NFL DFS First Look at Salaries & Matchups for the Divisional Round (Fantasy Football)
Every week the First Look article gives you a taste of the slate and some of the more intriguing salaries that DraftKings and FanDuel release. The goal is to identify early-week cash game considerations, as well as potential tournament plays, before we piece together the stacking options.
Check back on Friday when Matthew Betz and myself share our official DraftKings and FanDuel picks for cash and GPPs exclusively in the DFS Pass.
Here are the games for this week’s main slate* including team-implied totals (TIP) for each matchup.
These lines are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and are accurate as of time of publishing.
At first glance, here are a couple of things to note:
- DraftKings got a bit lazy with their pricing this week. Quickly scan the salaries below and you’ll see that
- With only four games to consider, the field shrinks to a level where we need to be even more conscious of leverage. What game flows are you considering? Are the Bills jumping out to an early lead and the Bengals battle back? Do the Jaguars keep the game close? Write down those narratives and if you do jump on certain games, realize you are saying no to other game environments. Ask yourself: what am I sacrificing if I go all-in on this game?
- We have two teams (KC & PHI) as more than a touchdown favorite which makes sense given they are No. 1 seeds facing teams that pulled an upset on WildCard weekend. TD or more favorites have averaged 28.3 points per game over the last five years in the divisional round.
- We’ve had five divisional playoff games with over a 50-point total in the last five years. Only one of them hit the over and that was last year’s magical BUF/KC game which finished with 78 combined points thanks to overtime.
- Other than the DAL/SF game, the other six teams all rank in the top 10 in seconds per play as up-tempo squads.
- NOTE: All salaries discussed are DraftKings-specific. The colors are simply organized by “salary tiers”, not at all indicative of projections or points per dollar rankings.
If you enjoyed the spoils of the top-4 QBs in redraft & dynasty leagues this year, congrats because all four of those QBs are on display this week.
- Did you realize that Patrick Mahomes ($8000) had the lowest play-action rate and lowest percentage of deep throws in his career and.. it didn’t matter! He still led the league in TD passes, Passer Rating, QBR, and Expected Points Added. He’s priced up relative to what he was ($7300) in last year’s epic divisional showdown versus the Bills but his floor remains insanely high and he carved up the Jaguars for four TDs when these two teams played earlier.
- Josh Allen‘s career-high 20 turnovers almost didn’t even matter. In nine games with an INT, he averaged 25 fantasy points per game and 58 rushing yards. In seven games without an INT, he was slightly worse averaging 24 fantasy points per game and 34 rushing yards. You saw this last week against the Dolphins so ignore any talk about his volatility.
- Jalen Hurts ($7600) and the Eagles are coming off a well-deserved bye week to take on a Giants team they defeated twice this year. The Eagles rank 3rd in points per game (28.1) and 5th in total plays per game. As a runner, Hurts was downright unstoppable all year with 13 rushing TDs averaging 11 carries per game, and leading all QBs with 43 red-zone carries. That number is the most by a QB of all-time.
- After the top-3 QBs, there is a big tier gap and I’m not sure why Joe Burrow ($6500) is priced so low. It’s his lowest salary since Week 1 so take the discount and know you are getting a team ranked top-3 in pass rate over expectation and throwing on first down more than any other team.
- Trevor Lawrence ($6000) and the Jaguars returned from the pits of Sheol after four first-half INTs and somehow stole a victory away from the Chargers. The Chiefs are seeing the 2nd highest opponent pass rate in the NFL with opposing teams throwing on 1st down against them at the highest rate. Expect Lawrence to once again see 40+ pass attempts.
- Last week, the Giants ranked #1 in pass rate over expectation giving Daniel Jones ($5800) arguably the most impressive road wild card performance in recent memory, and yet his salary only went up $200. In this economy? He’ll have his work cut out for him with an Eagles pass defense that ranked #1 in passing yards per game and EPA per pass attempt allowed.
- It’s hard to argue against Brock Purdy ($5400) at this point. He’s a multi-TD machine hitting 2+ TDs in all seven of his games so far. The Cowboys’ pass defense looked great against Tom Brady last week but they’ve been leakier recently allowing the 6th most passing yards per game since Week 12.