DRAFT Daily Fantasy Helper: Divisional Round
The season-long fantasy season may have ended, but fantasy enthusiasts can still take advantage of weekly snake and auction drafts on the DRAFT platform. With the reduced player pool, these drafts now consists of 3-5 participants, with the normal 1QB, 2RB, 2 WR/TE flex roster construction.
Far more exciting than last weekend, the lowest game total sits at 46.5-points, with two more up in the 50s. With the reduced player pool, these high game totals make some of the slate's ancillary pieces more exciting. With that said, here are this week's standout plays on DRAFT.
Andrew Luck - Coming off the board just behind Patrick Mahomes, Andrew Luck provides a direct pivot in the same game. While Mahomes garners most of the attention, Luck quietly finished fifth in the NFL in passing with 4,593 yards.
First, Luck benefits from a matchup against a Kansas City secondary that ranks 18th in pass defense, per our schedule-adjusted metrics. This unit also allowed the most passing yards to opposing quarterbacks on the year (4,721), including at least 270 to Philip Rivers and Russell Wilson in their last three games.
Game script also favors the Colts' passing game in this contest, as they currently sit as 5.0-point underdogs. More importantly, Indy comes in with an 26.00 implied team total in a game projected to reach 57.0 points.
Together, both the game environment and the specific matchup against the Chiefs boost Luck's fantasy outlook. At this point, he remains a value in the mid-rounds of snake drafts.
Drew Brees - With only a few drafters in each weekly league, landing Drew Brees in the final rounds on DRAFT remains a distinct possibility. One of the most efficient passers in the NFL, Brees finished the regular season with 3,992 passing yards, 35 scores, and only 5 interceptions.
Like Luck, Brees draws a smash matchup against the 19th-ranked Philadelphia Eagles' secondary. Decimated by injuries, this unit has allowed the second-most passing yards over the final four weeks of the regular season (778). These struggles continued into the playoffs last week, where Mitchell Trubisky reached 303 passing yards.
Favored by 8.0 points with a 51.0-point over/under, the Saints have the second-highest implied team total on the slate (29.50). With scoring likely to occur early and often, obtaining Brees in the final rounds on DRAFT looks like a complete steal.
Ezekiel Elliott - The debate at the top of draft boards this week comes down to Todd Gurley versus Ezekiel Elliott. With superior usage, stats, and health in recent weeks, Elliott deserves the edge in the divisional round.
Elliott has averaged an absurd 29.5 touches per game in his last four contests, including 32 targets in that span. The third-year pro now takes this volume to a match against the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams' defense ranks 22nd against the run, per our metrics, and has allowed the sixth-most rushing yards over the past four weeks (461).
Despite coming in as 7.5-point underdogs, Elliott remains game script independent, with bankable usage in the passing game. Usually coming off the board within the top two picks, Zeke remains well worth the draft capital.
Marlon Mack - Coming off the board in the second or third round, Marlon Mack could finish as a value again in the divisional round of the playoffs. In a perceived difficult matchup against the Houston Texans last week, Mack carried the ball 24 times for 148 rushing yards. Positively, Mack saw three targets in this game as well, showing some receiving ability.
Working in Mack's favor, the Colts face a Swiss cheese Chiefs' defense that ranks 31st in run defense, per our schedule-adjusted metrics. This unit also allowed the fifth-most rushing yards over the last four games of the regular season (503).
With the Colts coming in as 5.0-point underdogs, game script doesn't bode well for Mack. In the past, these situations have led to increased playing time for passing-down specialist Nyheim Hines. While Hines still poses a threat, Mack played on a season-high 79% of Indy's snaps on Wild Card Weekend, showing trust from the Indy signal callers.
With a positive matchup and increased usage, Marlon Mack looks like a slam dunk in the mid-rounds on DRAFT.
James White - Sometimes left undrafted, James White looks like a diamond in the rough against the Los Angeles Chargers. White finished with the most running back targets this season (125) and may push for double-digits with Josh Gordon out of the picture.
Cooling of late, White makes an ideal buy-low candidate after averaging five targets per game in his last four contests. More importantly, the the Chargers funnel production to running backs through the air. Despite ranking sixth in run defense, per our metrics, the Chargers allowed the second-most receiving yards to backs in the NFL in their last four regular season games (259). This production extended to the wild card round, where the Chargers let Kenneth Dixon scamper for 53 receiving yards.
The New England Patriots enter this contest favored by 4.0 points and implied for 25.50 points. This indicates the Patriots should move the ball well in this contest, boding well for White's fantasy outlook. As a mere late-round flier, White anchors down lineups bolstered by early round draft capital at other positions.
Michael Thomas - With the running back position dominating the early part of the first round, Michael Thomas often slips to the late first or early second round on DRAFT.
In his third consecutive stellar season, Thomas recorded 1,320 receiving yards, 123 catches, and 8 scores on 146 targets. Ending strong, Thomas has averaged 10.5 targets in his last four regular season games.
This week, Thomas draws a matchup against a decimated Philadelphia secondary that ranks 19th in our pass defense metrics. With injuries throughout the back end, the Eagles allowed the second-most receiving yards to wideouts in their last four regular season games (778). This trend continued into the wild card round, where Allen Robinson carved up this secondary for 143 receiving yards.
Favored by 8.0 points heading into this game and implied for the second-most points on the slate (29.50), Thomas should continue to work as a focal point of the Saints' aerial attack. As a fringe first/second round pick, Thomas could provide perhaps the slate's largest edge.
Travis Kelce - With a reduced player pool, this presents a rare situation where targeting a tight end makes sense on DRAFT. While Zach Ertz also lands on this slate, Travis Kelce looks like the preferred play, coming off the board in the mid-rounds.
In a historic tight end season, Kelce recorded the second-most receiving yards (1,330), catches (101), and targets (148) in the NFL. He also saw an absurd 1,401 air yards, showing rare downfield ability for a tight end.
Averaging nine targets per game in his last four contests, Kelce draws arguably the best tight end matchup on the slate. The Colts allowed the most receiving yards to tight ends in the last four weeks of the regular season (396) and throughout the season's entirety (1,194).
Kelce should also benefit from the Chiefs' ridiculous 31.00-point implied team total in a game projected for 57.0 total points. With a potential shootout in store and a solid matchup, Kelce warrants a draft selection in the mid-rounds of weekly snake drafts.
Robert Woods - With a perceived difficult matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, Robert Woods has completely flown under the radar as a late round dart throw. Since Cooper Kupp's mid-season ACL tear, Woods has led the Rams in targets (52), catches (31), receiving yards (387), and air yards (553).
Since Kupp's injury, Woods has moved into the slot on 81.9% of his routes, which should allow him to avoid the stout boundary coverage of Chidobe Awuzie and Byron Jones. Woods also has the benefit of playing on the team with the third-highest team total on the entire slate (28.25).
Playing as the Ram's number one receiver in a game with a 49.0-point game total, Woods remains a smash play in the final round on DRAFT.
Matthew Gajewski is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matthew Gajewski also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mgajewski. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.