FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Divisional Round (Sunday Slate)
Two-game slates give us a fun and different way to play NFL DFS on FanDuel, and this is a really fun two-gamer.
Things start at 3:00 p.m. EST Sunday afternoon with the Los Angeles Rams at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a game. The Bucs are 3.0-point favorites, and the total is at 48.5. Then we get a titanic bout between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead at 6:30 p.m. EST. KC is a 1.5-point favorite with the total at 53.5 points.
As always, we recommend checking out all of numberFire's daily fantasy tools at your disposal. In particular, our weekly projections can help you nail down who might be the slate's top scorers and best values while the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied totals and every team's strengths and weaknesses. (Set the slate to Saturday only.)
Let's dive into each position and see which players stand out as good options.
The Rams' offense -- the whole of which gets a downgrade with left tackle Andrew Whitworth ruled out -- has become really run-heavy of late. Since Week 15, they own a 52% pass rate. It'll be interesting to see if they can keep that up against a Bucs defense most teams didn't try to run on this year.
The shift to leaning on the run has hampered the fantasy ceiling of Matthew Stafford ($7,400), who has been held to 244 passing yards or fewer in four of his last five games. With the quality of the other quarterbacks available to us, Stafford is hard to get behind. Our projections have him at 18.9 FanDuel points and rank him as the slate's worst signal-caller.
Cooper Kupp ($9,500) continues to offer an otherworldly floor/ceiling combination for a wideout. Dude had 14.6 FanDuel points last week, and that was his worst output across his last 13 games. Facing a Bucs pass D that sits 11th-worst by our metrics, Kupp is an elite play. We project him for 19.5 FanDuel points -- 4.1 more than any other non-quarterback. The only negative is that the nightcap profiles as the better fantasy environment, and there are some lofty salaries in it that we'll want exposure to.
That's where Cam Akers ($5,700) comes in handy. It sure looked like Akers supplanted Sony Michel ($5,300) as LA's lead back in the Wild Card win over the Arizona Cardinals. In his second game back, Akers totaled 17 carries and 2 targets while playing 53% of the snaps. Michel logged a 40% snap share with 13 carries and no targets.
Even in a difficult matchup, Akers is very enticing at his salary, and he should be able to hold his own in the passing game when the Rams have to air it out. Our algorithm has him producing 12.0 FanDuel points.
Tyler Higbee ($5,400) is another way to save salary, and he's my preferred secondary pass-game piece from this offense over Odell Beckham ($6,500) and Van Jefferson ($5,500). Higbee got four looks in a run-heavy plan last week, but prior to that, he'd been targeted at least six times in four consecutive games.
The Los Angeles Rams D/ST ($4,300) isn't a bad shout with Ryan Jensen and Tristan Wirfs (both questionable) banged up on Tampa Bay's offensive line. If one or both sit, that could allow Leonard Floyd, Aaron Donald and Von Miller to create havoc.
As we just mentioned, Jensen and Wirfs are iffy to play. That's a big deal, and if one or both are out, the Bucs' offense becomes a lot less appealing in my eyes. And it's already not all that enticing to me.
Tom Brady ($7,800) offers a nice salary discount off the passers in the late game, and he surely won't be as popular as those two quarterbacks are. If he pops, he could be a great leverage play. But I just can't get there. LA has given up the fourth-fewest FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks (16.3), and with Brady offering next to nothing as a runner, he's fighting an uphill battle to produce at the level of the quarterbacks in the other game. I'll just play those guys.
Evans has seen 17 total targets the last two weeks without Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown. The threat of shadow coverage from Jalen Ramsey is scary, but the Rams haven't been using Ramsey that way this season. Our model projects Evans for 15.2 FanDuel points.
Gronk is also an excellent option. He didn't do too much a week ago outside of securing a short touchdown, finishing with five grabs for 31 yards. But Gronk had 10 targets apiece in the final two regular-season games, and we project him to score 12.9 FanDuel points.
Leonard Fournette ($7,000) is expected to return. If he resumes getting the workload he had prior to going on the shelf, he's worth a long look. He'd amassed at least 20 total touches in three straight games before going down. That's superb volume. Even if Tampa Bay is short-handed up front, Lenny can come good. We have him as the top running back on the slate, pegging him to score 13.7 FanDuel points.
The Tampa Bay D/ST ($4,500) comes in at the top of the position on this slate at a projection of 6.0 FanDuel points, according to our algorithm. The salary is tough to swallow, though, when all four D/STs are projected within 1.4 points of each other.
Buffalo was at its absolute best last week against the New England Patriots. We can't expect that level of production again, but this is undoubtedly a smash spot for this offense -- especially Josh Allen ($8,800).
The total for this game is 53.5, and KC allowed the second-most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks in the regular season (22.3). Allen is the top quarterback on the slate, per our algorithm, as we have him posting 23.0 FanDuel points. He's run for at least 63 yards in four straight games, and the dual-threat ability gives him monster upside every time he plays.
One of the slate's top plays is Devin Singletary ($7,200), who has become a workhorse back late in the year. Over the last five games, Singletary has been given at least 17 total touches in each contest while racking up at least 16.1 FanDuel points every time out. He's been aided by touchdown luck, scoring eight times in that span, but the volume is stellar. In what should be a shootout, Singletary is a priority for me.
Stefon Diggs ($7,800) has underwhelmed a bit this season, not going for 100-plus yards since November 14th. However, he's still the top stacking partner with Allen and could go nuts versus a Chiefs defense that surrendered the 11th-most FanDuel points per game to receivers (29.2).
The Bills' secondary wideouts are kind of hard to pin down with Emmanuel Sanders ($5,500) back in the fray. His return last week resulted in Cole Beasley ($5,200) logging a 30% snap rate while Gabriel Davis ($5,300) played just 46% of the snaps. That's no fun. Davis is my pick from this trio. His downfield usage gives him big-play upside.
Dawson Knox ($6,500) scored twice last week and had 89 yards in a spike game. It was his first game with more than 60 yards since November 21st. I'd rather take a shot on the aforementioned Higbee for $1,100 less if I'm not using one of the slate's big two tight ends.
Hill and Kelce both have difficult matchups. Buffalo's D has allowed the fewest FanDuel points per game to receivers (19.1) and the third-fewest to tight ends (6.2). And the usage for Hill and Kelce hasn't been that great of late, with each holding an 18% target share across the last four games. But they're still money plays who offer slate-breaking upside, and both will be among the most popular players on the slate. We project Hill and Kelce for 15.4 and 14.8 FanDuel points, respectively.
As for Mahomes, he and Allen figure to be the chalk quarterbacks. Mahomes ripped the Pittsburgh Steelers for five tuds and 38.06 FanDuel points in the Wild Card Round. He's run for at least 29 yards in each of the last three games. There's really nothing to dislike here, even in a tough matchup. We forecast Mahomes for 22.3 FanDuel points.
We'll have to see how the usage is divided in the KC backfield. Jerick McKinnon ($6,000) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($5,700) are going to play, and Darrel Williams ($5,500) -- who is questionable -- might give it a go, too.
My first instinct is to just stay away from the backfield altogether, but on a two-game slate, that's not easy to do -- particularly when the Chiefs are implied for nearly a 30 piece. My guess is CEH and McKinnon handle the bulk of the work, and I will probably let draft percentage projections guide me when choosing between the two. If one of them projects to be really popular, I'll take a shot on the other. Our projections have CEH (7.8 FanDuel points) and McKinnon (7.5) nearly dead even.
Demarcus Robinson ($5,100), Mecole Hardman ($5,300) and Byron Pringle ($5,700) rotate as secondary wideouts. Pringle has come on of late, sporting a 14% target share and 17% air yards share over the last four games -- both of which pace this trio. Hardman and Pringle each played 57% of the snaps a week ago. Robinson was in on 51% of the plays. Pringle's recent surge might make him the most popular of the group, which pushes me to Hardman or Robinson. While I don't feel great about any of them, the salary savings are nice.
Our projections have the Kansas City D/ST ($3,700) slotted second at a projection of 5.9 points -- just 0.1 off Tampa Bay. KC is the best point-per-dollar D/ST by our numbers.