FanDuel NFL Divisional Round Strategy
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FanDuel Divisional Round Quarterbacks
Cant Miss: Aaron Rodgers ($8,800)
Rodgers has been on a historic run over the final two months of the NFL season, and it will continue in Dallas this week. We like the Packers to win a high scoring road playoff game this week, even without Jordy Nelson. The Cowboys defense has relied on offensive ball control and a conservative scheme to slow down opponent passing attacks, but still somehow managed to rank 26th against the pass this season. There is no way Rodgers doesn’t hit at least 2x value this week and has legitimate 4x upside despite his position-high $8,800 salary
Favorite Bargain: Dak Prescott ($7,700)
We had anticipated giving Alex Smith as our can’t miss QB play, but the weather forecast in KC looks extremely rough for Sunday (90% chance of freezing rain). Prescott faces a New England secondary that is not only the worst remaining in these playoffs, but one of the worst in the NFL. The Packers also feature a top 10 run defense that should be able to at least slow down Elliott and force Prescott to throw the ball. In their last meeting, Prescott through for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns in Green Bay reaching 2.5x value on just 18 pass completions and in a game where he ran for just 6 yards. He’s the safest bet of this group to hit 2.5x+ value in the divisional round.
FanDuel Divisional Round Running Backs
Cant Miss: LeVeon Bell ($9,900)
We should see a ton of LeVeon Bell this Sunday if the forecast in KC holds true. He’s somehow managed to average just under 29 FanDuel PPG over the past two weeks despite only catching a total of 5 passes. If the weather and KC slow down AB in the divisional round, we could see a week where Bell carries the ball 20+ times and catches 5+ passes. In games where Bell hits those two numbers, he averages over 26 fantasy points per game.
Favorite Bargain: CJ Prosise ($4,500)
Prosise looks like he will likely be back for this divisional round playoff game and the matchup lines up considerably better for him than it does Rawls. The Falcons only give up 82 rushing YPG to opposing running backs and only .82 rushing touchdowns per game to opposing running backs. On the flip side, they give up an NFL-high in RB receptions, receiving yards, and RB receiving touchdowns. Given his limited sample size this season, Prosise is clearly a risky play, but if he does get the bulk of third down work he will likely see 4+ receptions with a strong likelihood of breaking a big play.
FanDuel Divisional Round Wide Receivers
Cant Miss: Julio Jones ($8,300)
For all the hype the Julio Jones/Richard Sherman matchup is getting, there are two ways it plays out and both are positive for Jones. Sherman flat out can’t cover on the right hand side of the defense, his splits are atrocious. As long as Julio is in the slot or on the left hand side of the formation, the Falcons will be able to create a matchup they can exploit. In their week 6 matchup, Jones caught 3 of 5 targets for 40 yards and an interception vs Sherman, and caught 4/4 for 99 yards and 1 touchdown against everyone else.
Favorite Bargain: Jeremy Maclin ($5,400)
There are several names in the $4,700-$5,500 range that are worth a look: Paul Richardson, Michael Floyd, Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel, and Jeremy Maclin. Of the group, clearly Maclin and Sanu are the safest plays, while Richardson and Gabriel may have slightly higher upside given their big play ability. Given Maclin had a week off to help get his groin injury right, we expect his usage to jump back up for the divisional matchup, and while Pittsburgh’s secondary improved over the second half of the season, they still aren’t elite and will likely be paying plenty of attention to Ty Hill and Travis Kelce.
FanDuel Divisional Round Tight Ends
Cant Miss: Jimmy Graham ($6,800)
Anytime you can get a top five positional matchup in the second round of the playoffs, you have to take advantage. Graham faces a Falcons secondary that gives up the 5th most fantasy PPG to opposing tight ends and the fourth most receiving YPG to the position. In fact, the vulnerability of this Falcons defense is defending the tight and running back positions in the passing game.
Favorite Bargain: Jared Cook ($5,400)
Speaking of primo matchups, Cook faces a Cowboys secondary that allows the most FanDuel PPG to opposing tight ends, and Cook would likely see his already expanded role grow even more if Nelson were to miss this week. Looking at his game log, Cook has received 8 or more targets in 3 of his last four games, which translates to roughly a 12 point FanDuel performance against the Cowboys defense.
FanDuel Divisional Round Defense
Cant Miss: New England ($5,100)
The Pats are our top defensive play for the divisional round, and the Falcons come in as a somewhat distant second. New England enters the playoffs playing their best defensive football of the season, and actually scored 8+ points in 5 of their last six games.