Player Lab.

 

 

Atlanta (-3.5, 41) at Philadelphia

NFL Divisional Round DFS Strategy: Advice, Picks, Sleepers for Draftkings, Fanduel Playoff Tournaments

On paper, this sure looks like a 26-13 or thereabouts Falcons win.  They are a veteran-led group with an improving defense who is accustomed to the pressures of the playoffs.  Paper doesn’t mean much come kickoff.  This will be an interesting game and it will be roaring in Philly.  There are some interesting options here but this game isn’t where the majority of my focus will be this weekend.

DFS Chalk:  Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Zack Ertz, Devonta Freeman

DFS Value: Nick Foles, Nelson Agholor, Tevin Coleman, Mohamed Sanu, Jay Ajayi

 

Tennessee at New England (-14, 48)

NFL Divisional Round DFS Strategy: Advice, Picks, Sleepers for Draftkings, Fanduel Playoff Tournaments

This game has the opportunity to shoot out.  Will the real New England defense please stand up?  Statistically, they’ve been one of the worst units in the NFL this season but they’ve bowed their backs when it mattered most, allowing them to take the Division and home-field advantage yet again.  Tennessee’s pass defense has been a sieve which shines a light upon his Greatness and his favorite Tight End.  I think New England wins here, but I think it will be more difficult than many expect.  The Titans gained some confidence last weekend and I expect their offense to have some success.  I think there are a bunch of players worth rostering in this game.  Remember, Belichick likes to neutralize one aspect of his opponent’s offense.  That has to be the Tennessee running-game right?  #gametheory – Tennessee passing attack is interesting to me in GPP situations.  The return of Hogan should lighten the targets to Cooks here.

DFS Chalk: Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Dion Lewis, Delanie Walker, Derrick Henry  

DFS Value: Corey Davis, Eric Decker, James White, Rex Burkhead, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Rishard Matthews

 

Jacksonville at Pittsburgh (-7, 41)

NFL Divisional Round DFS Strategy: Advice, Picks, Sleepers for Draftkings, Fanduel Playoff Tournaments

Sunday should be the fun day for this weekends slate and kicks off with a very interesting matchup in Pittsburgh.  If Ryan Shazier were healthy, I’d think this was a slam dunk Steelers victory.  As we all now, he sadly is not (keep on getting well Ryan!), and the Steelers run defense has not looked the same.  They’ll copy the Bills blueprint and load the box with eight men.  Will Nathan Hackett trust Blake Bortles here?  Will they allow him to attack this Steelers defense down the field with Lee, Hurns and Westbrook?  That is likely their plan and without something like it, they’ll be cleaning out their lockers early next week.  The Steelers offense has the tough chore of the Jaguars defense.  The Jags will slow the Steelers down some here, but the Jags offense has to apply pressure to this Steelers team.  An upset here wouldn’t shock me but I think this is perhaps the most interesting matchup of the playoffs thus far and will be telling about the Steelers Championship hopes.

DFS Chalk: Big Ben, LeVeon Bell, Leonard Fournette, Antonio Brown, Juju Smith-Schuster

DFS Value: Vance McDonald, Dede Westbrook, Mercedes Lewis, Marqise Lee

 

New Orleans at Minnesota (-4.5, 46.5)

NFL Divisional Round DFS Strategy: Advice, Picks, Sleepers for Draftkings, Fanduel Playoff Tournaments

Like our Carolina | New Orleans call last week, this is the one with the best opportunity to shoot out and could be a thrilling final game to the weekend.  The Vikings are legit, but so are the Saints.  Both of these teams are formidable on both sides of the ball and both teams have offensive players who can score from anywhere on the field.  I prefer Minnesota here but as anyone who follows the NFL knows, the Saints offense is capable of moving 85 yards in two or three plays at any time.

DFS Chalk: Case Keenum, Adam Thielen, Stephon Diggs, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara

DFS Value: Latavius Murray, Jerick McKinnon, Kyle Rudolph, Ted Ginn, Brandon Coleman, Josh Hill

 

Top GPP Stacks:

NFL Divisional Round DFS Strategy: Advice, Picks, Sleepers for Draftkings, Fanduel Playoff Tournaments

1a: Case Keenum, Jerick Mckinnon, Stephon Diggs, Michael Thomas

2a: Tom Brady, James White, Rob Gronkowski, Corey Davis

 

Draftkings NFL Cash & GPP Lineup Daily Fantasy Football Divisional Round

Draftkings NFL Cash & GPP Lineup Daily Fantasy Football Divisional Round

Next week will feature a small two-game slate with the Conference Championships. This week’s NFL Divisional round is the final four-game slate of the NFL season. We have some exciting games this week on both the NFC and AFC, so let’s dive in.

Vegas

The Vegas numbers this week features a little bit of everything. We have the Patriots as the team with the best Vegas data, and we have two games that feature pretty close spreads in Minnesota and Philadelphia.

As I mentioned above, the Patriots are the clear front-runners for this week with an implied team total of 30.25. The Vikings (25.25), Steelers (24.25), Falcons (22), and Saints (20.75) round out the top 5.

The Patriots are also featured in the game with the highest game total with the over/under sitting at 47. But unfortunately, the Patriots dominate that game with as 13.5 points favorites over the Titans (16.75), which makes the game not ideal for stacking in hopes of a two-way shootout.

The Saints (20.75) at Vikings (25.25) is not far behind with a game total of 46. The Vikings are favored by 4.5 points at home so that game if any, seems most likely to shoot out between the two teams.

The other two games Falcons @ Eagles and Jaguars @ Steelers both have a game total sitting at 41. The Steelers (24.25) are 7.5 point favorites at home, while the Falcons (22) are the only road team favored this week by 3 points.

Injuries aren’t expected to play a significant role this week. But DeMarco Murray has already been ruled out for the second consecutive week, and Antonio Brown is fully expected to be back on the field for the Steelers. Be sure to follow our News page at Lineup Labs for any last minute news.

Quarterbacks

Draftkings NFL Cash & GPP Lineup Daily Fantasy Football Divisional Round

Case Keenum ($6,100) – Sitting in the mid-range of quarterback pricing, Keenum is my cash game play this week. He’s $900 cheaper than Brady at the top, and $1,100 more expensive than Blake Bortles. Keenum hasn’t exactly set the world on fire over his past four games but comes into the week with the second-best Vegas data of all quarterbacks. Keenum has thrown at least two touchdowns in four of his last six games and is averaging over 30 attempts during that span. The Saints pass defense is respectable with Marshon Lattimore (4th via PFF), Ken Crawley (28th via PFF), and (PJ Williams 83rd via PFF) at cornerback, but they have also given up 58.38 DK points over the past two weeks to Cam (28.66) and Winston (29.72). Over the last two games, the Saints have given up a total of 712 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and 69 rushing yards and a touchdown. Keenum also gets the benefit of having an extra week to prepare and playing the game at home in an indoor stadium. I like the savings with Keenum.

Tom Brady ($7,000) – Brady is in a class of his own this week. With the highest projected team total at home against the best possible matchup in the playoffs. Brady is almost a sure bet to lead the quarterbacks in scoring. The reason why he’s a tournament play for me is that I’d rather use the savings at wide receiver this week. There’s not much convincing I need to do to justify playing Brady at home in the playoffs.

Running backs

Draftkings NFL Cash & GPP Lineup Daily Fantasy Football Divisional Round

Le’Veon Bell ($9,600) – As the case last week with Todd Gurley, this week atop the running back pricing, Bell is hugely overpriced from the other running backs and in a far from the ideal matchup. Bell is $1,800 more expensive than the second highest priced back Kamara ($7,800) yet; he’s still the best bet to reach value with the highest floor and ceiling. This week Bell comes in averaging over 20 DK points for the month and faces a Jags defense that forces opposing offenses to run the ball. The Steelers are a home favorite (-7.5) going up against the Jags defense that picked off Ben Roethlisberger 5 times in their matchup this season. With Antonio Brown potentially playing decoy out on the field, the Steelers could continue to force the ball to Bell who has at least six passing targets in his past seven games. Bell should be in line for 25-30 touches this week in a game that will likely feature terrible weather. According to CBS Pittsburgh, the game temperature is likely to sit in the teens at the start of the game and could see snow flurries and wind speeds near 20MPH. If that weather holds up, there’s no reason why the Steelers would test the Jags secondary and avoid giving the ball to Bell.

Devonta Freeman ($5,900) – Despite only getting two receiving targets last week and averaging 3.7 yards per carry, Freeman was able to turn in an atrocious game into a modest one on the road against the Rams. While I generally don’t like playing running backs on the road, Freeman comes into play as a top 3 projected running back to reach value this week. Freeman has actually produced better on the road than at home this season and has had two of his best games on the season on the road against the Bucs (33.4) and Lions (25.8). At a sub $6,000 price, I like playing Freeman as a favorite going up against the Nick Foles led Eagles who could turn the ball over, which would lead to a shorter field for Atlanta. Freeman should expect to see anywhere from 18-23 touches this week.

Dion Lewis ($6,600)/James White ($4,300)/Rex Burkhead ($5,700) – It’s worth monitoring the Patriots running back situation. Both White and Burkhead returned to practice this week, and the Pats are fully expected to have their trio of running backs available. If Burkhead plays, he is expected to be limited. When he was in the mix, White saw a drop off in playing time with Lewis being the early down backs and Burkhead working out of the passing game. If they all are active, I’d only consider playing Lewis for salary relief. But if only Lewis and White are active I don’t mind playing White because of the work he could see in the passing game and his cheap price tag.

Wide Receiver

Draftkings NFL Cash & GPP Lineup Daily Fantasy Football Divisional Round

Brandin Cooks ($7,000) – From the high priced range, I like Brandin Cooks this week a tad bit more than Adam Thielen ($7,600) for the savings. Cooks is a cheaper way to get exposure to Brady and has been a target monster for the Patriots passing attack this season. Cooks will be facing Adoree’ Jackson who ranks 39th via PFF, but we saw last Tyreek Hill have success against the Titans secondary last week. It’s also worth monitoring if Chris Hogan will play. He’s expected to but if he misses that should bump up Cooks’ target projection.

Mohamed Sanu ($5,700) – Sanu continues to remain involved in the Falcons passing attack over the past four games. In his last four games, Sanu has 30 targets and 17 receptions for 200 yards. He’s affordable under 6K and only needs 5 for 70 to reach value for you. He should see a lot of Jalen Mills who’s a decent cornerback, but if Ronald Darby shadows Julio Jones, Ryan could force more targets Sanu’s way.

Nelson Agholor ($4,800) – Agholor has seen an uptick in production since Nick Foles took over at quarterback for the injured Carson Wentz. He’s seen his market share of targets rise, while Alshon Jeffery has seen his targets decrease. In three games with Foles as the quarterback, Jeffrey has 14 targets to Agholor’s 19. Agholor has upside to make a big play anytime; he’s on the field so one big catch could give you all need to make value.

Tight End

Draftkings NFL Cash & GPP Lineup Daily Fantasy Football Divisional Round

Zach Ertz ($5,800) – Ertz has been one of the few Eagles players whose production has not faltered since Nick Foles took over for Wentz. In the first two full games with Foles under center, Ertz has 25 targets and 15 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown. On top of that, Ertz has five targets within the red zone with Foles under center. Of course, Gronk is viewed as the top tight end option on the board, but Ertz has been just as productive as Gronk this season. If Ertz is going to continue to be fed with targets, it almost makes him a lock and play with a $1,300 savings from Gronk.

Delanie Walker ($5,000) – Walker is coming off of a nice game against the Chiefs in the Wild Card round. He saw 8 targets and 6 catches for 74 yards. Who knows, he may have even added a touchdown if Mariota didn’t do that touchdown pass to himself within the 5-yard line. He’s the number one receiver for the Titans, and if the game script goes as Vegas thinks it will go, Mariota will be throwing quite a bit. Walker could potentially see double-digit targets, and if he catches 7 for 70, he doesn’t kill your lineup.

Defense

Draftkings NFL Cash & GPP Lineup Daily Fantasy Football Divisional Round

Minnesota Vikings ($2,900) – The chalky plays are going to be the Steelers and the Eagles. I like saving the salary and taking a shot with the Vikings defense. The Saints running backs showed last week that they could be stopped and the Vikings defense is better than the Panthers. Defense is so volatile, so I will almost always look for the team that offers up the most value per dollar.

 

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations – Divisional Round

*Mike Barner*

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations – Divisional Round

 

 

The NFL season is nearing a close as this will be the last weekend with at least four games on the schedule. There aren’t a lot of options to choose from for DFS, but there are several elite players still available. Put your favorite recommendations from the article below in our lineup optimizer and hit calculate. You can let it fill in the rest of the spots for you or choose your personal favorites from the NFL Player Lab.

**QUARTERBACKS**

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations - Divisional Round

Tom Brady vs. Tennessee Titans
Stadium – Gillette Stadium
DraftKings = $7,000
FanDuel = $8,800

Not only is Brady one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but he looks to have the best matchup at the position this week. The Titans managed to pull off the upset on Wild Card Weekend by beating the Chiefs, who lost yet another home playoff game. During the regular season, the Titans allowed the most passing touchdowns (27) of any team still alive this weekend. Brady has been excellent over 13 games in the Divisional Round in his career, throwing for 3,700 yards and 26 touchdowns. Look for him to have another big performance Saturday.

Matt Ryan vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Stadium – Lincoln Financial Field
DraftKings = $5,700
FanDuel = $7,700

Ryan threw 38 touchdowns and only seven interceptions in 2016, but took a step backward this year with only 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He again put forth a lackluster performance Wild Card Weekend against the Rams, throwing for just 218 yards and one touchdown. He never threw more than two touchdown passes in a game this season and had 11 games with one or no touchdowns. The Eagles were in the middle-of-the-pack this season in terms of passing defense, allowing 24 passing touchdowns and an average of 227 net passing yards per game. Ryan doesn’t have a high ceiling, but with many of the quarterbacks facing tough defenses this week, he’s still someone to consider.

Marcus Mariota vs. New England Patriots
Stadium – Gillette Stadium
DraftKings = $5,900
FanDuel = $7,500

Mariota had an extremely disappointing regular season, throwing only 13 touchdown passes to along with a career-high 15 interceptions. He did have five rushing touchdowns, but that still wasn’t enough to make him a viable fantasy option. He benefited from a bizarre play against the Chiefs last week where he caught his own deflected pass for a touchdown, leaving him with two touchdown passes in the game. That marked only the fourth time this season he has thrown for more than one score in a game. The Patriots could get up big early in this game, which would likely lead to extra passing opportunities for Mariota. If you are looking for a cheap option at quarterback, that kind of volume puts Mariota into the discussion.

**RUNNING BACKS**

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations - Divisional Round

Le’Veon Bell vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Stadium – Heinz Field
DraftKings = $9,600
FanDuel = $9,400

Bell had another stellar regular season for the Steelers, surpassing 1,800 total yards for the third time in the last four seasons. He also set career-highs in rushing attempts (321), receptions (85) and rushing touchdowns (9). The Jaguars allowed an average of 116.3 rushing yards per game in the regular season, which is the most of any of the teams still in the playoffs. The Jaguars defense, in general, is no walk in the park, but Bell’s elite talent still makes him worth paying up for this week.

Dion Lewis vs. Tennessee Titans
Stadium- Gillette Stadium
DraftKings = $6,600
FanDuel = $7,600

Patriots running backs have been a source of frustration for fantasy owners in recent years, but Lewis stepped up to be a valuable option over the second half of this season. Over the last six games, he rushed for 510 yards and three touchdowns. He also received some work in the passing game, hauling in 18 receptions for 128 yards and two touchdowns over that same stretch. Rex Burkhead (knee) still doesn’t appear to be fully healthy, so he could be limited if he is able to suit up for Saturday. Even if he does play, Lewis can still provide value for your entry.

Derrick Henry vs. New England Patriots
Stadium – Gillette Stadium
DraftKings = $7,300
FanDuel = $6,700

Henry shined filling in for DeMarco Murray (knee) last weekend, rushing for 156 yards and one touchdown while also catching two passes for 35 yards. He carried the ball 23 times, marking only the second time he received at least 20 carries in a game this season. Murray has already been ruled out for the Divisional Round, leaving Henry as the main back for another week. There is the risk that this could turn into a game of catchup for the Titans offense, which would force them to pass more than normal in the second half. However, they will likely run a lot early to try and keep the ball out of Brady’s hands. Henry might not be able to duplicate his excellent performance from last week, but volume alone makes him someone to target at this price.

**WIDE RECEIVERS**

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations - Divisional Round

Julio Jones vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Stadium – Lincoln Financial Field
DraftKings = $7,900
FanDuel = $8,800

Jones had a great season in terms of receiving yards but again struggled to reach the end zone, scoring only three touchdowns this season. Two of the three came in one game against the Buccaneers, making his total look even worse. He wasted no time in the playoffs though, hauling in nine catches for 94 yards and one touchdown last week against a tough Rams defense. Jones has stepped up his game when it matters the most, scoring six touchdowns in seven playoff games for his career. With Antonio Brown forced to play against cornerback Jalen Ramsey of the Jaguars, Jones might be the better option to pay up for this week.

JuJu Smith-Schuster vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Stadium – Heinz Field
DraftKings = $6,000
FanDuel = $7,000

Smith-Schuster finished the season strong, recording 21 catches for 332 yards and two touchdowns in the last three games. Two of those came with Brown injured, so Smith-Schuster may receive fewer targets with him expected to return this week. Even so, Brown has a tough matchup against Ramsey, so Smith-Schuster could still play a very big role in this game. The Steelers offense is much better at home as well, making Smith-Schuster someone to consider at this reasonable price.

Nelson Agholor vs. Atlanta Falcons
Stadium – Lincoln Financial Field
DraftKings = $4,800
FanDuel = $6,400

Agholor had a breakout campaign this year, setting career-highs across the board. Much of that can be attributed to the stellar play of quarterback Carson Wentz (knee), who unfortunately is out for the rest of the season. Nick Foles is a competent backup, but his upside is limited at best. The good news is Agholor may have a favorable matchup as most of his receptions come in the middle of the field. Last week, the Falcons allowed Cooper Kupp, who also works over the middle of the field, to record eight receptions for 69 yards and one touchdown. If you want to take a chance on any of the Eagles wide receivers, Agholor might be the one to consider.

Eric Decker vs. New England Patriots
Stadium – Gillette Stadium
DraftKings = $3,800
FanDuel = $4,800

Decker only caught two of his five targets last week for 21 yards but salvaged his performance with a touchdown. The good news is that he received at least five targets for the sixth straight game. The Patriots did allow the third-most net passing yards per game (251) during the regular season, but a lot of that was due to teams trying to play catchup with the Patriots offense. It still counts the same for fantasy purposes, making Decker worth taking a chance on in tournament play considering how little he will cost you.

**TIGHT ENDS**

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations - Divisional Round

Rob Gronkowski vs. Tennessee Titans
Stadium – Gillette Stadium
DraftKings = $7,100
FanDuel = $8,500

The Titans struggled to defend tight ends during the regular season, allowing 853 receiving yards and five touchdowns to the position. They looked to be well on their way to getting lit up by Travis Kelce last week, who had 66 yards and one touchdown before leaving in the second quarter with a concussion. Gronkowski is the most expensive tight end by far this week, but he could feast in this game.

Delanie Walker vs. New England Patriots
Stadium – Gillette Stadium
DraftKings = $5,000
FanDuel = $6,200

Walker played well against the Chiefs in the first round, catching six of eight targets for 74 yards. He had another excellent season for the Titans as one of Mariota’s favorite targets, totaling at least 800 receiving yards for the fourth straight year. Like Decker, he could benefit from extra volume if the Titans get down big early and have to turn things over to their passing attack. If you don’t want to pay up for Gronkowski, Walker also has upside.

**DEFENSES/SPECIAL TEAMS**

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations - Divisional Round

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Stadium – Heinz Field
DraftKings = $3,800
FanDuel = $5,300

Blake Bortles did not play well against the Bills last week and actually had more rushing yards (88) than passing yards (87) in the game. He completed only 52.2% of his passes in the first playoff game of his career. He gets a much tougher opponent in the Steelers this week, who tied for the fourth-fewest net passing yards allowed per game (201) during the regular season. They not only held teams to 20 passing touchdowns but were also able to generate 16 interceptions. This could be an ugly performance from Bortles, making the Steelers defense an excellent option for your entry.

Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints
Stadium – U.S. Bank Stadium
DraftKings = $2,900
FanDuel = $4,600

The Vikings defense was excellent this season, allowing the second-fewest net passing yards per game (192) and the second-fewest rushing yards per game (83.6) in the league. It’s not easy picking against quarterback Drew Brees in the playoffs, but the Vikings limited him and the Saints offense to 19 points in Week 1 this season. The Steelers defense is certainly the safer bet this week, but the Vikings are also worth considering if you need to save a little money at defense.

NFL DFS: Best Lineup Stacks for Wild Card Playoff Weekend DraftKings, FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football

*Chris Tierney – cstcst*

NFL DFS: Best Lineup Stacks for Wild Card Playoff Weekend DraftKings, FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football

Welcome to Wild Card weekend! The stakes ramp up on Saturday as the 2018 edition of the NFL playoffs open in Kansas City on Saturday afternoon. There are some intriguing matchups this weekend which we’ll dive into each a little bit below. Put your favorite recommendations from the article below in our lineup optimizer and hit calculate. You can let it fill in the rest of the spots for you or choose your personal favorites from the NFL Player Lab.

 

Tennessee at Kansas City (-8.5, 44)

NFL DFS: Best Lineup Stacks for Wild Card Playoff Weekend DraftKings, FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football - Lineuplab.com

Vegas Implied Final Score:

Kansas City 26
Tennessee 18

Key Injuries:

  • Demarco Murray has been ruled out meaning Derrick Henry will get the majority of touches out of the backfield for the Titans.
  • Albert Wilson was nicked up during the win over Denver but all signs point to him playing this week.

DFS Chalk:  Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Derrick Henry, Alex Smith, Chiefs Defense

DFS Value: Eric Decker, Delanie Walker, Albert Wilson, Corey Davis, Marcus Mariota

Kansas City has gotten well over the past four weeks after a four-game losing streak nearly derailed their season.  The teams they beat during this winning streak?  The Raiders, Chargers, Dolphins and Broncos.  One winning record out of the bunch.  The Titans also stumble into the playoffs having lost three of their final four.  Two of those came in Western time zones in hard fought games against Arizona and San Francisco, and they also dropped a close contest at home to the Rams before clinching this spot last week at home against Jacksonville.  This matchup looks evenly matched on paper and while chilly, the forecasted 28-degree weather is not awful for offensive players.

 

Atlanta at Los Angeles (-6.5, 48.5)

NFL DFS: Best Lineup Stacks for Wild Card Playoff Weekend DraftKings, FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football - Lineuplab.com

Vegas Implied Final Score:

Los Angeles 27.5
Atlanta 22

Key Injuries:

  • There are no injuries of significance to monitor in this game.

DFS Chalk: Todd Gurley, Robert Woods, Rams Defense, Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu

DFS Value: Sammy Watkins, DeVonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Austin Hooper

The biggest DFS decision of the week is whether to fade Todd Gurley, who finished the Regular Season as the top RB in Fantasy Football.  He is very expensive across all formats this weekend and has certainly earned his price tag.  He will feature on Saturday and his success or lack thereof will likely dictate GPP formats before Sunday games even kick off.  Early projected ownership reports have a majority not paying the massive price tag.  Personally, I’ve yet to decide which way I’ll end up going but this is likely the central decision to Wildcard DFS.  Gurley would need to hit the 25-30 point mark to return GPP value, which while doable, is hardly something to bank on.  The Rams defensive weakness is against the run game and I expect the Falcons to attempt to control the ball and play keep away from the Rams in this one.  The Rams are legit and are a very dangerous offense capable of taking what the defense gives them.

 

 

Carolina at New Orleans (-7, 48.5)

NFL DFS: Best Lineup Stacks for Wild Card Playoff Weekend DraftKings, FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football - Lineuplab.com

Las Vegas Implied Score:

New Orleans 27.25
Carolina 21.25

Key Injuries:

  • The Saints tight end situation is a bit murky, and while a complete potential flier, it might be worth paying attention to.

DFS Chalk: Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Greg Olsen, Michael Thomas

DFS Value: Cam Newton, Christian McCaffery, Ted Ginn, Mark Ingram

In our opinion, this sets up as the most interesting game on the weekend slate.  These two teams met the first weekend in December with New Orleans prevailing by 10 points.  In that game, the Saints ran for 148 yards and Brees threw for 269 yards with Kamara accounting for over 120 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns on 14 touches.  In that game, the Panthers defense was visibly frustrated with their inability to wrap up Kamara.  The Panthers will have one focus this week and that will be limiting and tackling the Saints lightning bolt offensive weapon.  That could open the rest of the field for Brees and his wideouts, which sure seems like a good GPP route.  Of course, the Panthers are a talented team very capable of winning and moving on here.  Cam is scrambling once again, which makes him an elite option.  While the Panthers are lacking at the WR position, Christian McCaffery and a healthy Greg Olsen make up for it.  This game is a coin flip and brings plenty of fantasy options with perhaps the best chance of ‘shooting out’.

 

 

Buffalo at Jacksonville (-9, 39.5)

NFL DFS: Best Lineup Stacks for Wild Card Playoff Weekend DraftKings, FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football - Lineuplab.com

Las Vegas Implied Score:

Jacksonville 23.80
Buffalo 16.30

DFS Chalk: LeSean McCoy (if healthy), Leonard Fournette, Jags defense

DFS Value: Kellan Cole, Blake Bortles, Dede Westbrook

LeSean McCoy is likely to give it a go on his bum ankle, and without his presence, the Bills are a tremendous longshot to even threaten the Jaguars in this spot.  Many are down on the Jags after a rough finish that saw them drop two in a row to end the season.  The Jags are an interesting team heading into the postseason and they do two things well that win Championships.  They have the best talent on defense in the AFC and can run the football.  The game script here should allow Fournette and the Jags defense to shine all while awarding a home fan base that hasn’t seen a home playoff game in a decade.  On paper, the Jags sure look like a team that no one wants to host in the Divisional Round.

 

OVERALL:

NFL DFS: Best Lineup Stacks for Wild Card Playoff Weekend DraftKings, FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football - Lineuplab.com

Top DFS Chalk Selections: Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville, Todd Gurley, RB, LA Rams, Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City

Top GPP / Value Selections: Christian McCaffery, RB, Carolina, Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta, Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta, Eric Decker, WR, Tennessee

Top GPP Contrarian Stack: Cam Newton, Christian McCaffery, Greg Olsen

 

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations – Wild Card Weekend

*Mike Barner*

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations – Wild Card Weekend

 

The NFL regular season is over, with your season-long fantasy leagues in the rearview mirror along with it. Luckily the fun continues in DFS with the Wild Card Weekend. While there are far fewer options to choose from for your entry, that doesn’t mean there still aren’t some great players to pick from. Put your favorite recommendations from the article below in our lineup optimizer and hit calculate. You can let it fill in the rest of the spots for you or choose your personal favorites from the NFL Player Lab.

**QUARTERBACKS**

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations - Wild Card Weekend

Jared Goff vs. Atlanta Falcons
Stadium – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
DraftKings = $6,700
FanDuel = $8,500

Goff made major strides in his second season in the NFL, throwing for 3,804 yards and 28 touchdowns. Not only did he improve his completion percentage by over seven percent to 62.1%, but his seven interceptions in 15 games this season matched his entire total in only seven games last year. He finished off the season strong, throwing at least two touchdowns in five straight games. There are few easy defenses when you get to the playoffs, but the Falcons have trouble creating turnovers as their eight interceptions during the regular season were tied for the third-fewest in the league. It’s tough to count on such a young quarterback making his first playoff appearance, but it’s hard not to rely on Goff considering his excellent regular season.

Alex Smith vs. Tennessee Titans
Stadium – Arrowhead Stadium
DraftKings = $6,300
FanDuel = $7,800

While he had a bit of an up and down season, Smith finished with a career-high 26 touchdown passes. He continued to do an excellent job limiting turnovers, throwing only five interceptions. He also threw for at least 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his career, finishing with 4,042 despite sitting out Week 17. The Titans were prone to allowing scores through the air this season, finishing tied for the fifth-most passing touchdowns allowed (27) in the league. That mark was also the most of any team that made the playoffs. While Smith’s upside may not be as high as Goff’s, he might be one of the safer bets to reach value this week.

Blake Bortles vs. Buffalo Bills
Stadium – EverBank Field
DraftKings = $6,000
FanDuel = $7,600

That’s right, Blake Bortles lead his team to the playoffs. Bortles saw both his passing yards and touchdown passes decline this season, but he also attempted 102 fewer passes than he did last year. It made a big difference in the turnover department, throwing a career-low 13 interceptions. He played poorly Week 17 against the Titans but had thrown at least two touchdown passes in four straight games entering that contest. He’s been excellent at home this season, throwing 15 touchdowns and only five interceptions at EverBank Field compared to only six touchdowns and eight interceptions on the road. Viable cheap options are hard to come by in the playoffs, but Bortles can save you a few dollars while still having upside.

**RUNNING BACKS**

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations - Wild Card Weekend

Leonard Fournette vs. Buffalo Bills
Stadium – EverBank Field
DraftKings = $7,400
FanDuel = $8,100

Fournette received a lot of hype heading into this season and did not disappoint, rushing for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns in only 13 games. He showed he can be a weapon in the passing game as well, hauling in 36 of 48 targets for 302 yards. The Bills have struggled to defend the run this season, allowing the fourth-most rushing yards per game (124.6) and the most rushing touchdowns (22) in the league. At this reasonable price, Fournette is almost a must-start against the Bills.

Devonta Freeman vs. Los Angeles Rams
Stadium – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
DraftKings = $6,300
FanDuel = $7,000

Freeman did not finish the regular season on a high note, rushing for 59 yards on 22 carries over the final two weeks combined. He salvaged Week 17 by posting nine receptions for 85 yards and one touchdown against the Carolina Panthers, marking the second time in the last three weeks that he had at least 69 receiving yards. He has split backfield duties with Tevin Coleman this year, limiting his value to an extent. The Rams did finish the regular season tied for the fourth-most rushing touchdowns allowed (15) in the league, so Freeman is an option to consider in a potentially high-scoring game.

Derrick Henry vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Stadium – Arrowhead Stadium
DraftKings = $6,000
FanDuel = $6,500

DeMarco Murray (knee) sat out Week 17, leaving Henry as the featured running back. While he only rushed for 51 yards on 28 carries, the volume was the key. He turned his one reception into 66 yards and a touchdown, making for an excellent final line. The Chiefs allowed the eighth-most rushing yards per game (118.1) and were tied for the fourth-most rushing touchdowns allowed (15) in the league, leaving Henry with great upside at this price. Murray has already been ruled out for this game, making Henry one of the best value plays this week.

**WIDE RECEIVERS**

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations - Wild Card Weekend

Michael Thomas vs. Carolina Panthers
Stadium – Mercedes-Benz Superdome
DraftKings = $7,800
FanDuel = $8,300

Thomas had an excellent season for the Saints, finishing in the top-six in the league in targets (149), receptions (104) and receiving yards (1,245). He played well in his previous two games against the Panthers this year, posting at least 70 receiving yards and one touchdown in both contests. To no surprise, he received at least eight targets in both games. Based on the volume he receives on a weekly basis, Thomas is an excellent option for your entry.

Tyreek Hill vs. Tennessee Titans
Stadium – Arrowhead Stadium
DraftKings = $6,800
FanDuel = $7,700

Hill’s big play ability is unquestioned, finishing the season tied for the tenth-highest yards per reception average (15.8). He received 105 targets overall, which was second most on the team to Travis Kelce (123). The next closest wide receiver was Albert Wilson with 63 targets, so Hill is clearly Smith’s favorite weapon amongst wideouts. With his big-play ability and heavy volume, Hill has the potential to put up a monster game any given week. The price is right to roll with him based on the Titans struggles to defend the pass.

Mohamed Sanu vs. Los Angeles Rams
Stadium – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
DraftKings = $5,600
FanDuel = $5,800

While Julio Jones gets all the hype in Atlanta, Sanu had 67 receptions on 96 targets this season. He also finished with five receiving touchdowns, which were two more than Jones had. The amount of targets Sanu gets gives a boost to his value as he averaged at least 10.5 yards per reception for the fourth straight season. The Rams scored the most points in the NFL this year, so the Falcons may have to let it fly to keep up. Sanu’s reasonable price makes him in an intriguing option in the first round of the playoffs.

Eric Decker vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Stadium – Arrowhead Stadium
DraftKings = $3,500
FanDuel = $4,800

The Titans passing attack has been terrible this season but Decker gets his opportunities to produce, receiving at least five targets in each of the final five games of the regular season. The problem is the bad Titans offense doesn’t give many chances to score, hauling in only one touchdown pass this year. This week presents an interesting opportunity for Decker as the Chiefs tied for the fourth-most net passing yards allowed per game (247) in the league. There aren’t a lot of really cheap options to choose from, but Decker might be worth a look in tournament play.

**TIGHT ENDS**

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations - Wild Card Weekend

Travis Kelce vs. Tennessee Titans
Stadium – Arrowhead Stadium
DraftKings = $7,100
FanDuel = $7,700

Kelce is the best option on the slate at tight end and it’s not even close. He continues to get tremendous volume, seeing at least seven targets in seven of his last eight games. While volume has been there throughout his time with the Chiefs, he cashed it in this season for a career-high eight touchdowns. The Titans had trouble defending tight ends this year, averaging the tenth-most yards to the position (853). If you can work him into your budget, he’s a safe option for production.

Charles Clay vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Stadium – EverBank Field
DraftKings = $4,000
FanDuel = $5,500

No one is going to confuse Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor as being an elite passing quarterback. He didn’t throw for at least 300 yards in any game this season and posted eight games with less than 200 passing yards. When he does throw the ball, Clay is one of his favorite options. Clay has received at least eight targets in each of the last three games, cashing that in for 15 receptions and 169 receiving yards. Viable cheap options at tight end aren’t easy to come by with so few games this week, but Clay is an option if you can’t pay up for Kelce.

**DEFENSES/SPECIAL TEAMS**

Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Recommendations - Wild Card Weekend

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Buffalo Bills
Stadium – EverBank Field
DraftKings = $4,400
FanDuel = $5,600

The Jaguars defense had an elite fantasy season, finishing in the top five in sacks, interceptions, fumble recoveries and points allowed. To top it all off, they scored eight touchdowns. They get a great matchup this week against a Bills team that finished with the 11th-fewest points scored and tied for the seventh-most sacks allowed during the regular season. Pay up for the Jaguars in the Wild Card Round.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tennessee Titans
Stadium – Arrowhead Stadium
DraftKings = $3,400
FanDuel = $4,800

Speaking of teams with struggling quarterbacks, Marcus Mariota took a major step backward in 2017. After throwing 26 touchdown passes and only nine interceptions last year, Mariota threw 13 touchdowns compared to 15 interceptions this season. Mariota really struggled on the road, throwing only five touchdown passes compared to 11 interceptions. If you want to save a little money at defense, the Chiefs are also primed to provide value.

Draftkings NFL Cash & GPP Lineup Daily Fantasy Football Wild Card Round

*Cesar Becerra*

Draftkings NFL Cash & GPP Lineup Daily Fantasy Football Wild Card Round

We’ve made it through another NFL season! I hope you had as much fun as I’ve had during the NFL. But don’t put the brakes on the train quite yet! We still got a few more weeks of NFL DFS, and it doesn’t get any juicier than this Wild Card Week. Put your favorite recommendations from the article below in our lineup optimizer and hit calculate. You can let it fill in the rest of the spots for you or choose your personal favorites from the NFL Player Lab.

 

Pricing is INCREDIBLY tight this week with very little value across the board and plenty of places we’d want to spend money. Barring any last minute breaking news, there isn’t many core value plays to help open up your lineup like we saw in week 17. Let’s get into our breakdown.

** Demarco Murray has been ruled out ** Bump up Derrick Henry for touch projections.

Vegas

We have four games on the slate, and they are Falcons at Rams (48), Saints at Panthers (47.5), Titans at Chiefs (44.5), and Bills at Jaguars (39.5). ATL/LA and CAR/NO both have respectable game totals that you would like to target, while the BUF/JAX game leaves a lot to be desired with a total below 40 points.

The Rams and Saints lead the way with implied team totals of 27.5. The Chiefs (26.5) and Jags (24) aren’t far behind. It’s interesting how none of these games have a spread less than a touchdown. The Rams and Falcons have the closest spread at 5.5, but that line started at 5, which indicates betters are putting more money on the Rams and the line could push the Rams to up over a touchdown favorite. Per usual, check back with Vegas Insiders on Sunday morning for the latest Vegas data.

Quarterbacks

Draftkings NFL Cash & GPP Lineup Daily Fantasy Football Wild Card Round

Cam Newton ($6,500) – Cam is the safest play for cash games on this short four-game slate. Cam has a rushed the ball 50 times over his last four games and had accumulated 239 yards (4.8 YPC) with a touchdown. What’s more encouraging is the red zone opportunity Cam is getting rushing the ball. Cam has 12 red zone rushing attempts over these same four games, which shows that if the Panthers get down to the goal line, there’s a good chance Cam is going to score. This matchup is far from ideal as the Saints’ corners are far more talented than the Panthers receivers. But If Cam can get give you 11 DK points through the ground and another 220 and a touchdown through the air you’ll be satisfied he didn’t kill you like he killed many in Week 17.

Drew Brees ($6,400) – By this point in the season, it’s been well documented that Brees doesn’t have the same ceiling as he’s had in the past. But considering he’s implied to score a slate-high 27.5 points and is a home favorite, I don’t mind using Brees as a hedge to the Saints running backs. The Panthers ranked 4th in the league to opposing running backs and 22nd in aFPA to opposing QB (32nd aFPA vs. WR). This screams pass funnel, and I like a Brees pivot off the two-headed monster in the backfield for New Orleans.

Marcus Mariota ($5,500) – Mariota is my value play worth considering. The Chiefs are an 8.5 point favorite (tied for slate high) so that could force the Titans to throw more than they would like. Murray has already been ruled out, so I will be interested to see if they work Henry and Mariota out of the Wild Cat formation, which could increase Mariota’s rushes. The Chiefs ranked 23rd in aFPA to opposing Quarterbacks, so if Mariota is given the opportunity, he should be able to reach his value at $5.5K.

QB Rankings:

Newton

Brees

Goff

Ryan

Mariota

Smith

Bortles

Taylor

 Running Back:

 Draftkings NFL Cash & GPP Lineup Daily Fantasy Football Wild Card Round

Todd Gurley ($9,700) – Gurley is the most expensive player on the slate. While the matchup seems far from ideal with the Falcons ranking 1st in aFPA to opposing running backs, Gurley is in a prime spot to reach value based on his ability to catch balls out of the backfield. The Falcons allowed the most receptions (107) and fifth most receiving yards (802) to running backs this season. Gurley finished in the top 5 of both categories and should eclipse 150 total yards. Gurley also benefits from being a home favorite with a team projected to score the most amount of points on the slate. Gurley might be too expensive for some in cash games given the excess of running back options. But he’s a prime candidate to be the highest scoring player on the slate with 68.5 DK points in his last two games.

Leonard Fournette ($7,400) – Fournette is the matchup play of the week. He’s a home favorite going up against the Bills defense that ranked dead last in aFPA to running backs during the regular season. Fournette also comes in as the fifth highest-priced running back and is the most affordable of the stud running backs. Fournette has 14 receptions in his past four games, but only has 129 yards (9.2 YPC). He doesn’t have the reception upside as Gurley, Kamara, McCoy, or Hunt but that’s why he’s priced lower.

Derrick Henry ($6,000) – With DeMarco Murray out, Henry is in line for another heavy workload day considering the Titans like to run their offense with a run-first mentality. Henry touched the ball 29 times for 117 yards and one score. Those numbers look great on the box score, but when you factor in that Henry only got two targets last week, it could be a little deceiving. If you erase the one catch Henry had for a 66-yard touchdown; you’re looking at a running back that had 5.1 DK points on 28 touches. This is extremely worrisome when you also factor in that the Titans are 8 point underdogs on the road and only implied to score 18 points. Henry might be the best point per dollar play in terms of touches, but the matchup is far from ideal.

RB Rankings:

High Tier

Gurley

Hunt

Fournette

Kamara

McCoy

Mid-Range

Henry

McCaffrey

Ingram

Freeman

Value:

Coleman

Tolbert * If McCoy is out *

Wide Receiver

Draftkings NFL Cash & GPP Lineup Daily Fantasy Football Wild Card Round

Michael Thomas ($7,800) – Thomas has 55 targets in the past six games, averaging just over 9 targets per game. In that same span, Thomas has 39 catches (70% catch rate) for 492 yards (82 yards/game) and 3 touchdowns. Thomas is going up against the Panthers who ranked 32nd in aFPA to opposing wide receivers. See Adam Levitan’s tweet below for the most recent production for WR’s 1 against the Panthers secondary. Thomas is the safest high priced option, but will likely need to score to reach value.

Robert Woods ($6,600) – Since I’m likely going to play Thomas in my lineups, I’m probably going to avoid the other chalk wide receiver Tyreek Hill ($6,800). And if I’m staying in that price range I like pivoting to Woods. Since returning from a shoulder injury that kept him out for 3 weeks, Woods has regained his spot as the primary receiver in the Rams offense. In his two games back, Woods has received 15 targets and has turned that into 9 catches for 78 yards and a touchdown. While the production isn’t great, with two full weeks to prepare for this game, expect Sean McVay to work Woods back into the passing game plan. I love getting exposure to Woods mainly because I’m not rostering Goff but I will be rostering Gurley and Woods to get all the exposure of the Rams passing game.

Eric Decker ($3,500)/Corey Davis ($3,600) – Value is really tough to come by on this slate, and you’ll likely need to find a receiver close to min salary to be happy with your lineup. I prefer Decker over Davis and Albert Wilson ($3,300). Let the others flock to Wilson and inflate his ownership because of his 19 targets in the past two games. However, it’s worth noting that last week he played with the Chiefs B-Team, so he was given all the targets (11). I like Decker over Davis because Davis hasn’t been the same since returning from injury. In the past four games, Decker is out targeting Davis 32 to 26 while playing the same amount of snaps (76%). The Chiefs ranked 26th in aFPA to opposing wide receivers, and Decker leads the wide receivers in targets in their last four games.

WR Rankings:

High

Thomas

Julio

Woods

Hill

Funches

Mid-Range

Sanu

Ginn

Matthews

Kupp

Value

Decker

Davis

Tight End

 Draftkings NFL Cash & GPP Lineup Daily Fantasy Football Wild Card Round

It’s really difficult to find the salary to pay for Travis Kelce ($7,100). You have to decide if you want Kelce or a top-tier wide receiver but unfortunately, that forces you to play value wide receivers, and I see more value at the tight end position than a receiver. Because we’re so limited in value, this could be a week that we see two tight ends in a lot of lineups.

Delanie Walker ($4,700) – Walker is a nice mid-range tight end that could find his way in your lineups. He has 29 targets in his past four games and has turned that into 16 catches for 131 yards and one touchdown. This week he goes up against the Chiefs who rank 13th in aFPA. Walker would need to find the end zone to make value, but he has a respectable floor compared to the other options.

Austin Hooper ($2,900) – Hooper will be a popular value option at tight end. He doesn’t do anything that wow’s the box score (13 targets in last four games). But he’s a value play below $3K that will see 2-6 targets and is going up against the Rams who ranked 20th in aFPA to tight ends. It’s nothing special, but at least you won’t be the only one rostering him this week.

Marcedes Lewis ($2,500) – Again like I said, value is scarce, so I’m giving you an extra tight end I’m considering. Lewis is not a target monster by any means (8 in last four games). But I’m encouraged by his team market share of receiving touchdowns (23.8%), which is second among all tight ends behind Kelce. In the red zone, Lewis has a 40% touchdown rate per target (4 TDs to 10 targets). At 2.5K all he needs is to catch a touchdown. It’s a shot in the dark, but that’s how you have to build lineups this week.

TE Rankings:

Kelce

Walker

Olsen

Clay

Lewis

Hooper

Defense

Draftkings NFL Cash & GPP Lineup Daily Fantasy Football Wild Card Round

Los Angeles Rams ($2,700) – The Rams are the best defense for value playing at home against a Falcons team that is only implied to score 21 points. They are cheap enough to take a risk on and have the second highest sack percentage (9%) on the slate behind the Jags (11%).

DST Rankings:

Jags

Rams

Chiefs

Bills

Daily Fantasy DraftKings Pickem Strategy Advice Week 17

*Chris Durell*

Daily Fantasy DraftKings Pickem Strategy Advice Week 17

 

Welcome to the craziness that is Week 17 in the NFL. There are teams that are locked into their playoff spots or have nothing to play for at all and could very well sit their starters. Even if some players don’t sit all together, they could be limited to a couple quarters at most. Be sure to check out all the information available on Twitter or by a simple Google search before locking in your lineups as this article is written mid-week. Let’s jump in and take a look at each Tier for the seven-game early slate on Sunday.

 Daily Fantasy DraftKings Pickem Strategy Advice Week 17

Tier 1

Ezekiel Elliott returned last week and rushed for 94 yards and picked up an additional 21 yards through the air but unfortunately, the Cowboys lost and were eliminated from the playoffs. This muddies the waters for Week 17 as it is unclear how much usage he will get and then add the tough matchup vs. the Eagles defense that ranks 4th in DVOA vs. the rush and 3rd in DraftKings points per game allowed to running backs.

DeAndre Hopkins received his second-lowest target share of the season(6) but still managed to make a ridiculous catch in the endzone to pick up 16.5 fantasy points. This week he gets an elite matchup vs. the Colts who have allowed the third-most passing yards per game(254.8) this season and rank 23rd in DK points per game allowed to wideouts. I am also less concerned with his usage as both teams have been out of the playoffs for some time now and it hasn’t stopped him at all.

The Patriots are locked into the playoffs and have wrapped up the division but still have one game left to lock down home-field advantage through the playoffs with a win so I am expecting another big game from Gronk. He has scored 15 or more DK points in four straight games with three of those performances exceeding 25 points and now faces a horrendous Jets defense that ranks 23rd in DVOA vs. the pass and 24th in DK points per game allowed to tight ends. He could be the highest owned player in this tier but also may have the biggest upside.

The Vikings have also locked up their division but have a big game on Sunday as the Rams, Saints, and Panthers are all breathing down their neck for that #2 seed and a first-round bye. Adam Thielen has been quiet over the last two weeks with just five catches for 54 yards but is having a big season overall with 1,215 yards and could be low owned this week considering he is facing a Bears team that has been pretty good against wideouts ranking 14th in DK points per game. Don’t overlook he and Case Keenum’s ability to produce big-time fantasy points as Thielen moves all over the field and can exploit matchups.

Top Targets in this Tier – Rob Gronkowski, Adam Thielen

Tier 2

Daily Fantasy DraftKings Pickem Strategy Advice Week 17

Marvin Jones has not scored a touchdown or broke 100 yards since Thanksgiving vs. the Vikings and has seen some decline down the stretch as he has only been targeted 14 times over the last three games and tallied double-digit fantasy points just once. Despite neither team in this game having anything to play for, Jones does get a nice matchup vs. the Packers defense that has allowed the 11th most passing yards per game(232.3) and ranks 25th in DK points per game to wideouts.

It’s a similar situation for T.Y. Hilton as the Colts and Texans have been eliminated and on to next season. Hilton did breakout in a tough matchup last week vs. the Ravens catching six of his 12 targets for his first 100-yard game since week 9 against none other than these Houston Texans who rank 28th in DK points per game allowed to wideouts. Look for Hilton to finish the year off strong.

Speaking of the Texans, it was JuJu Smith Schuster getting to them late on Christmas day as he caught six of his seven targets for 75 yards and a touchdown. With Antonio Brown still sidelined with an injury both Martavis Bryant and Smith-Schuster should continue to see high usage in the Steelers defense. The other thing he has going is that the Steelers can still grab a first-round bye with a win and a New England loss. This week they get a winless Browns team that sits mid-pack in passing yards per game allowed (230.7) but rank 29th overall when looking at DVOA vs. the pass. Fire up JuJu with confidence this week.

Another safe play in this tier is Dion Lewis at the running back position. With James White and Rex Burkhead both out last week, Lewis saw the bulk of the action out of the backfield and crushed for fantasy rushing for 129 yards and a touchdown 35.3 fantasy points. Burkhead for sure won’t be back this week and White is still questionable early in the week meaning Lewis could once again be the feature back for the Pats who are huge 15.5 point favorites. The Jets have been pretty good against the run ranking 12th in DVOA and 15th in DK points per game allowed to running backs but the game script in fully in Lewis’s favor here and he should once again see 20+ carries which presents a high floor and ceiling.

Top Targets in this Tier – JuJu Smith-Schuster, Dion Lewis

Tier 3

Daily Fantasy DraftKings Pickem Strategy Advice Week 17

Tom Brady has been a big disappointment for fantasy lately and a lot of it can be attributed to the run game that has averaged 121.5 yards per game over their last four games. In those four games, Brady has not topped 17 fantasy points once and may not again this week as the Patriots are currently huge 15.5 point home favorites vs. the Jets and will likely lean on Dion Lewis once again.

Kirk Cousins is coming off his best game in over a month throwing for 299 yards and three touchdowns against the Broncos and has topped 15 fantasy points in three of his last four weeks. He has also thrown for multiple touchdowns in five of his last six games. The running game in Washington has been hit hard with injuries which should once again force Cousins to throw it up 30+ times and he gets an elite matchup to do it against the Giants who rank 31st overall in DK points per game to quarterbacks.

Even without Antonio Brown, Big Ben threw two touchdowns on Christmas day making it seven straight games with multiple touchdown passes. Like I mentioned earlier, the Steelers are still playing for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs but without Brown again this week and an elite running back in the backfield(Le’Veon Bell), we shouldn’t expect high volume from the passing game which will limit Big Ben’s upside.

Matthew Stafford hasn’t flashed much upside since having his throwing hand stepped on earlier in December against the Ravens. He has hit double-digit fantasy points in every single game this season but has only hit the 20-point threshold once in his last five games. There has been no word nor is it expected that the Lions will rest their starters against the Packers and that is good news as the matchup is favorable as the Packers rank 25thin DK points per game allowed to quarterbacks. Back in Week 9, Stafford completed 26 of 33 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns vs. the Packers.

The Eagles snuck out a win on Christmas vs. a weak Raiders defense but it was almost all credited to the defense as Foles came back to Earth after a four-touchdown performance the week before. He completed just 50% of his passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. With the win, the Eagles locked up home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs so it is unclear how much run they will give Foles in a division game vs. the Cowboys. If word comes out that they will let him play the entire game to prepare for the playoffs, fire him up as the Cowboys rank 21st in DK points per game allowed to QB’s and Foles has a ton of weapons to help him hit value(Ertz, Jeffery, Agholor, Ajayi).

Top Targets in this Tier – Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford

Daily Fantasy DraftKings Pickem Strategy Advice Week 17

Tier 4

 Daily Fantasy DraftKings Pickem Strategy Advice Week 17 - Lineuplab.com

The fourth tier is a very interesting one considering four of the five quarterbacks have nothing to play for as their teams have been eliminated from playoff contention. Only the Vikings and Case Keenum have something to play for as they look to lock up the #2 seed and a first-round bye. As of Wednesday, the four other quarterbacks are slated to start for their respective teams but Eli Manning seems to have the biggest question mark as to how much playing time he will see.

Dak Prescott gets a tough matchup on paper vs. the Eagles who rank 6th in DVOA vs. the pass and 12th in DK points per game allowed to the position. With the Eagles having already locked up the #1 seed there is a chance they could rest some starters in the second half which would open up Prescott’s upside if he was to play the entire game.

Brett Hundley will get the start and likely play the entire game but the knock on him this week is that two of his top receiving options are dealing with injuries. Devante Adams remains in the league’s concussion protocol while Jordy Nelson was injured in Saturday night’s game and has yet to practice this week. The matchup is also not high on the list as the Lions rank 16th in DVOA vs. the pass and 14th in DK points per game allowed to quarterbacks. Proceed with caution.

Jacoby Brissett easily gets the best matchup in the tier facing a Texans defense that ranks 24th in DVOA vs. the pass and dead last in DK points per game allowed to quarterbacks. The issue with him is that the upside really hasn’t been there as he has just three touchdowns over his last four games while averaging 11.9 DK points per game. If you are planning on using Brissett in this tier, be sure to pair him with his top target, T.Y. Hilton, in Tier 2.

Top Target in this Tier – Case Keenum, Jacoby Brissett

Tier 5

Daily Fantasy DraftKings Pickem Strategy Advice Week 17 - Lineuplabs.com

Tier 5, which consists of five wide receivers, start with Stefon Diggs who has not only scored in back to back games but has also been much better at home this season. He is averaging just over 85 yards per game(44 on the road) and has scored five touchdowns(2 on the road) while averaging 20.9 DK points per game(9.9 on the road). The matchup is not the greatest against the Bears who rank 14th in DVOA vs. the pass but the good news is that Diggs has also seen an uptick in targets over his last four games with 7.3 per game compared to his 5.9 season average.

As a mirror opposite, Brandin Cooks gets a great matchup this week against the Jets who rank 23rd in DVOA vs. the pass and 19th in DK points per game allowed to wideouts. The issue here is that he has trended down with his targets lately with an average of 5.5 over the last four games and the game script will most definitely not be in his favor as the Pats are huge 15.5 point favorites.

After scoring in back to back games, Alshon Jeffery recorded his worst game of the season catching zero balls on just two targets against the Raiders. He and Nick Foles have not shown the same chemistry as he and Carson Wentz did for most of the season. The Eagles have also locked up the #1 seed and although he will start the game, it is unclear how many snaps he and the rest of the starters will see against the Cowboys. Best to fade Jeffery here.

Jamison Crowder played with a hamstring injury last week and seen just 45% of the snaps but came through catching all four of his targets for 47 yards and a touchdown. He has been the most targeted player on the Redskins this season(6.8 per game) and with an extra week to get back to full health should be able to exploit an excellent matchup vs. the Giants who rank 24th in DVOA vs. the pass and 21st in DK points per game allowed to wideouts.

Martavis Bryant also gets an upside matchup in Week 17 against a Browns team that ranks 29th in DVOA vs. the pass. He should also see some added target share this week with Antonio Brown still sidelined with an injury while the Steelers are still fighting with the Patriots for the #1 seed in the AFC. This is one tier that I will be splitting a few a players in multi-lineup contests.

Top Targets in this Tier – Jamison Crowder, Stefon Diggs, Martavis Bryant

Tier 6

Daily Fantasy DraftKings Pickem Strategy Advice Week 17 - Lineuplabs.com

Zach Ertz has been the most reliable option in this tier averaging 7.2 targets and 15.5 DK points per game but will be hard to trust this week as the Eagles have wrapped up the #1 seed and it’s unclear how much the starters will play this week. The same sentiment holds true for Ertz’ teammate Nelson Agholor who could also see limited snaps. Another big question mark in this tier is the status of Sterling Shepard as he was not present at practice on Thursday and with the Giants having nothing to play for, it is unlikely he sees the field and if he does it will likely be limited snaps.

I talked about the Lions matchup this week with Marvin Jones and the same holds true for Golden Tate who has seen steady targets all season(7.5 per game) and sits with 899 yards and four touchdowns. I do prefer Jones slightly as he gets the better matchup vs. Damarious Randall while Tate, in the slot, will see quite a bit of Morgan Burnett who is rated quite a bit higher than Randall over at PFF. Both are definitely in play if Stafford is going to be playing the entire game.

Like I have mentioned, the Eagles will likely sit most of their starters, at least in the second half which presents an excellent matchup for the Cowboys this week and Vegas agrees as they have Dallas sitting as road favorites. Dak Prescott even mentioned he will be damned to finish the season after last week’s performance so I fully expect the offense to play the entire game and try and end 2017 on a high note. Roll out Dez with confidence.

Josh Gordon has continued to trend down since his return and posted his worst game of the season(4 games) last week in Chicago with just two catches on eight targets for 19 yards. He is getting the targets(9 per game) but gets an even tougher matchup this week facing a Steelers team that ranks 7th in DVOA vs. the pass and DK points per game allowed to wideouts. More bad news as the Steelers also have the #1 seed to play for so you can expect a strong performance against their division rivals.

With Aaron Jones not practicing this week and doubtful to play in Sunday’s finale, it opens up the workload for Jamaal Williams once again making him a nice target this week. He has flashed big upside since taking over as the Packers top back mid-season and posted one 100+ yard game and scored in three straight games from Week 12-14. He will likely see 20+ touches this week in a terrific matchup vs. the Lions who rank 28th in DVOA vs. the rush and 31st in DK points per game allowed to running backs.

Top Targets in this Tier – Golden Tate, Dez Bryant, Jamaal Williams

Tier 7

Daily Fantasy DraftKings Pickem Strategy Advice Week 17 - Lineuplabs.com

Jordan Howard has been a boom or bust play all season.  He has flashed big upside as he has rushed for 100 or more yards five times and scored multiple touchdowns three times but also scored 10 or fewer DK points seven times. I have a strong feeling that the latter will be the case in Week 17 as he gets a terrible matchup against a Vikings defense that has allowed the second-fewest rushing yards per game(87.1) and fewest DK points per game to running backs. Probably best to fade him here. Robby Anderson is also on my fade list in this tier as he is not only questionable with an illness but has also done nothing since Josh McCown went down in Week 13. Lamar Miller has been a huge disappointment this season as he has not topped 75 yards once and comes in with three straight weeks without getting to 10 DK points and was out-touched and out-performed by Alfred Blue on Christmas day. Safe to say Miller is also a fade in Week 17.

After starting off the tier with three fades it doesn’t leave many options but there is some value with the Vikings players this week as they have the #2 seed in the NFC to play for and the starters will likely play the entire game unless it gets out of hand. The matchup for the running backs is a tough one as the Bears have allowed the ninth-fewest yards per game(105.5) and rank 9th in DK points per game allowed to the position. Because of this, I lean Jerick McKinnon who has been far and away the receiving back this season with 4.5 targets per game compared to Murray’s 1.1 per game. On the season, McKinnon has 51 receptions for 421 yards and a touchdown. As for Kyle Rudolph, he has been dealing with n ankle injury all December and was once again limited in practice this week. On top of that, he gets a tough matchup as the Bears rank 12th in DK points per game allowed to tight ends. For receiving options, I prefer Diggs and Thielen for the Vikings. SKOL!

I talked about Jacoby Brissett and T.Y. Hilton as a nice stack earlier and another option on the Colts this week is tight end, Jack Doyle. He is tied with Hilton for the team lead in targets(6.9) and gets a terrific matchup vs. the Texans who have allowed the seventh-most passing yards per game(246.3) and rank 26th in DK points per game to the tight end position.

Top Targets in this Tier – Jerick McKinnon, Jack Doyle

Tier 8

 Daily Fantasy DraftKings Pickem Strategy Advice Week 17 - Lineuplabs.com

If Duke Johnson gets in a full practice this week after being limited Wednesday he makes an intriguing option as he has been a nice PPR back all season. He is fourth in receiving among running backs with 68 receptions for 618 yards and three touchdowns. Will Fuller cannot be trusted as he has fallen off a cliff since Deshaun Watson went down before Week 9. Bilal Powell is a nice option here in this tier as he is closing his season out on a high note with touchdowns in three of his last four games and coming off his second 100+ yard game last week vs. the Chargers.

The Colts may not have anything to play for in Week 17 but Frank Gore has a milestone to hit. Via Evan Silva on Twitter:

Daily Fantasy DraftKings Pickem Strategy Advice Week 17 - Lineuplabs.com

I fully expect the Colts to feed him the ball this week. Another option who is fully in play here is Randall Cobb of the Packers. With Jordy Nelson and Devante Adams very doubtful to play it will open up a ton of targets and Cobb could very well be the beneficiary giving him a high floor and ceiling vs. the Lions.

Top Targets in this Tier – Bilal Powell, Frank Gore, Randall Cobb

 

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions leading up to Sunday morning lineup lock, be sure to hit me up on Twitter(@Jager_Bombs9). Good luck everyone!