The Professor’s NFL Divisional Round Low-Cost DFS Targets

211
The Best Bang For Your Buck in NFL DFS- DraftKings Divisional Round

The Rams have not reached the end goal, but quarterback Matthew Stafford picked up his long-awaited first NFL Playoff win to close out Super Wild Card Weekend, and now it’s on to the Divisional Round, where Stafford will attempt to bolster his playoff resume against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This article will cover The Professor’s low-cost DFS options for the upcoming NFL playoff action with prices from the full weekend slate. For insights specific to the Saturday or Sunday slates, keep an eye out for The Professor’s weekly appearance on Razor’s Red Zone.

Quarterbacks

Joe Burrow, CIN @ TEN, $7700 FanDuel / $6200 DraftKings

Joe Burrow did not put up eye-popping numbers in Cincinnati’s win over Las Vegas, but that was due in part to his team’s red-zone struggles. Burrow and his top receiver, rookie Ja’Marr Chase, continued to keep Cincinnati’s offense moving in their first NFL playoff game, and as much as the Tennessee secondary has improved this season, there isn’t a defense in the NFL that has the personnel to match up with the Bengals’ stable of pass-catchers.

Defensive tackle Jeffrey Simmons and the rest of the Tennessee front could put the clamps on running back Joe Mixon and Cincinnati’s potentially overmatched offensive line, which would create an opportunity for Burrow to carry his offense (and his fantasy teams) this weekend.

Matthew Stafford, LAR @ TB, $7400 FanDuel / $6200 DraftKings

In the words of cornerback Jamel Dean, the Tampa Bay defense “got their swag” back last weekend, but while the first game was played under different circumstances, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford played one of his best games of the NFL season against Tampa Bay in late September, when Stafford threw for 343 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions. That game was played in Los Angeles, while this one will take place in Tampa Bay, but while Stafford was able to pick up his first NFL playoff victory while posting relatively modest numbers, it is likely to be a different story against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay offense. If Stafford plays to his ceiling, it could be another huge day for #9.

Ryan Tannehill, CIN @ TEN, $7300 FanDuel / $5800 DraftKings

There are DFS players out there who would like to see Trey Lance start for the 49ers at a value price-point, but as long as Jimmy Garoppolo is on track to play, Tennessee’s Ryan Tannehill is the preferred play between two quarterbacks who will play caretaker roles if all goes to plan for their offenses. While the Titans would love to get out to a lead and hammer the Bengals with running back Derrick Henry, Cincinnati’s quarterback might have something to say about that, and if Joe Burrow gets going, Tannehill will have to find a way to match him. Tannehill has posted significantly better numbers when he has Henry in the backfield; look for the Titans to get star receiver A.J. Brown catch-and-run opportunities at the intermediate level off of play-action.


Running Backs

A.J. Dillon, SF @ GB, $6100 FanDuel / $5100 DraftKings

With all the talk about how much more physical San Francisco is than Green Bay, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur may be tempted to unleash the 6’0, 250-pound A.J. Dillon early and often, particularly in a cold-weather game against a 49ers front that has two key contributors, defensive end Nick Bosa and linebacker Fred Warner, banged up coming out of their Wild Card win over Dallas.

The Green Bay offense ultimately runs through quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but with left tackle David Bakhtiari, center Josh Myers, and right tackle Billy Turner all back in the fold, the Packers have the offensive line talent to dictate the terms up front, not to mention the depth to play six, seven, or eight-linemen packages for a few snaps if they choose to do so.

Jerick McKinnon, BUF @ KC, $6000 FanDuel / $4800 DraftKings

Given the way Jerick McKinnon’s knee seemed to deteriorate as he took on an unexpectedly large workload for the 49ers in 2020, it was fair to wonder if the veteran back would call it quits, but Kansas City kept him fresh through the 2021 NFL season, and it paid off in a big way when McKinnon posted 142 total yards and a touchdown on 18 touches in the Wild Card round.

Even if Clyde Edwards-Helaire is back this week, there are analysts out there, The Professor included, who have been highly underwhelmed by the former first-round pick’s performance to date in the NFL; with the season on the line, McKinnon might get the first crack this weekend regardless of whether Edwards-Helaire is available.

Cam Akers, LAR @ TB, $5700 FanDuel / $5500 DraftKings

Sony Michel got things started with an explosive gain on the first offensive snap for Los Angeles, but from the moment Cam Akers sank his base to accelerate through Cardinals cornerback Marco Wilson on his first carry, it was apparent that Akers was on track to reclaim his role as this team’s lead back. Akers faces an admittedly brutal matchup against a Tampa Bay defensive front that got linebacker Lavonte David back last weekend, but that could mean that the Rams cut their skill-position rotation to their best players, and in the backfield, that is Akers.


Wide Receivers

Tee Higgins, CIN @ TEN, $6400 FanDuel / $5700 DraftKings

Tee Higgins was a non-factor against the Raiders, but while Cincinnati’s game-to-game target share is difficult to predict, no other receiver at this price point brings Higgins’ explosive upside. Rams receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who comes in at a similar price, has been the more consistent of the two and is another solid option, but while Beckham has consistently gotten in the endzone, he hasn’t cracked the 100-yard barrier as a Ram, while Higgins has gone for 114 (2x), 138, and 194 in four of his last seven games. If Higgins goes off, he could be a tournament winner.

Gabriel Davis, BUF @ KC, $5300 FanDuel / $4600 DraftKings

Gabriel Davis makes a second straight appearance on the Low-Cost DFS list after catching two of his three targets for 41 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots. Granted, damn near every skill player on Buffalo scored as they dismantled New England, but it is telling that Davis had a role while slot receiver Cole Beasley only drew one target. Tight end Dawson Knox is coming off a monster game, but don’t discount Josh Allen’s second big-bodied red-zone target, Davis.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, SF @ GB, $5500 FanDuel / $4300 DraftKings

Marquez Valdes-Scantling is nursing a back injury, but Green Bay’s over-the-top threat should be ready to roll this weekend, and as the Buccaneers saw in the NFC Championship game last season, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a knack for finding MVS in big moments. This play stacks well with running back A.J. Dillon; the analytics crowd will howl about this, but while The Professor acknowledges a strong run game is not a prerequisite for a successful play-action game, he has also watched thousands of seven-on-seven practice reps, and given that he never saw a defender bite on play-action in that pass-only practice drill, it does seem to be the inherent possibility of the running the ball that allows play-action to work.

In short, suggesting that safeties who know they have to roll up and tackle Dillon will play with the same sense of caution on the back end is absurd, and MVS has the speed to make the 49ers pay if the safeties get sucked up.


Tight Ends

Marcedes Lewis Headshot

Marcedes Lewis, SF @ GB, $4200 FanDuel / $2600 DraftKings

This play has bust potential, but Marcedes Lewis, better known as “Big Dawg” to fans of Aaron Rodgers Tuesdays on The Pat McAfee Show, has not gotten in the endzone during this NFL season despite playing an integral role in the Green Bay offense. If 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa clears concussion protocol, he is likely to see Lewis slam down on him on multiple occasions, and Lewis has shown he is a capable threat in the flat when he comes off those chip blocks. Throw in the possibility that Lewis is the release player on a “power pass” play-action concept near the goal line, and there’s reason to roll the dice on the UCLA product this weekend.

Conclusion

This article covered The Professor’s low-cost DFS plays for the upcoming week. For more fantasy content from The Professor check out his weekly appearance on Razor’s RedZone and the rest of his content on BeerLife Sports!

About the author:

Website | + posts

Steven Clinton, better known as "The Professor", is a former D-1 Quality Control Assistant (Northwestern, Toledo) who holds a B.A. in Economics and M.S. in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University. He maintains an end-to-end NFL game projection model and is a film junkie who breaks down the tape of every NFL game.