NFL DFS Pace of Play for Divisional Round (Fantasy Football)
Pace of play gives the prospective DFS player an opportunity to consider not just Vegas totals but how the game will be played out in a given week. Game flow is a tricky rabbit hole to jump down when you consider the endless scenarios that can play out in a game. Stacking up-tempo offenses who can keep the ball moving is crucial to gaining an edge in DFS. Even slight differentiations of team trends matters in a world where volume is king. Over the last three years, on average, teams ran a play 0.8 seconds per play slower in positive game scripts than they did in neutral game script.
Each week I’ll highlight key game environments factoring in their pace metrics and stacks to consider for tournaments.
Game Pace Score
A reminder on a simple metric I introduced last year: Game Pace Score (GPS). I liked the acronym to also give you a “compass” of how the game total and neutral pace statistics come together. These scores are ranked 1-5 with five indicating the pace of the play is everything you want for a DFS bonanza.
- 5– Back-and-forth shootout is looming. Both teams are pace up and both sport team implied totals of 25+.
- 4– An up-tempo spot worth game stacking in DFS in multiple ways. Consider multiple game scripts in play.
- 3– This game could go either way. Often, these are onslaught spots for teams with healthy implied totals or games that hit the under because two middling offenses collide.
- 2– Strong indications of a game you want to stay away from. Usually, the pace is dragged down by one team with an absurdly slow neutral pace or a team with a team implied total so low it drags the entire game environment through the mud.
- 1– This has all the makings of a plodder. These games have totals UNDER 40 which gives you zero confidence in DFS.
For the Divisional Round, I’ve split up each team’s implied totals, seconds per play, neutral situation pace, and combined that for a final GPS score.
Make sure to check out the DFS Podcast where Betz and I break down the main slate and highlight some of our favorite plays of the week.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs (-8.5)- O/U: 52.5
You’ll notice a theme that for each of the matchups this week we have a template to work from. It’s not the final piece of analysis but we do have a piece of the puzzle and for KC/JAC, we’ll bring up Exhibit A… Week 10. The Chiefs won 27-17 and they controlled the tempo of the game for the first half with three first-half Mahomes TDs. The beauty of the Chiefs is you get the passing volume right from the get-go as they rank 2nd in 1st-half pass rate, 3rd in pass rate on 1st down and the 2nd highest when leading in the 2nd half of games. Mahomes is on a different level than the rest of the league efficiency-wise but outside of Travis Kelce, we’ve had few other options truly “get there” for fantasy. Juju Smith-Schuster is the obvious name but he’s surpassed 20+ DK points once since Week 7 and good luck trying to sort out Kadarius Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and the rest of the crew. Jerrick McKinnon is the most dependable pass-catcher averaging 4.5 receptions and a whopping 2.8 yards per route run over the last six weeks. He’s been running hot on TD luck and saw eight targets when these two teams met earlier. Keep in mind that Kansas City covered the spread in just six of their games this year and only scored more than 30 points five times. This isn’t the same Chiefs but the condensed targets for Kelce make him a must-play in every format.
The Jaguars had about as “Jeykll and Hyde” offensive experience last week after four INTs in the first half followed up by four TD passes in the second half. That game plan won’t work against the Chiefs in Arrowhead. The Jaguars don’t play nearly as fast as the Chiefs, as efficient, nor approach KC’s off-the-chart pass rate over expectation numbers. However, for DFS purposes, their pass-catching options are among the most affordable options on the slate. Christian Kirk ($6000), Zay Jones ($4700), and Evan Engram ($4300) all deserve some love as bring-backs from Patrick Mahomes stacks given the simple fact that opponents are having to throw on the Chiefs at the 2nd highest rate (67%) and the highest rate on 1st downs. Despite that fact, Trevor Lawrence is not someone I’m actively trying to stack this week with the field condensed but one of the WRs should be able to get there.
Plan of Attack: