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It feels like yesterday was a shocking day all in, if you were watching the NFL Divisional games. Let’s talk real world football for a second. Who would have guessed that 4 of the best teams in the league would have combined for a total of 58 Points? Additionally, who (outside of San Fran Fans maybe) would have guessed that not only did Aaron Rogers lose, he would finish with statistically one of his worst play off games, 20-25 for 225 and no scores (and no picks). But when you go fantasy world thinking there are just a whole lot of “huh”?
D’Onta Foreman outscores Derrick Henry?
The 49ers Defense outscores Ja’mar Chase, Davante Adams, Derrick Henry, Deebo Samuel?
Could we actually see a Tom Brady vs Jimmy Garoppolo NFC Championship?
AND if the Bills beat the Chiefs today and the Rams beat the Buccaneers, that means not only that no #1 Seed will be in the championship games, it will also mean the no team that earned home field advantage going into the playoffs will be in the Championship game either. #History
Two things that were proven correct from yesterday’s article were 1). Quarterbacks – Joe Burrow was the highest fantasy scoring quarterback on the day and 2). Aaron Jones had a special day, indeed – well as special as you can get in a 10-13 loss, but I digress. What we can learn from yesterday’s games is the methodology in yesterday’s article is still sound. If you are playing the all day slate, you need to not look at each game in a bubble but look at the whole day in selecting your picks. So let’s begin – and let’s hope for some shootouts to send the crowd home happy too:
LA Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3PM
Starting with quarterbacks, unlike yesterday there is a BIG separation in regards to ownership between the early game and the late game. Tom Brady $6,800 looks to have around 15% ownership on the all day slate, while his opponent Matthew Stafford is not only the cheapest QB at $6,200 but also the least owned at 9%. Personally, I love that both men are being overlooked so heavily versus Allen and Mahomes later on. I look at it like I will have 4 lineups, each having a different quarterback and if it so happens that in the late game the Bills Defense and the Chiefs Defense really step up to the plate and the late game is a low scoring affair, I will be happy that I have a couple lineups where Brady and Stafford performed well and outscored Allen and Mahomes. The odds of this aren’t in my favor but in DFS you need to take some educated risks. So let’s educate:
Tom Brady has been excellent all season. Sure he had some down games but 13 Games with multiple passing touchdowns including 6 of those where he had 4 or better. That is absurd. In week 3 against the Rams Brady threw 55 times, completing 75% for 432 yards and score, oh yeah he had a rushing score as well. He finished with 28.68 Fantasy Points and he has 7 total games with 28 or higher fantasy points on the season. BUT today he gets a very different Rams team with the addition of Von Miller for one but also a defense that has recorded multiple sacks in each of their last 6 games. 3 times in that span they also have had 2 or more Interceptions in every game. Point is this is a defense that will be coming after Brady from jump and likely all game long and we all know the story about if you ‘hurry Tom Brady’ good things can come for your team. Could Brady outscore Mahomes or Allen later in the day, sure of course he can he is Tom Brady, but will he? I have my doubts. It doesn’t mean I don’t like Brady – 15% ownership alone makes him appealing, but I do not believe he will be the top scoring QB on the day.
Then we have Matthew Stafford, coming off the first playoff win of his career! Amazing! Statistically speaking from Week 12 on Stafford has been playing his best football as a Ram. Multiple Touchdown passes in 7 of the last 8 games and averaging 21 Fantasy points in that span, he also added a rushing score last week against the Cardinals. The reason why his Fantasy numbers have been suppressed is because he can’t shake the Stafford out of himself. 9 Interceptions thrown in that span and 4 fumbles. The Buccaneers defense come into this game with a whopping 19 Interceptions and 10 Fumble Recoveries on the season. Not to mention 49 sacks including multiple recorded in 13 or the last 15 games. All that taken into account, I like Stafford mainly because of the 10% ownership if he somehow overcomes his demons and the Tampa Bay Defense and is a top scoring QB on the day and you have stacked him correctly with receivers who perform … I like the odds of cashing.
One thing is for certain, after rattling off all of those defensive stats, both of these defenses are firmly in play today. The Buccaneers are $3,100 and are the highest owned but interestingly the lowest statistical rank of 11 on the season. The Rams are meanwhile the highest statistical ranked defense on the season (#1) but are only 15% owned at $3,000.
Both of these defenses are coming in as two of the best in the game against the run. The Buccaneers rank 16th against the season but at home they have held running games on average to 84 yards. Yikes. Meanwhile the Rams have been better on the road against the run, averaging 98 yards in away games allowed, and ranked 7th against the run. However the Titans yesterday came into that game ranked 1st against running backs and allowing 85 yards on the ground at home and Joe Mixon ran all over them. Good on Joe Mixon. Point is this is the 2021 season still and if yesterday couldn’t have been a better example of what that means – anything can happen.
Leonard Fournette $5,700 60% ownership has been activated off the IR and will make his return. From week 4 through to Week 15 when he got hurt he had double digit rushing attempts in all but 2 games (one of those week 15 when he left the game). Additionally Fournett had averaged 6 targets per game. He has 8 rushing scores on the season and 2 touchdown catches. Most of this season has been in a time share with Ronald Jones, but Jones is out today. Instead I think Fournette will be sharing the work with Gio come lately Bernard (more on him later). The biggest fear for me on Fournette is that in week 3, he had his worst statistical game of the season – 8 yards on 4 carries and 3 targets for 26. Yikes. The DFS crowd was with Mixon yesterday finishing 80% owned and it paid off. I am not sure I am buying that Fournette, the second highest owned back on the slate will have the same result.
Cam Akers $5,500 45% owned on the other side of this game may be one of my top 2 favorites on the day. Akers made his season debut last week and shocked the world by dominating the running back touches in that game. 17 Carries, 55 yards and a spectacular superstar like 40 yard catch and run. My gut is telling me that we are going to see a lot of Akers in this game and you can go back and look at my article from that last Rams game – The Rams did indeed line Akers up at Wide Receiver several times in that game. I think the Rams are going to find ways to get the ball in Akers’ hands and if ownership on Running Back continues to go away from Akers, that is fine with me. Damn the torpedoes and play Cam Akers.
Giovanni Bernard $5,000 11% ownership I think the lesson that can be learned from the Titans yesterday is that teams aren’t ready to walk away from the guy who helped bring them to the dance, even when the star that guy was playing for comes back. Call it the Hot Hand approach. Well Bernard certainly has had a hot hand. Last week with Bernard being the last real hope of a healthy running game for the Buccaneers, Bernard took 11 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown while also catching 5 of 7 targets for 39 yards. Because of that performance I think you need to keep Bernard in your player pool and while I can’t say he makes the cut as an RB2, I think he makes an excellent low owned Flex Play.
Sony Michel $5,300 20% owned. It isn’t like Michel who had run extremely well and durably for the Rams coming into last week’s game, disappeared in the wake of Cam Aker’s return. He still saw 13 carries for 58 yards, it is just clear he immediately reverted back to the change of pace role he began the season with. However, I do think the Rams still view Michel as the primary goal line guy and I do think he belongs in your player pool. I prefer Bernard only slightly here but I think Michel also is a decent flex option and I expect as the day goes on his ownership will drop.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Mike Evans $6,800 38% ownership to me is the most interesting story to watch. With both Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown on the field in week 3 Evans still saw 10 targets, caught 8 of them for the tune of 106 yards. Over the last 5 games Evans has finished with 89 yards or better in 3 games including 117 yards last week against the Eagles and he has 5 touchdowns in that span as well. The wild card in this game however has to Jaylen Ramsey. With Godwin out and Brown gone, will Ramsey be deployed to slow down Evans and what will that look like? I see a lot of contested catches in Evans’ future… It’s tough not to stack Brady and Evans today, I get it – but with all factors on the table does Mike Evans have a shot at being the #1 Receiver on the day once the dust settles? I am far from all in on that notion.
Cooper Kupp $8,600 70% owned. The differences between Evans and Kupp are quite frankly, wide. Arguably the #1 Receiver on the season, Kupp has been nothing short of spectacular. Double digit fantasy points in every game this season, 17 or more in all but 2. In 16 games this season Kupp finished with 90 or more yards, 14 of those over 100. In 12 games this season he has had a touchdown or better. In week 3 against the Bucs, Kupp saw 12 targets and caught 9 for 96 yards and 2 scores. Even with the emergence of O’dell Beckham Jr in this offense, Kupp has persevered – last week in one of his worst performances yardage wise he still broke 60 yards and a touchdown for 17 fantasy points. Even when he is down, he won’t kill your lineup. Just like Thanos, Cooper Kupp is inevitable.
O’Dell Beckham Jr $5,300 20% owned. Here’s the thing. I like O’Dell in this game. The Rams like O’Dell and O’Dell likes the Rams. He has seen an average of 5 targets over the last 5 games and he has a touchdown in 3 of the last 5 as well. He has 6 total this season, all with the Rams, more than any season he had with the Cleveland Browns. Would I play O’Dell over Kupp – no. Would I double stack Stafford with Kupp and O’Dell – yes. I also think he makes a bit of a leverage play as a run back in Brady/Buccaneers stacks where most people will try to Jam Kupp in. The salary savings in O’Dell in that scenario can allow you to nab at least one stud from the later game too.
Rob Gronkowski $5,800 27% owned. Gronk Smash! Well, that is what we hope. Look we all know the highest owned Tight End on the slate will be Travis Kelce by a mile, so playing a tight end in this game is a risk and I think most of Gronk’s ownership is coming from people trying to double stack Cooper Kupp and Tyreek Hill and/or Stefon Diggs, so they are saving money with Gronk at TE. I get it. But let’s also not forget that Gronk is a Tight End with 3 games this season over 100 yards – the only Tight End with more is Kelce. Let’s also not forget the relationship between Brady and Gronk and if this is Gronk’s last run, Brady will be looking out for him. Point is as a pivot from Kelce, yes he makes sense but from a pure play standpoint I will have Brady Gronk Stacks along with Brady-Evans-Gronk stacks in some lineups today.
Other Plays in this Game:
Tyler Higbee $4,000 32% owned the Buccaneers are 18th against Tight Ends
Van Jefferson $4,400 11% owned
Cyril Grayson $4,100 2% owned – IF HE PLAYS
Ty Johnson $3,700 18% owned – Especially if Grayson doesn’t play
Buccaneers DST $3,100 42% owned
Rams DST $3,000 15% owned
Cameron Brate $2,700 1% owned
Scotty Miller $3,300 1% owned
Ke’shawn Vaughn $4,700 2% owned
Jaelon Darden $3,000 1% owned – if Grayson doesn’t play only
John Brown $3,000 Now Ownership – DEEP DART THROW, if Grayson doesn’t play only
Ben Skowronek $3,000 1% owned – DEEP DART THROW
BUFFALO BILLS at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 6:30 PM
Fun fact, my first big DFS win came in 2014 in the NFC Divisional Game in this exact time slot. Could lightning strike twice for the old dog over here? Fingers Crossed.
Easily the most anticipated matchup of the weekend, Josh Allen $7,600 37% owned takes his Bills into Arrow Head to try and unseat the current AFC Champion Patrick Mahomes $7,100 32% owned and his Kansas City Chiefs. This should be one for the ages. Also something to think about. With both the #1 Seeds in the AFC and NFC already eliminated (ie; no Derrick Henry, No Aaron Rogers) and by the time this game kicks off one of either Cooper Kupp and the Rams or Tom Brady and the Bucs will also be eliminated – I would say whoever wins tonight, Bills or Chiefs has a really good shot at the Superbowl and Lombardi Trophy. You heard it here first.
Josh Allen in Week 5 against the Chiefs threw 25 times, completed 15 for 315 yards and 3 Touchdown passes. He also rushed for nearly 60 yards and added a rushing touchdown. That is the problem when you try to compare any other Quarterback today to Allen – it is just so tough to think that Brady or Stafford, even Mahomes could outscore a guy who is averaging over 250 yards passing per game and 61 rushing yards as well. He has had multiple Touchdown passes in 14 of 18 games this season and he has 6 rushing scores on the season as well. He is without a doubt the #1 offensive weapon on this team and the Chiefs (ranked 31st against QBs) will need to find a way to stop him above all else, and I am not sure they will be able to. Interestingly, the Chiefs Defense is second only to the Buccaneers in ownership today.
Patrick Mahomes didn’t fare as well in Week 5 against the Bills completing 33 of 54 for 272 and 2 scores but he also had 2 interceptions. Mahomes also ran for 61 yards but he lost a fumble in that game. That being said, lately Mahomes has looked much more like Mahomes. Twice in the last 5 games he has gone over 400 yards. He’s had 2 or more touchdowns in each of the last 5 games 3 or better in 3 of those games and 5 last week against the Steelers. He has had 2 picks and 2 fumbles in that span and if there is an achilles heal to Mahomes being the top fantasy scoring QBs it is those errors. The Bills Defense has been playing excellent football lately recording 3 or more sacks in 4 of the last 5 games and 3 interceptions in that span. They also have 15 Fumble recoveries as a defense this season. You can never count out Mahomes especially defending his AFC title at home, and I’ll have my share but rankings wise, I put Josh Allen just ahead of him.
Devin Singletary $5,900 60% ownership, rivaling only Uncle Lenny in ownership Singletary walks in to this game on a genuine hot streak. He’s had 81 yards or better in 4 of his last 5 games and at least 1 touchdown in each of those games as well including 2 last week against the Patriots and 2 in Week 17 against the Falcons. He’s seen 2 or more targets in 3 of the last 5 including 4 last week and add a receiving touchdown in week 18 against the Jets. He is the unquestioned RB1 on this team and the Chiefs are in the bottom half of the league against the run allowing nearly 120 yards on the ground. He is my second favorite back today behind Cam Akers.
The Kansas City Chiefs Backfield: Somewhat out of nowhere, this backfield seems to be a committee so I need to address it as a whole. Clyde Edwards-Helaire $5,200 13% owned has had a rocky season to say the least. He is still listed as the RB1 and he will play tonight, but if you saw the way Jerrick McKinnon $4,800 30% owned played last week – if I am the Chiefs I am rolling with the hot hand: 61 yards on the ground, 81 through the air and a touchdown catch. Damn. Even is CEH is active, I have to assume the Chiefs will be looking to manufacture ways to get McKinnon the ball. Then you have Darrell Williams $4,200 2% owned who in his own right is an adept pass catcher, but he is questionable to play. If he doesn’t, I think Derick Gore $4,000 2% owned is in flex consideration as another dynamic back. We don’t know how the Chiefs will roll out this back field, but my best guess as CEH and McKinnon split snaps and carries and targets while Williams and Gore are more dart throw Flex play.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Stefon Diggs $6,500 44% owned. It is eerily similar how in Week 5 when these two teams met, Diggs and Tyreek Hill ended with 69 and 63 yards respectively. In that game though I think you had a bit of a role reversal. It only took Diggs 2 catches to get his 69 yards, while it took Hill 7 to get his 63. Look there is no question Diggs is Allen’s #1 Target, he’s averaged 7.5 per game all season. But the things that prevent me from falling in love with the price tags are the other intangibles. Diggs has gone 100 or more only twice this season. 80 or more only 4 times. He has 10 touchdowns on the season but big gaps between most of them but he has had a score in 3 of his last 5. In that week 5 game Diggs had his season long 61 yard catch and while he has the Talent to being the #1 WR on the day, I still prefer Kupp. Allen – Diggs stacks will be very popular today and of course I will have at least one, but I really like Diggs as a run back on Chiefs stacks. I love the price too and that the Chiefs are ranked 2nd to last against Wide Receivers.
Tyreek Hill $6,600 42% owned. I don’t recall ever seeing Tyreek Hill at a sub $7,000 price tag. I think we have to take advantage. Tyreek to me is the ultimate boom or bust DFS play. When he booms he breaks the slate. When he busts he normally costs you big because of his salary… but at a manageable $6,600 he is very appealing today. He has 3 games this season of finishing with 148 or better and like Diggs he has 10 touchdowns. If the Chiefs need to play catch up at any point Hill can help you catch up quick. If he breaks the slate today, you will want to have had a healthy share of Mahomes-Hill stacks. The Bills come into this game ranked 1st against Wide Receivers, but I am yet to see a defense that Tyreek Hill can’t blow by, especially if he’s already seen them once in a season.
Travis Kelce $6,500 33% owned. In Week 5 against the Bills. Kelce went 6 for 57 and 1. Coming into that game he had already had two 100+ yard games. Since week 5 he’s had 4 more. He’s also had 10 Touchdowns. He has been targeted 5 or more times in 15 games this season, double digit targets in 6 or them. He has the mind meld with Mahomes that previously was only reserved for Brady and Gronk in this era. I’d say Kelce is also as inevitable as Thanos but the Bills defense, ranked 1st against tight ends, has been stout. There is no question that if the Chiefs are to win this game one of either Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce will need to be the all star that they are. But it’s a roll of the dice on which one will and while it has happened that both go off in a game, it is rare. So I don’t believe it wise to double stack Mahomes with Hill and Kelce. But I will have equal share of the individual stacks. Normally I prefer stacking Mahomes with Kelce over Hill for the salary savings but with only $100 difference between them I think having equal shares of the stacks is smart.
Dawson Knox $4,900 11% Probably my favorite Contrarian play of the day is to stack Allen and Knox. Knox just seems to be on Allen’s wavelength and no matter the matchup if Allen needs an outlet, more often than knox it’s Dawson. 3x this season he has had multiple TD catches and last week he took 5 targets for 5 catches for 89 yards and 2 TDs. I like hot streaks. The Chiefs are middle of the road against tight ends and with over half the field playing either Kelce or Gronk, I love that Knox is being overlooked. Ironically, he also has 10 TDs on the season. I love Allen-Knox stacks, I also like Knox as a contrarian run back on Chiefs stacks.
Other Plays in this Game:
Byron Pringle $4,300 18% owned
Gabriel Davis $4,600 20% owned
Cole Beasley $4,000 20% owned
Emmanuel Sanders $4,200 6% owned – love that ownership
Mecole Hardman $3,900 15% owned
Isaiah McKenzie $3,500 4% owned
Chiefs DST $2,800 32% owned
Bills DST $2,600 11% owned
Demarcus Robinson $3,600 2% owned
Zach Moss $4,100 2% owned
Good Luck in Your Contests!