featured Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy Football Cash Game Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings Divisional Round - Saturday
The Divisional Round is here for the NFL playoffs and we've got the making of an offense-fueled weekend of football. With the Chiefs, Rams, Saints and more all taking the field, expect a lot of scoring. We'll take you through the two days of DFS plays starting with Saturday's matchups.
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Indianapolis Colts (5.5) vs. Kansas Chiefs (-5.5)
Patrick Mahomes FD 9000 DK 7000
Proj Points FD - 25.91 DK - 27.26
It doesn’t take much in the way of analytics to see that Mahomes is the top overall quarterback for the Divisional round of games. After all, this guy finished as the number one fantasy quarterback on the season by a wide margin. That’s what 5,000+ passing yards and 50 touchdowns will get you. He was on another level and will have a chance to continue the breakout season on Saturday against the Colts. The Chiefs come in with the highest implied total (31) though Vegas does see Indy somewhat hanging here. Though he’s the most expensive quarterback on the weekend, it’s worth paying up for Mahomes in cash games on both sites. We currently have him projected around 24% higher than the next closest QBs (Goff and Luck). This doesn’t strike me as a fade opportunity in cash games considering how much KC relies on the pass and just how head and shoulders above Mahomes is than the rest of the field.
Damien Williams FD 6100 DK 5100
Proj Points FD - 13.61 DK - 15.2
Spencer Ware has returned to practice this week, but at this point, I’m hard-pressed to see why the Chiefs would get away from how they’ve been using Damien Williams. Over the final three weeks of the season, with Ware on the shelf (and Kareem Hunt out of the picture) Williams has been superb. He’s carried the ball 34 times for 203 yards (5.97 YPC) and caught 14 balls for 119 yards. He’s basically been the perfect running back for this offense and I don’t know why the Chiefs would go away from something that’s working well. So while bringing Ware back does crowd the backfield, I’m counting on Williams retaining the bulk of the workload on Sunday. And if that’s the case, then he’s easily the value running back on the slate.
Marlon Mack FD 7300 DK 5800
Proj Points FD - 15.6 DK - 17.01
Here’s the thing about the Chiefs, you can run on them. This season they rank dead last (32nd) in DVOA against the rush. Their 5 yards per carry against was second worst only to the Rams and the 405.5 total yards allowed per game was second to last as well. They allowed the 6th-most rushing yards on the season which is even more damning because the Chiefs were winning so many games. So the question isn’t whether they can stop the run (they can’t) but rather will the Colts have the opportunity to run the ball enough to make Mack worth it. I very much suspect this is part of the game plan going in: keep the ball away from KC by giving it to Mack early and often. In three of his last four games, Mack has yard totals of 139, 119 and 148 (last week against the Texans). Considering the state of running back on these short slates, I’ll take a mid-tier salary guy like Mack who has the potential (if the game goes right) to touch the ball 20+ times against a porous defense.
T.Y. Hilton FD 7900 DK 6700
Proj Points FD - 15.59 DK - 18.76
I’m more interested in Hilton as a DraftKings play than anything else. He saw 10 targets in the Wildcard round, (31% target share) finishing with a 5/85 line. At sub $7K for full PPR you are getting, in my opinion, the highest floor WR on the two-game slate. Considering how much the Colts move Hilton around, expect them to try to attack Charvarius Ward as much as possible.
Other DFS considerations
With Sammy Watkins back in the receiving corps for the Chiefs, I’m a little less bullish on both Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce at their current price points. I say this mostly with lineup construction in mind. I’m much more interested in allocating salary for the Mahomes and the running backs below. That’s going to mean possibly going cheaper at WR/TE for the Saturday slate.
Eric Ebron only played half of the Colts’ offensive snaps (36/72) but still managed to catch a touchdown on one of his six targets. That’s what you’re hoping for from Ebron at this point: use in the red zone.
I think some folks (possibly many) will go the Andrew Luck route in cash games considering he's much cheaper than Mahomes and the KC defense has been bad this season. I just prefer the safety of Mahomes.
Dallas Cowboys (7) vs. Los Angeles Rams (-7)
Todd Gurley FD 9000 DK 8000
Proj Points FD - 22.65 DK - 24.29
Ezekiel Elliott FD 8700 DK 8200
Proj Points FD - 20.21 DK - 22.72
I suspect much of the debate about Saturday’s slate will come down to which of these two big-money running backs to play in cash games. It’s close. Gurley hasn’t played in three weeks (including the bye). As of this writing, he was still sticking with a questionable tag and these things can be in a state of flux. But the Rams are the clear favorites and LA has shown the willingness to take a strict RB1 approach to their offense. From this standpoint, if Gurley were cleared to play I think we could assume a fun workload on Saturday. During the regular season that translated to 24 touches (18 carries, 6 targets) per game. As the home favorite, he’d be in a more advantageous position than Elliott.
The issue though, from a safety perspective is that Gurley’s touches per game almost paled in comparison to Zeke who touched it close to 27 times per game (20 carries, 6 targets). That’s a full 11% more than Gurley and we saw as much in the Wildcard round when the Cowboys gave him 26 times on the ground and targeted him five times in the passing game. I’m tempted to lean Zeke over Gurley even under the underdog circumstances mostly because I’m concerned with the latter’s health and Elliott is coming just a tick cheaper.
Josh Reynolds FD 5600 DK 4500
Proj Points FD - 9.58 DK - 11.75
Reynolds comes as close to a *value* receiver as you’ll find on this slate. He’s the cheapest of the three Rams’ wideouts, but over the last four games has actually out-targeted Brandin Cooks 28-27 and has more receiving yards as well (205-178). Getting these targets at something of a discount is worth it in cash even with Todd Gurley re-entering the mix on offense. He’s an excellent bargain on both sites and though his snap counts likely won’t rival those of Woods or Cooks, it’s reflected in his price. I’m not sweating the targets in this game.
Blake Jarwin FD 5400 DK 3400
Proj Points FD - 6.48 DK - 8.22
If you aren’t paying up for Travis Kelce or Eric Ebron on the Saturday short slate, then Jarwin is probably your option. Heck, for the price he might just be the way to go no matter what in cash games. He played 44 offensive snaps (59%) against the Colts in the Wildcard round which was less than Dalton Schultz (51) but the latter was used almost primarily in run situations. Schultz didn’t see any targets in the passing game. Jarwin converted his three targets to a 3/15 line including a near touchdown in the second half. The use in the red zone combined with the lower salary put him in contention for cash games.
Other DFS considerations
Robert Woods is much too cheap on DraftKings at $5600. Since Cooper Kupp was reinjured in Week 11, Woods leads the Rams in targets (51), and yards (387). He's a bit expensive on FanDuel, but will be in nearly every lineup on DraftKings.
Michael Gallup isn't efficient, but he was second on the team in targets last week (6) and did catch a touchdown. He makes for an upside cheaper play.
- Chiefs Chargers Football: (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)