DFS Divisional Playoff Weekend 2019
We are another week closer to the Super Bowl. This weekend brings us the second week of the NFL Playoffs, usually called the Divisional Round. And while the number of teams left in contention is shrinking, the daily fantasy football action is right at its peak. The Playoffs tend to be the busiest time of the year when it comes to DFS action because viewer interest increases. Thanks to this, there will likely be more people playing at your favorite DFS site this weekend than at any other time so far this season.
We’re headed to FanDuel to help you put together the best possible team that you can to help you get one step closer to winning your league. As always, we’ll look at concepts like value, matchups, and player production to determine which athletes you should start, and which you should leave on the bench.
DFS Divisional Playoffs Are Here
Don’t let this week pass by without getting your DFS Picks in.
Running Backs Full Steam
Austin Ekeler: Ekeler is one of the best and most consistent mid-tier RBs in the NFL. He has averaged 39.6 rushing yards per game this season, along with 6 TDs, giving himself 10.7 fantasy points per game on the average. That’s a pretty decent showing for someone with a price tag of just $6,200 headed into the weekend. Ekeler’s true value shines forth in his versatility. While he’s fairly average when it comes to RB stats, he has also record 404 yards receiving this season, which has led to half of his total TD numbers. Ekeler has been a good fantasy pick because he’s not just an RB. This weekend as that Chargers play the New England Patriots, Ekeler will have a unique challenge. The Pats have a fairly weak passing defense (ranked #22 in the NFL), but they are pretty decent at blocking the rush (ranked #11). Against similar defenses, Ekeler has maintained his averages, but we shouldn’t expect him to have any sort of breakout game here.
Mark Ingram: Ingram is the only RB that’s in the same class as Ekeler but has a similar pricing structure. He comes with a salary of $6,400, making him a bit more expensive than Ekeler. Because of that, we should expect him to have a slightly higher level of performance than Ekeler, and on paper, he does. He’s averaged 11.0 fantasy points per game. Where Ingram falls behind on Ekeler is his receiving game. The Saints play the Eagles this weekend, who are ranked #7 in the NFL against the rush, which means Ingram’s numbers will naturally fall. And while Philadelphia has a weak passing defense (#30), Ingram’s numbers stand at about a third of Ekeler’s here. So, even though he has performed slightly better than Ekeler all season, we shouldn’t expect to see that trend continue headed into this weekend.
RB Start: Ekeler
RB Sit: Ingram
Wide Receivers Hands in the Air
Amari Cooper: Cooper has had a strong season this year, and his postseason promises to be the same. He has averaged 67 yards per game this season and has 7 receiving TDs, earning a fantasy point per game total of 11.9. This has given him a price tag of $6,800. On the surface, he looks like one of the strongest value picks at WR this weekend, but this misses out on an important component of the matchup that he’ll be seeing. Cooper and the Cowboys will be taking on the Los Angeles Rams. Although they don’t have a great defense, they have a disproportionately aligned defense. They are ranked #14 against the passing game, but only #23 against the rush. This should lead to the Cowboys relying more on their running game than on the pass. We should expect a slightly below average game from a fantasy perspective from Cooper as a result of this.
Mike Williams: Williams is a comparable pick compared to Cooper, with a few pretty significant differences. He has averaged 9.9 fantasy points per game and has recorded a total of 10 receiving TDs so far this year. His price tag of $6,600 seems pretty low compared to what he’s capable of. A few weeks ago, he put up 33 fantasy points against Kansas City. However, this number needs to be seen in its context. The KC defense was ranked #31 in the NFL. This weekend, the Chargers will be playing the Patriots, who are ranked #22 against the passing game. Against similar defenses, Williams has been recording slightly about average numbers, with 13.9 fantasy points scored against the Denver Broncos. Because of the strong New England defense against the rush, we should expect Williams to be used heavily this weekend, and to produce numbers slightly above his baselines for the season.
WR Start: Williams
WR Sit: Cooper
Quarterbacks with Some Cannons
Patrick Mahomes: There are not a lot of choices for QB this weekend simply because of the limited playing field. However, Mahomes would be at the top of most people’s list even if all of the teams in the NFL were playing. He has 52 TDs this season, 50 of which are passing and 2 rushing. This places him at #1 in the NFL for passing and #10 for rushing. That’s a good reason for his huge price tag of $9,000. With his average fantasy point total per game of 26.8 points, he has a cost per point of $336. The negative side of Mahomes is that the Colts have a great defense. They are ranked #11 overall in the NFL. This will definitely test Mahomes and his offense. And because the Colts are much stronger on the rush than on the pass, we will see some of Mahomes ability to produce fantasy points himself diminished. Still, an average performance is expected from him. The question you need to ask yourself is whether or not average is worth the salary sacrifice.
Andrew Luck: Luck and the Colts will be facing Mahomes and the Chiefs this weekend. Although Kansas City has the Colts outclassed offensively, the Colts have a much stronger defense. The Chiefs are ranked at #31 in the NFL when it comes to the defensive side, which should allow Luck to drastically outperform his fantasy average of 21.4 points per game. With his salary of $8,400, he has a cost per point of $393—before the weaker defense is accounted for. Although he has a lesser value, his anticipated performance level is expected to more than offset this.
QB Start: Luck
QB Sit: Mahomes