Divisional Round – DFS Studs & Values

Divisional Round – DFS Studs & Values

It’s the divisional round, which means its our last weekend with more than two meaningful NFL games on the schedule for the next eight months. Let’s enjoy it while we’ve got it!

Wild Card weekend saw two of the wild card teams upset their opponents and advance to the next round: Tennessee and Atlanta. We say goodbye to 2017 studs from the LA Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs, and look forward to seeing how they perform in the 2018 season.

My bold call of the week is a full fade of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense in cash games against this Jaguars defense. As such, here’s my favorite picks for divisional weekend:

Quarterback

STUD – Tom Brady (vs. Tennessee)

The Titans were the 24th DVOA pass defense in the 2017 regular season, but that doesn’t tell the full story. In games against Russell Wilson, DeShaun Watson, Ben Roethlisberger, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jared Goff, and last week against Alex Smith, the Titans gave up an average of 7.86 yards per pass attempt and 3.2 passing touchdowns per game. It’s safe to say Tom Brady is in this upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks, therefore we should expect him to exploit the Titans much like his peers. With an extra week of rest, Tom Brady should be ready to go on Saturday.

VALUE – Blake Bortles (@ Pittsburgh)

Blake Bortles went 8/14 for 95 yards and an interception the last time these two played. While pathetic upon first glance, this does equal just shy of 6.8 yards per attempt, only 3.7% less than his season-long average and well within a standard deviation of his expected performance. He only had to throw 14 times in Week 5 because the running game was excellent, and Pittsburgh failed to score a touchdown at home. In this round, I expect Pittsburgh to play significantly better, forcing Bortles into more throwing situations. At his low price, his floor should be manageable – and he has a great chance to get to the 15 fantasy point value amount.

Running Back

STUD – Leonard Fournette (@ Pittsburgh)

Fournette averaged 6.5 yards per carry in Week 5, and had 28 carries. One of these was a long, 90 yard touchdown run, which we certainly can’t expect again. This doesn’t change the fact, however, that Pittsburgh is the 18th DVOA rush defense and 23rd DVOA pass defense against the running back position. Fournette appears to be over his season-long ankle troubles, having played 85% of the snaps against Buffalo on Wild Card weekend. Fournette is also available at a significant discount compared to Le’Veon Bell in a plus matchup.

VALUE – Jerick McKinnon (vs. New Orleans)

I expect McKinnon to see between two and seven targets this weekend, most likely falling in the four-five target range. This is well within his season long averages, and extremely affordable given his low price against New Orleans. He has tremendous PPR upside compared to Latavius Murray, who averages 1.1 targets per game. Given their relatively even split for carries throughout the season, I’ll take McKinnon at a discount solely based on his role in PPR formats.

Wide Receiver

STUD – Julio Jones (@ Philadelphia)

Julio Jones has a monstrous 29% target share, putting him in line for 10+ targets and 100+ yards against the Eagles this weekend. He’s the most reliable high priced receiver this weekend given Antonio Brown’s calf injury, and Michael Thomas’ tough matchup against Xavier Rhodes. It also doesn’t hurt that he has had huge games against the Eagles throughout his career. Expect that to continue on Saturday.

VALUE – Corey Davis (@ New England)

Corey Davis received an average of 6.3 targets from Marcus Mariota in non-Week 17 games in the regular season. This continued against Kansas City, as his 7 targets were more than any other wide receiver received. The Patriots are the 21st DVOA overall pass defense, and 26th in DVOA against the WR1 position. At his low price, Davis is an absolute steal at his expected volume. He’s also a candidate for some touchdown regression, having not yet found the end zone in his rookie season.

Tight End

STUD – Rob Gronkowski (vs. Tennessee)

Gronk is facing the 24th DVOA pass defense against the tight end at chilly, windy, and rainy Gillette Stadium this weekend. I expect Brady to look for him early and often as the Patriots hope to build an insurmountable lead against the Titans. He’s far and away the most expensive player at the position, but his ceiling is way higher than any other tight end, making it worth the risk here.

VALUE – Austin Hooper (@ Philadelphia)

The Eagles are the 17th DVOA defense against the tight end, which means Hooper has a chance to get some looks on Saturday in a relatively soft matchup. Given that Mohamed Sanu has been battling a knee injury in practice all week, Hooper could be in line for a larger workload. If you want to pay down at tight end to fit in some high priced studs (including those Steelers), Hooper is a strong play.

Best of the Rest

QB – Marcus Mariota
RB – Derrick Henry, Dion Lewis, Latavius Murray, Jay Ajayi
WR – Brandin Cooks, Stefon Diggs, Alshon Jeffery, Chris Hogan, Nelson Agholor, Marqise Lee, Dede Westbrook
TE – Zach Ertz, Jesse James
K – Stephen Gostkowski, Jake Elliott, Kai Forbath, Will Lutz
DST – Falcons, Jaguars, Patriots, Eagles