DraftKings Optimal Divisional Round Plays

DraftKings Optimal Divisional Round Plays

By Jonathan Bales (Daily Fantasy Expert), last update Jan 9, 2014

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Jonathan Bales is a DraftKings Pro and the author of the Fantasy Football for Smart People book series. His latest book, How to Win at Daily Fantasy Sports, is a data-driven guide to winning on DraftKings. He is also (unofficially) sponsored by GrubHub.

Follow Jonathan Bales on Twitter: @BalesFootball.

I had one of my better weeks of daily fantasy play last week, basically tripling my investment because of a single top-scoring GPP lineup. As I wrote last week, though, I think that playoff daily fantasy is filled with variance. I’m not sure anyone can beat it long-term, so my explanation for why I won is basically to have no legitimate explanation; I just got lucky.

If you also won some money this week, don’t overreact. You aren’t an inherently better “playoff player” than regular season player. I hate to burst your bubble, but you probably got lucky like me. There’s some skill there, sure, but probably not enough to consistently overcome the rake. So don’t go putting down more money to ride your playoff success.

During the regular season, I told you to typically wager no more than about 15 to 20 percent of your total bankroll, at the most, depending on your league selection. During the playoffs, you should cut that down to 5-10 percent. Or just put down everything you won during the regular season and try to double-up. That’s always smart.

All of that changes if there's overlay. There wasn't much last week, but DraftKings is running a pretty big $400,000 guaranteed tournament called the Divisional Clash. Because of the $200 entry, there's a decent chance that it overlays. If you can afford the entry fee, it might be worth the money. If you take down the tourney, you'll see $100k come your way. That's decent, I guess.


Divisional Round DraftKings Values

QB Philip Rivers @DEN $7700

Of the four games this weekend, SD-DEN probably has the most predictable game flow: the Broncos get up by 10 or so by the third quarter, allowing Rivers to make up for moderate efficiency with 40-plus passing attempts.

Denver’s pass defense is about average, but Vegas has the total of this game above 55. The other option here is Andrew Luck, who costs $300 more and probably has a superior matchup. I’m just less confident that he racks up the passing attempts.

Perhaps more important, there’s currently zero chance of precipitation or very cold weather in Denver this weekend, while there’s a strong chance of rain and 20 mph winds for the Colts-Pats game.


RB Marshawn Lynch vs. NO $8000

There is a serious shortage of quality running backs remaining in the playoffs. Lynch is the priciest at $8000, with Knowshon Moreno, Shane Vereen, and Donald Brown rounding out the top four. Moreno is always a good bet to score and Vereen is interesting because he has at least five catches or a receiving touchdown in seven of his eight games this year, but I think Lynch has a higher ceiling and higher floor than both.


WR Eric Decker vs. SD $6500

I love Decker this week on DraftKings. He’s the same price as Keenan Allen, but with far less risk. He’s $400 cheaper than Julian Edelman, but with a much higher ceiling. I think Edelman makes for a quality heads-up play because he’s been so consistent lately—which we typically see with receivers who see an abundance of short targets—but I typically fade small receivers in tournaments because they have a low probability of scoring multiple touchdowns. Decker is just the opposite.


TE Vernon Davis @CAR $5500

Davis is just such a good bet to score that it’s hard to pass him up at a price tag that’s $700 cheaper than that for Julius Thomas. Jimmy Graham is of course the top tight end option every week, but it’s difficult to favor him over Davis when you have to spend $1500 more to get him.


DraftKings Optimal Lineups

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