Yahoo! Divisional Round $75K Baller Strategy
For the Divisional Round, Yahoo has made the multi-day four-game slate the main slate with the $75K Baller as the main event, awarding $15,000 to first place. The following analysis will offer a game-by-game breakdown but before that, DFS players that are used to playing full slates should consider some of the short-slate lineup-building techniques that were outlined in last week’s article.
Rams @ Packers (-6.5); U/O 45.5
The story in this game is Davante Adams ($35) against Jalen Ramsey, but that matchup shouldn’t be a deterrent for those looking to play Adams. In addition to unmatched volume, Adams has the ability to move all over the formation, playing nearly a third of his snaps in the slot, according to PFF. Meanwhile, Ramsey has traveled inside less than 20% of the time. That interior usage along with Adams’ workload near the goal line lets him keep the matchup-proof tag.
Along with Adams, both running backs are core plays in this game. Aaron Jones ($29) returned from a limited snap share in Week 16 to handle over 70% of backfield work in a Week 17 game that Green Bay had to win to clinch the top seed. As a near-touchdown favorite, it’s unlikely that Jones gets game-scripted out of work. While the Rams are big underdogs, there are no backs on this slate with the projected workload of Cam Akers ($29). Los Angeles gave the rookie 30 touches in their Wild Card win and he has averaged 25 touches since Week 13. With Jared Goff’s injured hand, the Rams are likely to make Akers the focal point of their offense in the Divisional round.
Even with Aaron Rodgers ($33) having one of the most efficient passing seasons in history, he figures to be in fewer lineups than three or four quarterbacks on the slate. With Green Bay’s 26-point total, stacking Green Bay’s offense is in play. Robert Tonyan ($16) will be a contrarian play off of the high-end chalk tight ends, while Allen Lazard is the pass-catcher to make a long-shot bet on. Lazard was the only Green Bay receiver besides Adams to play at least 70% of snaps over the final month of the season and the Rams have allowed the fewest deep completions in the league, according to SportsInfoSolutions, limiting Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s upside.
Robert Woods ($20) and Cooper Kupp ($19)—if Kupp plays—are only usable as single-player additions to Packers stacks, and even then should be used sparingly against a secondary ranked second in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. If Kupp sits, Josh Reynolds ($13) becomes a low-floor, salary-saving dart throw.
Ravens @ Bills (-2.5); O/U 50.0
Along with the early Sunday game, this will be the most popular game to stack this weekend, but how each team should be stacked is very different. Buffalo’s deeper pass-catching core allows for heavier team stacks on the Bills side. Baltimore’s heavily concentrated passing attack along with Lamar Jackson’s ($33) rushing ability point to single stacks being more successful when targeting the Ravens’ side. Of course, there are game scripts—especially with Zack Moss out—where Josh Allen ($39) does a lot of damage with his legs but Allen isn’t nearly as reliant on running the ball as Jackson.
Both defenses are extremely effective at limiting success on deep balls. This points to favoring Stefon Diggs ($31) and Cole Beasley ($15) as core plays over John Brown ($12) and Gabriel Davis ($13), while Mark Andrews ($24) is the preference on the Baltimore side over Marquise Brown ($20). This isn’t to say that any of these players should be full fades, but rather which ones to be more overweight on or favor with a single entry.
Additionally, Dawson Knox ($11) offers massive leverage off of Andrews, who will be in the top two in rostered rate at his position.
With Devin Singletary ($17) likely handling most of the backfield work for Buffalo, he is a great point-per-dollar value but his fantasy projection is extremely fragile. Allen steals a huge percentage of goal-line rushes, and over 70% of the Bills’ offensive touchdowns this season have come through the air. J.K. Dobbins ($21) has similar upside concerns as Singletary because of Lamar Jackson, but Baltimore has also given Gus Edwards a notable role. Dobbins is best used as a leverage play off of Jackson or as a contrarian bring back in Bills stacks.
Browns @ Chiefs (-10); O/U 57.0
Kansas City’s 33-point implied total is nearly a touchdown higher than any other team’s point projection this weekend. Given those point expectations, their big three of Patrick Mahomes ($42), Tyreek Hill ($37) and Travis Kelce ($34) should draw the highest rostered rate at their respective positions. Fitting all three together in a single lineup is possible but puts heavy restraints on salary elsewhere on a roster.
DFS players who do stack the Chiefs should be considering ways to get unique, and the standout option is Mecole Hardman ($16), assuming Sammy Watkins is out. Even with a snap share below 40% over the final month of the season, Hardman still ranked third on KC in targets and air yards over that span.
The Cleveland side offers the best contrarian stacking option of the weekend. From Week 9 on, the Chiefs allowed over 24 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, which would have been the most points allowed to the position over the entire year. This makes Baker Mayfield ($26) a fantastic leverage play off of Mahomes. Jarvis Landry ($21) has the highest floor among the Browns’ pass-catchers but he’s unlikely to be a unique play. Only five teams allowed more completions on deep balls this season than the Chiefs, pointing to Rashard Higgins and his high average target depth as a contrarian piece to add to game stacks.
Buccaneers @ Saints (-3); O/U 51.5
The determining factor in how to attack this game is the Saints’ defense. They are the only unit that finished the season ranked in the top five against every position in 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed. Their dominance limits the upside of the entire offense but Tampa Bay should still employ a pass-heavy attack, with Chris Godwin ($30) standing out as the player to target. Mike Evans will likely be shadowed by Marshon Lattimore, who he has struggled against, while Rob Gronkowski could see an increased blocking role, much like he did last week. This also opens the door for Antonio Brown ($22) to have a big game if the Bucs’ passing attack is able to click, but Brown’s snaps have been limited compared to Evans and Godwin.
New Orleans traditionally has one of the most concentrated offenses in the league when Alvin Kamara ($37) and Michael Thomas ($33) are both active. Although that wasn’t the case last week, Thomas should see an expanded role against a Tampa Bay secondary ranked 25th in schedule-adjusted points allowed to wide receivers. Both Kamara and Thomas are in all formats and roster builds while Drew Brees ($27) is the best contrarian quarterback option after Baker Mayfield.
Emmanuel Sanders ($17) was largely overlooked last week but ran more routes than any Saints receiver besides Thomas, with nearly 50% of snaps in the slot, according to PFF. When lined up inside, Sanders will face cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, who is allowing the third-most yards per target of any corner in action this week. As a team, the Buccaneers rank 31st against tight ends, according to 4for4, putting Jared Cook ($16) in play as a contrarian tight end option.
NOTE: Choosing a defense should largely be based on potential game flows that rosters are built around. As big favorites, the Packers and Chiefs should be the most popular fantasy defenses, but the Ravens, Rams, and Saints are all in play as contrarian options.