Ben’s NFL Divisional Round Breakdown
I’m going to tailor this article a little bit differently this week, because this is clearly the best possible four game slate with all four games at a 47+ O/U and two over 50. So, I’m going to go through which players I want to be over-exposed to relative to the field on the four game slates for both FanDuel and DraftKings.
Patrick Mahomes- There are two quarterback’s I clearly want to play this week, and while I think most people will focus on Mahomes/Luck, if choosing one of them it’s going to very clearly be Mahomes for me at home in Arrowhead. The Colts defense has been great, don’t get me wrong, but if you look at the recent string of quarterback’s they have faced…it’s no shock they have had the success they have had. They still aren’t great DVOA-wise against the pass, and they certainly haven’t faced anyone with the ability of Mahomes and this Chiefs offense in quite some time. He’s the top raw point projection for me at this position, no question.
Jared Goff- I currently have Goff projected as the lowest owned between him, Patrick Mahomes, Andrew Luck and Drew Brees, despite the fact that he is only $5,500 on DraftKings. I totally understand why as well, everyone wants to play the Chiefs/Colts game, and everyone wants exposure to the Sunday hammer with the Saints, so they will side with Brees over Goff because they will have one of Gurley or Zeke in most builds anyways. I think that Goff may end up being my highest-owned QB this week, even over Mahomes, just because I don’t see anyone playing him. If you isolate his home game numbers this season, he topped 22 DraftKings points in every game except for one, and he touched 40+ DK points twice. He has been unreal at home, and I don’t see that changing this weekend regardless of the matchup with the Cowboys defense. The Rams are right there with the Saints with a 28 implied team total, and I’ll take the ownership advantage here.
Todd Gurley/Ezekiel Elliott- I expect most people’s decision to come down to Gurley or Zeke, and I want to note that if picking one I want to be on the Gurley side because it does seem to me like he will be lower-owned than Elliott. Gurley will be rusty after missing three games, but he should be 100% ready for a full workload, in a home playoff game. There were some reports that CJ Anderson will be involved in the game plan still, leaving questions about Gurley’s overall health, but he was removed from the injury report on Friday and I really don’t see them limiting him in a close game. Gurley’s overall ceiling is higher to me than Elliott’s, which is why I would like to be over-weight relative to the field if the majority of the them are siding with Zeke. That being said, I still love Zeke as a play, and I will have close to a 60/40 split of them across my lineups. Zeke’s passing game usage cannot be under-stated since the arrival of Amari Cooper, and we know that Dallas has no plans to give him under 25 touches in a must-win game. It would make sense for them to work the clock and try to keep the ball out of the hands of the Rams offense, I just don’t think he is a significantly better play than Gurley at higher-ownership. I 100% would be starting my builds with one of these two.
Damien Williams- Whether or not Spencer Ware plays, Damien Williams is a near-lock for me in all formats at his price. Sure, Ware will take *some* work if he is active, but Williams has shown so much value in the passing game, with 18 catches over the last four games, that I don’t think that role s going to change for him regardless of Ware’s status. He remains affordable at only $6,000 on FanDuel and $5,100 on DraftKings, making him an elite pairing option with whichever you choose between Gurley and Elliott.
Darren Sproles- There are two clear value running backs to me this week, and they are Darren Sproles and Nyheim Hines. Yes, I know, I was on Himes last week and he got a 0, so I’m going to talk about Sproles first. For one, we get a solid revenge game narrative here with Sproles taking on his former team the Saints, and the game flow should set-up for him perfectly. He saw 15 touches in the Eagles first game against the Bears, and he gives you some PMR with so many people focusing on the first game of the slate.
Nyheim Hines- Hines went out and got us a nice snowflake last weekend, but you cannot tell me that this game won’t benefit him more than that un-expected game-script against the Texans. The Colts are not going up by multiple touchdowns in the first-half against the Chiefs, they just aren’t, and if they are trailing they are going to need to get Hines involved. I’m not sure I expect Marlon Mack to be a very popular option this week despite his performance in the Wild Card game and good matchup, but I would much rather take Williams and a cheaper RB than chase that, even though I think Marlon Mack is legitimately good…because I just don’t see how the Colts aren’t trailing in this game.
TY Hilton- This only makes sense if you watched the Texans/Colts game last week, Hilton saw 30% of the Colts team targets, and he continues to ball out despite being hobbled by an ankle injury. Hilton is very clearly Luck’s go-to guy, and he’s seen 8+ targets in seven of his last eight games. He’s expected to be very highly-owned, but he is my favorite wide receiver play on all sites, and will be a staple of my rosters.
Julian Edelman- This is the lone piece of this game I’m writing up, and it’s because I cannot get a feel for the game whatsoever. Everyone and their mother is on the Chargers in this spot, despite them having to travel east again this week for an early game, and the fact that they are playing the Patriots at home, a team that has owned them in recent years. Well over 60% of the public is betting on the Chargers, yet the line hasn’t moved, and I also think the Chargers are a better team, but this is the Patriots…at home…in the playoffs. Anyways, the reason I’m on Edelman here is because I think people will over-look him with all of the mid-tier WR options, especially on DraftKings where people will be jamming in Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks. Edelman missed time this season due to a suspension, and he still easily finished top-ten in targets within the 10 yard line and he’s seen 39 targets over the last four games. We aren’t used to him having this type of touchdown equity, but he does this season and he’s scored in three of the last four games.
Josh Reynolds- There are other viable cheap options at wide receiver, such as Ted Ginn, Mike Williams and Dontrelle Inman (throw in Woods/Cooks under $6K on DK too) and I like them as well, you’re going to need to plug in some cheapies on this slate. I want to focus on Reynolds in the write-up however, because I think he is the cheap receiver that everyone is over-looking, and if we are going to play Goff this only makes even more sense. Over his last four games, Reynolds has posted lines of 12-5-70, 2-2-44, 7-3-36 and 7-4-55 (2 TD’s). He really hasn’t been any less involved in the Rams offense than Cooks or Woods since the Cooper Kupp injury, and he is so cheap that I think we can play him in all formats.
Michael Thomas- Now…on DraftKings, I think we will have room to get in one of Michael Thomas or Tyreek Hill should be want, and if it comes down to choosing, I’m going with Michael Thomas. He’s topped 100+ yards just one time since his 211 yard outing against the Rams on November 4th, and he has clearly been affected by the return of Mark Ingram, and the Saints run-first approach. He did go 4-92-1 against this Eagles defense in their meeting earlier this season, and with how the Eagles play in the playoffs there’s no way I can predict that this game won’t be close.
1. Eric Ebron (FanDuel), Zach Ertz (DraftKings)
2, Travis Kelce
3. Gerald Everett
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)
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