DraftKings NFL: Divisional Round Tournament Strategy

DraftKings NFL: Divisional Round Tournament Strategy

This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.

 Over/UnderRoad TeamRoad ITHome TeamHome IT
Saturday, 4:35 PM45.5Rams19.5Packers26
Saturday, 8:15 PM49.5Ravens23.5Bills26
Sunday, 3:05 PM57Browns23.5Chiefs33.5
Sunday, 6:40 PM52Buccaneers24.5Saints27.5

   

Los Angeles Rams (19.5) at Green Bay Packers (26)

Odds: Packers -6.5, O/U 45.5

Forecast: 33° F. 12% chance of precipitation. Wind around 10 mph. 

LAR injuries:  Cooper Kupp (Q - knee), LG David Edwards (Q - neck), QB John Wolford (O - neck)

GB injuries: DE Keke Kingsley (D - concussion)

    

Los Angeles Rams

The weather should be mild by Wisconsin standards, but even temperatures in the 30s could be an extra challenge for Jared Goff ($5,200), who is just two and a half weeks removed from surgery on his dislocated right thumb. Sean McVay even hinted that Wolford might get another start... until it became clear the backup's neck injury would hold him out.

Goff is the cheapest starting QB on DraftKings this weekend, in part because he faces a defense that's given up the second-fewest points to his position. Cam Akers ($5,700) has the relative matchup advantage, with Green Bay ranking 24th in points allowed to RBs and 18th in run-defense DVOA (-5.7). (Check out Exploiting the Matchups - no paywall - for a more detailed breakdown).

Akers took 30 touches for 176 yards on 73 percent snap share last week, and he did against a Seattle defense that's been much tougher against the run than Green Bay's. Granted, the Seahawks had been struggling on offense for a couple months, while the Packers finished the regular season as the highest-scoring team (31.8 ppg) in the NFL. 

That'll make it tough for Akers to approach 30 touches again, but 15-20 is a reasonable ask, given his recent dominance of the rushing workload in an offense ranked eighth in run-play rate (44.5 percent). In 2019, the Rams had the lowest run-play rate (23 percent) in the league when they were trailing. In 2020, they had the seventh-highest rate, all the way up to 39 percent. 

That commitment to the running game didn't stop Robert Woods ($5,900) and Cooper Kupp ($5,300) from turning in 90-catch seasons, as they combined for 45 percent of the targets in an offense that ran the third-most plays (68.0 per game). They'll face a tough Packers secondary in the divisional round, with the alignment patterns suggesting Woods is more likely to face coverage from top CB Jaire Alexander

(FWIW, The Packers haven't shadowed with Alexander since October (per PFF), so there's still a pretty good chance Woods runs half his routes — or more —against other cornerbacks, namely Kevin King and Chandon Sullivan.)

Nobody on the team besides Woods and Kupp is reliable for more than three or four targets, but you might consider Josh Reynolds ($3,200), Tyler Higbee ($3,000) or Gerald Everett ($2,700) as part of a Goff stack. While none of them made any noise last week, Reynolds did run a route on 20 of 29 dropbacks, with Higbee (19 routes) not too far behind. Everett also ran 14 routes, while No. 4 wideout Van Jefferson ($3,000) strictly played special teams.  

Top plays: RB Cam Akers 

Secondary plays: WR Robert Woods, WR Cooper Kupp 

Usable in a stack: WR Josh Reynolds, TE Tyler Higbee

   

Green Bay Packers

It may not sound quite as exciting as Josh Allen vs. Lamar Jackson or Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees, but this matchup between the Packers offense and Rams defense is one that will actually take place on a football field. From a DFS standpoint, it's nice to see all the key Packers appropriately priced down for the difficult matchup, keeping them in play as solid options even against the Rams defense.

I'd probably fade Aaron Rodgers ($6,900), Davante Adams ($8,600) and Aaron Jones ($6,800) at their usual price tags in this matchup, but the discount (around $500 apiece) brings them back into play, especially knowing how betting odds will push so many people towards KC stacks or the Bucs-Saints game.

Tight end Robert Tonyan ($4,200) is the other key component here, while Allen Lazard ($3,900) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($3,800) haven't done enough to justify serious consideration outside of Rodgers stacks. Lazard is the better real-life player, but MVS is the superior choice for a tournament lineup, following a regular season with six gains of 40-plus yards. Of course, those six plays accounted for 49 percent of his yardage, and he posted four goose eggs over the past six weeks.

Top plays: None

Secondary plays: QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Aaron Jones, WR Davante Adams, TE Robert Tonyan

Usable in a stack: WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling

    

Favorite GB-LAR stack: QB Rodgers + RB Akers + WR Adams + TE Tonyan

      

[LOGO] Baltimore Ravens (23.5) at Buffalo Bills (26)

Odds: Bills -2.5, O/U 49.5

Forecast: 30° F. 8% chance of precipitation. Wind around 10-15 mph

BAL injuries: CB Marcus Peters (Q - back), OL D.J. Fluker (Q - knee)

BUF injuries: Zack Moss (IR - ankle), DL Darryl Johnson (Q - knee)

    

Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson ($7,600) is always in play for tournaments, but his matchup isn't nearly as good as the DvP stats on DraftKings (BUF at 26th vs. QBs?) seem to suggest. The Bills have played much better defense since October, albeit while giving up some nice rushing lines to mobile QBs (they allowed seven rushing TDs to the position in the regular season).

The secondary is the best position group on Buffalo's defense, so Jackson and J.K. Dobbins ($6,000) have the relative matchup advantage over Marquise Brown ($5,200) and Mark Andrews ($5,000). That said, Dobbins got just 10 touches on 51 percent snap share in a close win over Tennessee last week, ceding nearly half the backfield work to Gus Edwards ($4,200). Chalk or no, Jackson is by far the best point-per-dollar value if we're looking to invest in the Baltimore running game's success.

In terms of stacking partners, there's not much reason to look beyond Brown and Andrews. Nobody else on the team got more than 16 routes or two targets last week, despite Jackson having a decent number of dropbacks (30). Choosing between Brown and Andrews is more difficult, as both will face a tough Buffalo secondary. 

The Bills haven't used top corner Tre'Davious White in shadow coverage this year, but they've nonetheless been effective guarding top receivers, allowing five 100-yard games during the regular season, with only one of those coming after a Week 11 bye. The Bills were more generous to tight ends, though mostly based on volume (8.5 targets per game) rather than efficiency (7.3 YPT).

Top plays: QB Lamar Jackson

Secondary plays: TE Mark Andrews, WR Marquise Brown

Usable in a stack: Nobody else.

   

Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen ($7,400) against the Baltimore defense is similar to Rodgers versus the Rams, pitting strength vs. strength at a time when both forces are red-hot. Allen has scored 34 or more DK points four times since the Week 11 bye, including last week against a pretty good Indianapolis defense. The running ability makes him a strong tournament play, even if he isn't quite getting the same matchup discount as Rodgers.

Speaking of discounts, Devin Singletary ($4,500) could get an every-down workload at a third-string price, albeit in a QB-centric offense where 60 snaps could provide as few as 10-12 touches for a running back. Singletary struggled through a subpar campaign, but he did score 16.1, 18.7 and 4.3 DK points when Moss missed Weeks 3-5, logging 89, 89 and 63 percent of snaps. 

T.J. Yeldon ($4,000) got some run in that third game where Singletary dropped to 63 percent, albeit with most of Yeldon's touches coming in the fourth quarter of a blowout loss. It isn't clear Yeldon will have a significant role Saturday, nor is it clear Devonta Freeman will be promoted from the Buffalo practice squad. (We'll need to keep an eye on these things before kickoff.)

Stefon Diggs ($7,300) also looks like a solid value, with his price at its lowest point since Week 8. The Ravens go three-deep at cornerback, but Diggs always gets plenty of targets and is capable of getting open against anyone. Cole Beasley ($4,900), John Brown ($4,600) and TE Dawson Knox ($3,100) are the other regulars in the offense, each playing at least two-thirds of snaps last week. 

Gabriel Davis put up 4/85/0 on 54 percent snap share in the win over Indy, but he played only 11 of 36 snaps (30 percent) in 11 personnel, so his workload largely depends on Buffalo's use of four-wide formations. The Bills went four-wide for 18 plays in the wild-card round, up from 9.5 per game for the entire regular season and only 5.8 per game Weeks 12-17. 

Davis is essentially competing with Knox and Beasley for snaps, so I won't use any of them together in tournament lineups. Brown is a different story, putting up a goose egg last week despite playing 97 percent of snaps. His downfield role theoretically comes with upside, but he's still looking for his first game with 20 DK points, a mark Beasley has reached four times.

Top plays: RB Devin Singletary, WR Stefon Diggs

Secondary plays: QB Josh Allen, WR Cole Beasley

Usable in a stack: WR John Brown, TE Dawson Knox       

     

Favorite BAL-BUF stack: QB Jackson + WR Diggs + TE Andrews

Cleveland Browns (23.5) at Kansas City Chiefs (33.5)

Odds: Chiefs- 10.0, O/U 57.0

Forecast: 38° F. 6% chance of precipitation. Wind around 10-15 mph. 

CLE injuries: RT Jack Conklin (hamstring), TE David Njoku (hamstring), LB B.J. Goodson (shoulder) 

KC injuries: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Q - ankle), WR Sammy Watkins (O - calf), LB Willie Gay (ankle)

    

Cleveland Browns

Following back-to-back wins over their biggest rival while dealing with a mini-outbreak of coronavirus, the Browns have the odds stacked against them again, checking in as 10-point underdogs even after they were able to remove all their players from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Regardless of what happens with Conklin, Njoku and Goodson, this will be the healthiest version of the Browns we've seen for a month.

Kevin Stefanski likely plans to win on the shoulders of RB Nick Chubb ($6,600) rather than Baker Mayfield ($5,300), considering the Chefs are 31st in run-defense DVOA (2.6%) and 19th in opponent YPC (4.5). Last week, Chubb got 18 carries and four targets on 56 percent of snaps, while Kareem Hunt ($4,800) saw just eight carries and one pass but scored two touchdowns. Hunt, of course, has the #RevengeGame narrative working in his favor, and his price has finally dropped low enough to match the reality of his recent role.

Jarvis Landry ($5,600) and Rashard Higgins ($4,100) have tougher matchups against KC's solid cornerback group, with either Donovan Peoples-Jones ($3,000) or KhaDarel Hodge ($3,000) operating as the No. 3. Peoples-Jones made some big plays in the second half of the season and logged 69 percent of snaps last week, but that was with Hodge still on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

At tight end, Austin Hooper ($3,800) is on a roll, coming off four straight games with five or more targets and 13-18 DK points. It'd be nice if we'd seen more of a ceiling at some point this year, but it's hard to argue with the combination of price and recent volume (16 targets the past two weeks). The Chiefs were pretty generous to tight ends this year, allowing the second-most DK points and 8.0 YPT.

Top plays: RB Nick Chubb, TE Austin Hooper

Secondary plays: QB Baker Mayfield, RB Kareem Hunt, WR Jarvis Landry, WR Rashard Higgins

Usable in a stack: WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, Harrison Bryant (if Njoku is out)

   

Kansas City Chiefs

The implied total (33.5) might be a little too high, but there's no doubt Patrick Mahomes ($8,000) is in a great spot to put up big numbers, facing arguably the worst defense among the eight remaining playoff teams. The Browns don't have much pass-rush help for Myles Garrett now that Olivier Vernon (Achilles) is on IR, and their secondary has struggled for much of the season.

Even with top cornerback Denzel Ward returning this week, Tyreek Hill ($8,000) and Travis Kelce ($7,800) are in good spots to do what they normally do, which is eat defensive backs for lunch (or sometimes dinner).

The rest of the KC offense is tricky, with Watkins ($4,800) ruled out and Edwards-Helaire ($5,500) deemed questionable. Demarcus Robinson ($4,300), Mecole Hardman ($3,900) and Byron Pringle ($3,200) could all see more work with Watkins out, while a CEH absence would leave Le'Veon Bell ($5,100), Darrel Williams ($4,000) and Darwin Thompson ($4,300) as the backfield options.

Bell would be the likely starter, but you might recall Week 16 — the first game Edwards-Helaire missed — when Williams got 10 carries and six targets on 70 percent of snaps in a narrow win over Atlanta. Bell played only 30 percent of snaps in that contest, despite getting the start (both sat out the meaningless Week 17 game).

As for the wide receivers.... Robinson saw the most targets (23 total, 4.6 per game) when Watkins missed five straight contests Weeks 6-11. Robinson caught 19 passes for 214 yards and two TDs, while Hardman put up 13-217-1 on six fewer targets (17, 3.4 per game). Pringle was quieter, drawing just 10 targets despite playing 47 percent of snaps in that stretch.

Top plays: QB Patrick Mahomes, WR Tyreek Hill, TE Travis Kelce

Secondary plays: Darrel Williams (if CEH is out)

Usable in a stack: WR Demarcus Robinson, WR Mecole Hardman  

     

Favorite CLE-KC stack: QB Mahomes + WR Hill + TE Hooper

       

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (24.5) at New Orleans Saints (27.5)

Odds: Saints - 3.0, O/U 52.0

Forecast: Dome game

TB injuries: RB Ronald Jones (finger/quad), RG Alex Cappa (O - ankle)

NO injuries: RB Latavius Murray (quad), OW Taysom Hill (knee)

   

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Brady ($6,300) and Antonio Brown ($5,400) really kicked into gear at the end of the season, albeit with the help of some ideal matchups. The Bucs stayed hot last week against a stellar Washington defense, so we shouldn't be too surprised if Part III of this NFC South saga is far more competitive than the first two games. Tampa Bay, after all, can make a decent argument for having the most talented roster in the conference, led by a star-studded receiving corps.

Brown, Mike Evans ($6,400) and Chris Godwin ($6,100) have all seen steady involvement, while TE Rob Gronkowski has mostly been TD-or-bust since A.B. came around as the new Option C. Saints CB Marshon Lattimore shadowed Evans for the majority of the first two matchups, and while Lattimore's dominance in that rivalry is overblown, there's no question it's gone in his favor so far.

The Bucs likely will need a lot of passing yards in order to score points, as the Saints have finished top five in run defense three years in a row. Tampa has a similar track record of success stuffing the run in recent seasons, so we could see both teams looking to throw.

Leonard Fournette ($4,900) is expected to make another start at running back, even if Jones ($5,200) ultimately is cleared to play. Despite the challenging matchup and his own shortcomings, Fournette shouldn't be ignored on this DFS slate, after he played 85 percent of snaps last week in Washington. 

That was second-most among Tampa's skill players, behind Godwin (89%) but ahead of Evans (83%), Gronkowski (74%) and Brown (44%). For whatever reason, the Bucs shifted away from Brown and toward Cameron Brate (49%), plus Tyler Johnson (17%) and Scott Miller (11%) poached a few wideout snaps. None of that sounds good for Browns' outlook, though he still has plenty of talent and does carry a lower price than Godwin/Evans.

Top plays: QB Tom Brady, WR Chris Godwin

Secondary plays: RB Leonard Fournette, TE Rob Gronkowski

Usable in a stack: WR Antonio Brown, WR Mike Evans

   

New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees ($5,700) remains efficient, yet hasn't gone higher than 25.1 DK points in any game this season, reaching 40 pass attempts in just two of 13 outings. He tossed six TDs in two matchups with Tampa, despite throwing for only 382 yards (at 6.2 YPA). The Tampa offense essentially gave both games away, so Brees didn't need to do much besides cash in the turnovers for touchdowns.

The offense could go through Alvin Kamara ($7,800) and Michael Thomas ($6,700) even more so than usual, with Murray and Hill — red-zone vultures, the both of them — looking uncertain for Sunday. A Hill absence would also help the TD outlooks for Brees, Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders ($4,500) and Jared Cook ($4,000), while a Murray absence could lead to a few more pinches of Kamara.

Deonte Harris ($3,500) gets a mention after catching seven passes last week, but his underlying role (31% snaps, 14 routes) and lack of previous production suggest he's a less-than-brilliant DFS choice. (We're only mentioning him as a warning not to roster him, just to be clear.)

Top plays: QB Drew Brees (if Hill is out), RB Alvin Kamara, WR Michael Thomas

Secondary plays: WR Emmanuel Sanders, TE Jared Cook

Usable in a stack: Nobody else

     

Favorite TB-NO stack: QB Brees + RB Kamara + WR Godwin + WR Thomas

          

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Jerry Donabedian plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: jd0505, DraftKings: jd0505.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Donabedian
Jerry was a 2018 finalist for the FSWA's Player Notes Writer of the Year and DFS Writer of the Year awards. A Baltimore native, Jerry roots for the Ravens and watches "The Wire" in his spare time.
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