FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Divisional Round (Saturday)
The Divisional Round gets going on Saturday with a pair of games. The Kansas City Chiefs (-8.5) host the Jacksonville Jaguars while the Philadelphia Eagles (7.5) are at home versus the New York Giants.
It's a fun two-game slate for daily fantasy football purposes.
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.
Now, let's run through some of the top plays of the slate on FanDuel.
Jalen Hurts ($9,000) and Patrick Mahomes ($9,200) are the obvious top choices at quarterback. They're salaried like it, too, but I don't think that will stop the masses from using one of them at quarterback.
Mahomes has a sweet home date with the Jags, a game in which KC is an 8.5-point favorite with a slate-leading 30.5-point implied total. In the regular season, Jacksonville allowed 18.3 FanDuel points per game to signal-callers, the ninth-most, and Mahomes torched them for 32.14 points when these two played.
The Chiefs' star quarterback has shown a willingness to run more in the postseason (29.4 rushing yards per game) than he does in the regular season (19.3), and he checks all the boxes in this one. Plus, the presence of Hurts should keep Mahomes' draft percentage from being insanely high -- and it works the other way, too.
Speaking of Hurts, he's also an outstanding play in a home game versus the G-Men. I wouldn't worry too much about Hurts' FanDuel output of only 9.46 points against the Giants last time out. That was his first game back from injury, and I'm willing to give him a pass. He tagged the Giants for 30.38 FanDuel points in the first meeting.
The Giants allowed the 11th-most rushing yards to quarterbacks, and we know what kind of damage Hurts can do as a runner. Prior to the Week 18 dud, he'd scored at least 29.82 FanDuel points in four straight. Philly is a 7.5-point favorite with a 28.0-point implied total. It's all systems go for Hurts, who is a game-best -125 to score a touchdown, per FanDuel Sportsbook.
Picking between Hurts and Mahomes is a tough task. I side with Hurts due to his rushing upside, but if it looks like either of these two will be significantly more popular than the other one, I'll load up on the one who is less chalky. We have Mahomes projected for 25.1 FanDuel points and Hurts for 24.7.
The Eagles gave up the fourth-most rushing yards to quarterbacks, which gives Jones a clear path to upside in a game in which he could be dropping back a lot in catch-up mode. This is still a brutally tough matchup, though, as Philly surrendered only 14.7 FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks, tied for the fifth-fewest.
I prefer Lawrence to Jones despite Jones' obvious edge in the rushing department. KC's defense just isn't on the same level as the Eagles' D, with Kansas City permitting the second-most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks (20.2) and ranking as the 12th-worst defense, per our schedule-adjusted metrics. Lawrence posted a solid 20.96 FanDuel points at the Chiefs earlier in the year, and likely to see a negative game script, he should attempt plenty of passes. Plus, the salary savings he offers can be super valuable.
Admittedly, there isn't a running back I am really into on this slate.
Our model has Saquon Barkley ($8,500) in his own tier, projecting him for 16.1 FanDuel points. Barkley surprisingly got only nine carries last week, but he came through in DFS thanks to six targets and a touchdown run. His big-play ability makes him a scary fade, but I will go light on him.
In losses this season, Barkley averaged just 51.2 rushing yards and 24.8 receiving yards. Those are decent numbers, but they pale in comparison to the 104.7 rushing yards and 19.0 receiving yards he averaged in wins. In a loss against the Eagles in the only game he played against them, Barkley was held to nine carries and two targets for a meager 48 total yards. With Big Blue a sizable road 'dog, Barkley could flop at a salary that is $1,300 more than any other back's.
Travis Etienne ($6,800) is under-salaried for his role, and he projects as the position's best point-per-dollar play, according to our numbers. Etienne can contribute in the passing game, but interestingly, he actually averaged fewer receiving yards per game in losses (16.8) than wins (20.2) this campaign. The salary is easy to like, though, and FanDuel Sportsbook has him at -115 to score a touchdown. He racked up an 86% snap rate in the Wild Card Round, his second-best snap rate of the year, so Doug Pederson appears to be willing to ride him in the postseason.
I want to like Miles Sanders ($7,200) in a very favorable matchup with a New York defense that is third-worst against the run by our metrics, but I'm having a hard time getting there. Sanders hasn't played more than 55% of the snaps in four straight games, and Hurts' goal-line prowess has sapped some of Sanders' touchdown equity.
With that said, Sanders is +105 to find the end zone, and it's not uncommon for lead backs to get bigger roles in the postseason (see: Etienne last week). Oh, and Sanders' smoked the Giants for 144 yards and two scores in their first meeting this season.
With Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($5,600) possibly returning, the KC backfield could go from a two-man split between Isiah Pacheco ($6,400) and Jerick McKinnon ($7,000) to a three-man mess. Yay. CEH may wind up being an afterthought, though, so there's a chance his return doesn't impact things all that much.
McKinnon has enjoyed a stranglehold on the pass-game work, and that's a pretty great role when Mahomes is your quarterback. It's resulted in 10 total touchdowns, with all but one of those coming through the air. Jacksonville has allowed the most targets to running backs as well as the second-most receiving yards and the second-most catches. It sets up well for McKinnon, who is listed at -120 to score a touchdown.
Pacheco has been in on between 36% and 45% of the snaps in six straight games, and he gets most of his work on the ground. He averaged 53.3 rushing yards per game in wins, compared to just 23.0 per game in defeats, so the game script will likely be favorable for him. He is -105 to score a tuddie.
Brown had 11.5 and 15.0 FanDuel points in his two games against the Giants and projects for a position-best 13.3 FanDuel points. Smith, meanwhile, is pegged to score 11.5 FanDuel points, making them nearly identical in terms of points per dollar.
Christian Kirk ($7,600) and Zay Jones ($6,500) make a lot of sense. I'll have at least one of them in most of my lineups. They're taking on a Chiefs defense that gave up the seventh-most FanDuel points per game to wideouts (29.6), and the volume should be there with Jacksonville an 8.5-point underdog.
Jones played 99% of the snaps last week and saw 13 targets while Kirk was also in on 99% of the plays and finished with 14 targets. Kirk had 105 yards and a pair of tuds at KC in the regular season. Jones finished that game with eight grabs for 68 yards.
JuJu Smith-Schuster ($6,600) gets you access to the Chiefs' lofty implied total. But with JuJu getting only nine total targets over the last three games, I don't think he needs to be a priority outside of KC stacks.
Darius Slayton ($5,700), Richie James ($5,900) and Isaiah Hodgins ($6,700) have become a pretty dang good receiver group for the Giants. Despite a bad matchup versus a Philadephia defense that has kept wideouts to the eighth-fewest FanDuel points per game (24.6), all three of these guys need to be on our radar. Even before taking salary into account, Slayton is the one I'm most into due to his big-play ability. We project him for 8.3 FanDuel points, tops among this trio.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($5,400), Kadarius Toney ($5,800) and Marvin Jones ($5,300) are viable low-salary values. I'm good at talking myself into MVS on small slates, but it rarely works out. It wouldn't be surprising to see the electric Toney get a bigger role in the playoffs.
There's a clear top three at tight end on this slate -- Travis Kelce ($8,000), Dallas Goedert ($6,300) and Evan Engram ($6,000). It's a top three that could rival what we get on some full main slates in the regular season. With running back being meh on this slate, I think you can justify playing two of these three, meaning one would be at flex.
Kelce is the clear standout. We project him to amass 16.2 FanDuel points. Not only is that 6.1 more than any other tight end, it's higher than any receiver projection. It's only 0.3 shy of Barkley's projection. The Jags gave up the ninth-most FanDuel points per game to tight ends (11.1) and just got smashed for 109 yards and a score by Gerald Everett. Kelce got to Jacksonville for 81 yards and a touchdown in the regular season. He'll be chalk, but it looks like chalk worth swallowing. It goes without saying that he's the best stacking partner for Mahomes.
Goedert is a modest-salaried way to get exposure to the Eagles, and he is a nice source of salary relief. The Giants gave up the 12th-most FanDuel points per game to tight ends (10.5). Goedert doesn't have the upside of Kelce, but he's seen 13 total looks over his past two games and is a quality play. We have him producing 10.3 FanDuel points.
Engram -- who we project for 8.8 FanDuel points -- was excellent in the Wild Card Round, making seven catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. The volume should be there against the Chiefs in a likely negative game script, and tight ends have scored 10.1 FanDuel points per game -- the 13th-most -- versus Kansas City.
Things fall off pretty quickly after those three. We have just one other tight end -- Daniel Bellinger ($4,900) at 4.9 FanDuel points -- projected for more than 2.4 FanDuel points. Bellinger has played at least 82% of the snaps in four straight and isn't a terrible dart.