3 NFL FanDuel Stacks for the Divisional Round
The NFL season draws ever closer to the finish, but we get four more playoff games this weekend, and once again FanDuel is splitting them into two main slates -- a two-game slate on Saturday, followed by the two games on Sunday.
But unlike the wild card round, which proved to be a mixed bag of games, the divisional round looks far more promising from a DFS perspective, with all four games showing totals of at least 47.0 points, including an eye-popping 57.0-point total between the Colts and Chiefs on Saturday.
Given the smaller slates, you might want to dive heavier into tournaments, so let's check out some stacks to consider on both days.
Kansas City Chiefs
Look, just because they're obvious and are the most expensive players at their respective positions doesn't mean we should shy away from using all our favorite Chiefs on Saturday's slate. In a matchup against the Colts with far and away the highest total (57.0), this game is easily our best shot at a shootout, and we're going to want exposure to both sides.
Kansas City owns the highest implied total of the weekend (31.00) at home against a pass defense that ranked 23rd in terms of Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play in the regular season. We'll gladly take Patrick Mahomes in this scenario, who's averaged a slate-best 26.8 FanDuel points per game after leading the league in passing touchdowns (50) and trailing only Ben Roethlisberger in passing yards (5,097).
And if Indianapolis' recent play on defense gives you any pause, it's worth noting that Mahomes has performed well against zone coverage this season, as pointed out by Rotoworld's Evan Silva. Mahomes is numberFire's highest-projected overall player of the divisional round.
As always, the great thing about stacking with Mahomes is we have a good idea of where those targets are going to go. Travis Kelce (26.6% target market share) and Tyreek Hill (24.3%) combine for roughly half of the team's targets, making both easy choices to pair him with in a projected shootout.
However, Indianapolis has allowed the third-most FanDuel points to tight ends, while allowing the second-fewest to wide receivers, so Kelce arguably has the better matchup and safer floor. Still, there's no denying Hill's upside, as he's scored over 26 FanDuel points five times and hit 35-plus three times.
According to numberFire's projections, both Kelce and Hill are also the top-ranked players at their respective positions this weekend.
As noted earlier, we want exposure to both of these teams, so you can always hop over to the Colts' side and stack Andrew Luck with either T.Y. Hilton or Eric Ebron. These guys aren't exactly cheap as the second-most expensive players at their respective positions, but you'll still see a slight discount from their aforementioned Kansas City counterparts.
While the Chiefs actually ranked a decent 16th against the pass by numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics during the regular season, getting in shootouts all the time left them allowing the second-most passing yards, and they gave up the fifth-most FanDuel points to opposing quarterbacks.
Given that the Colts are 5.0-point underdogs in a game with a sky-high total, it's hard to see Luck not chucking it early and often. Only Mahomes threw more touchdown passes than Luck's 39, and Luck has scored at least 18 FanDuel points in 12 of the last 14 games.
Like Kansas City, Luck's top stack pairings are conveniently easy to identify. Hilton continues to sit out practices, but it hasn't slowed him down on the field, as he caught 5-of-10 targets for 85 yards last week against the Texans. Over the last nine games, he's averaging 9.2 targets per game and has dropped below 77 yards receiving only once, while reaching 125 or more yards four times.
The only trouble is the lack of scores, considering Hilton last scored a touchdown in Week 11, where he grabbed two against the Titans. Even so, given the volume he's seeing, this feels a lot like Julio Jones' scoreless streak earlier this season, who ultimately ended his campaign with eight touchdowns. In other words, we shouldn't be overly concerned by Hilton's lack of scores.
On the other hand, Ebron isn't much of a yardage guy, but he hasn't had much trouble finding the end zone, with 13 receiving scores during the regular season (ranking ninth in red zone targets), and he added another to his tally in the wild card round. Since Jack Doyle was injured in Week 12, he's averaged 7.3 targets over the last seven games.
Considering all the scoring potential on both sides of this Colts/Chiefs game, making multiple lineups with players from both teams could be a wise move, particularly on just a two-game slate.
However, it's worth remembering that we also have the always enticing Todd Gurley ($9,200) and Ezekiel Elliott ($8,800) in the Cowboys-Rams game, so fitting in all these high-priced pieces together simply won't be an option. If you choose to pay up at running back but still want to stack Indy or KC, you can also consider fliers on cheaper options like Dontrelle Inman ($6,200) or Sammy Watkins ($6,000).
Inman has seen modest volume behind Hilton with target totals of five, six and four over the last three games, but he's also scored a touchdown in all three while averaging a respectable 58.7 yards. As for Watkins, he's practicing this week, and while his return remains shaky at best, he could be worth a look if he gets the green light. He would be a total boom-or-bust wild card in his first game since Week 11 (and he only played five snaps in that one), but he did post two 100-yard games this season and reached at least seven targets five times.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees may be Sunday's priciest quarterback, but he'll be worth clearing some space for at home against the Eagles.
Philadelphia's struggles against the pass have been well-documented, and it's of little surprise that they allowed the third-most passing yards in the regular season, and even in a low-scoring game last week, Mitchell Trubisky still threw for 303 yards. The Saints' 29.50 implied total is easily the best of Sunday's slate, and Brees has been a completely different player at home, where he's thrown 21 of his 32 touchdowns and averaged 9.5 yards per pass attempt.
Michael Thomas is the conventional stack partner, with his 28.8% target market share leading all wideouts this weekend. Thomas was also second in red zone targets this season behind only Davante Adams. Considering Brees' home/road splits, it's natural that most of Thomas' spike weeks have come at the Superdome, with four of his five FanDuel performances over 20 points coming at home, including both of his scores that hit 30.
But a Brees-Thomas stack will cost a good chunk of change, so Ted Ginn makes for an intriguing salary saver as either a third player or cheap replacement for Thomas. Ginn caught 5-of-8 targets for 74 yards in his Week 16 return before resting in Week 17, so there's little worry about his health after missing most of the season with a knee injury. The Superdome is well-suited for his skill set, as 197 of his yards have come in 3 home games this season, compared to a mere 12 on the road.
On a two-game slate, Ginn figures to be an extremely popular value play, but he'll be difficult to fade at minimum price.
Kenyatta Storin is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Kenyatta Storin also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username yatters. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.